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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

No, I’m not referring to Andy Williams’ famous Christmas song, I’m referring to performing arts program book advertising sales time!

Well, it’s wonderful if you love to sell program book advertising as much as we do. If not, it may be a big pain in the you know what.

Saying this, now is the time that hopefully everyone that oversees their program book advertising sales are in the office from early morning to evening selling program book ads!

Unfortunately, this may not exactly be the case from what I am gauging when prospecting for new performing arts program book publishing clients.

I’m hearing a lot of voicemails stating, “I will be out of the office on vacation…”

If this sounds like the person you have in charge of program book ad sales, you may want to take a good hard look to make sure you have the right person handling your ad sales.

This time of year is so crucial that it can literally make or break your program book ad sales.

In fact, we are now to the point where if a performing arts organization that I’ve been speaking to about their program book publishing needs now contacts me to say they’re ready to engage us, we, unfortunately, must tell them “not this season.”

Here’s why. The program book advertising selling window gets shorter and shorter as the year goes on. As we hit July and August, the window for full season advertisers is at its all-time shortest.

If we were to take on a new large program book publishing client now, we would be shooting both of our feet.

It would be too risky for our business, and it would be a disservice to the performing arts organization.

Because we pride ourselves on our strong performing arts program book ad sales team, if I took on this work this late in the game, I would be sending my ad sales team out in the market with both their hands tied behind their backs.

The sales cycle for program book advertising simply cannot happen this quickly. Program book advertiser relationships take time. You may get lucky with one or two advertisers here and there, but when it comes to making sure you’re hitting your program book advertising revenue numbers, you cannot rely on luck.

Like anything, if you want to do it well, it takes time. Whether you’re training for a marathon or studying for the bar exam, or whatever it may be, the shorter time you give yourself, the worse you are going to perform.

We like happy customers, not unhappy customers.

Make Sure Time Is on Your Side

Program book advertisers like to have time to make their advertising decisions. But when a performing arts organization keeps putting off their program book ad sales because the person in charge dreads it year after year, the angrier your advertisers are going to be.

But most importantly, giving yourself too short of time is sure to decrease your revenue base year after year.

This is because you’re going to have current advertisers unable to decide whether to continue their advertising or cancel altogether because you called them too late. And then when you try to replace that lost ad revenue with new advertisers, you won’t be able to because you called potential new advertisers too late as well.

It becomes a vicious cycle that will eventually erode your program book revenue to zero.

So, enjoy the sun this summer, but just make sure it is shining on your program books and not you at the beach. Good selling!

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