3.4 Ways to Find New Advertising Prospects

20% of your account list is going to disappear every year no matter how good you are. So you’ve got to be looking for new business every single day.”

That information was given to me by an experienced radio salesperson when I was a rookie Account Executive a long time ago.

I’ve never seen the 20% figure confirmed in an actual study, but my fifteen years on the street convinced me that it was probably low.

sales tip: always hunt for new business

photo by rodimovpavel

  • Business get bought and sold. Sometimes they shut down.
  • Marketing directors come and go. They get promoted. They get fired. They get seduced by advertising agencies who tell them they can “buy it cheaper.”
  • Good relationships go bad, sometimes for reasons completely out of your control. An AE I know in Texas lost an HVAC client because her boss — the station GM — refused to pay his bill when they fixed his air conditioner.

Sooner or later, it’s gonna happen to you. So you’ve got to keep hunting for new customers to replace the ones who disappear.

Here are 3.4 ways to do that.

The .4
An Exercise for Small-Market Salespeople

If you work in a small market, it’s easy to convince yourself that there’s nobody left to talk to. It’s not true — a search engine can teach you that the math is in your favor.

Google “How many businesses are in [Name of Your Town] and look for the listing from Manta.com. Manta is a business search engine that keeps track of this stuff, and will give you a quick raw number. Here’s an example I showed an AE in Medford, Oregon.

salespeople should use Google

13,00 sales leads in MedfordImagine that. 13,859 companies in little Medford, Oregon.

Were all 13,859 companies good prospects for TV or radio advertising? Nope. But some of them were. There were five salespeople on the station’s staff, which gave each one more than 2,000 to investigate.

If you work in a small market, go to Google and find the Manta number for your community.

The Other Three Ways to Find New Local Advertising Clients

  1. Avoid your own media property. The clients on your radio or TV station are already taken. The money’s on the other guys… watch or listen to the competition instead. When you go online for news, don’t go to your site — go to a competitor’s site. Make note of the advertisers you see and hear.
  2. Subscribe to your local daily newspaper and read it. On paper. Every day. Your newspaper publishes its account list every day and will deliver it to you for a small fee. And “the paper” remains a reliable source of information about your local business community.
  3. There’s an AM/FM radio in your car. Use it. Don’t talk on the phone when you drive, or listen to CD’s or satellite. You can find local money being spent on local radio — turn it on and let the leads come out of the speakers. For local direct clients, news/talk and country tend to do particularly well. It doesn’t matter if you like the music, or agree with the host. You’re interested in the commercials. Reminder: if you work in radio, the money’s on the competition.

Bonus tip: New opportunities are everywhere if you’re looking for them, and we forget things quickly. Carry a small paper notebook and pen with you at all times. The easiest way to remember is to write it down. You can use your smartphone, but I’ve found it quicker and easier to use an old-school analog notebook for the task.

Moleskine makes a good notebook, but I’m partial to the $9.00 Ecosystem Journal, which fits in my back pocket and has perforated pages.

Question: Where do you find new leads? You can leave a comment by clicking here.



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2 thoughts on “3.4 Ways to Find New Advertising Prospects

  1. One year I decided that I would find a lead every morning on my commute into the office, by looking for business names and phone numbers on the sides of vehicles. Some mornings, the person answering the phone was the “guy in the truck” and I’d say, look over to your left and I’d wave…then start talking to them about how I thought we may be able to work together. Plus, it started my day in a fun way!

    • Excellent story, Laura! Leads really are all around us — we’ve just gotta look.

      Thanks for sharing it.