Jan 132012
 

brainI can’t claim to be an extremely early adapter of social media.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and now Google+ — does this stuff really work?

Well, if you are measuring results by the number of followers you have, the number of posts you make, and the number of comments you’ve received, I suppose you could say you are doing “something”?  But are you actually selling more advertising because of this activity?

The answer, in my experience, is that business can develop — and we’ve seen it happen — if your social media presence is both strong and warm enough to build your reputation for both competence and “humanness”.  In other words, you need to be able to show that you know your stuff — but you are not a corporate machine or “salesperson” spouting off repeated commercial lines and messages.

The ratios and models may vary, but I would suggest that your social media activities should be focused within these areas, in rough proportion to the levels indicated here.  (In case you are wondering, the numbers here will add up to more than 100 per cent, because the themes overlap.  In fact, the more themes you can combine in a single posting without forcing the issue, the better.)

  • 7/10th is providing meaningful, useful and relevant information that shows your expertise and knowledge and is directly valuable to your audience.
  • 1/4 to 1/3 “recognizing” others — especially clients, peers, and services which you enjoy and respect and which are relevant to your frame of reference.  The reason here is that when you say good things about others, they feel good, and then often share the news about your sharing with still more.  For example, I’m running a “Best Construction Blog” competition at constructionmarketingideas.com.  There is no fee to enter and no fee to win — and every qualified entry receives a free positive introductory blog posting from me.  As I do these, I notice the Tweets, Facebook posts and the like, all good for my own marketing.
  • 1/8 to 1/4 is re-posting of news, experience, ideas and concepts of general interest but not specifically related to advertising and the media.
  • 1/8 to 1/10th is “personal stuff,” stories about your life, family, experiences etc.
  • 1/10th is self-promotional, maybe speaking event, announcement or a “selling” message.

If possible, I think you should use images in as many postings as possible, and where possible, link to videos (and if you can, make a few of your own.)

Google+ “Hangouts” add another dimension to the process, allowing live video conferences either on a regular schedule or spontaneously.

Note that that I advocate you hold your self promotional messages to about 1/10th of the total.  You might get away with more promotional stuff, but be careful.  The last thing you want to do is seem like a talking billboard.

Jan 122012
 


Josh Gordon’s Ad Sales Blog undoubtedly offers insights, ideas and concepts that anyone conerned with media sales and publishing should remember, even though it has not been updated since March, 2011.

The most recent post (from March last year) include a rather expressive snakes and ladder description of how publishers are handling social media marketing.

More sadly, this time last year (January 20, 2011) in advance of Steve Jobs’ death Gordon posted this YouTube video of Jobs’ 2005 Stanford University commencement speech.

Whatever you are doing in the next 22 minutes, will not be as useful as watching this video of Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech given at Sanford University.

Jobs describes how three experiences showed him what is important: his early life as an adopted child, being fired from Apple in 1985, and his first round with pancreatic cancer.

As Jobs departs for yet another leave from Apple, citing unspecified health issues, the message of this short address seems more urgent.

As I read Jobs’ biography, Gordon’s observations seem even more relevant than they were a year ago.  I’m setting a hyperlink to Gordon’s blog, and hope he resumes posting in the months ahead.

Jan 112012
 

dissapointmmentOur business uses a “working test” evaluation system.  In place of the conventional resume-review/interviewing process, we invite candidates to complete a  brief introductory questionnaire.  Then, upon reviewing the questionnaires and after brief phone interviews, we invite finalists to work with us (for a few days) — and pay them for their time.

This screening process quickly catches problems and prevents (in general) bad hiring decisions.

Yesterday, for example, a candidate succeeded in all of of the tests and evaluations leading to the working test.  We set up her assignment, and she started working with apparent enthusiasm.

Within the day, however, she said:  “This work isn’t for me.  It is all cold calls.  And I don’t enjoy that.”

Okay, I agree, cold calls are not the way to achieve great success in advertising sales.  If you build your business on the “numbers game” of calling, and calling people for which you have no relationship or reason to connect, you will either burn out or be truly ineffective in making serious money in the business.

But here is the challenge.  Our business, like most others, is not about to hand gold-plated leads and established clients on a silver platter to the new representative.  The senior rep, meanwhile, seems to have it easy.  Not much need for cold calling, when (with established relationships), the work often involves simply calling established clients and confirming renewals and maintaining the business.  Easy stuff.

The world isn’t fair, is it.  The established sales representative, with great clients, doesn’t have to work nearly as hard as the struggling newcomer.

But I remember well that the “established representative” actually started out just like anyone else.  In his working test, he had to find business quickly — as he had only one day for the test.  When he sold a significant advertisement without much if any previous relationships, I knew he should be hired.  Now, his business is solid and sustainable and he rarely makes unsolicited cold calls (but keeps his eyes open for opportunities.)

Great sales representatives, if they learn from the masters, will appreciate that the starting stage is lots of hard work for seemingly low reward, both economic and psychic.  We try to make things somewhat fairer by offering a modest but reasonable  base starting salary and setting really low quotas for the first few months.  We’re not expecting immediate ‘productivity’ — just indications of steady and progressive progress towards sustainability.

But you have to be willing to get started.

Jan 102012
 

Right now, this blog is “under the radar.”  I’m not seeking publicity, search engine rankings, or recognition.  Patience.  First we need to build the base, tidy up the appearance, add useful content and build the outbound useful links so that readers, when they first discover the site, see its value to them.

This will take time — perhaps a few weeks, maybe a few months.  With daily postings and updates, with added value and content, the blog will take a life of its own and become a truly useful resource for advertising sales representatives.

Adrian Miller websiteIn my first search for content, I’ve found a number of sales-training/marketing sites, often with contents hidden behind a paid-subscription barrier.  Sorry.  Not going there, just yet.  You have to convince me of your site’s real value and asking me for my identifying information, or worse, my credit card number, before I’m ready will result in a solid “no” — at least for now.  (This may change later, once things are a bit better organized around here.)

However, I discovered, after some searching, Adrian Miller’s really useful sales training blog, aptly titled The Blatant Truth Weblog.  Adrian doesn’t know it yet, but hers is the first outbound link that I will post here — even before I get around to my own company’s sites.

Why not share the news with her?  Well, this site is still not “ready,” no search engine recognition, not even the Google sandbox — where Google knows you are there, but doesn’t let anyone who fails to key in the exact URL of the site know.  But we’ll get there.   If you happen to find this site, please let me know at buckshon@cnrgp.com.  No newsletter (yet), no come-on, nothing to sell — though by the time the site is truly ready for public viewing, you’ll know why I’m doing this.

Jan 092012
 

Welcome!blog logo

This is the beginning of a new website/blog dedicated to reporting and updating on best practices for successful advertising sales representatives.

As the months progress, you’ll read profiles of successful advertising sales representatives in different media, how they excel at their work, and learn how they succeed.

We’ll also share some news feeds, resources and information relevant to your career, whether you are starting out or are well-established in the business.

If you are new here, watch the site evolve day-by-day, as I flesh out the themes, links, resources, and tools.  Feel free to comment on individual posts, or this blog in general.