The KISS approach to growing your classified revenue

Richard Clark
Richard Clark

With Richard Clark, Vice President Inside Sales—Northeast Tennessee Media Group and Director of Classified Ventures--Sandusky Newspaper Group

The single simple thing? This: Create a list of every business that has advertised in classified over the last five years, and give that list to your inside classified salespeople to call everyone of them once a month.

Treat classified sales reps like, you know, sales reps: You expect your sales reps to call on every business in their territory every month. Why don’t we expect the same thing of classifieds sales rep. 

Don’t sell the sizzle, sell the steak: We don’t have to constantly feature shiny new products because our core product works so well. 

How are ads doing? Performance reports very important. An example from recruitment: Report on how many people clicked the whole job ad, who clicked on the apply button, how many actually applied. Midway through a 30-day run, we ask if they want to go into print, and at the end ask if there are any other jobs they want to advertise.

How are sales reps doing? Use same metrics on the performance of your classified reps, ensuring they are calling all their customers every month. 

Richard Clark said it: “If you want to be like Pinky & The Brain and take over the world, you have to stop being just order takers.” (Pinky & The Brain reference explained here.) [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinky_and_the_Brain]

Get an online partner such as Real Match, Zip Recruiter or Monster. Even at small Sandusky papers, they were able to charge $150 to $175 because businesses see the results. 

Brevity is the soul of classified sales.   Try to get across one—two at the most—points about their ability to get more candidates. If you try to do more than one or two things, you’ll confuse the customer—and you’ll probably lose the sale.

Getting a return on your customer. If a business has stopped advertising, call and offer a special discount for returning customers. 

Realize that job search has changed. It’s mostly taking place on phones. Recruiters have changed so much, and newspapers don’t realize what they want. Need to be able to talk about programmatic job campaigns, 

Hit those phones: Calling customers means making a call. Email doesn’t have anywhere near the impact.

Why the emphasis on recruitment classifieds? Richard Clark said this, too: “Recruitment is where the payoff will really, really, really justify the effort you put into it.” 

Give this one simple step a little time. It likely will take two to three months for revenue to grow from this technique, but it will pay off.

Want to follow up with Richard Clark? Contact him at rclark@johnsoncitypress.com