Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

A Day in the Life of A Sales Rep: Brandy Vasquez

A day with Brandy Vasquez, sales rep from The Colorado Springs Gazette
Hear what Brandy Vasquez has to say about a typical day at The Colorado Springs Gazette, and why she's in love with media and advertising.

I actually got into this industry because I could type more than 45 words a minute and I could spell. At the time the Gazette hired me, sales experience (although I did have this) was not a huge issue. They wanted someone who could type and spell which apparently is a rare thing to find. I fell in love with media and advertising though and that is what has kept me here.

What is your typical day like?
I come in at 8 a.m. I make phone calls (whether they are cold calls, returned calls, customer service) between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. I try to call a minimum of five potential clients per day and set my appointments up. This is also when I schedule ads for the week, check my revenue, fill up my pipe lines (or sales plans) and prospect. I also do some additional things for the Gazette that require some time, such as running the Fun Committee and working as a Champion on different events.

Once 10 a.m. comes around, I am out and about Most of the time I have set appointments with new and existing clients, however, I also do walk-ins (especially educational businesses) throughout my day. At 3 p.m. I come back to the office and take the information from the field and start building campaigns, ideas, spec ads, presentations, etc… This is also when I follow up on emails and voicemails that are not urgent, and send out thank you’s. However, even after the 5 p.m. bell to go home rings, I am constantly working on things with clients (which is the only minor annoyance of having an iPhone and iPad).

Please Describe your Online and print initiatives.
In my particular realm of media, I do both retail and classified advertising. So I sell both print and liner-type ads. Print advertising really works on a demographic basis depending on what type of print product I put my client in. The Gazette has more than five publications aimed at different targets, so, by understanding my client, I will know where and how to place an advertisement to reach the targeted audience.

The way we formulate print ads differs from online. Print requires a little more information; people stop to read these ads, so there is more time involved. Also, you don’t necessarily need something too edgy. Online is different. An online message generally has to be quick, eye catching and link somewhere. Also with print products, people pay to read the paper or they pick up the non-subscriber, but online can be total hit or miss shot. That is why the average click through rate is only 0.3 percent while print is higher. But online reaches a totally different demographic. The Gazette is older generation, highly educated, with a disposable income. Internet is a younger crowd, may or may not be educated, may or may not have disposable income (depending on the site). 

Online is different. An online message generally has to be quick, eye catching and link somewhere." 

When it comes to recruitment ads, the tables turn a little bit. Most people tend to use a job board over print. However, we do see trends on industries. Most people who are professional, white collar, technical positions use a job board like Where blue collar-type employees—such as construction, warehouse, drivers—use the newspaper. Healthcare can go either way, however, I am seeing a higher trend in print for better response than job boards. I sell both Monster and print for jobs. I can even do e-mail blasts, Yahoo, text messaging, etc., to reach potential employees. Since Monster is the #1 job board and just recently purchased Hot Jobs, it tends to be a fairly easy sell to clients. After all, unlike marketing, businesses have to advertise jobs available.

Over all depending on the client, I think online is a little hard to sell, especially in the recruitment world (minus the Monster). People don’t realize the Gazette has these capabilities, so, by the time I meet a potential client and tell them all we can do, they already have someone else doing it. That’s another reason why it is a lot harder—there is a lot of competition for online business.

How do you build rapport?
Honestly, it depends on the client and what kind of personality they have. I usually start with something small, like a bag of goodies and work up to coffee or lunch. From there I can determine what type of personality they have. I let them do all of the talking within the first 10–15 minutes of the meeting. By the end of the 15 or so minutes, I can tell what type of client this is. Because I listen to what they have to say and work my personality around that, it makes me more successful during closing time.

Can you describe a campaign you’re particularly proud of?
The one I am most proud is a very recent accomplishment of mine. I had recently had an issue with my daughter’s school, so my sister, who runs all the Charter Schools in Colorado, and I had been talking about ways to helps schools promote themselves so that other parents did not have to go through what I did. The first ever Pikes Peak Parent & Gazette fair was created from that conversation. This was a lot of work; once the idea was generated, we had to run it through the channels. My director loved the idea, however we had many skeptics from different divisions that said the Gazette had tried to do this before and failed miserably. But I was determined. Prior to the final “lets do this,” I had to make countless amounts of calls to people in the industry—from public, charter, private, online and other educational institutions—to learn about the needs in Colorado Springs and if this would be worth doing. Most everyone I spoke to said “YES!” After reassuring the Gazette that this could be done, I was given the opportunity to put together the fair. The first big challenge was the time frame. Because it was late November and the education fair needed to be done in January (which was choice elections for parents and schools), I had one month to put this together and promote it. On top of that, schools were out for two weeks on holiday vacation. There were many additional challenges: finding the venue, reaching the right audience and creating packages that could be affordable to non-profit companies. After all was said and done, we put on the first Pikes Peak Education Fair on January 23. This event had 58 vendors and over 400 people attended. The idea generated the Gazette over $23,000 in brand revenue and countless new contacts. Because of my passion, the Gazette created a new roll for me that is benefiting both the company and myself.

What modern technology can you not live without?
The iPad is the heart and soul of my professional experience. I use it for EVERYTHING. I can take it to clients without lugging around a laptop and requiring an Internet key. It’s all at my fingertips. The Gazette has a couple apps, one for the Gazette and one for Gazette Preps, which allows high school parents to look up high school sports. I show these to clients because we do sell advertising space on our apps. We do not sell iPad ads specifically, but we sell mobile ads, which work with the iPad, and regular ads (assuming they don’t have flash). I have a few different apps on my iPad that are just amazing. My favorite by far is the Good Reader app. This allows me to store and show PowerPoints, Excel Spread Sheets, Word Docs, etc. Instead of bringing presentations in paper, I show them on my iPad, which makes us look green and wow’s the client. This also helps with selling online ideas because the client sees that we are technologically savvy. I have an app that allows me to print my presentation once I am done, if they want a copy, or I can email it directly from my iPad. I do all my Monster demonstrations on my iPad (which also has an app), and this shows the client how to use Monster services. I allow my client to play with the iPad, which gets them more engaged in what they are doing. I have an app called Keynote that allows me to build presentations; it’s a little more time consuming, but good to have if I am not around a computer. My work emails go directly to my iPad and I use it as my GPS, calendar, contact list, you name it. The Internet is quick and it fits right into my purse. I would recommend that all business people have an iPad. I honestly believe it will change the course of history and how people will do business in the future. I am very glad that the Colorado Springs Gazette feels that investing in this technology is a good idea.