Bob Berting Article

The 15 Minute Call Myth


By Bob Berting, Berting Communications

As someone who has conducted 300 seminars for the customers of newspapers, I have a pretty clear picture of how they think.

First of all, they do not want ad salespeople who are pushy and try to rush them into buying an ad in their local publication. Salespeople sometimes are told by their management they only have 15 minutes to get an ad and get out.  A prospective advertiser is not going to be rushed into a 15 minute call

Second, most merchants need time to consider a proposed advertising program. Notice I said program, not a single ad. When you put yourself in the place of a prospective advertiser, you want to learn more about each advertising medium available to you. If a media mix is being formulated, rates and relative values are being evaluated.

Third, before a prospect will commit to an advertising campaign, they want to trust and believe in the salesperson before they will open up with their goals and beliefs, which are needed to understand what the prospect wants. You can’t trust and believe in an advertising salesperson that is instructed to get them closed in 15 minutes and out the door.

20 calls a Day

I have been told that many newspaper management people tell their salespeople they have to make 20 calls a day. A salesperson who wants to be perceived as a professional advertising counselor can’t rush through each presentation thinking they’ve got to do 20 calls that day. They will no longer be a trusted and respected counselor, but perceived as an order taker selling ads on a rush basis.

Stop and think about the myriad of things that could be discussed in a sales presentation: the strategy of developing a long range campaign, use of color, running in a special promotion, the impact of a pre-printed insert, etc. One sales presentation could last an hour. Several more  during the day could last 30- 40 minutes. What does that do to the 20 calls a day directive?

Closing A Sale

Pushing the sales force to close a sale in 15 minutes is not good sales training. It will put pressure on the salespeople. They will be perceived as pushy order takers and eventually hurt the image of the publication. If rejection happens, many times it is because of hard nosed closing techniques. Salespeople who think it’s easier to always sell single ads are more prone to push. Salespeople who sell long range campaigns know that closing is done after a sufficient amount of time has been invested—usually by the 3rd call. In my sales training program, there is a 3 call selling strategy I have advocated for several years. This approach is a great time management tool and can alleviate many hours of needless calling.

Final Thought

Salespeople turn over is never good. Publications need to think about their image. Even though a publication seems to be doing well, it many times could be doing much, much better in their marketplace with more strategic selling strategies that do not include pushing salespeople into making 20 calls a day—and 15 minutes per stop.



  NEWS       For immediate Release:

New e-book  for print media advertising salespeople

Bob Berting, print media marketing consultant, is offering his 4th e-book “Smart Customer Connections For Advertising Salespeople” to the print media industry. This new e-book is designed for the advertising salespeople who want to build better connections with their customers, especially in these stressful times of lost advertising revenue.

Bob’s expertise in advertising sales can be the guide for advertising salespeople to be a trusted advisor who can work with their customers in very creative and innovative ways.

This 12 chapter e-book will help increase sales and build the image of publications in the print media industry. Bob’s new e-book and other 3 e-books can be ordered by going to his website:

Bob Berting is a professional speaker, advertising sales trainer, publisher marketing consultant and featured columnist in several national and regional newspaper trade association publications. He is President of Berting Communications, 6330 Woburn Drive, Indianapolis In 46250 and can be reached at or 317-849-5408