The phone rings. It's the local Yellow Pages rep. You wonder if it's worth the time or cost. If you say "Yes," be sure to follow these tips.

Watch out for a "continuation clause." Expect the rep to bring this up if she senses you're a no sale. This clause allows publishers to "automatically renew" ads unless you specifically tell them otherwise.

Demand special treatment. Publishers save "red folder treatment" for clients left out of the book or for those who have experienced problems.

Take nothing for granted. Have the rep document everything offered, in a fax or an e-mail.

Make your ad the first seen. Give your clients a sticker with your company particulars, and ask them to slap it on the front of their phone book.

Most finger walkers look for someone close to them. They also open the book to look for the phone number of the company someone referred. The best Yellow Pages listings are a single line in bold type with a company address and phone number.

Refer prospects to the white pages in your marketing materials. If you say "See my ad in the Yellow Pages," you've sent them to your competitors.

If you must have a display ad, make it stand out. Use humor. For example, "Yes! We fix others' mistakes! Call us second!"

Lead tracking is critical. If you have ads in multiple directories, it's difficult to know which ads produce. Put different four-digit numbers in the upper corner of each ad. When a prospect says, "I saw your ad," ask for that number. --Stephen Wilson is a partner in Biz-comm Inc., a marketing and communications firm specializing in the needs of remodelers,