Persistence, street smarts and the ability to present an articulate argument represent the necessary ingredients of a successful advertising sales representative, according to WSFA-TV General Sales Manager Carrie Yates.
Yates, who recently moved from WSFA’s Raycom affiliate (WAFF) in Huntsville, Ala., manages a sales department of 17. She visited Auburn University Alumni Professor Herbert Jack Rotfeld’s marketing class Thursday morning at the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business.
“Sales people can’t wait for the phone to ring,” she said. “I always look for hungry people – someone who is never satisfied. Comfort is the worst quality in a salesperson.”
That never-give-up attitude is vital, said Yates, who grew up the daughter of an advertising agent in Omaha, Neb.
“I look at our sellers as people who fail for the majority of the job. This is a byproduct of the job. You fail until you succeed. You have to have the ability to push through failure and reach for success,” she said.
“Having street smarts is also important. You’ve got to have people skills – when to walk away, when is the right time to close, when to follow-up and when to up-sell.”
Being well-versed in advertising also helps create the well-rounded sales representative, she noted.
“Presentation of yourself and presentation of the station – understanding what people are looking for,” she added, noting that proper attire and sales pitches can vary from client to client. “You don’t want to talk over anybody’s head. You have to have to ability to present yourself uniquely in every different situation.”
Not all sales directors or representatives need marketing degrees. They need people skills too. Yates’ undergraduate work included majors in Psychology and Biochemistry from Louisiana State University.
“Psychology has served me particularly well in sales,” she said. “It’s about working with people, understanding how to help people do what we need and learning what makes people tick.”