How do we prove our value to advertisers?

What is the best way to deliver value to our advertisers?

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People buy from those they know, like and trust. The surest way to deliver value to your advertisers is to become a trusted adviser.

I recommend that all salespeople follow the "needs analysis" approach to sales. Talk with the advertiser about their broader advertising goals, not just what they're looking to get out of an ad in the newspaper. Learn about their entire media mix so that you can offer a solution which will not only give you a greater share of their advertising dollars, but will also help you form a more collaborative relationship with the business. By offering additional insight and advice beyond the scope of the simple newspaper advertising buy, you are making yourself more valuable to the business – you're not just another face in the crowd of salespeople they hear from every day.

Help your advertisers understand their audience. Even though a particular business may have been buying a newspaper ad from you for years, they might need help and advice as they try to reach their target audience on the web.

Web advertising is a different world. The customers businesses are trying to reach online are looking for immediate response, they have a short attention span, and they are accessing content on a variety of devices. The advertising plan needs to be effective in this environment.

Make sure to work with your advertisers to help them get the most out of their marketing investment by offering additional ways they can enhance their web presence. Sites like AddThis can help them easily integrate social networking into their site. Are you working with a small business that wants a great website without a big investment? Try Template Monster.

Put your advertiser in a position where he or she has the greatest chance of being successful. Leverage all of the tools at your disposal. A newspaper already has an advantage since it can offer both online and offline advertising. This is truly a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

Consider using online to generate traffic to the offline, and vice versa. In other words, post an online banner up for a car dealership which gives people a special offer if they come to the dealership to test drive a car. Or, post an ad in the newspaper which highlights a coupon code that can be redeemed on the company's website.

Also, consider using your advertisers to provide content as part of their ad buy. For example, have your local hospital provide content for the Health section of your website. Or, a local real estate company can offer tips for people buying or selling a house. This is a win-win solution where the advertiser gets branded content that will help them build a deeper relationship with their customer base, and the newspaper not only gets the advertising dollars, but also gets richer content for the site.

Allan Barmak is a national speaker and author of "The Accidental Salesperson." He leads a sales consulting and training firm which leverages his 20 years of sales experience in digital media. Over the years, he has worked with a variety of different companies across a wide range of industries, helping each of them expand their sales operations by optimizing existing revenue streams as well as building new ones.

He is available to run customized training for your salespeople to help them sell online media and can also deliver an "Accidental Salesperson" column for your paper if you would like additional content.

He can be reached at allan@barmakgroup.com or (703) 597-1033.

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