One of our greatest strengths as local newspaper sales executives, selling ads to local businesses, is our relationships with these advertisers. We enjoy a level of trust made possible only by a business model that’s been around for hundreds of years. 

In many ways, we wear our reputations on our sleeves during sales calls. Many sales reps sell more of what they are most comfortable with and what they use in their own lives.

Each salesperson (in the media industry and probably elsewhere) takes his or her own approach to sales and sells what he or she knows and believes in. As a result, if your sales staff isn’t selling enough digital advertising, it might take more than 101 sales training and a new flyer to change that. 

Many newsmedia outlets have already bought or are planning to buy tablet devices of some kind for their sales staffs. At The Register-Guard, we’re making the leap onto the tablet bandwagon and have been talking about our approach to properly utilising these new tools quite a bit. 

One of the initial concerns in these discussions was if salespeople should be allowed to use the devices for tasks other than work-related. Our resounding answer is: “Yes.”

In fact, if we can actually get them to use these devices outside of work, that might be the biggest accomplishment. If they get excited about these devices, see the impact they can have on their lives, and start to envision where we’ll go next with technological advancements, then that excitement and enthusiasm could translate to their clients. 

A measure of success in this culture war of newspapers versus technology would be to see this veteran sales staff come to work talking about the latest app they downloaded or their high score on Angry Birds.

After all, as we head to a more and more mobile and digital world, we can’t expect our sales staffs to sell this stuff just because they’re asked to. If they don’t believe in it and aren’t excited about it, their accounts will pick up on that.

So, by all means, get your reps tablets — and encourage an Angry Birds tournament!