When first presented with the opportunity to join the Capitol Hound team I was nervous I would not be able to deliver. Our challenge was and still is to sell our product, which offers transcripts and alerts for lawmaker discussions in the North Carolina General Assembly this year.
Personally I had little experience selling media products and even less experience with Capitol Hound. Hundred of questions were running through my mind as our team moved toward the first days of the 2015 session.
What did our previous subscribers think about renewing for the long session? How many subscriptions needed to be sold to break even, or start turning a profit? How should I reach out to potential consumers? Email? Telephone? Face to face?
After speaking with John Clark, executive director of Reese News Lab, and Sara Peach, associate director of Reese News Lab, about where to begin, we decided to start reaching out to warm contacts. We got in touch with anyone we knew who was involved with the North Carolina General Assembly.
A conversation with a best friend’s father who had worked within North Carolina politics for the past 20 years led me to our first sale of the season. He said, “Selling is like bowling. You don’t bowl a strike by hitting every pin with the bowling ball, you strike a few key pins in the right order, and the rest fall in response.”
This really resonated with me and in response I started setting up phone meetings with our past customers, who I believed would lead us to our “key pins.”
I was impressed with our previous customers’ responsiveness and feedback about their user experience with Capitol Hound over the previous short session. Although I was opening communication lines with previous customers, the nervousness about making sales was still present in the pit of my stomach.
Little did I know that anxiety was soon to be expelled entirely. In our orientation this semester, John said, “Sales cure all”, and I am now a true believer in this mindset. We sold our first Capitol Hound subscription of the long session to a previous customer and it felt phenomenal. I did a double take when they casually asked for an invoice so they could cut us a check.
This first sell was a small piece in a much larger puzzle my team is solving, but it did produce much-needed confidence in what we are doing on Capitol Hound. I now have no hesitation setting realistic benchmarks for our team because I know we can deliver and overachieve this semester.