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Ad Libs by John Foust

John Foust has conducted training programs for thousands of newspaper advertising professionals. Many ad departments are using his training videos to save time and get quick results from in-house training. Email John at

A different kind of question

Monica, a longtime sales manager for a publishing company, told me about a different kind of question. “Years ago, I heard about a technique to turn the process around and ask questions to ourselves,” ...

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Lessons from other advertising sources

According to legend, he once took his executive team to the Indianapolis 500 to study the pit crews. He wanted to see if some of their techniques could help Southwest’s ground crews reduce turnaround ...

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How to handle superlatives

If an advertiser insists on using a superlative, there are four simple ways to make it more acceptable. Just remember the acronym TOTE.

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10 ways to mess up an online presentation

Let’s take a quick look at 10 of the biggest mistakes in online presentations. 

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In search of the perfect headline

Years ago, a keynote speaker at a local Ad Club meeting asked us to put ourselves in a consumer’s shoes. “Let’s say your name is John Doe,” he said. “One day you’re ...

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Get prospects involved in your presentations

Back in my ad agency days, I remember hearing and reading about the importance of getting prospects involved in sales presentations. At that point in my young career, I had experienced the difficulty of ...

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Meet them where they are

Tim manages an ad sales team. “When I started my career in the newspaper business, I quickly learned that advertisers can be worlds apart in their knowledge of marketing,” he said. “That’s ...

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The super sales person who wasn’t so super, after all

Jim was a super sales person. He was so good that he broke all kinds of records at the publishing company where he worked. He consistently brought in more new business than anyone else on the advertising ...

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Right and left brain selling

“Both people bought ads, but it fascinated me that they arrived at their decisions in such different ways. Both cared about the appearance of their ads, but the first person cared more. Both people ...

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The power of restraint

The billboard needed what a lot of ads need — restraint. 

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Creating believable advertising

Consider this profession of advertising. Suspension of disbelief is not necessary. It’s an ad creator’s job to encourage willing belief. 

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A little more, a little less for sales meetings

“Sales meetings — like a lot of other things — fall into predictable patterns,” she said. “The boss talks, the staff members listen, and more often than not, it’s just ...

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Be a better listener and get better reception

I thought about that old radio recently — and the challenges of tuning in to a station — when I had a conversation with Karl, who manages an ad sales team. 

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