the power of the team - holiday guest blogger #1
Holiday Guest Blogger #1 - Carolyn Hill
The very word can evoke shudders from production companies to ad agencies. Well, let me just remind everyone—we sales people are just doing our jobs of being pleasantly persistent. Looking for opportunities for our companies is everyone’s job and I mean from the receptionist to the directors themselves.
Sales cannot involve egos. It can’t be about hoarding information and cutting people out of the loop. Successful companies operate with a team spirit. The fate of a company does not singularly rest in the hands of the rep. The film business is about the art of the team. We depend on each other. Look at a production with a really great crew. The same is true for sales.
I’m a fan of meetings. I enjoy attending the Curious Pictures production meeting. I like knowing what gaming projects and television shows they are working on. It’s helpful during my day to day for the commercial sales.
No one can successfully sell anything without information. This is what makes good reps valuable resources. When I was a reporter at Shoot (under editor Mary Knox, now the EP at Curious), people would constantly say to me, “I don’t know, write something.” I would have to explain that in order to write something, I still required information. Being an independent rep mirrors my old job at SHOOT, I just don’t file a story at the end of the day. It’s still the art of gathering information.
When I was first repping at Crossroads in the early ‘90s the internet and email was just starting out. People started to question, how the role of the rep would evolve. Today, the role of smart and knowledgeable reps is crucial. We are the gateway for work.
I can’t tell you how many times a producer explores the Curious Pictures website and then gets confused about the animation and calls me. I enjoy these calls because it’s about listening to the client’s needs and then showing them visually appropriate work. It’s the work of a visual curator. As I tell it, I make a living being right.
A major issue with many companies is that they hire a rep –whether it’s independent or staff—and then think all of their problems are solved. Hire the rep, it’s done. But that’s just not the case (although sometimes we work our magic and walk in the door with a big job). Yes, you get plugged into our regular network, but we need attention also. A good rule of thumb is that energy out is energy back in. Put some energy into your sales force and that’s how you see results.
Also, many companies think that switching reps is the answer to their problems. Say that company does not have a strong web presence, doesn’t advertise (!) or do sponsorships at industry events. Well, the rep has no back up. It’s not always about the reel and the director’s work. It’s often about the image and reputation of the company.
For example, Blind was founded in 1995 and had previously been considered a very West Coast company. Then two years ago they opened a New York office, headed by Nick Litwinko, and I came aboard about a year and a half ago. This year, the company more than doubled their billings out of my territory. I chalk this up to good team work as well as allowing the team time to succeed. You work all of your life to become an overnight success.
Everyone wants to know what the future holds and here’s what I can tell you : It’s going to be better and better. The internet will provide a need for more spots and long form advertising produced. The new speed of business can be unnerving, but ultimately, if you have the right team in place, we can all succeed.
A special thank you to Jerry for allowing me to guest blog.
Carolyn Hill has been a member of the commercial industry since 1990 when she started at SHOOT as a reporter. She worked on staff as a sales representative at Crossroads Films and OneSuch Films. Carolyn has been an independent sales rep since 1998. She holds an MFA in poetry from Columbia University '03 and lives in Manhattan with her husband Wayne Bjerke and daughter Paige.