Preparing Students as Sales Professionals: Steps for Selling Advertising Space Professionally

Maria Guevara
Homestead High School
Homestead, Florida

Overview and Rationale:
When mentioning the many challenges that student journalist must tackle, one of the tasks that cannot be undermined is the “dreaded task” of selling advertisement. They have no idea where to start, who to call or see, or what to say. Just like beginning reporters find themselves intimidated by their source, most students find themselves intimidated by business owners and view advertising as a donation. Students need to understand they have the power to sell numerous ads no matter how shy they are by approaching it with professionalism, knowledge, and confidence.

Goals: To build student’s confidence in selling ads through professionalism and improve his/her communication skills.


Students will be able to:

  • understand concepts related to newspaper business
  • appreciate the importance of business management
  • efficiently communicate with business owners in order to sell advertising space for the school newspaper
  • practice organizational skills


Activity 1:

  • Write “school population” on the board and draw a circle around it.
  • Students will brainstorm what type of students make up that population. Discuss things like:
    • What makes each kid tick? What type of people are they?
    • What type of hobbies do they have?
    • What do they enjoy most?
    • What is the make up of the population?
    • Where do they live?
    • Where do they shop?
    • What do their parent do for a living?
    • Where do they work(students)? Where do they play?
  • Discuss above activity: Explain that the above brainstorming defines their newspaper’s Target Audience. Target audience deals with marketing, marketing with advertising, advertising with business, business with newspapers, newspapers with target audience. They are all interconnected!
  • Show and discuss the information below:
Business side
Other media
Larger organizations
  • Markets and their demands determine internal structure
  • Internal structure determine product and services
  • Product and services determine demand market performance
  • What do economics mean to our newspaper? Four important components that deal with economics are:
    • reader
    • usefulness
    • readership
    • ad revenue
  • All of the above affect each other. One must realize that money makes things happen in terms of sales and publication. They affect the community and real life situations.

Activity 2

  • Students will work in pairs and brainstorm five businesses to call during class time (or at home). Be sure to write business names on the board to avoid calling twice. Through role play with a partner, they must practice some lines in order to sound more professional before they make the actual call.
    NOTE: They can modify script to feel more comfortable/eventually they will no longer need a script. Remind students that they need to have his/her schedule book and pen ready while calling. Rescheduling might cost you the ad sale.
  • Distribute handout of script and have students practice reading script:

    Selling Ads Via Telephone: Set a meeting with the company first.

    Hi, my name is _____________________, and I am writer for the Bronco Beat (the newspaper) at Homestead Senior High and I am calling prestigious companies such as yours to tell you about advertising opportunities. We would like to create a link between the community businesses and the school by giving you a chance to advertise through our publication. Our school’s population is now up to 3,000 students and about 175 faculty members, which means that more than 3000 people will be seeing your advertisement. When would be the best time to meet with you to discuss rates and show you some samples of our paper?

Activity 3:

  • Distribute a hand out that outlines steps for a meeting with a business owner of manager of a store (attached in the following page).
  • Role-play a mock sales meeting. Students may work in groups or in pairs. Students must go through steps listed in hand out.
  • Distribute and explain your ad rates sheet and have one of the groups present their role-play in front of the class and discuss.

Professional Sales Techniques handout

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