MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF THE ONTARIO COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS ASSOCIATION
Reprinted from July 2014
‘Personal Sales Management
... In a Challenging Economic Environment’
In today’s struggling retail environment, selling newspaper advertising , whether online, in paper,
special sections or niche publications continues to be an ongoing challenge. Coupled with the
evolving and changing advertising media ( ... consider the internet’s impact on other media!),
your sales territory or account list management strategies need to change, too!
No matter the size or scope of your account list or sales territory, the following strategies will
serve you well in managing and helping you achieve your selling goals. These recommendations
are based on my experience both in meeting the revenue goals of a newspaper and enhancing and
maximizing an individual's resources.
But first, let's step back and clarify our definition of a sales territory or account list. Your sales
territory or sales territory should be defined in terms of objectives (... what is to be achieved?);
potential (...type, where, from whom, volume); designed, organized, or structured so that results
will be achieved (...timeframe and plan of attack); coverage (...will you be able to contact who you
need to, to get the business); plus, in the case of a geographic territory, what determines physical
size or location of the area to be covered?
But wait, you love to sell. You would rather sell than manage your accounts. So do you sell first,
then manage later or manage first in order to sell your accounts? Ideally, you should manage to
sell. So, let's examine some strategies to help you chart your course to sales success ...
• First and foremost, focus your managerial aims. Or put another way, what exactly is it you are
trying to manage or achieve? Increased revenue? More ad count? Adding or enhancing online
campaigns? Greater special section participation? Expanded geographic or specific retailer (e.g.
shopping center) growth? New business or category growth?
• Enhance your selling time ... by regularly scheduling those activities that allow greater selling
time while reducing overall expenses. Remember, the best selling situation is face to face client
• Realistically rate your accounts. Regularly review your account list or sales territory and
prioritize each account potential both on a short term (30 - 60 - 90 day) and long term
(6 -12 -18 month) basis, and on a more revenue (+), flat revenue (0), or less revenue (-) growth
basis. Don't overlook those accounts that are at risk (due to credit limitations, personnel changes,
competitive changes or market impacts). Note them and give them the 'kid glove treatment' to
save or maintain the business. What additions do you plan to make to your account list or sales
territory, in terms of NEW business? Grow your online revenue from BOTH new and existing
accounts? Much like retailing, if you remain stagnant, 15% to 25% of your business will go away
in a year.
• Practice time management. Fine tune again and again. Stop procrastinating and wasting time.
Know yourself and understand the value of time, using your most productive time during the day
to be with your clients! Don’t allow your email to become a major distraction. Tell your clients
and discipline yourself to check-in with your email only at selected times throughout the day.
• Say NO! Don't allow time to be thoughtlessly given away by you. Good customer service does
NOT mean never saying no.
• Organize your information. How? By developing a pitch book. A pitch book ideally is a
three ring binder and/or its electronic equivalent that contains information on your market,
your newspaper, your competition plus any data you need to tell and sell your newspaper's story.
Make sure your information is accessible and presentable ... and current.
• Delegate and use all available resources ... Everyone at your newspaper is part of your sales and
marketing team, from top to bottom and bottom to top. Remember, no one can do it all. Keep all
your newspaper resources in the selling loop, enhance and use them!
• Insure your personal and professional growth. Don't overlook or abuse your physical,
emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. Take time for you.
Maintain a positive attitude, don't dwell on past failures or rejections - use them to build on
future successes. Network and build professional friendships in your market and adjacent
communities. Develop peer relationships with other salespeople and newspapers throughout
the state. Reward yourself by taking care of yourself - Have FUN!!!!!
Keep fine tuning. Learn from others. Look for those opportunities to excel. Keep changing and
challenging yourself to take the time to plan and manage so you will achieve selling success.
... and remember, something good is going to happen today, look for it!
© Murray & Nau, Inc.
Chuck Nau of Murray & Nau, Inc. is a Seattle area based publishing consultant and sales and
management trainer. He has conducted advertising, marketing, management and sales training
workshops throughout North America. Comments and questions are welcome and may be
directed to Chuck via email: [email protected]. or at (425) 603 - 0984.