Are YOU assertive enough? I think it’s one of the BIGGEST problems salespeople have when making calls. They use the same approach everyone else does. Boring! You’re not going to capture the client’s attention that way.

Instead, you need to learn to rattle some cages! Read on to learn how to shake things up and make the sale.

Do any of these approaches sound familiar? 

  • “Hi, I’m just calling to check in……”
  • “Is this a good time to talk?”
  • “Did you get the media kit?”

These are not good opening lines! Sure you want to be approachable, but these questions don’t produce the results you want. You’ve just made it way too easy for the answer to be “No!”

Instead, try to be more confident and self-assured in your approach. Here’s more: Create a winning ad sales call process. (Caution: “assertive” does not mean “aggressive.”)

Here are some of my tips to overcoming the wimpy sales approach:

  1. Ad salespeople need to take chances! You need to try approaches that will shift their current mindset and make them take notice….of you.
  2. Try being funny. Check out my post “You’re not curing cancer!” for ideas. (If you don’t have a sense of humor, sales might not be for you.)
  3. Ask your clients direct questions about their competition. Then “What can we do to help you?”
  4. If all else fails, go around! When you get an immediate “no” then go to their boss, even the super-boss!.Think high.
  5. Challenge your clients. Ask them directly, “Are you really getting the benefits from the other sponsorships? How?”
  6. You can also try offbeat, quirky ways to grab attention. “Hi, Joe Client. If you weren’t at your desk working hard right now, what would you really like to be doing today?”

Finally, the best openings involve giving your client specific opportunities that are unique to them. Try some of my tips above to achieve a more effective (and assertive) approach. Get out there and rattle some cages!

P.S. Challenge authority and don’t trust anyone over 30! Wait, maybe now that’s under 30…….


More about Carl: Carl Landau is Grand Poobah of Niche Media. In his past life, Carl launched 5 successful niche magazines. He is a media/event guru, SF Giants fan, podcast host and part-time blogger. His 15 minutes of fame took place in the mid-eighties when he launched his famous, “Buy an Ad, Get a Cat” ad campaign. He has long since patched things up with the SPCA.


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