After 174 years, The AnnArbor News announced its shutdown today. A skeletal staff will migrate to AnnArbor.com and attempt to migrate the paper's advertisers as well. Early on in my career, I suppose I thought of myself as a broadcast seller. And I think that if a newspaper in my market went out of business back then, it would have fired my adrenalin furnace and sent me into a victory dance. I was about as competitive as it got. It was all about winning and losing.
I hadn't learned yet what remarkable performers always know--it's actually about winning and winning! To be clear, by winning and winning I don't mean "share and share alike" with other selling competitors (in my case other media outlets). No winning and winning is about me and the client I am serving. I work hard to bring to the relationship as much experience, knowledge, creativity, courage and good will as I can muster so that I can be a meaningful factor in the client's growth and success. I've found that with that as my mission, my rewards are incidental but automatic...and it always feels like a win! And if his business does grow, he is the big winner!
So while my concerns are about the client, other media in my platform, or another, are frequently the beneficiaries of my efforts. Huh? It's real simple, if I'm representing a local cable system and I think the client will benefit from a supplemental radio schedule, I recommend it...Heck, I've suggested, when managing one radio station, that a client also use others at the same time to attain the goal we were shooting for. You see, when I sit with a client I presumptively take on the role of his marketing doctor. I'm going to see that his dreams for his business are fulfilled. AND to do that for a local merchant in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as of today, one potential arrow in my quiver is missing. No dance is called for.
Now what about those missing sellers? Okay, I confess that I learned about the AnnArbor News on NPR today. (Look, it's Thursday as I write this. So that's four days this week already, listening to Obama-bashing from Mark, Rush, Joe and Dr. Savage. A few minutes of civility in the car is no sin). A voice cut from a retailer in Ann Arbor caught my attention. He was bemoaning the folding of the newspaper and "didn't know what he was going to do to keep his customers aware of his sales." He wasn't ready to risk DOT COM advertising.
Listen folk, Ann Arbor will offer a very satisfying career to a seller who sits across from a retailer and explains how Google, Twitter, Facebook, the local online newspaper or community events organ, local cable systems, radio stations and diner placemats can help that business grow--and depending upon what stage of development the business is in, any or all of those platforms might make sense. Our extraordinary and uncommon seller and his lust to learn client will figure it out.
How do I know the account will be an avid listener with a lust to learn? Because we've sent an eager to help, honest, well schooled, client focused seller to the meeting.
Bob Sherman has 40 years experience managing relationships between media companies and advertisers in old and new media from radio, cable and TV to the Internet, and from sales executive to chief executive and from the biggest media corporations to his own entrepreneurial companies. He is currently in partnership with Pilot Group, LLC. Bob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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