Sleet on Sales

Want to close more media sales? Take some advice from 'Sam I Am'


Most sales gurus agree that about 98% of all sales are not made on the first call. Sometimes the customer says “no.” That’s when the selling starts. If you can turn a no into a yes, you make the sale.

There are a lot of reasons prospective advertisers say no:

  • They don’t have the money. 
  • They have the money but are just plain cheap. 
  • They think they can get a better deal elsewhere. 
  • They have something else in mind. 
  • They don’t want to change media partners. 
  • Your price is too high. 
  • They don’t trust you. 
  • You didn’t give them any urgency to buy now.
  • You’re a jerk. 

The list of possibilities is almost endless.

In fact, most sales are made after the seventh no. The late great sales trainer, Zig Ziglar, said that we hear or say the word “no” over 116,000 times in our lifetime. Years ago, Ziglar was a guest on the “Today Show.” He was there to promote one of his books and was a late guest. Tom Brokaw, at the end of the interview (with his mumble and continuous head nod), said to Ziglar, “We’ve got 30 seconds left, Zig; sell me some insurance.”

Ziglar went into an extremely focused 25-second pitch. Brokaw was visibly impressed but turned to the camera and said, “See, I didn't say yes.” Ziglar retorted, “Yes, but you didn’t say no.”

Jeffrey Gitomer, sales guru and author, said, "Positive attitude is not hearing …. no.”

One of the best sales books ever written was by a doctor who authored 47 books. One of them was a sales case study on how to handle objections. The book was “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss. After encountering the first no, the salesperson, Sam I Am, comes back into the face of his client and offers 13 different ways to use his product of green eggs and ham.

The beauty of the sale is the client, just to get the salesperson off his back, finally tries the product and then agrees with all 13 ideas presented on the use of the product.

In a given month, most media sellers have between 25% and 50% of all their accounts promoting with them. That means 50% to 75% are not active. Could they be? All of them? Probably not. Some? You bet. They can’t, though, unless you are proactive and present them with an idea each and every month. Regardless of whether or not they say they are using your particular media outlet this month, taking an advertising hiatus, buying other media, etc. If you present them something, and your closing ratio is 1-in-10, two to four additional accounts are actively working with you off your list every month.

Model yourself after Sam I Am and …

Pitch all of your

accounts, both

here and there.

Pitch all of them


Jeff Sleete is a 50+ year broadcast industry veteran — sales manager/GM/corporate sales head. He most enjoys helping sales departments position themselves as “mavens” (experts) of business to be more successful at selling advertising. Fundamentally, Jeff is a salesman. Through his media sales consultancy, Sleete Sales Script, he provides a daily road map for sellers of any media outlet type to be more consultative in their approach to their clients and set themselves apart from all their competition. Learn more about Jeff at Or reach him at


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