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: [Read more…]

The New Media Sales Rockstar

Not long ago a large bottle of schmooze and a phone meant media sales success. Times have changed! To achieve rockstar media sales status you’ve got reinvent yourself. We asked Sales expert Chris Ware to share some of the tools, tricks and technology you need to succeed.

Christopher Ware NEW

Niche Media Conference Speaker Chris Ware shares how strategic online research can help increase your sales.

NMHQ: What are some of the best online research tools niche publishers should be using today?  

Chris Ware: Companies put so much information about themselves today it makes prospecting easy. Your prospect’s web site is likely your best first stop. The “About Us” or “Newsroom” pages are a gold mine.

You want to look for names of key executives and names of clients and partners. That way you know who to reach out to and when you get a hold of them, you can talk about how your audience overlaps with their list of clients.

NMHQ: Walk us though the best ways to prospect using LinkedIn. [Read more…]

Salespeople, Tell the Truth!


Want prospects to call you back? Here’s some insight on how to get the results you want.

Do you ever get frustrated by salespeople who call you and leave misleading messages? Does that make you very receptive to what that sales person has to say? Thought not. Today I’m going to give you something very important:

The Manifesto for Truth in Voice Mails    [Read more…]

Social Media Selling Works! Start by Building Up Your LinkedIn Connections


Chris Ware shares a bright idea on how to increase ad sales connections.

Hard data on the benefits of social media as a sales tool has been hard to come by – until now.

Jim Keenan, author of the new book The Rise of Social Salespeople reports that salespeople who use social media outsell their peers by 78%.

Read the full article over at –  Salespeople Using Social Media Outsell

So what’s an easy way to bulk up your LinkedIn connections? [Read more…]

Does Your Ad Sales Customer Database Include This Field? Maybe It Should.

Ad Sales pros need to know how to correctly pronounce prospects' names to be effective. Chris Ware gives us some pointers on how best to do that.

Ad Sales professionals need to know how to correctly pronounce prospects’ names to be effective in sales. Chris Ware gives us some pointers on how best to do that.

I was a December graduate from college.  This meant that I had a much smaller graduation ceremony than the rest of my classmates.  So small in fact that our class president called us each up to the stage, by name, to get our diplomas. The spotlight was on.

Then I remember my name being called out, clear as a bell. Christopher WAH-Ray.

My last name is Ware.  As in software, hardware, or as in kids in elementary school liked to remind me, underware.  This guy kinda ruined my graduation moment by pronouncing my name wrong. And my last name isn’t really hard to pronounce!

And then there’s first name issues…..Try calling an “Ahn-DRAY –ah”  instead “Ann-DREE-ah” and see how far that gets you on an ad sales call.

So what do you DO about all those people in your sales database with challenging, even crazy-sounding (to you) first and/or last names? [Read more…]

How to Get Ad Sales Prospects to Respond to Your Emails – Free Burritos!


Get creative in your email subject lines to your ad sales prospects and they will be hungry to respond to you!

So how can you get your prospects to respond to YOUR email when they are scanning through hundreds in their inbox every day? Sometimes the most basic themes resonate most with busy customers. Plus, you have to be creative and original in your approach to catch eyes.

By now almost everyone, (well at least those who have attended ad sales training at Camp Niche), knows the story of how Carl Landau of Niche Media offered free cats in the mail as a (very) successful ad sales approach. PETA probably wouldn’t appreciate that so much these days. 

Here’s an example of how you can use creativity and touch on basic needs to get prospects to respond to your ad sales emails:

I tried putting “Free Burritos” in the subject line of my email to prospects. Here’s how a typical exchange went: [Read more…]

The Atlantic Gives Niche Publishers a Free Case Study in How NOT to do Advertorial

Chris ware By Christopher Ware, Sr. Director of Business Development at NAIOP

About noon on January 14, The Atlantic posted a sponsored content page for The Church of Scientology.

No big deal, right?  Publications post sponsored content all the time.  Usually no one notices or cares.  The advertiser is happy to get its message out and the publisher is happy to get the revenue.

Only this time the whole thing backfired.  Blogs such as Gawker reported on it under the lovely headline, The Atlantic Is Now Publishing Bizarre, Blatant Scientology Propaganda as ‘Sponsored Content’”.

The controversy continued online, and soon The Atlantic took down the post, writing: “We have temporarily suspended this advertising campaign pending a review of our policies that govern sponsor content.”  The Washington Post ran a full article on the situation the next day and since this is the Internet, nothing is ever really taken offline.  You can view the content here.

Good idea, Bad idea

Good idea: boosting your bottom line with advertorial. Bad idea: running poorly-marked advertorial that doesn’t match your brand

Where did The Atlantic go wrong and how can we learn from their mistakes?

Lesson One – Content Matters:

As the Washington Post notes, “The lede of the piece was decidedly un-Atlantic.”

“2012 was a milestone year for Scientology, with the religion expanding to more than 10,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, spanning 167 nations.”

“Un-Atlantic” is putting is mildly.  It reminded me of reading a press release from the official North Korean news agency.  And if you haven’t checked out the fine writing done by the KCNA, check it out – it’s great fun.

A competent ad rep should have called a time-out and told his client that the content isn’t going to work.  A good rep would have suggested alternative content – maybe something on the church’s community outreach programs, for example.

Lesson Two – Know your brand, know your advertisers

The Church of Scientology isn’t a stranger to controversy.  The advertising team at The Atlantic should have been aware that there are groups like Anonymous, the guys in Guy Fawkes masks, who track the activities of Scientology and are happy to let the world know about it.

I am not suggesting that advertisers should be rejected because they are controversial – I am saying that any content, be it traditional print or advertorial, coming from a potentially controversial source should be subject to an extra round of review.

Advertising should bring in revenue and do no harm your publication’s brand.  Ideally your advertisers should add value to your brand.  But in all cases, trading credibility for money is a bad deal.

Lesson Three – Advertorials must be clearly labeled as such

One of the biggest problems The Atlantic ran into was the content looked exactly like editorial content.  True, it had a box that said “Sponsored Content,” but one would be forgiven for missing it.  The font and format mirrored the editorial content exactly.

The Washington Post runs advertorial inserts, as they noted on their reporting on the controversy.  But the font and format are clearly different from what the Post uses.  And the words “Paid Advertising Supplement” appear prominently.  And as a result almost no one complains.

According to the Washington Post, the advertorial feature was taken offline around 11:30 p.m. the same day it was posted.  In its apology, The Atlantic said that it is “working very hard to put things right.”

What they have to do to “put things right” remains to be seen.  Refunding most if not all of the advertising money is a given.  Rebuilding trust with their readers may be harder.  And finding a way to make advertorials work – well, that’s something we all have to work on.  At least The Atlantic succeeded in showing us how not to do it.


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