The Sales Game: It’s Like Playing Chess!

Sales expert Chris Ware shows us how to up our ad sales game with probing questions.

Most sales people talk 90% of the sales call. Stop talking and start asking great questions! Like a game of chess between 2-players, each of your questions should develop to your next move. Each progressive answer from your advertiser will then help you get to the desired position of being able to offer a solution.

So what are some of your top probing questions? Here are 4 tips to getting the game right:

Question #1: What is the one main business issue or problem that keeps you up at night? Don’t assume you know the answer to this, even though you have done your research. Often an advertiser’s internal business mandates are not on the surface. Share success stories of clients how overcame their issues with the results from your magazine’s advertising.

Question #2: If we could create the perfect ad for you, what would it look like and what would you want to happen from ad? Because general, open-ended questions like this can sometimes perplex the harried advertiser, be prepared to throw out some examples to get them to clarify.

Question #3: How many times do you feel a new customer of yours needs to see your advertising message before they make a decision to do business with you? This is a good opportunity to have your audience data ready on how your product can meet their goals.

Question #4: I see that John Doe Competitor is marketing hard, on a scale of 1-10 where is he on your list of competitors? It’s always good to check in with the advertiser about their priorities. Ask them about where they think they outperform their competition and where they would like to do better.

Take notes, provide solid data and craft your conversation to provide solutions. Checkmate!


Christopher Ware NEW



More about Chris:  Christopher Ware, Vice President of Business Development, NAIOP  and a frequent speaker for Niche Media HQ.  Chris is an experienced association executive with expertise in generating non-dues revenue, including: corporate sponsorships, print advertising, online advertising, exhibit space and customized sponsorship plans.


Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau – Niche Media’s Grand Poobah -also created a blog all about creating and marketing targeted events –  Check it out!

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