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Visiting Professor - Day 4 - Don't be afraid.

WPTV-TV Local Sales Manager Cheryl Beers believes newly graduated students need to limit their expectations. She believes the secret to their success will be their desire to move forward. The first job is not an automatic ride to the top. Students today expect a large salary and managerial status. Big pay and cushy job. That’s not realistic. Not at all. Imagine, what is taught in the classroom is the owner’s manual and the first job is the first time you get operate the machinery. Remember the first time you drove a car or used a chainsaw. You can’t become an expert from reading the owner’s manual. You got to get her hands dirty and get the feel for what the machine can do. Students need to be patient.

I have students who are in shock when they read that they need three years of experience to qualify for a job posting. Yup. How do you get that experience? One day at a time in an entry level job. It takes patience. Cheryl Beers hires new graduates and places them in the assistant account executive positions. It is a training level position and Cheryl will tell you that hiring employees is the hardest part of her job. She says a red flag for her is a resume full of “job hopping” or short stays at companies. When she interviews a new hire she would rather he/she admit to not having an answer than make up something. You can’t fool her. If she hires you, you are in good hands. She wants to grow new hires into salespeople because she feels it is worth the effort for both her and the employee.

Beers has a short list for advice to students when they arrive at their first job:

  1. Be on time!

  2. Don’t miss work because you were out last night!

  3. Dress properly!

  4. Proper hygiene!


  6. Be aggressive but not rude.

  7. LISTEN!

According to Beers, it takes six months to ramp up a new employee to be a useful and capable of working in the sales department. Entry level jobs are important for the new employee to grow in the right direction. The assistant shadows the account executive and does the same things such as take orders, requests avails for OTT, searching rating points and answering phones. This is the level the students learn to use a chainsaw without cutting off a foot.

“More freedom will come to you when you are doing well,” says Beers. Until they know you won’t do something stupid or the wrong thing, the new employee is watched closely and prevented from straying too far from a mentor. “If you don’t do well, the focus is on you.” Most of all, don't fear rejection. "If you can't deal with rejection you shouldn't be in this business."

There is expectations that the new employee will grow inside the corporation by understanding the market, clients inventory and most of all, how to deal with people. Dealing with people is something we don’t teach in school, maybe we should. In fact, my syllabus will contain a few role reversal exercises, mock interviews and team building skits. I will try to teach more than the owner’s manual.

“Accept change. You must always accept change,” Beers says with confidence as she explains the sales tools she uses. She says OTT has not been around for very long and now is a vital part of the sales business. The evolution of television sales is moving rapidly and beyond the traditional platforms. If you don’t accept the change, you’re career will be over.

In the end, “we are selling air.” Television ad sales is about selling impressions on the internet and eyeballs on a screen. There is no tangible product to hold or give, unless you are in the production team. Your customers watch, listen and then move on. You fill up a few brain cells with a notion the customer needs something from this particular company. You hope it sticks. You hope that with the frequency of replaying the same spot more brain cells will fill and result in an action, voluntary or involuntary.

In the end there is no guarantee for success. Hard work each day revolves around relationships and negotiations.

However, sometimes a blind squirrel finds a nut! I did something good!

This training program required me to attempt some prospecting in the West Palm Beach market. And I found a potential buyer! My history working with hospital systems leaned me into a direction of the local hospitals. I think I found a potential buyer and Cathy agreed.

Cathy showed me how to search for buyers and analyze their needs. The goal is to uncover the buyer’s needs. I went online and looked at the market, customer’s concerns, types of customers, trends in their business and any innovations they may be promoting.

I can’t say too much because I think they have a great opportunity to please the buyer with a proposal.

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