It Takes More Than Talent and Practice to Go For the Gold

Feb 11, 2014 1:32:07 PM / by Kitty Malone

Gold medal winners, women's figure skating, 1924 Winter Olympics. Go for the gold in media sales!
The first Winter Olympic Games were held in 1924, in Chamonix, France. Medals in figure skating (left to right): Herma Szabo (Hungary, gold), Ephel Makelt (UK, silver), Beatrice Lugran (USA, bronze).

I love the Olympics. I love the competition. I love the pride. Efficio clients calling in for assistance can hear the TV in the background, because I can’t take my eyes off of sports that I know little about (I am always learning more about curling and moguls). I cannot imagine doing even the simplest move, like anything slopestyle. “Chariots of Fire” or the big kettle drums pounding before the trumpets sound “daaaa, DAAAA, da daa daa daa…” makes me melt.

Just as there are elite athletes representing at each Olympic competition, there are elite media sellers who have honed their skills to bring home financial gold. The obvious connection is that great athletes and great salespeople have natural talent, they prepare, and they practice and practice some more. Those are the foundations for winning at almost anything.

This year, as you watch the Olympics, I challenge you to analyze your performance to see if you have a few elements you can improve upon to push you to your media sales goals:

  • FOCUS. Olympic athletes have it – and you can, too. You will hear stories about athletes that gave up their normal teenage lives, families, and hometowns to move in with strangers so they could focus on their training. You may have to give up accounts that are wasting your time so you can focus on growing and developing those with more potential. Use your CRM to determine your top accounts and get more out of them, just like an athlete works to make the elements required for their sport better and better. The figure skater will develop a quadruple jump and the snowboarder will perfect the flip with a twist for the most points possible. You as a media seller should identify a limited number of accounts to target for development for the most dollars possible.
  • COACHING. Unlike some media salespeople (no names mentioned here) Olympic athletes don’t think they know everything. Make no mistake, they have egos too. But they recognize the benefits that come from working with someone who can both bring out the best in them and push them to do more. The end goal is the same for athletic coaches and sales managers — success. Realize that your coach has your best interests in mind, and be open to your own growth.
  • COMPETITION. I have found the best sellers are highly competitive. Not only do they want to win the sales contest, they want to be the top biller, praised more, and stand on the top tier of the podium. They are constantly analyzing their sales metrics to see how far ahead they are. Media sellers can use their CRM tools to measure themselves against goals, this year to last year, and other sellers. Olympic athletes often have to compete against their fellow countrymen to get the gold, but they are gracious in winning and take pride in beating the best. We were all shocked when Tonya Harding planned to hurt fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan to give herself a better chance at a medal. Media salespeople don’t have to be ruthless to get ahead. Make your goals, work your plan, keep score, and win.
  • PRIDE. American athletes will often go cheer on athletes representing the U.S. in other sports. Even the toughest athletes tear up as they stand atop the podium, hand over heart, and hear their national anthem. If you aren’t proud of your stations and the products you have to offer your clients, you are probably not as effective as you could be. I really have no use for country music. I don’t think Keith Urban is cute, and a slide guitar is like nails on a chalkboard. But as GSM of country stations, I was proud of the results we got for advertisers, the money we raised for charities, and the lives we may have saved with our outstanding weather coverage. Pride is exciting, and you will infect your customers with it.
  • CARRY THAT WEIGHT. Olympic athletes carry the weight of their country on their skis and skates. Media salespeople may have the weight of their families on their shoulders. If a seller doesn’t sell, the mortgage doesn’t get paid and college tuition goes out the window. Pressure can be suffocating or it can be motivating. Having that extra pressure makes the best rise to the occasion and work harder to get where they need to be.

Look at yourself as an elite athlete in a sport, and, if you have the talent, behave like one. Join me in cheering on our athletes for the next ten days, and I will join your management team in cheering you on as you soar.

By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services


Tags: Media Sales, sales productivity, sales performance, CRM, media sales analytics, Blog, account management

Kitty Malone

Written by Kitty Malone

Director of Customer Service