We were on tenterhooks. ‘Call-me-Andy’ was on the phone to The Big Boss. We could tell it wasn’t going well but then, miraculously, the tone changed. He clicked off his mobile phone, which then was not terribly mobile as it must have weighed a ton, and smiled broadly.

‘You won’t believe this – he has agreed!’ We were thrilled until he continued. ‘But there is one condition…’ (We knew there would be a catch.)’.…you must promise not to tell any of your neighbours because we are actually losing money on this deal.’

And he got us. Hook, line and double-glazing.

At the time, I was not an innocent abroad. I was a Sales Manager for a national magazine. But I was also (still am) a human being. Sales people know that people want to believe that the person selling to them is an honest, good person with their interests in his heart. Otherwise we would be accusing him/her of lying to our faces, which is not our natural way.

That is why Publishers prefer to deal directly and discourage their advertisers from using an agency. It guarantees more profit per page due to our humanity, no matter how long-in-the-tooth we are, we cannot help ourselves.

‘We only need £500 to hit our target so I thought I should ‘give this away’ to you.’

‘It’s because your ad looks so lovely, we must have it in our magazine.’

‘You know I will always look after you, you are my favourite client.’

These, and many more phrases besides, affect our judgements (especially if the salesperson has some charm) – just as they are intended. So many times, we have seen hard-working, battle-scarred, hard-headed business people paying over the odds for an ad or advertising in a completely unsuitable publication – which is one of the reasons we do the job we do.


Using a Media Planning and Buying Agency offers business people the opportunity to be one step removed and so take a more reasoned view of their media spend.

As well as being able to use the knowledge and experience of others, the combined spending power of diverse businesses’ ad budgets can be very useful indeed in getting more reasonable prices.

It also gives the business owner/manager a significant advantage. The next time, after a lovely lunch or sponsored night out with a publisher, they want to talk money with whatever pressing points they feel the need to make, you can simply say ‘That sounds marvellous, tell my agency about it.’

At the very least, it should ensure you get the double glazing you want at the best price.

Nigel Monks