Sleete on "The Street"

Cool strategies for hot local media sales: Handling client vacations


Summer begins in the Northern Hemisphere this year with the solstice on Thursday, June 20. So, it is time for the annual “Vacation schedule” heads up.

In the words of a 1958 tune from The Jamies — full disclosure, I would have preferred using The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City” or Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out,” but the lyrics just don’t fit.

It's summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime
Summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime
Summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime
Summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime, summertime...

…and it can be challenging when you have a great deal opportunity that requires a fast decision from a client, and they may not be around. So, create a vacation schedule. 

No, not yours — theirs.

Who are the key people who contribute most to your monthly billing? Call or e-mail each, asking for the exact dates they’ll be out this summer. 

Ask who be taking their calls in their absence. 

Ask who can make decisions while they are away. 

For agency business, do this for buyers, planners and A/Es if you know them — and you should!

In media ad sales, most of you will do more business in the last 4 months of the year than you have brought home in the first six. Summertime is when you can set new records — or just have an okay year. These client contacts will also welcome you to start pitching ideas for September through December business. 


Go back to your list from last September.
Which individual accounts billed best for you? 

Are they still active? 

If a couple of those accounts have gone dark, what others in the same category can be a good ad target? 

You can ask those questions of yourself now while clients are in the planning stages for Q4. 

The whys of these moves
Though everybody calls on the same accounts during vacation season, you’ll have a leg up, knowing in advance when key people will be in the office.

For September-plus business, you’ll be in the hunt first. You’ll know the playing field before the rest of your peers even suit up for the “I've been meaning to reach out to them” game. 

It’s a great way to grab much larger shares of an ad budget. 

After all, as they say, in summer, anything is popsicle!

Jeff Sleete is a 50+ year broadcast industry veteran — sales manager/GM/corporate sales head. He most enjoys helping sales departments position themselves as “mavens” (experts) of business to be more successful at selling advertising. Fundamentally, Jeff is a salesman. Through his media sales consultancy, Sleete Sales Script, he provides a daily road map for sellers of any media outlet type to be more consultative in their approach to their clients and set themselves apart from all their competition. Learn more about Jeff at Or reach him at


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