An Exercise In How Not To Sell Online Advertising Space

How Not To Sell Advertising Space - Paul OFlaherty

If you sell anything, especially in the online advertising space, read the following and learn from it. Never make the mistakes this girl made, not even once!

Angry Paul O'Flaherty
This was my “happy face” after the call.

A few weeks ago I had a woman representing a local TV news station call trying to sell my client advertising on their website. When I used the word “sell” in the previous sentence, what I actually meant was “shove it down my throat and force me to make an immediate decision on”. It was like being ear-raped by an angry woodpecker that keeps pecking the word “buy” until your inner ear explodes.

Lets get a few things straight here:

I am not going to part with many thousands of my clients’ dollars simply because you call and tell me that if I don’t buy it now it will be gone by the end of the day.

Telling me that you serve 2 million impressions a month, and then slipping in at the end of the pitch that our advert would be one of 7 rotating in the spot, does not a good pitch make. Pitching 2 million and delivering 285K impressions is not that impressive. It’s like waving a 4 inch wiener around at an orgy organized by John Holmes.

Those 285K impressions become even less impressive  when you consider that the space you’re pimping is only on the front page of the site. I don’t care how many impressions your site serves if the advert is only running on the front page. How many impressions does THAT page get? You know, the one where the advertising will actually appear! Oh, you can’t answer? How predictable!

Impressions mean nothing without context! I want to know, at the very least, the number of unique visitors and the geographic distribution of those visitors. But again, you can’t answer that. How freaking hard is it to say – “the page we want you to advertise on gets X number of unique visitors a month with 90% of those being in our target geographic area”?

I want to know if 50% of those “impressions” are actually being generated by one over-enthusiastic, pantsless fanboy sitting in his mother’s basement in Nebraska. Such information defines the value proposition of the potential advertising space. Don’t even get me started on demographics of the unique visitors from our target area.  How hard is this information to get? Here’s an answer for you – it’s not.

When I ask you to email me the information, because I’ll have an answer for you quicker that way (because you know, I’ve got absolutely nothing better to do than sit here and listen to your sales pitch over and over – which consists mostly of you talking over me until you get your way), and you tell me that you only send your email out at the end of the day (are you serious?) and you MIGHT send me one if the spaces aren’t taken!?!

Honestly, it would have been more polite to just tell me to “piss off” while we were on the phone – your armchair reverse-psychology isn’t going to work on anybody with an IQ above that of a glass of water.

There is no excuse for this level of incompetence when selling business-to-business.

There is no excuse for this level of incompetence and pushy arrogance, period.