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If you are creative, persuasive, and energetic, advertising sales might be the job for you. Advertising sales representatives sell advertising for media outlets, including radio and TV stations and newspapers. Small media companies are good places to start in this career.

An advertising sales representative contacts local businesses and persuades them that their sales will increase if they buy time on the radio or television, or if they take out an ad in the newspaper. Before going out on a sales call, the representative learns about the business. The rep finds out what the business sells—big ticket items such as cars, a variety of goods such as gifts, or a specialty market such as clothing. The rep also finds out who the customers are—working families, seniors, or teenagers. With this knowledge, the rep can target the client. For instance, a store that sells clothing for teens might not want to advertise on a classical music station, and a retirement home would probably not advertise on a rock station.

The representative shows the business owner how advertising in the local media will increase business. When the client decides to buy advertising time or space, the sales representative helps the client choose the format, the length of the ad, and the time slot. After the advertisement has been aired or published, the rep follows up to see if the customer is happy with the ad and suggests changes for future ads.

Advertising sales representatives regularly visit current clients. They check to see if a client wants to buy more time or space. The advertising sales representative tells customers about upcoming promotions and gives them information on discounts and package rates.

Advertising sales representatives love to sell. They are aggressive about going out to drum up business rather than waiting for the customers to come to them. To do this, they make cold calls to businesses that have not yet bought advertising in that media outlet, follow up on referrals from other customers, and send information to potential advertisers. Once a sale is made, the representative must keep track of the ads sold, when and where they appeared or aired, and the agreed-on rates and discounts.

Advertising sales representatives usually work independently and set their own hours. A person who wants to succeed in this field must be organized and have self-discipline. An advertising sales representative is a good listener and knows how to communicate.

Good advertising sales representatives can move up to supervisory positions. Some become independent agents and contract with several media outlets.


Entry-level advertising sales representatives start at about $10 per hour. Salaries vary greatly according to the position and location—a representative in New York City will make more than one in Sheridan, Wyoming. Some representatives work on commission. They get from 10 percent to 20 percent of every sale they make.

Advertising sales representatives have no upper limit on the amount they can earn. Simply put, those who sell more earn more.

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