How to Become an Advertising Agent (With Skills and FAQs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 10, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Businesses can use different advertising strategies to create awareness for their products and generate more revenue. An advertising sales agent works toward increasing the sales of a business's products through advertisement. Learning the duties and necessary skills of these agents can help you decide if it's a suitable career path. In this article, we describe the responsibilities of an advertising agent, outline steps on how to become an agent, review their relevant skills, and answer frequently asked questions about their career path.

What does an advertising agent do?

An advertising agent or an advertising sales agent sells advertising space to individuals and businesses. They do this by contacting clients, making sales presentations, and maintaining satisfactory customer relationships. Also known as advertising sales representatives, these agents work in advertising companies, newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or broadcasting companies. They identify their customers' needs, research competitors' advertising services and product prices, and respond to inquiries from potential clients. An advertising sales agent's role is essential in marketing, as they help increase brand awareness. Their responsibilities include:

  • Seeking new clients and generating leads

  • Increasing conversion rate by researching potential clients to understand their business needs and offering valuable services to them

  • Negotiating necessary contracts with potential clients

  • Establishing and sustaining a lasting relationship with new and existing clients

  • Answering potential clients' inquiries on credit terms, prices, and products

  • Preparing sales contracts and correspondence related to accounts

  • Researching and analyzing potential clients' products and locations

  • Preparing relevant documents for clients such as promotional plans, sales literature, and sales contacts

  • Educating potential clients on the benefits of various advertising types and how they can help promote their products in effective ways

  • Recommending suitable advertising channels and formats

  • Meeting or exceeding sales quota

  • Knowing and understanding evolving industry trends

  • Preparing advertising or illustration samples for clients' approval

How to become an advertising sales agent

You can follow these steps to start a career as an advertising sales agent:

1. Get an education

As this is an entry-level role, the minimum qualification of an advertising sales agent is generally a high school diploma. Employers in broadcast and publishing companies with large circulation or audiences typically prefer candidates with a degree, especially if the position involves meeting with clients. You can increase your employability by earning a degree or associate's degree in marketing, business, or economics.

Degrees relevant to becoming an advertising sales agent include courses in marketing, business, communication, advertising, and leadership. As an exception, educational requirements may not be as strict for individuals with a proven record of successfully selling products.

2. Build your knowledge

You highlight your professional profile in the advertising field by possessing knowledge in essential areas. Building and expanding your knowledge in these areas involves reading extensively and attending relevant seminars. Basic knowledge pertinent to being an advertising sales agent includes:

  • Sales and marketing knowledge: Knowing the methods and principles for showing, promoting, and selling products or services is crucial. This knowledge also includes sales control systems, marketing strategies, sales techniques, and product demonstrations.

  • Customer and personal service: This knowledge helps advertising sales agents provide excellent customer service. Customer and personal service include assessing customers' needs, evaluating customer satisfaction, and developing quality standards for services.

  • Clerical knowledge: This includes knowledge of computer programs, such as word processing and file management.

  • Media knowledge: Knowledge of information dissemination and media production can be helpful in this professional role. This knowledge includes alternative ways to inform clients using visual and audio media.

3. Gain experience

You can complete an internship to develop skills and experiences relevant to succeeding as an advertising sales agent. It's also common for employers to provide on-the-job training for recruits. Companies onboard entry-level advertising sales agents through direct supervision of senior agents. An experienced advertising sales agent observes them perform their duties and interact with clients. They then advise the new hires on effective ways to improve their interactions and relationship with patrons.

The company may also organize training sessions and invite experienced consultants to lead the session. This is particularly helpful for advertising agencies specializing in a specific market segment, such as real estate or automobiles.

Related: How to Get a Marketing Job With Limited Experience

Skills necessary to excel as an advertising sales agent

Advertising sales agents use the following skills to perform their duties effectively:

Communication

Communication skills are essential to advertising sales agents, as their job responsibilities revolve around interacting with potential customers. These skills include active listening, written, and verbal skills. Communication skills help these agents effectively interact with clients and educate them on the benefits they can get from using the company's services. With these skills, they can also listen to their client's concerns and recommend a suitable advertising package to meet their requirements. An advertising sales agent can draft sales contracts, prepare presentation slides, and write feedback reports with a high level of clarity and readability using communication skills.

Organization skills

Advertising sales agents typically work with several clients at the same time. It's likely for these clients to be at different stages in the sales or negotiation process. They can create accurate records of both existing and potential clients with organization skills. This skill can help them avoid mistakes and manage each client accordingly.

Related: Key Marketing Skills for Your Resume (With Examples)

Initiative

The duties of an advertising sales agent involve actively seeking new clients, contacting current clients, and increasing the company's conversion rates. They can propose initiatives at work by being attentive, quick thinking, and detail oriented. By doing this, they can meet their sales quotas and perform their tasks efficiently.

Critical thinking

This skill helps advertising sales agents develop efficient ways to perform their duties. Critical skills help these agents provide logical answers to customers' enquiries and handle challenging situations. This skill is also helpful in giving recommendations to customers and providing suitable advertising types.

Other relevant skills advertising sales agents possess include:

  • Negotiation skills

  • Customer service skills

  • Social perception skills

  • Sales skills

  • Self-confidence

FAQs about advertising sales agents

The following are questions and answers concerning advertising sales agents:

What are the salary and work environment of an advertising sales representative?

The national average salary of an advertising sales representative is $52,644 per year. This salary excludes bonuses, commissions, and incentives. Advertising sales agents work in diverse industries, including publication houses, television channels, radio stations, advertising agencies, and internet publishing. They work in an office preparing documents, cold calling prospects, or developing effective advertising strategies. They can also work out of their offices to meet and interact with clients.

It's also possible for an advertising sales agent to work from home using several online tools to send documents to coworkers and clients. They can access databases that help them target potential clients.

What is the career progression of an advertising sales agent?

Advertising sales agents with proven leadership and advertising skills can advance their careers. These agents can assume managerial and supervisory roles in the workplace. Examples of higher-level roles for this profession are sales manager, sales supervisor, and vice president of sales. Maintaining a close relationship with managers in other firms can help sales agents generate leads and get information on job openings. Converting these leads to clients can enhance career advancement for these agents. It's also possible for advertising sales agents to advance to positions in other industries, including corporate sales.

Related: How to Become an Independent Insurance Agent (With Steps)

What are similar careers to advertising sales agents?

There are different and related professional roles that a sales representative can follow. For example, they can opt for a position where they help clients choose insurance policies and get the most suitable insurance plan. Similar careers and their primary duties include:

  • Sales manager: Sales managers are responsible for managing a sales team, guiding them toward generating leads, and satisfying customers' needs while meeting or exceeding revenue forecasts. They may participate in the sales team recruitment process to ensure the company hires high-performing candidates.

  • Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers: These professionals work in advertising agencies, corporate or regional managing offices, and plan programs and activities to generate interest in products or services. They also design and produce collateral materials, such as coupons, posters, and contests to create awareness of the products they're offering.

  • Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives: These representatives help manufacturers or wholesalers sell products to businesses and governments. They provide information about the availability, prices, and uses of the products they're selling.

  • Insurance sales agents: These agents help insurance companies generate revenue by contacting potential customers and selling different types of insurance to them.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organization‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌, ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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