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Earnings Potential

Most employers pay a combination of salaries, commissions, and bonuses. Commissions are usually based on the amount of sales, whereas bonuses may depend on individual performance, on the performance of all sales workers in the group or district, or on the company’s performance.  Median annual earnings for all advertising sales agents were $40,300 including commissions, in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $27,740 and $59,880 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,210, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $89,720 a year.

Facts at a glance

  • Overall earnings are higher than average but can vary considerably because they are usually based on a salary plus performance-based commissions and bonuses.
  • Pressure to meet monthly sales quotas can be stressful.

Summary of what this career entails

Advertising sales agents sell or solicit advertising. The type of advertising sold include graphic art, space in newspapers or magazines, custom made signs, and time and space for television and/or radio. An advertising sales agent for the most part works in the information sector for media firms such as television and radio broadcasters, print publishers, Internet publishers, and cable program distributors. Agents that don’t work for that type of media work in direct mail advertising or display advertising (billboards and signs). Advertising sales are very important because revenue generated from media such as newspapers, magazines, directories and broadcasters is generated from advertising. An outside sales agent makes calls to clients at their place of business. An inside sales agent works in the office building of their employer/company and handle sales to clients who walk in or call the firm about advertising.  A big part of the job is being able to communicate effectively to potential clients. Besides building a base for the company that the sales person works for, if a person is between jobs then it is advantageous for the person to have a contact list when applying for another job.

Examples and or details of work

An example of what an advertising sales agent does is seen on websites where you see “ads by Google” or where you see a huge banner ad promoting a product, those ads are negotiated by advertising sales agents that call websites and find out if the product his company is selling would make sense on the website. If it does then the particulars in terms of financials are worked out. An advertising agent for a company that sells will look at a website like, see that it is a dating site and then call the business end of the site and try to convince the site to put up their ad, the theory being that people on sites to meet people will possibly want flowers to give to a potential date.

Degrees that lead to this career

When it comes to advertising sales, usually employers are not as impressed with a college degree as other employers are, training is much more important. A degree may be important for this field because of the competitive nature of said field. If anything a degree in business may give an individual a leg up on potential competition. 

Specific Career openings in this field

Specific careers in the advertising sales field include advertising sales agent and representative.