Although a high school diploma is typically enough for an entry-level advertising sales position, some employers prefer applicants with a bachelor’s degree. Proven sales success and communication ability are essential. Most training for advertising sales agents takes place informally on the job.
Although a high school diploma is typically enough for an entry-level advertising sales position, some employers prefer applicants with a college degree. Courses in marketing, communications, business, and advertising are helpful. For those who have a proven record of successfully selling other products, educational requirements are not likely to be strict.
Most training takes place on the job and can be either formal or informal. In most cases, an experienced sales manager instructs a newly hired advertising sales agent who lacks sales experience. In this one-on-one environment, supervisors typically coach new hires and observe them as they make sales calls and contact clients. Supervisors then advise the new hires on ways to improve their interaction with clients. Employers may bring in consultants to lead formal training sessions when agents sell to a specialized market segment, such as automotive dealers or real estate professionals.
Agents with proven leadership ability and a strong sales record may advance to supervisory and managerial positions, such as sales supervisor, sales manager, or vice president of sales. Successful advertising sales agents also may advance to positions in other industries, such as corporate sales.
Communication skills. Advertising sales agents must be persuasive during sales calls. In addition, they should listen to the client’s desires and concerns, and recommend an appropriate advertising package.
Initiative. Advertising sales agents must actively seek new clients and keep in touch with current clients to meet sales quotas.
Organization skills. Agents work with many clients, each of whom may be at a different stage in the sales process. Agents must be well-organized to keep track of their clients or potential clients.
Persistence. Advertising sales agents must continue making sales calls even if rejected at first, because potential clients are often unwilling to commit on a first call.
Self-confidence. Advertising sales agents should be confident when calling potential clients (cold calls) and when following up with potential and existing clients.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition