Home > Approach > yellow page ad sales, having trouble getting an appointment

yellow page ad sales, having trouble getting an appointment

Hi everyone,

I started this week selling for a yellow page advertising company. Today was my first full day of prospecting, I called roughly 50 companies on the telephone and visited about 20 in person out in the field and no appointments. This isn't my first time in b2b sales so I know starting out is tough but I don't think I every hit this many contacts without an appointment. 6 or 7 told me to call in a week or so but that's about it. Just wondered if anyone else here is in advertising sales and has any advice on good cold calling techniques. Here is what I do.

I try to be very breif in my opening statement, tell them who I am, how I can benefit their business, and ask for an appointment. I'm very casual and laid back as to not sound like a scripted telemarketer. One thing I'm not the best at is overcoming objections and I tend to back down and say thanks if a cold call prospect tells me they are not interested or over budget. I need to work on being maybe a bit more persistent during the cold call. Anyone agree?

Like I said i worked in b2b sales before but it was always with very industry specific products, like it was a product that every business in the industry needed so it was relavent and gate keepers were more open to letting me in. I think advertising is much more broad target of businesses and gate keepers tend to be more quick to turn me away. That has probably been the main problem too by the way, darn GATE KEEPERS. Sometimes I wish there were no such thing. - by salesrocket
I need to work on being maybe a bit more persistent during the cold call. Anyone agree?
Not necessarily. Maybe your approach needs tweaking. What do you say to the gatekeeper... can you post your sales talk? - by AZBroker
Not necessarily. Maybe your approach needs tweaking. What do you say to the gatekeeper... can you post your sales talk?
Well it might go something like this...

"Hi, I saw you ad here in the paper. I'm actually with the yellow page directory here in town and I'm working on updating our 2007 directory, do you know who I would speak with about getting you represented in our book?"

They usually will say "well that is Mr. Johnson and he is out at a meeting can I take a message?"

I will usually tell them I will call back.

I say the part about finding their ad and stuff to make it a little more like I'm involved with their business rather than just going straight down a list and making cold calls. Before I was just calling and asking "Hi, can I speak with someone in charge of your advertising" and I think I was getting a few more hang ups.

When it's a decision maker on the phone, my script goes a little like this.

"Hi Mr. Johnson, I'm with the yellow page directory here in town, I saw your ad here in the paper and I actually wanted to see if we could sit down for a few minutes one day because I had some ideas I would like to share with you about how we may be able to help you increase some business with our yellow page ads, Is there a good time I can meet you? "


That is just one out of about 5 scripts I've written, I haven't found one yet that I felt work better than the rest but i think i've used that recently. Give me some thoughts, I need some help. - by salesrocket
What are the three biggest problems the businesses you're calling on have in common? - by AZBroker
What are the three biggest problems the businesses you're calling on have in common?

1.) gate keepers (this could be a waiter, a cashier, secretary, or a helper)

2.) Too busy, pre occupied

3.) Plain out closed minded, the moment they realize it is a sales call, their mind is focused on coming up with any excuse possible to get away.

I think if I could just get to the owner, someone who will understand the benefits since it is their profit on the line, this will be better, but someone at the front like a secretary, hostess if it is restaurant, is only worried about not getting their *** chewed out if the boss doesn't want to be interrupted, so they wont let you in. - by salesrocket
Salesrocket I meant what are the three biggest problems your prospects face that you have a solution to. - by AZBroker
Salesrocket I meant what are the three biggest problems your prospects face that you have a solution to.
Oh ok, i gotcha.

1.) Not enough business, need more traffic.
2.) Paying too much for current advertising
3.) Kind of the same as number 1 but current advertising program doesn't work. - by salesrocket
Oh ok, i gotcha.

1.) Not enough business, need more traffic.
2.) Paying too much for current advertising
3.) Kind of the same as number 1 but current advertising program doesn't work.
Is this information your prospects have personally provided you or is this information put out by your company, industry, etc.? - by SalesGuy
Is this information your prospects have personally provided you or is this information put out by your company, industry, etc.?
Of course this is info my company and industry gives me. Most customers dont know they have a problem which is why they don't call you in the first place. - by salesrocket
Of course this is info my company and industry gives me. Most customers dont know they have a problem which is why they don't call you in the first place.
Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice. ;wi - by SalesGuy
Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice. ;wi

correct... need to find thier current condition before determining customers desired position.

ask questions vs giving information...... that is the key to successful YP sales. Find a way to start a conversation.... even if it is the gate keeper..... I love gatekeepers... it is a fun to trick them into a conversation! - by ilovesuperpages.com
correct... need to find thier current condition before determining customers desired position.

ask questions vs giving information...... that is the key to successful YP sales. Find a way to start a conversation.... even if it is the gate keeper..... I love gatekeepers... it is a fun to trick them into a conversation!
Of course, i think all well trained sales people know that. I just meant generally speaking what we could do for customers to help them, not assuming that they have this problem and throwing up information on them. The presentation is not where I have a problem, my closing ratio is about 1/3 right now. It's just getting an appointment. Also, I get reluctant to answer objections on the phone because I usually get a rude reply saying they dont have time to mess with me or simply hanging up. In person I can carry on a conversation but it's verry time consuming prospecting by foot rather than on the phone. I try to sound as much like a human being when I call so they don't see me as a telemarketer and decide they aren't interested before they even hear what they product is. I can sometimes call 30 - 40 business and still not get 1 appointment. I will get some gatekeepers willing to help, and they will tell me to call back at a certain hour and sometimes i can get an appointment that way. But most of the managers say you should average about 1 appt for every 12 calls. I'm well below that, I get most of my appointments after I have asked like 3 or 4 times b/c alot of ppl will not give appts right away, they tell me to call back or they are in the middle of something. What are some ways to make 40 calls and get like 3 or 4 appointments? - by salesrocket
Hi how about tweaking it a bit like this:

"Hi, I saw you ad here in the paper. I'd like to talk to the owner (or manager), please."

If they tell you he's in a meeting or out, get a name and.....

"That's fine, when would be a better time to call or see Mr. Johnson? (Try to pin them down on a time frame) ...Ok please tell Mr. Johnson, I'll contact him at 1:00pm. Here's my number in case he'd like to set up a different time.

By pinning down a time, you've minimized wasting calls. You're giving him an out but only by calling you, so you get to talk to him either way.

When you do get him on the phone, I tweaked it this way:

"Hi Mr. Johnson, I'm with the yellow page directory here in town, I saw your ad here in the paper and I actually wanted to ask how you've been doing with the newspaper ads?

(Listen to the answer for clues to their advertising issues...ask about other places they spend their advertising money.)

"I know it's tough to try spread your advertising dollars in the most effective manner. I'd like to stop by for a few minutes to talk about IF a yellow pages ad might be an effective fit. I have some general ideas I'd like to share with you about some simple, cost-effective ways to get more value out of your advertising budget. Do you prefer Tues. morning at 10am or Thurs. afternoon at 2pm?"

This assumes that he likes to spend his money wisely. This also tells him that yellow pages advertising isn't effective for everyone, and you have no intention of selling him something he doesn't need. (Of course you've prequalified that need, so you'll show him it'll be a need when you meet with him.) You're also telling him you'll give him valuable advice for free....make sure you do! It also assumes a brief meeting and you are just firming up the most convienent time.

Hope this helps,
Pam - by LadySmith
Weekly Updates!
Questions and Answers about Selling
Subscribe to our mailing list to get threads and posts sent to your email address weekly - Free of Charge.