How Ad Buyers Really Get Sold

Once upon a time, “lunch and learns” and steak dinners would lure agency media buyers to vendor meetings. But times, they are a changin’, and the continued proliferation of ad networks, DSPs, publishers, technology providers, optimization companies and emerging media, such as mobile and tablet, is making it increasingly difficult for vendors to stand out from the crowd.

With that in mind Digiday constructed this ad sellers’ arsenal, comprised of our favorite techniques currently being employed by salespeople around the digital media industry to help set themselves apart from their peers. If you’re tired of your old tactics, why not shake things up and try something new? If you’re new to digital ad sales, consider this a primer.

What did we miss? Email me at the address below to submit your favorite sales ploys (you will remain anonymous if we use yours).

The Jeans / Sneaker Party
The strategy: A tried and tested classic. Take a team of buyers to purchase tailored jeans or to customize sneakers from Niketown.
Pros: Good facetime, cheap and easy, free swag for you, too.
Cons: It’s a bit “2007.” Most buyers have been there, done that.

Soul Cycle
The strategy: Get fit and talk media. Everybody wins.
Pros: Cheap, easy, popular with the ladies.
Cons: Depending on your fitness level, it can be tough to pitch while you’re gasping for air. A post-cycle drink is therefore recommended.

Apple Picking
The strategy: Forget the orchard; take buyers to your local Apple store to pick a new iPad or iPod touch.
Pros: Popular with buyers because Apple gear is expensive.
Cons: Unpopular with your boss because Apple gear is expensive.

The Shopping Trip
The strategy: Some buyers don’t like Niketown or Apple, so cut to the chase and ask them where they do like to shop.
Pros: Buyer satisfaction practically guaranteed, time and cost-effective.
Cons: Traipsing up and down Fifth Avenue.

The Summer House
The strategy: Rent a house in the Hamptons, fill the pool with buyers and booze, watch the IOs roll in.
Pros: Lots of facetime, beer pong and potential for nudity. Easy to “leverage” with buyers by inviting existing clients only.
Cons: Expensive, time consuming, potential for nudity.

Dinner and Drinks
The strategy: Sometimes the old ones are the best. Steak dinners and martinis have been selling media for years, and that won’t change any time soon. Remember: Always stay two drinks behind.
Pros: Easy, predictable, great facetime.
Cons: Some buyers would rather get in and out quickly with a pair of jeans than sit through a two-hour, three-course meal. Use judgement.

Gift Cards / Booze
The strategy: Another classic. Deliver iTunes gift certificates, pre-loaded debit cards or bottles of booze to buyers’ offices. Accompany with your marketing collateral and perhaps an amusing note.
Pros: A good way to get the attention of buyers that don’t really like hanging out with you.
Cons: Doesn’t guarantee facetime or a response.

Lighten the Workload
The strategy: Media buyers are overworked, so why not lighten the load and offer to do some of it for them?
Pros: It’s easy to make sure your company’s on a media plan when you’re the one writing it.
Cons: More work for you, and agency bosses and clients aren’t always as excited about this one as the planners.

The Strip Club Outing
The strategy: This one pretty much does what it says on the tin. Just remember to have your card charged in the adjoining steakhouse as opposed to the club itself.
Pros: Can prove very effective with male-heavy agencies and teams.
Cons: Often expensive, sometimes a less popular option among female buyers.

Drugs
The strategy: Scoring drugs can be seedy and expensive; some media buyers would rather have you do it for them.
Pros: Long nights mean more facetime.
Cons: Potential for jail time and/or bodily harm if executed poorly.

Sex
Strategy: If it needs explaining, this tactic probably isn’t for you.
Pros: Extremely effective if executed properly and carefully.
Cons: This tactic should only be used a handful of times if you don’t want your reputation to precede you, although it can prove even more effective if it does.

Image via (Shutterstock)