Chances are, your Yellow Pages advertising is eating up more than a third of your law firm’s marketing budget. Chances are, you’re running in multiple books, in both rural and urban areas to ensure a wider audience. Chances are, you’re getting hit with a Yellow Pages contract renewal every few months from a different book. If just one of these is true, you understand how important phone book contract negotiations are to the success of your firm’s marketing.
The purpose of this post: To provide three simple tips to help make sure you’re prepared to negotiate your phone book advertising rates.
As of 2015, less than 50 % of the public had opened a phone book within a year. And of those the majority are over the age of 55.
As the Internet gained steam over the last decade, print directories struggled under fierce competition. Companies like the Yellow Pages have broadened their services to online and so much more, and they are still losing the battle.
This change has altered the environment of phone book advertising negotiations. No longer is the phone book rep holding all the cards in the meeting. Advertisers must adapt in order to be more successful. Here are three rules for phone book ad negotiations:
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Rule #1: Understand what you have, that the other guy wants.
This goes broader than just phone book negotiations. This is fundamental to any debate. You have something the other party wants. If you understand your value in the negotiation, you have a fair amount of control over the meeting.
So what do you have, that they want? Your ad in their book.
It really is that simple. Like I said, phone books are struggling. Above all they don’t want to lose your business. Use this to your advantage. Don’t go into a contract negotiation upset with the price you’ve been quoted. This doesn’t mean the representative has all the power. He knows you’re gonna negotiate. So get serious and ask for everything you want! Which brings me to rule number two:
Rule #2: If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it.
Too often I deal with lawyers who are wolves in the courtroom, and sheep in phone book negotiations. Nothing is off the table in these meetings. You’re spending a chunk of your budget on these ads. If you don’t like the way your ad is designed, ask for an independent designer. If you don’t like where you ad is in the book, ask to move to the front of the line. If you want your name on the back cover, ask for a discounted rate.
You may be friends with your phone book sales rep (in fact I have some tips on that too!), but once the door is closed it is about business. You aren’t negotiating relationships or feelings. You’re negotiating numbers. Stick to the numbers. Taking us into rule number three:
Rule #3: If the numbers aren’t there, neither is your business.
Great business is based on people. That perspective is what separates great businessmen from the pack. But while that is true, even truer is: bad business crumbles on paper.
Your grandfather may’ve started working with a phone book forty years ago. That business has remained strong for three generations. You have a wonderful relationship with the publisher, and love doing business with your representative. But if in the last quarter, their readership fell significantly (as most phone books have), your advertising rates drop accordingly – or you don’t buy from them again. This isn’t personal, it’s business. You aren’t being cruel or unfeeling – you’re ensuring the continued growth and happiness of you, your firm and all of it’s employees.
How do you know if the numbers are there or not? That’s where Kirkpatrick
Creative’s engineered approach to marketing comes in handy. Check out our free e book: How to Manage Phone Book Advertising - For Efficiency and Productivity, for a look at how a data-driven approach can really change your phone book advertising methods.
Your ad strategy should be based on data and make the most sense for your budget, don’t let other factors get in the way!