A year selling media offers just enough ups to get you through the downs. Thankfully, each year comes with a fourth-quarter blitz, when revenue flies around as fast you do, and quotas can go from barely beaten to annihilated with that one last deal.
As this year races to the finish line and we grab a seat at the bar for some holiday cheer, it may be a good time to make sure you are selling yourself inside your building as well as you have sold outside of it.
Though I've received great advice on this topic throughout my career, much of it I never followed. The education I acquired from owning the mistakes my mentors hoped I would avoid arms me with the advice I now offer you. Here, then, is a list of three things media salespeople can do (and not do) to sell themselves more effectively inside their own company without appearing to do so.
Don't put a target on your back.
In Goodfellas, Robert De Niro's character, Jimmy Conway, tells his crew not to spend their cut earned from the big heist so they won't draw any unnecessary attention. This advice gets buried, however, along with a few bodies in unusual places.
Invariably, every January a few new cars roll into the parking lots at multimedia companies, driven by a few celebrated salespeople. Additionally, other high-end purchases made over the holidays by those in sales seep into office chatter as the New Year begins. It's human nature to enjoy the fruits of your labor, but envy is a subconscious weed that feeds on the fruits of others. If you enjoyed a nice payout this fourth quarter, try to hold off on any significant purchases until springtime, when the weather -- and those who did not cash in this winter -- turns warmer.
Do spread the wealth.
I was never comfortable giving gifts to coworkers during the holidays. It felt too contrived. But somehow, the following advice, as crass as it sounds, is a more genuine gesture with greater rewards for both the giver and the receiver: Take 10 percent of your year-end bonus, slice it up, and discreetly place the dividends in cards stuffed with gratitude for those not commissioned for their efforts. This is a wise investment in your career, and it feels so much better than handing someone a picture frame, a candle, or some homemade grappa.
Pick your battles.
Not engaging an issue is a form of restraint few are able to put into practice. However, for those who do, their ride up the ladder is far smoother and lasts much longer.
This advice is easy to comprehend, but when your job is affected by an unexpected change handed down by your management, it is difficult not to fight it. So try working with a quota. Tell yourself -- even tell your manager, if you have that kind of relationship -- that you reserve three battles a year. You are not sure what they will be, or what your positions on an issue will be, but you want to be heard on the three issues you choose to bring up. By limiting your battles to no more than three a year, you will be perceived as a compliant employee with leadership qualities. Battling more than that will leave you weary and subject to animosity and resentment.
Finally, I will leave you with some relevant advice I collected not from a media sales mentor but from my sixth-grade teacher, whose blackboard greeted us the first day of class with white chalk that read, "Choose to be here, it's where you are."
Where you work is where you are. Choose to be there every day and watch how those you work for will select you when faced with a choice to make.