E&P salutes our industry’s Sales Superstars
Editor and Publisher
E&P salutes our industry’s Salessuperstars ............... The past couple of years have been difficult, to say the least, for our industry sales professionals. With the decline in media advertising overall and the impact of COVID-19, it has taken almost super-human resilience and fortitude to weather the sales climate. Our inaugural class of 15 Sales Superstars stand out in their ability to stand up against these challenging times, stay focused and get the job done for their customers, their communities and the companies they represent. With extreme appreciation and celebration, we introduce E&P’S first class of Sales Superstars. Richeal Bair Multi-media Advertising Consultant, Observer Media Group How did you get your start in media sales? I started my sales career in 2005 with a weekly entertainment publication called Creative Loafing. My sales manager’s training technique was to give you a territory and see what you could do — either you had “it,” or you didn’t. Needless to say, the sales rep position was a revolving door, but I could think on my feet. I have a natural ability with people, and I learned quickly — really quickly. Also, it was only a one-product paper back then, so advertising sales wasn’t nearly as complicated as in today’s world. Who had the most influence in helping you become successful in sales? It’s hard to pinpoint one person. I have had great influencers in each stage of my sales career, and not all of them were my managers. They were other seasoned salespeople from whom I learned tons of industry knowledge. I learned a lot about people through my old mentor, who passed away. He was so great. I also believe that selling is something instinctual; there is a passion inside that keeps us going. I laugh about this now, but I was so green when I started my first sales position. My manager knew my motivation. She dangled the “big money carrot” in front of me. I would go after it and get it, which was my motivation. All my managers throughout my career have taught me so many skills: to think outside the box, dig deeper, find out what the client wants, have clear communication, stay organized, know your audience — not only your customer but your clients’ customers — and give excellent customer service. Each of them has played a pivotal role in my career, adding to my ability and teaching me how to fine-tune these skills that keep making me better and better. 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? Be adaptable, honest and always keep learning. Understand and believe in the digital platforms; know and trust that they work. When you are struggling, it’s important to have people around you with whom you can talk things out, whether it’s a sales coach, manager, mentor, or your closest colleague. One of my most significant Zig Ziglar learning moments, which I still practice, is making one last call when you feel like giving up and packing it in for the day. It pushes you through the self-quitting, and it is possible to make that one last connection. Like at the gym, when you do that one last sit-up, you may not notice the results at first, but after 100 of them, with that last one, you feel it, and they all add up to a difference. Is there a single sales book, video, or sales trainer you recommend to others? I learned from the classic Zig Ziglar “Selling 101.” There are loads of great sales tools, books and trainers. You have to find your rhythm and style in sales, pick up great habits and stick to them. Keep being a student of your trade, reading the new sales books and watching the videos. Keep investing in your career and taking sales training courses. The Observer Media Group provides weekly sales training, and I am always learning something new. The key is to apply it. It all works together, and just like any skill, the more you do it, the better you get. Randi Battersby Senior Marketing Consultant, Victoria News/black Press Media Group How did you get your start in media sales? This is my first sales position. I have a background in medical, tech and government fields. I started as a parttime sales representative in November 2017 with the Sooke News Mirror, a part of Black Press Media. After six months, I was promoted to full-time and transferred to Victoria News, the largest of all Black Press Media news publications in Greater Victoria. Black Press Media Group has six community newspapers in Greater Victoria. While I am based with Victoria News, I sell into all our publications regionally and provincewide. Who had the most influence in helping you become successful in sales? I would be remiss if I did not mention my first publisher, Rod Sluggett of the Sooke News Mirror. Rod gave me my start in media, helped to provide me with the confidence and strength needed to do cold calls and showed me how to build solid relationships with clients. My current publisher Michelle Cabana has been a fantastic mentor and influence. Michelle has taught me so much and continues to do so while always encouraging me and helping me grow in my position. I have always loved the community newspaper, but I now know the importance of the community news and what it stands for through Michelle and her knowledge. I would not be where I am today if Michelle did not take the time to show me the ropes, but the most important piece is that I now have the passion and understanding of the community news. I am proud to work for a company and in an industry that understands the importance of community support and giving back. When you are selling newspaper advertising, you are not just selling the ad space. You support community and journalism, and to do that successfully, you must believe in it. 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? It is no longer about selling ad space in print or digital. It is about building a relationship with your clients and getting to know them. I am not just a sales rep, but I am a marketing consultant. One of the essential parts of my job is to make sure the ad campaigns I sell are working for the client and that all my clients receive their ROI (return on investment). Don’t let the many new digital options stress you out. Instead, embrace them. With such a wide array of products available, you can help your client with any marketing needs they may have. Print, digital and social media are equally important when marketing, and I believe the best campaigns are a mixture of all three. Is there a single sales book, video, or sales trainer you recommend to others? I have attended two seminars with Peter Lamb, and he was terrific. Ron Burke Director of Advertising and Marketing, The Washington Informer How did you get your start in media sales? I have been in media sales for 20 years. I had been in telecom sales, but due to bankruptcies and downsizing in the industry, I found myself out of a job. Denise Rolark Barnes offered me an opportunity to come and work with her at The Washington Informer. Who had the most influence in helping you become successful in sales? Believe it or not, it would be my mother who taught me the following: • Always have a strong work ethic. Show up ready and prepared to work every day. • Always strive to be the best at everything you do. This also speaks to preparation. • Treat everybody the way you want to be treated. Hence, my focus is on good customer service. 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? Someone once told me when I started my first sales job that it does not matter what you sell. People buy from you because they know you, trust you and understand you. Again, this speaks to preparation and customer service. Is there a single sales book, video, or sales trainer you recommend to others? There are too many to mention. I would say to avail yourself of as many opportunities as possible and use what you can to the best of your ability. Kate Byers Omni Media Marketing Strategist, Innisfil Journal – Metroland How did you get your start in media sales? Since I began working professionally at the age of 23 in Toronto, I’ve been in the advertising industry, though I started in a sales support role. Shortly after that, I realized the sales reps had the most fun. So, through a series of lateral career moves and one big relocation to Barrie, my path led me to an incredibly fulfilling sales position with Star Metroland Media in 2007. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to continue growing and developing my skills, learning from my incredible senior leadership team. Who had the most influence in helping you become successful in sales? I’ve had a few great leaders during my career so far, and I feel very fortunate to have learned from them and their experiences. I will always be grateful for those opportunities. With that said, I’ve worked for Elise Allain and Shaun Sauve the longest and have excelled under their leadership. Providing a positive work environment where successes big and small are shared and celebrated, Elise and Shaun continually support and encourage their sales teams towards success. 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? Reach out to your leaders for ideas, strategies and clarity. Salespeople have multiple marketing solutions available to advertisers, and it can sometimes get a bit muddy. Often having a short conversation with a colleague or manager to help sort through the best solution for your client can make all the difference and give you a clear proposal for your customer. And above all, keep plugging away. Make the calls, build the relationships and don’t get discouraged. Is there a single sales book, video, or sales trainer you recommend to others? I read a lot about mindfulness, understanding human behaviours, positive affirmations and the laws of attraction. I believe a large part of being a good salesperson is being a good person in general and understanding your clients to the best of your ability. Tiffani Debetaz Regional Account Executive, The Advocate How did you get your start in media sales? I have been in media sales for 17 years. I was initially hired to sell commercial print. Then, within the first few months of being in that role, I transitioned to selling commercial print and media advertising. I still sell both for The Advocate today. Who had the most influence in helping you become successful in sales? I have so many mentors during my sales journey. During different seasons, they were pivotal to my success. However, one that stands out in my early years of sales is Lisa Busceme. She was my first manager at The Advocate and created a foundation for me to be successful. I still, to this day, use a lot of what she taught me in my everyday sales role. 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? Embrace the change. As much as things look different in today’s advertising world than they did five years ago, embrace it. Learn something new every day. Challenge yourself.