Advertising Sales Representative Career Highlights

Advertising Sales Representative discussing a future ad with client at a car dealership.
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An advertising sales representative sells space in print publications, on websites, and on outdoor media to companies that want to advertise their products. He or she may also sell airtime during radio or television broadcasts. The advertising sales representative must convince advertisers that this is the best way to reach consumers.

Also known as an advertising sales agent or ad sales rep, he or she builds a customer base by setting up meetings with potential clients, assessing their needs, and presenting proposals to them. A proposal gives details about the advertising plan and provides its costs and benefits. The advertising sales representative is the client's primary point of contact, answering questions, resolving any problems that arise, and proposing new advertising plans. He or she also analyzes client sales data and prepares reports.

Quick Facts

  • In 2015, advertising sales reps earned a median annual salary of $48,490. Earnings are typically comprised of a base salary plus a commission that is based on sales.
  • This field employed almost 168,000 people in 2014.
  • Most jobs are at least full time. Many advertising sales reps work overtime.
  • The job outlook for this field is poor. Employment is expected to decline through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Day in the Life

We looked at job listings on "Indeed.com" to find out what employers say advertising sales representatives' duties include. This list of duties from the employment website should help you understand what a sales representative may do.

  • Manage the full sales-cycle including; prospecting, fact-finding, presenting, negotiating, and closing key agency and brand accounts
  • Manage and generate revenue from developmental sales list
  • Interact with various internal departments to carry out client requirements such as scheduling advertising
  • React to inbound customer requests via phone and online
  • Use phone and email, and make occasional face-to-face sales calls
  • Develop relationships for long-term growth
  • Assist customers with basic ad layout and design and develop spec ads

Education and Training

You don't need a college degree to be an advertising sales rep since you will receive your training on the job. However, many employers prefer job candidates who have earned a bachelor's degree with coursework in advertising, marketing, and business.

Soft Skills

Sales representatives usually have a wide array of soft skills that assist them in their sales careers. You must be able to communicate with your clients. This requires excellent listening and speaking skills. You should have a good understanding of positive communications techniques and body language skills.

It often takes several meetings with a potential client to convince them to buy advertising space or airtime from you. You may need to learn to walk the thin line between persistence and bothersome.

Hopefully, you will have many clients to keep track of their multiple accounts. This workload will require you to be well-organized. One of the best tools you can use with being organized is a calendar. Use it to list all the different activities for each client.

Your interactions with clients and potential clients require you to have great persuasion and negotiation skills. You must also be socially perceptive, which means you can easily figure out what someone is thinking without him or her telling you.

Employer Expectations

In addition to skills and experience, what qualities do employers look for when they hire workers? Here are some requirements from actual job announcements found on Indeed.com:

  • "Strong media math skills and understanding of industry research tools/metrics"
  • "Motivated, passionate, and a real team player"
  • "A great welcoming personality that encourages relationship building"
  • "Capable of multitasking and working in a fast-paced environment"
  • "Professional and entrepreneurial spirit"
  • "Ability to overcome objections and work under pressure, meeting deadlines and sales goals"

Related Careers

Title Description Median Annual Wage (2015) Minimum Required Education/Training
Sales Representative Sells a manufacturer's products

$48,490

No formal requirements; bachelor's degree preferred
Sales Engineer Sells advanced technical and scientific products to companies $97,650 Bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field
Insurance Agent Sells insurance policies to individuals, families, and businesses $48,200

Bachelor's degree in business or economics

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016–17 (visited October 26, 2016 ).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online (visited October 26, 2016).