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Finding Ad Sales Reps

This is my first time posting, I recently found this site and it has been very insightfull so far.

I run a small publishing company that sells advertising on a niche publication that caters to aviation enthusiasts. My dilema has been finding and keeping ad salespeople. The advertisers are those who provide services to owners of small planes in Florida. As you can see we are quite limited on the number of leads we can call. But we do have some great leads, machine shops, parts dealers, new plane manufactures, ect. The ads run for 400.00 and the sales reps are getting 18% straight commission ($72.00/per sale). Reps are selling 4 to 5 ads per week ($360.00 per week), as you can see the reps are not making any money.

The sales reps get discouraged at the start, they usually quit before they learn the script well and get confortable. I have been in business close to 2 years thanks in part to one salesperson who has stuck with me and brings in 80% of the sales. She is getting burned out. She has told me to find someone because she is leaving soon.

I have tried hiring "work at home" sales people, but those mainly want to sleep in and don't take my business too seriously. I see the enthusiasm change when they see it takes alot of effort to get one sale.

I feel I have a great publication, the advertisers and end users like it because it serves their needs. I don't want to give up. I need to find great salespeople now.

Question: How do I get my salespeople to make more money? And how to I get them to stay, at least learn before they quit?

Any ideas/responses are greatly appreciated.

AdSales - by AdSales
Question: How do I get my salespeople to make more money? And how to I get them to stay, at least learn before they quit?

Any ideas/responses are greatly appreciated.

AdSales
The first thing that I would do is talk to the 1 person that has stayed with you. Find out the positives and negatives from her point of view.

Is it feasible to make more than 4-5 sales per week using your current approach? If not, you need to change your approach so that a good salesman could make 10-20 sales per week ($700-$1500) or more.

Is it feasible to change your pay structure? If your sales people are doing well to sell 10 ads in a week, you aren't paying them enough. So, charge more to the customer or cut into your profit. Nobody likes working straight commission for peanuts. You could also explore various base + commission payment structures so that a newby isn't going hungry.

Are you doing any selling personally? Whoi developed your script/approach? - by Derek
The ads run for 400.00 and the sales reps are getting 18% straight commission ($72.00/per sale). Reps are selling 4 to 5 ads per week ($360.00 per week), as you can see the reps are not making any money.

The sales reps get discouraged at the start, they usually quit before they learn the script well and get confortable.
How much would an average rep make who did know the script? - by Seth
Question: How do I get my salespeople to make more money?
Either pay them better or help them become more productive.

And how to I get them to stay, at least learn before they quit?
Help them get what they want from a job/career... income, recognition, etc. - by Gilbert
Thank you for the questions and suggestions...

To answer the questions above, I developed the script and training that we use. And although I have no formal training in developing these programs, I have used them for the past 2 years. As I mentioned I have hired several salespeople working from home and they are trained by me over the telephone. When they first come on board, I mail them a kit with the scripts and copies of previous issues of our publications. I have then study the script for 2 days and then call them to do some roll-play. I give them several rebuttals, and try to coach them on how to conquer them. Then on the 4th day they are on the phones. That's where things start to go wrong, I have had a few salespeople "get lucky" and get their first sale on the first day, then they may go a week and get nothing, that is when they usually quit.

I must admit that my script probably needs work, I was once told, when doing a presentation, keep talking until you get your message out, Because we know who we are calling (industry) we already know they are qualified to advertise to our audience.

"Nobody likes working straight commission for peanuts" - It takes between 40 to 50 calls to get a sale. Most people working straight commision won't call that many people for this little money. But even if I paid $100. per sales vs. $72.00 its not significant because of the number of calls made. I also think the rejection rate is something most salespeople cannot handle.

Any further suggestions are greatly appreciated! - by AdSales
So, you have no sales training and you are training other people how to sell (i.e. the blind leading the blind)??? How did you come up with your script? Did you base it on something you read/learned somewhere else?

Based on the fact that you said you train "rebuttals", you need to change your approach. I would suggest trying a consultative telephone approach. Read the book "I would rather have a root canal than do cold calling" by Shawn Greene. It will give you good insight as to how to be successful on the phone.

Using this method, you will introduce yourself and your service VERY briefly and ask for permission to give more detail. For example "This is Ad Sales with Aviation marketing. I sell advertising for the aviation industry. Would it be okay if I told you a little bit about our services and you can decide if we should talk more?"

At this point, you will get a yes or a no. The yes's will be people open to advertising ideas. Then you just need to find out if your particular service would be a good fit. The no's are people that don't want advertising. Don't waste your time trying to convince them. You will be more productive by moving on to the next number and finding someone that is interested. - by Derek
It appears that your script, training and compensation plan might benefit from a professional review.

What is the reason behind teletraining versus in-person training? - by Houston
AdSales, in all frankness what you've described doesn't sound like a recipe for success. In any business, if the script is questionable, the training is neglegible, and the compensation plan leaves a lot to be desired then turnover is going to be high. - by BossMan
"Nobody likes working straight commission for peanuts" - It takes between 40 to 50 calls to get a sale. Most people working straight commision won't call that many people for this little money. But even if I paid $100. per sales vs. $72.00 its not significant because of the number of calls made. I also think the rejection rate is something most salespeople cannot handle.
How long do these "calls" take because even if you could only complete 20-25 calls per hour that boils down to $36 per hour! Not everyone would consider that peanuts. - by Seth
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