Master Media Buyers’ Personalities to Make the Sale!

Many media buyers cleverly have developed “quirky” personalities as a smoke screen to get you out of their office or off the phone as fast as possible. Some of them, of course, are genuinely just weird. In any event you need to form a strategy to deal with them, build a rapport, and eventually sell them an advertising program. (To make a media buyer your best friend once you get your foot in the door, check out this article by sales guru Nancy O’Brien.)

Your first step in selling to media buyers is understanding their “buyer” personality type. Only then can you create a strategy to get your foot in the door. Here is a field guide to the most common types and strategies for getting through their defenses:

Too Busy Bob: This prospect always seems to be in the middle of something when you call or visit. He’s always in a huge hurry, just has a minute, and always wants to talk tomorrow.
Strategy: Tell them you are busy too. Give them a publication benefit immediately. Don’t be intimidated by their frantic pace and actually slow your conversation down. This will calm them down and give you control of the conversation.

Savvy Susan: This crotchety prospect is a know-it-all. She’s tried it all before and knows it won’t work.
Strategy: Stroke her ego. Ask her why she thinks it didn’t work. What does work for them? Offer information on what has changed in the market or with your magazine/website.

Mr. No: He’s talking to you with arms folded and has already decided they don’t want to advertise with you.
Strategy: Let him know that you acknowledge the negative feeling. Ask if he can put his feelings aside for just a minute. Then give him some new information about the market or your publication. Ask what is most important to them regarding where they advertise and who they want to target.

Numbers Nancy: Nancy wants figures, figures, figures. She keeps asking you to break it down. What’s the size of your market? Do you know what your readers are spending on paperclips, etc?
Strategy: Ask, why you do need the numbers? So, you can give them the right info. If it’s legitimate, then emphasize demographics and circulation numbers. Some people just are right brain thinkers.  With them, your whole pitch is numbers.

Mr. Yes: He loves your magazine and says he’s going to do a ton of business with you.  Then, nothing happens for six months.
Strategy: Push this person hard. When you try to close the sale – voila! – out will pop the real objections. Then you can deal with them.  Don’t let these types smother you to death with love and just lead you on.

The bottom line is that in order to successfully sell advertising you need to “read” people quickly and create a dialogue that is going to work with specific individual prospects.


This article is part of the May issue of Niched Out News. To read the rest of the issue, click below:

Master Media Buyers’ Personalities to Make the Sales

Be Mobile-Friendly to Reach More Customers – Mobi-fy Your Site!

E-Newsletter Layout: Three Things that Should Appear in the Preview Pane View

Success Story of the Month: Lessiter Publications Takes Business on the Road with The Magazine Manager

Niche Notes from the Grand Poobah

Magazine of the Month: Scaffold & Access


  1. mediagal says:

    haha!! as a media buyer, i find this article hilariously simplistic. it’s really not about our personalities, it’s about your product. if your offering makes sense for my client, has proven performance, and the price is right–AND if you make my job easy by giving me the info i need in a format i can work with–you get my business. period. i’ve played all of the roles above, but not because i’ve developed some sneaky mask of a personality….it’s because i AM busy, i HAVE tried it before, i DO need to know how many subscribers you have or what the CTR is to convince my client. check yourself before you go trying to break us down into neat little categories with cute names.

  2. Michelle says:

    Funny, I see them here 🙂

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