Beyond the Horizon

MARCH 2019

Ides of Marchers!

This is not the day I struggle with writer’s block!  Rather, prepare to be burdened with a “stream of consciousness” for the next few hundred words.  This almost always happens after attending a conference where I interact with tens of dozens of media executives.  The juices (you can determine how creative they are!) just seem to flow>>>

<<<First up - SALES!

Any obstacle can be overcome (or perhaps hidden!) when revenue is growing.  The challenge is to systematically diversify/change methods and targets so you don’t get lulled into anything resembling a sense of complacency or groove.  A “groove” inevitably becomes a rut that’s hard to escape.  We know that in our heads and have unfortunately learned it in our hearts in spades over the last decade.

Let me share three highlights from the Ten Habits of Successful Salespeople Ryan Dohrn delivered at the MEGA Conference.  If you’re not familiar with Dohrn, consider this an enthusiastic shout out.  He’s the real deal.

  • I think this quote is accurate:  “Local leadership has to control DESIRE!” 

Talk about a truism.  I can think of very few things more important in today’s environment than leadership and the implied discipline the best leaders must display!  We have to focus on a limited number of products, services and initiatives that truly serve customers; and, make sure compensation plans and sales structures are aligned.  Doing so paves the way for sales executives to execute easily, do so quickly and, therefore, their “DESIRE” is fully in alignment.

  • Illustrate the top three recommended packages (a picture or graphic) on your pricing grid.  In other words, include an image of what the ad(s) looks like or will serve as a good representation!  Dohrn even used the McDonald’s Value Meal analogy to describe this.

In a world where newspaper-centric terms (analog and digital!) are mostly misunderstood, this is a very simple, yet elegant way to effectively communicate our value to customers.

  • And, thirdly, when leaving a voice mail for a prospect, LEAD with the idea and not your name and number.  There’s an infinitely better chance your message will get listened to and if the idea has real legs, the likelihood you get a callback skyrockets!  Follow up the voice message with an email.


That strikes me as one of those blinding flashes of the obvious, making you want to take palm-to-forehead and ask, “Why didn’t I think of that?”


From a loyal reader (Thanks, Jared!) came this idea – each time you sell a new customer have the Publisher (GM, whatever) send a “Thank You” note to the business operator.  Clearly, 98% of this can be set up in advance and all you (or your order system) have to do is generate the letter (yes, a LETTER), sign and send.  Love that!  What about this variation on the theme – send a “we’re already missing you” note when a customer departs or a “we want you back” communiqueé regularly?  Make it automatic!


Which leads me to a notion I’m certain is a good one, but I’m not 100% certain how it should play out – think about this:

Every one of us gets an email notification from many companies we do business with summarizing our user metrics.  For example, every Monday I learn from Grammarly that, “...in the past week I’ve been more accurate than 63% of users or that I’ve used unique words more than 58%!”  Or, once a month American Airlines sends me a summary of the past month and updates my progress against their loyalty levels. 

Newspapers should do the same, shouldn't they?  We’ve got all sorts of data and traffic information about our online use.  Admittedly harder in the analog world, but still, as an ink-smeared-on-newsprint subscriber to three newspapers, it pains me to report that NONE of them have acknowledged my lifetime value in any way, shape or form.  I did a quick, back of the envelope calculation of what I’ve paid for those three subscriptions and it’s more than $30,000.  Shame on them!   You know who you are!


Think about this final nugget and how we might turn it into an advantage?  It seems to me the main thing most people do online is avoid work.   Even if that’s my hyperbolic worst, there’s clearly a LOT of time wasted online.   Let’s fix that!

We should offer guidance or content or maybe what to do and what NOT to do in a more digitally connected today.  The distractions are endless and accelerating – we can help.  Hell, maybe even lessons on how to host a smartphone intervention could be offered on a subscription basis to loyal readers?  Perhaps GateHouse Live can scale it across their newspapers as one of their “must do” events?

(These folks came in together – why aren’t they TALKING to each other?)

There’s a there in there somewhere and I’ll leave it up to you to determine where.

(Note:  I planned on covering six items today, yet only got to four.  I try to limit each Beyond the Horizon enewsletter to approximately 600 words, but blew past that long ago!  Guess you’ll have to come back next month and maybe share this a time or two!)

Have a great weekend!

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