$0 to $950,000: Building a Book of Local Advertising Clients, the First 3,000+ Calls

I still have detailed sales activity reports from when I was getting started at Valpak and Elegant Living. The reporting was created to self-monitor my own activity and results.

The “calls” sheet covers my first 4 months at Valpak, over 3,000 “touches” resulting in $123,298.50 worth of signed advertising agreements.

Recording all of my activity and results helped me learn what tactics worked for me and my market, and what did not. Sorting “touch” activity by prospect name yields a “trail to the sale” view for each account won.

The sales chart below my covers my bookings signed first year at Valpak / Elegant Living. It shows 2 years worth of mailing months, as bookings signed in the first year spilled into the next year’s mailings.

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In 2011, after 5 years with the company, my personal combined sales in the Valpak envelopes and Elegant Living magazines, exceeded $950,000 annually. Six years later in 2017, many of the new accounts I signed are still active and spending approximately $500,000 a year combined on advertising in the envelope and magazine.

You can download pdf copies of my real call records, detailing how I built a respectable book of business from nothing: Flash Calls – Calls (1) Flash Calls – Sales Chart (2) Flash Calls – Run Sheet (3) Flash Calls – Stats (2)

What I learned by recording my activity in detail became useful in refining and teaching best practices in building a healthy book of local advertising clients. Also, by recording the activity, I kept focused on my activity, and not my sub $10,000 sales the first couple months or setbacks I faced months later.

Focusing on activity, doing the right things, and not worrying about immediate results is a secret to success that is paramount for rookie reps to take hold of. Do the work, the results will come.

If you do the right things long enough, time is your friend. – Bobby Adkins, President, Valpak Dealers Association

Bobby Adkins, the Publisher I worked for at Valpak and Elegant Living, remains a friend and mentor. After I moved on to work on a daily deal start-up, he hired me twice for short-term projects. One project was helping his team build a Shopify site to monetize trade certificates he would accept as payment for ads. The other was helping him successfully launch his magazine the San Antonio market remotely with a systematic, marketing-driven sales approach.

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