Looking to beef up your sales team? Some of the best candidates might be hiding in plain sight. You see, journalists make some of the best salespeople. Independent publishers across the country are turning to their editorial departments to round out their sales teams.
Journalists and salespeople actually have a lot in common. They’re fearless, determined, and creative — and they’re known for doing their research.
Journalists know the publications they represent inside out. They know what the publication stands for. They know what the publisher believes in. And when they do get stumped on a hard question, they know where to turn to find the answer. The similarities between outstanding salespeople and great journalists far exceed the differences.
Publications with at least one salesperson on staff generate 30x more revenue than those that outsource the role. In one survey, the median annual ad revenue for startups with at least one salesperson was $117,000, compared to $3,900 for those that didn’t have a salesperson on staff.
If finding a star salesperson is holding you back from taking your publication to the next level, now is the time to make a change and tap into the talent working in your editorial department. Here’s everything you need to know about why journalists make the best salespeople:
1. Journalists are fearlessly determined. The best journalists aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions. So are the best salespeople. The most effective journalists and salespeople also tend to be persistent — continually working until they get the answers they’re looking for.
2. They’re creative. The right answer isn’t always clear. Journalists are used to thinking outside the box to solve challenges during the reporting process, and salespeople should be, too. The ability to think quickly on the spot is an undervalued skill within the sales community, yet it’s something that the best salespeople manage to do seamlessly.
3. They do their research. Why hasn’t this business purchased an ad yet? Why hasn’t this client re-upped their campaign? Why isn’t this display ad performing as well as expected? These are questions that can almost always be solved by doing a bit of research. Nobody understands research better than a journalist. Journalists have to understand who they’re dealing with and what the situation is just to do their jobs each day, which leads right to point #4…
4. They know how to ask the right questions. Client relationships aren’t always easy. When money and business are involved, emotions get heightened. It’s important to understand the right way to approach each and every client interaction. The art of interviewing is a skill that translates well from journalism to sales. Salespeople have to understand and connect with emotions, and they need to continue asking the right questions to find the desired response.
5. They’re goal oriented. Have a job that needs to get done? Ask a journalist to handle it. The type of person who is drawn to journalism is someone who is goal oriented and motivated by deadlines. That’s what you want in a salesperson, too. The best salespeople are driven to accomplish tasks and exceed the expectations of demanding clients.
If you work in traditional media and you’re looking to fill out your sales team, take a look around your editorial department and ask if anyone would be up for a new challenge. The firewalls that once stood between journalists and salespeople are slowly breaking down, and more star reporters are eager for the opportunity to take on new challenges.
If you’re not ready to commit, consider asking a journalist to try out for a sales position for a few weeks. There’s no reason to be afraid of failure here. You just might discover that your next top salesperson is already working for your publication.
Stay up to date with the latest marketing, sales, and service tips and news.