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“For Each Time He Falls, He Shall Rise Again, and Woe To The Wicked!”

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“For Each Time He Falls, He Shall Rise Again, and Woe To The Wicked!”  —Cervantes

 

 

by Nick Coston, OOH Buyer, Agent and Humorist

 

 

With a title like that, every successful advertising sales person out there thinks the same thing after a potential client sends them away without the order.

I’ll be back.

Earlier last week a colleague of mine, who is also in the media buying business, made an innocent comment on social media. For a while it just sat there, nobody commented, no smiley faces, no thumbs up, or my favorite, the green barfy face emoji.

Until I did.  Although I use the term “innocent”, it did indeed bug me. You see, I was in OOH media sales for a good 12 years prior to going back into media buying. Funny, I really didn’t want to leave sales, I was very successful, enjoyed the people I worked with as well as my daily tasks. So when I moved into OOH media buying I obviously had a soft spot for my fellow billboard peddlers.

The agency I worked with began a new policy that we had to buy market direct. Which meant we had to work with local reps on all buys even though we represented one large national company. I embraced this, thoroughly enjoyed ringing up local reps and making their year. Because when we bought a market, we bought big.

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I found out just how hard local billboard reps really worked. No matter how early in the morning I needed to speak to Dave Battaglia at my local CCO branch, Dave was there. No matter how late I needed to get in touch with him, he always returned a text, an email or a phone call. He was a master at servicing our account, an account that I built up over my 12 years in the same position. He did it better.

But you know, the story doesn’t stop there, they never do. Dave also spent a crapload of time calling on new businesses, developing new accounts, culling leads from LinkedIn, calling common contacts, leaving voice mails, browsing agency and company websites, clever emails. Even giving himself a nickname “The Guy You Adore at Clear Channel Outdoor”. Yea, I’m talking about that Dave. The “thanks a-latte” man.

Dave did everything said above media buying colleague bitched about on social media. Do you know what?  Made him one of the best at his craft, a multiple award winner, a quota busting, hustling, well-liked local billboard rep.

For the great job Dave does there are others like him, really. I could name at least 10 more who go above and beyond what their job calls for. Each one of them have been in their job for years and have spurred moving up to management because of their success in ad sales. Most of them would take a huge cut in pay to move up so they stay put, refining their craft every day, doing their best finding common ground with those of us on the other side.

Maybe it’s food, maybe it’s a sports team, maybe it’s just a friendly phone call, a nice chat about the weather and their kids softball team. Maybe it’s about developing relationships using every way in their arsenal because these days nobody it seems wants to really talk to salespeople. Time and time again it’s been proven that without them our business takes a tumble.

Marty Scarborough, JJ Sumner, whom I may say at dinner one night accurately called the 2016 Presidential election three months out, Derek Pearson in Dallas who time after time knew every great barbecue house in the DFW area, likewise, Blake Wynne in Houston who could navigate a beat up minivan with bad tires in a rainstorm driving with one hand, a map in the other hand, 5 others riding along, and a thermos from 1962 full of hot coffee in between his legs, stand out. Can’t forget Susy Mills in Chicago who didn’t flinch doing market rides in the middle of a pandemic, prior to vaccines being the regular thing, wearing masks on a hot summer day. Nothing stopped Susy.

I really could go on with how many spectacular local reps made the media buys I worked on so good, but this piece would run into tomorrow.

Today’s point is that everyone of these OOH reps, plus other successful ones that I didn’t even mention, did everything my media buying colleague doesn’t like. Should they just sit around waiting for you to call them with orders?

Every time I write a piece, one of my goals is to make a point. Today’s point is that everyone of these OOH reps, plus other successful ones that I didn’t even mention, did everything my media buying colleague doesn’t like. Should they just sit around waiting for you to call them with orders? Or should they work tirelessly finding ways to get in contact with you, tell you about specials coming up, explain how unique their market is, how considering buying a boards from their plant can really help with your marketshare, or maybe just ask how your day is going.

The best sales people made me look better every single day. It made my buys look better, it made my clients look smart. They made me a far better media buyer.

The best sales people made me look better every single day

Sadly, most clients never even know how good their local reps are because they see posts like my colleague made last week.

So Mr. or Mrs. Client, when you see your ad on a beautiful billboard or a perfectly placed transit shelter, make sure you thank the sales guy who ultimately got you that board. The person who made sure your copy went up on time, the person who negotiated a good rate for you and the person who remembered your birthday or got you tickets for the iHeart Jingle Ball.

They may be a little annoying but they are professionals who help keep the industry going and that’s todays point.

Ending this piece on a higher note, let us not forget the rep who years ago while on a market ride in Florida offered me some “female companionship” for the night. Talk about service. I’m guessing that was slightly over the top so I instead settled for a hot fudge sundae.

Hey, it won me over.

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