Andrea Messimer Henley has 20 years experience in out of home advertising sales. Henley is an independent outdoor advertising sales rep in Tampa Florida. Prior to launching her own firm she was a SE Region manager for CBS Malls, an account executive for CBS Outdoor, Clear Channel Outdoor and Adams. Insider is running a three part interview with Andrea. Today, she’ll give 7 rules for selling out of home. Tomorrow she’ll talk about some memorable campaigns she’s worked on. On Friday she’ll dish on what it’s like to work for Clear Channel, CBS and Fairway.
Andrea, how did you get in the out of home advertising business?
One of my first jobs out of college, I was a Ricoh Copier Sales rep. I sold a copy machine to Adams Outdoor Advertising. Part of my job was to train the staff on how to use the copier. They liked the flow and the use of features and benefits that I incorporated during my demo so much they hired me. We started using those applications to sell Outdoor Advertising in the Jackson Michigan Market. At the time I thought a poster was only something you hung up on your bedroom wall, and the only bulletin I had ever heard of was the one we used as a hand out in church with the daily updates.
What does it take to be successful as an outdoor sales rep?
Strive to be a stand-out in your representative in your market, in your company and in the industry. People move around its good to know all the players if you want to advance. I am not a fly under the radar kind of person I put myself out there, good or bad. I dive in…
- It takes time. 1-5 years before you know what you are doing and making real money then you realize this can be a long term career. So don’t give up. If you are good at it. You will know by year 3
- Know your market. Know your inventory and your competitors inventory. Get in your car and drive it. Don’t view it on a computer screen from a photo-sheet. Take the customer in the car with you. You will get to know more about their business and what their plans are for the future on a market ride than any happy hour, dinner or lunch, trust me.
- Spec artwork. If you have an idea for a business, create spec artwork and hand deliver it to them, with some cookies, or event tickets.
- Know your own company. Learn everything about sales, revenues, profits, operations, real-estate, scheduling, administrative. Ask the people in those departments about what they do and what they know. Don’t put a barrier between departments, you are all ONE team… All of the departments have helped me in my career, respect what they do and they will respect what you do. The Operation department has helped me succeed more times than I can count. I’ve delivered vinyls to installers and brought them coffee and water. Guess what? My vinyl’s went first because they didn’t have to drive to the shop to get them.
- Get more $ from your existing accounts vs getting new accounts. It’s easier to sell someone that is already doing business with you, than to get a brand new customer.
- Keep client’s best interest in mind. If I can’t assist them I refer them to my competitors or another medium that would work better. In return I become a consultant/partner/friend to advertisers and my customers. I never feel right about taking a clients money if I can’t provide them with the best solution to fit their needs… I get more business because of my transparency and my advice.
- Circle back. If I lose a sale due to price, the customer/ advertiser usually comes back around. I will follow up with them after a few months to see how it is going even if they aren’t doing business with me. They are always surprised and glad to hear from me. I hear most of the time they haven’t heard from their sales rep since they signed the contract. Or if they are happy, they say I am glad you called because I have another market or area I need your help with. It’s so important to circle back around with advertisers even if you have lost the business. Because businesses change and grow and so do customers needs. I know that I can’t be everything to everyone but anything I can assist with I will get the business and grow it…