Why Some Direct Media Sales People Are Successful (and Some Are Not)

  • The desire to be successful.

    The desire to be successful is the Number One trait that stands out amongst them all. They usually have created a history of success. They may have been good at sport, or some other profession. They are very competitive and compete against themselves and others. They do this by beating their own last target, or building additional clients.

    A greater purpose than the job.

    This trait is about setting a purpose to their work. It might be to help and assist their clients, to create great promotions, or to build the right direct campaign that generates sales—or it might be just to feed the family or go on that extra vacation or get their kids through college. To them, money and success are by-products of the efforts they make.

    Setting goals.

    They are people who set real attainable goals, weekly, monthly and annually. They measure everything they do and are strong believers in revisiting and setting new goals all the time, not just once a year. The goal might be as simple as beating last month’s target, or rolling some more clients onto their client list as a hedge against the ones who fall off. They might want to win that month’s incentive or just to have a purpose for coming to work. They do have something to aim for all the time.

    Being accountable.

    They do not participate in what is called ‘the chicken run’. They don’t sell an advertising campaign that is not measurable or forget their accountability to the media company, leave the advertiser to it and be too ‘chicken’ to go back. If the campaign does not work or does not reach the client’s expectations, the really great direct media salespeople are back in there working it out, fixing the problem.

    Pursuing self-education.

    They do not wait for the company to spend money on their education, but go in search of it. They sign up for sales courses, or self-help development courses. They love to read books, listen to CDs and MP3 files and get the latest information on sales. They are obsessed with learning from such great masters as Tom Hopkins, OgMandino, ZigZiglar, Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie.


    They do not give up easily. They do not see setbacks as failures, just as obstacles to be surmounted. They look for other options, another way to solve the problem. They know when to back off and not overplay the persistence card, but they do not ever roll over and give up.

    Understanding the other media’s USP.

    They know everything about their competitors, not just in their medium but also in other media. If they are TV guys, they know everything about the pros and cons of radio and newspaper and online advertising. They know all the features and benefits of others’ products and their own. They know which benefits will appeal to their clients’ emotions. And they know the clients’ products. They know why people buy them, how they buy and when, so that they can communicate effectively with their medium’s audience. They are curious, always up to speed with retail trends and ideas that they can use to support their client’s success.

    Have mentors.

    They seek help and guidance from people they admire and trust. They may even have a coach they work with, or a colleague or manager they confide in, someone they can feel comfortable with and talk through their fears and doubts.

    Have fun, optimism, enthusiasm and integrity.

    They are not into BS, and they would not survive in this business if they were. They do not take themselves too seriously—media sales can be a very demanding and stressful job, but the great salespeople do learn to have fun and enjoy themselves. They are reliable. They keep their word and their agreements.

    These traits can be learned and you may have many of them already. With some help there is no reason why you cannot encompass them all.

    The important thing is to look at your future in direct media sales with an open mind and heart, be prepared to seek a little coaching along the way, and think outside the box. Be willing not to follow blindly what others have already done. Dare to be a little different and take a few risks.