Every contact you make with clients who are not advertising has to be an attempt to discover an opportunity you can help with. As you know you cannot establish value until you have found a need, contacting clients with ‘advertising offers’ is pointless unless you understand how it may be of use to them. The best advertising offer in the world is of little value to somebody who has no need for it. So the emphasis of your contact is to look for that need. Even if you have an amazing offer it only has value if you can ascertain how it will be of use to them. The greater their need the more valuable your solution becomes. That is why it is so important you make contact on all occasions with the intent of learning before selling.

Please, keep any ‘offer’ tucked firmly in your presentation folder until you’ve followed the below course of action.

Diagnosing short-term opportunities allows you to present call-to-action campaigns. It tends to be easier to get those clients who are not currently advertising to come on board by focusing on solving immediate stock or cash flow problems rather than presenting them with longer-term branding campaigns. Diagnosing short-term opportunities is something you should also be performing with those clients who already have long-term branding campaigns with you. Not only to increase their spend with you, but also to complement their existing advertising.

Phoning to get an appointment to discuss short-term opportunities should follow the formula stated in the ‘Phone as your friend’ chapter. Use a statement of benefit and fear of loss opening which also conveys, “We have some opportunities that may be of interest to you, so I’d like to pay you a visit and discuss what’s happening in your business to see if any of these offers might be relevant.”

Obviously, all the standards suggested in long-term diagnostic apply and things only start to differ when you get to the ‘setting the scene’ phase of the call (as there is no point saying I’m here to learn about your business with clients whom you’ve been calling on for years). Instead, you’ll say something along the lines of:

“Thanks for taking the time to see me today. As I said on the phone I just wanted to catch up see how things have been going since we last chatted and get a feel for what’s happening”…then lead straight into your first question.

If you do have an offer that may be relevant, hold off trying to sell it until you have a definite understanding of how they could take advantage of your offer. However, you can tease it at this point by saying.

“We’ve got some interesting promos happening at the moment and some great deals that could be just right for you…” then lead straight into your next question.

Below are some ideas for questions to ask, to help you find an opportunity. These questions are what I’d call surface questions - they are covering only the surface of topics. They are examples of questions that you scan a topic with; if you get the desired response then you’d probe deeper into that particular angle looking to truly define the opportunity more. It’s a bit like fishing - you throw your line out, and if you get a bite then you start reeling in the information by asking relevant questions. The nuggets you’re looking for will still come in the same fashion, ‘what’ should they advertise, and ‘why’ should they advertise. The topic categories should also remain the same: although the questions will be different, they still allow you to follow a sequence that should come naturally.


“Tell me, what’s business been like over the past month for you?” “How does that period compare to last year for you?”

“Tell me, have you had any changes with staff and suppliers?” “Tell me about what’s been selling well for you?”

“Is there any stock that hasn’t gone as well as you thought it might” “What in your opinion do you put that down to?”

“Are you overstocked in any particular lines?”


“Can you describe to me a typical customer that you’re seeing at this time of the year?” “Are you seeing lots of new customers, new faces that you’ve never had in here before?” “What in your opinion is bringing the new customers here?”

“Is there a market segment that you feel you’re missing out on?”


“What’s your opinion about how the marketplace is going at the moment?” “Can you tell me what you think is impacting on the market at the moment?”

Market Share

“Tell me is there anything different happening with your competition at the moment?” “Do you feel you’re currently gaining your fair share of the market?”

“Are your competitors very promotionally active at the moment, having sales, that sort of thing?”

“Can you describe what you do differently to your competition at this time of the year?”

Finding new customers

“What promotional activities have you been doing lately?”

“What are you doing at this time of the year to attract new customers?” “What is the most appealing offer you currently have to attract customers?”