Hillary Graham Kruis
Senior Media Solutions Strategist, LNP Media Group, Inc.
Editor and Publisher
How did you get your start in media sales? I’m the first to say that I don’t necessarily come from a sales background. I interned with LNP Media Group the summer of my junior year in college. It was a good experience, and I ended up having a great time working with their team and networking with the local business community. The following year, I graduated from Virginia Tech and returned home to Lancaster, PA, where there was an opportunity to fill an open sales position with LNP. Nine years later, I’m still working with my territory of businesses. I feel lucky to have gotten an area well-suited to my personality and selling style. The businesses I partner with tend to have simple, genuine qualities that make them “down-to-earth” — easy to relate to and collaborate with. Who had the most influence in helping you become successful in sales? Honestly, I think it stems from my childhood. My grandmother has influenced me in all aspects of life. But when it comes to sales, two qualities have always helped me succeed. My competitive nature started at a young age because my grandmother never let anyone win. You had to earn that “W” and were encouraged to feel proud of the victory. There wasn’t a negative association with losing, but instead, increased motivation to do better the next time. My family always says that she could “sell anyone anything,” and I love knowing that she would’ve been thrilled that I followed her lead with this role in sales. When I started sales, my teammates were more experienced than I, with a mixed bag of personalities and selling styles. I learned early what sales style made the most sense for me by listening to how they approached their customers. What advice would you give to others struggling with media sales or those who have become frustrated with the new digital solutions they must master to represent their company to advertisers? I always tell new employees to give themselves grace for that first year. Take that time to build your foundation. Know your products and services and start building those relationships with your customers. Form the best relationships. Be flexible to adapt your approach for different personalities, understand their current business plans and goals, remain organized and proactive with upcoming opportunities and always be as transparent as possible with expectations and results. Adding digital into your mix of products and services only increases your potential as a resource. It allows businesses to simplify their contact points from multiple media groups to work with you solely. Try to see everything as an opportunity — an opportunity for your customers to grow and grow your revenue, as well. Selling is more than a numbers game (even though more contacts will obviously help). The relationships I have built and continue to grow are the most important part of my sales success. When learning about and understanding each business’s goals, I become an extension of their team. Their success is my success. Selling is about trust. You must sell yourself along with your products and service opportunities. Maintain a good work ethic. Genuine excitement for building relationships and wanting the best for your customers will pay off in the end. Is there a single sales book, video, or sales trainer you recommend to others? No, I don’t believe so. Training is vital for those completely new to sales to establish general best practices and information to utilize as a solid foundation. However, it takes collaboration from coworkers and customers while gaining experience to feel completely comfortable with your own sales style. In addition, the ability to adapt to your surroundings and the different personalities you’ll encounter is critical.