So now that you have done your program book advertising fact finding and made your presentation to your potential advertiser, it’s time to make your recommendation of which type of program book ad placement to buy.

The transition from the program book advertising presentation into the recommendation is probably the easiest stage of the call. However, it can be the most difficult stage because it is now that the most important question comes up: have you sold the customer sufficiently on the features and benefits of performing arts program book advertising in order to move toward the close? Since you cannot be absolutely sure of your standing with the customer, a properly conducted recommendation can further help build the customer’s confidence in you and pave the way for a smoother close.

The Beginning of the End

The program book advertising recommendation is the beginning of the end—the beginning of the culmination of the call. If you have trouble in making a recommendation, it is probably because you have not been effective in another step of the call. At this stage of the call you have:

  1. The basis for buying the program book ad behind you (benefits and value.)
  2. Covered all value-proving points.
  3. Established a need.

3 Keys to Knowing What to Recommend

  1. Prove specific benefits
  2. Compare point by point
  3. Relate value, not feature

When quoting the price: BE confident, BE exact, BE enthusiastic!

Remember, it’s not what you say, but how the customer senses you and your attitude.


Up to this point, you have performed the sales steps that make the next step possible—making the recommendation and asking the customer to buy. It is here that the program book sales rep is going to meet the greatest amount of resistance.

A program book ad recommendation must be logical and sound. The reason to buy a program book ad must be convincing and well planned. Objections must be answered with facts and not fiction. A program book sales representative must place themselves in the customer’s position—would they buy it? If so, they now have the assurance and confidence needed to successfully complete the program book ad sale.

A successful program book advertising presentation normally consists of knowing how to overcome the customer’s questions and deciding how and when to close.

It is absolutely necessary to have full control of the conversation during the recommendation step. Do not classify each question as an objection to the proposal and immediately go on the defensive. The danger of getting lost in a recommendation and losing control has been a common fault by not getting agreements to a recommendation.

In theory, if the customer has agreed with what has been said before, they will agree to the sales rep making a proposal on the type of program book ad they should buy. Do not assume that because a proposal was made, the customer will immediately react by asking for an advertising agreement to sign. People like to “buy” but hate to be “sold” (i.e. would you like to buy a program book ad?)

Consequently, even though they may be well sold on the proposal, it is necessary that the sales rep hold the initiative until the sale is secured or the sale may be lost. Therefore, it is necessary to give a good reason to buy with each recommendation made and ask for agreements. If the sales rep does not ask for agreements along the way as to how their program book ad proposal will benefit the customer, it should be a flag that the sales rep is not sold on their own reasoning.

Think of making recommendations this way—the greater the benefit of the recommendation in the customer’s judgement, the greater the attention they will likely give it and the more likely to accept it. While there is no rule for judging what will interest people, it is fairly safe to say that they are interested in the things that are most likely to benefit their business.

Begin with the recommendation which is most important from the customer’s standpoint. If the customer has given no indication as to the relative importance of the recommendations thus far, the program book sales rep has failed to do a good fact finding job.

If a good fact finding job has been done, and it is not necessary to do additional investigating to prepare a recommendation, the program book sales representative is now in a position to make a solid proposal.

A good program book advertising recommendation broadly consists of two objectives. Two words actually control a recommendation—How and Why.

“How” depends largely on the customer’s situation, having a favorable position as regards to competition, etc. The “how” is also connected with how important it is for them to reach a particular group or groups of buyers in your particular audience.

“Why” can be answered by usage and benefits of an ad in your performing arts program book. “Why” the customer can get results depends entirely on prospective customers that have a need for their product or service. One word without the other spells no recommendation. Always remember that a fact developed but never applied to the “How” and “Why” method is of little value in making a recommendation.

Created by earlier fact finding, the needs established that are important to your customer’s business so that it may prosper and grow will establish the reason for buying an ad in your particular performing arts program book. Good selling!


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