Ad Sales Cold Calling for Fun and Profit

NO ONE likes cold calling.  Not true! I love it! OK, so maybe you don’t like cold calling, but if you handle it right it can be a terrific opportunity instead of a dreaded chore.


It’s true! Cold calling CAN be fun!

Cold calling is the favorite part of my selling job. I use the opportunity as a reward for a hard day’s work of what I term regular calling—those everyday calls to touch base with current advertisers, track down ad copy, confirm space reservations, sell new offerings to old customers and follow up with previous contacts.  Where’s the fun in that?

Cold calling is more like detective work.  I search out new prospects from:

  • Web searches
  • Conference exhibitor lists
  • Advertising in other publications
  • Social networks

The Internet makes this pretty easy, and I can ALWAYS find a phone number.  Once I get to the receptionist, I identify myself (important to establish rapport) and ask if he or she can help me locate the person who handles advertising and marketing.  Most of the time, they are accommodating. 

Occasionally they have been trained to say “We don’t advertise.”  I get by that by asking to speak with the person who makes the decision NOT to advertise.  They are so surprised by that question that they usually do send me to the decision maker.

Once I get to the marketing/advertising person, I again introduce myself and ask for a few minutes of their time.  (Refer to my previous post for what to do if you only get an opportunity to leave a voice message.)   I start with some qualifying questions, first to make sure I am talking with the right person, and secondly to determine if the market my magazine covers is the market they want to reach. 

Then, I ask if they are familiar with my magazine.  Selling is not my goal on this initial call.  My goal is simply to introduce the correct person to my publication and get their permission to send copies and information. 

Knowing I do not intend to make a sale on that first call takes out ALL of the anxiety of cold calling (for me and for them).  Success is measured by how many new contacts I make. With this in mind, cold calling isn’t something to dread –  very rewarding and enjoyable.


Bonnie Portrait   Bonnie Dodson, Advertising Sales Manager

   LP Magazine

 Then: Beginning at a small daily newspaper, Bonnie has been selling advertising since she was a senior in high school– too many years ago to think about.    From there she moved to a larger newspaper, a    business newspaper and then into magazines.  Now:  Bonnie is an independent contractor representing  LP Magazine and Courts Today, both niche publications.  “I must be a true salesperson because my favorite part is making cold calls.  I can tell you why in a future post!”


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 – just launched a blog all about creating and marketing targeted events –  Check it out!

– Twitter: @NicheMediaHQ
– Facebook: NicheMediaHQ
– LinkedIn: Niche Media Network
– YouTube: NicheMediaHQ

Image from


  1. I enjoyed your blog post, Bonnie. You know what you’re talking about! Totally agree with you – I love cold calling and I try to reserve at least 30 min a day for it

Speak Your Mind