Sales statistics or bust


ryan dohrnCan statistics help you sell more?  The answer is yes and no.  To be clear, there is a distinct difference in my mind between ratings and statistics.  Ratings are critical, statistics can be harmful if not used correctly.   For example… “In morning drive we offer you access to more adult males than any other station.  Here are the rating numbers to prove it”.  A statistic is, “Dynamic Logic tells us that more people listen to radio than read magazines.”   Ratings numbers are perceived as accurate and statistics can come from multiple sources with their own agenda.

From an ad sales training perspective, I am always asked for great stats that my clients can share with their advertisers.  I normally ask…why?  What are you trying to prove?  I know ad sales reps love stats, so I tread very carefully around this topic.

The thing about statistics is that most ad sales reps crave stats and very often when they hear or receive statistics they quite honestly go crazy and start emailing customers left and right. The problem with this is that very often advertisers don’t want statistics.  Most advertisers don’t need statistics, you need to earn their trust.  Most advertisers see stats as a desperate attempt that you as a sales rep are using because you have nothing else left.  Quite honestly statistics just boggle their mind.  I think it’s important for all ad sales reps to ask this question, “Will this statistic help me better explain why advertising is beneficial to their business.”  If you find that you are sharing a statistic because it helps YOU as the ad sales rep feel better about the case that you’re making to an advertiser STOP!  Some of you might think that this is the same thing.  It is not.  If an advertiser has a question, a stat might help better explain.  But, if you are using a stat to better justify your position, you may just be adding confusion to the conversation.

So, what if your competition is lying and only a stat or number will show the advertiser the truth?  Share it, but keep it simple.

Statistics are great tools when they’re used correctly to better inform a customer or educate a customer.  It’s important as an ad sales rep to not wildly throw statistics into emails or into a conversation.  Our goal as ad sales reps is to eliminate confusion, eliminate risk and increase education. If you think back to college or high school and perhaps a statistics class that you attended or took you probably, like most of us, would agree that it wasn’t one of your favorite classes. To this end, it’s important for us to recognize that probably advertisers feel the same way. Advertisers are “real” people too.

So, what if you truly feel a stat will help?  Keep it simple!  Share one or two stats that are directly related to the advertiser’s business. If you find you have a “Data Diane” or “Data Dave” in your sales meeting, roll forward and dazzle them with your data! But, remember 9 out of 10 people will be more confused after a stat than before.

–Ryan Dohrn is an international ad sales training coach with media clients in seven times zones.  His passion for radio and television began at WPXR FM and led him to his last post at WLS-TV in Chicago.  Now, he is an internationally recognized digital media sales expert and is the founder of 360 Ad Sales Training and Strategy, a boutique revenue consulting firm with a detailed focus on ad sales training, internet consulting and media revenue generation.

Ryan R. Dohrn


360 Ad Sales Training and Strategy


Follow him on for daily tips and advice.