Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

A Day in the Life of A Sales Rep: Lisa Hashimoto

Lisa Hashimoto is the automotive marketing specialist at The Ventura County Star
I started working for the newspaper in 1988 as an Automotive Sales Rep; I left the paper 10 years later to give my selling skills a shot at selling BMW’s. I did well but missed the Monday-Friday “normal” work days and returned to the paper six years ago as an Automotive Sales Rep again.

Please tell me about yourself and your position at the newspaper.
I started working for the newspaper in 1988 as an Automotive Sales Rep; I left the paper 10 years later to give my selling skills a shot at selling BMW’s. I did well but missed the Monday-Friday “normal” work days and returned to the paper six years ago as an Automotive Sales Rep again. The years working at the dealership helped me tremendously to be able to understand the automotive business and their needs.

How long have you been a sales rep at The Ventura County Star?
I’ve been a sales rep for The Ventura County Star for a total of about 16 years.

What made you get into this line of work?
Actually, one of my girlfriends was a sales rep and was getting a promotion to management and talked me into coming to work for her. I love the sales end of it, and I really enjoy the relationship building. I’ve always been fascinated with advertising campaigns as far back as Coca-Cola®.

Please describe your typical day at as a sales rep.
Most days I start in the office just to take care of any paperwork, and check my email. Then I head out to the field. Because I work with only car dealers, most of their advertising is done on the weekend. My Monday through Wednesday is usually spent going over ad schedules, collecting ad copy and scheduling my ads. Thursday is a crazy day for proofing and finalizing ad copy for the weekend. Friday morning we have a sales meeting that usually is no longer that an hour, we go over the week, talk about what’s coming up and any problems we may have had. The rest of the day is spent catching up on paperwork or meeting with customers and going over their online reports and campaigns.

Can you describe the difference between your print and online advertising sales? Is one a harder sell than the other?
Because I come from a print back-ground, the print has always been easier for me to sell, but with the Internet having such an big impact on the car dealers I’ve really had open my mind to a “multimedia” way of selling. What we’ve done is created multimedia packages that include print and online, this gives our customers more exposure and better results! And let’s face it, results is what matters.

How do you build a rapport with your clients?
I want my customers to trust me, know that I am working for them and the best way for me to gain that trust and respect is face to face. I always have a positive attitude when I go out to see my customers. I let them know I am here to help them, not me. I’m on their side and really want to see their business succeed.

What advice do you have for new sales reps just entering into the job force?
Stay positive; never take the word “no” personally! Become your customer’s friends. That doesn’t mean you have to hang out with them on the weekend, but learn their business and find out what’s important to them…listen to your customer. My brain never stops trying to think of creative solutions for my customers! And just remember, if you don’t sell them, somebody else will.

How has the job changed since you started working there?
Where do I begin? When I started in 1988 I used to spend so much more time driving from customer to customer to do everything, we didn’t have email, cell phones, texting or Internet! But with change comes progress. I can’t even imagine how I did all this without all the great communication tools we have today.

Can you describe one successful pitch or idea — one that you found challenging or one that your particularly proud or excited about?
I can’t think of one in particular but by combining products such as print, Yahoo BT, online, mobile texting and SEM, we’ve been able to deliver such a large, diverse audience to our customers with great results!