Below are some tips for prospecting and cold calling from the Publisher Solutions Team as well as our partners.

Jaimie Hefelfinger – Centro

For prospecting new business, I stand on the backs of giants. I take what has worked in the past and use those success stories as my prospecting guide. It adds to your credibility to be able to say that you have seen this before and been successful. For cold calling, try to use your network as much as possible. Ask for introductions from shared contacts or look for similar associations/organizations. People are much more likely to engage if there is a mutual contact or interest.


Tom Napoli – Newsday

Traditionally, and in my opinion, the most effective way to prospect for new business (especially at a small- to medium-sized business level) is face-to-face: swinging doors and being exceedingly diligent in keeping track of who you spoke to, and when, but most importantly FOLLOWING UP within a couple of days.  With that being said, a lot has changed from traditional new business prospecting due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and it seems that at least for the immediate future, this change is going to impact best practices for prospecting strategies.

Since the end of March, I have been utilizing email prospecting more than have before and it has been surprisingly effective.  I have been able to find email addresses on the business’s website and if not there you’ll almost ALWAYS be able to find an email address associated with the businesswhen you go to the business’s Facebook Page.

The body of the prospecting email should be short and sweet and highlight your services/expertise. Keeping track of your contacts and following up remain critical for success.


Mike Smith – Centro

Prospecting does not always mean you have to build a list of new advertisers. You can initially call advertisers you currently work with who are not investing with you in digital. The goal here would be to make sure that you are maximizing wallet share. Just because they may spend $1,200 per month with me doesn’t mean that they aren’t also spending $8,000 per month with someone else. Prospecting current clients can be as profitable as adding new ones.

Depending on what you are selling, part of prospecting new business is going to first be about identifying who’s in your potential customer base. Once I know what type of customer I am looking for, I typically start on LinkedIn. I look for people with relevant titles and/or someone at that company that I am a 2nd degree connection to so that I can get a warm introduction.

I also will visit the website to see if I can find contact info for the role of decision maker for my product. I will also Google the company – anything new in the trades, or any articles about the company that would be a good intro? Here’s an example: “Hey, I saw that you recently added a Denver office – congratulations – what is it like having another remote office? What are the pros and cons? I’d like to discuss with you how Basis could help”. I avoid saying “love” (ex: “I’d love to…”) because I think it’s a bit over the top – personal opinion.

At the local level, the first thing I would do to prospect is to check out my competitors. For example, if I work at a radio station,I would buy the newspaper, watch the local morning news, check out billboards, bus stops, screens in doctor’s offices etc . Any advertiser my radio station did not work with would become my new business prospecting list.

Also at the local level, it is a bit easier to make phone calls, or “drop by” (during a non-pandemic). I had a friend who was a pharmaceutical rep. He would bring a little bag of candy to every doctor’s office he went to, and leave it with the people at the front desk. That way, he never got his phone calls screened, and he never had to wait to talk to the doctor.

Finally, once you do get the meeting , it’s a great idea to research the person you are meeting with. Do some LinkedIn and Facebook stalking. Do they like sports? Music? Did they go to a particular high school or college? Anything to be relatable up front is great. Outside of big meetings in New York there is always a 3-5 minute chit chat to get going – that’s a great time drop some of your stalker knowledge – it at least shows you’ve prepared to an extent.

So for cold calling – make a list (using the above) send emails, make phone calls, send LinkedIn messages. It’s a volume game. You are going to get told no over and over again. If you actually get a response that says no – thank them for taking the time to respond. I’d rather be told “no” then waste my time sending the same email into the ether over and over again. “Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I appreciate knowing that you are all set – if anything changes please let me know, and perhaps I will reach out again if we have something that I think would be a perfect fit for you down the road.”


Andy Bryant – Centro

What I do is mostly summed up as market research- paying attention to who is appearing in trades and LinkedIn, making headlines based on business operations/hiring/change in management/acquiring new markets. I also try to pick a vertical for a bit and dig through those companies with common messaging. If I were a local seller I’d probably pay most attention to who is spending $$ on billboards, digital, tv, print, etc. I would also rely on referrals from current clients as much as possible. Get your best customers to talk you up to your prospects and at the very least accept a meeting with you.