Be a Better Salesperson, ahem, PR Professional

The old adage is that “we’re all in sales.” Truly, in public relations we are selling a story. Hopefully, the story is so good that it “practically sells itself,” – another sales adage. But sometimes our behaviors can give us an advantage. A Snapp Conner client,, has invested in research to develop best practices for the growing inside sales industry to help their customers be even more successful. Here’s how I’m using their insights in my own work:

1. Respond right away. The most cited best practice from is to respond to online leads within 5 minutes. You are 100 times more likely to contact that lead than if you respond in 30 minutes. Have you ever noticed that the faster you respond to a media query, the more likely you are to be included in their story? Delay is decay.

2. 3×3. Social media is touted as the way of the future – for generating leads and for sharing news. But when researching your leads, or journalists to pitch, it is too easy to get sidetracked or overwhelmed by the amount of information you can find. Be smart and incorporate this best practice: Gather 3 pieces of information from social media in 3 minutes. Find something recent and applicable, but do it quickly, because if you never send the pitch, it doesn’t matter how good your research is!

3. Be pleasantly persistent. tells me that the average sales person makes 1.3 phone calls to respond to a lead, but that you really need to make 5-6 calls to wring 85% of the value from that lead, or as many as 12 calls to get 95% of the value. Translated to PR – I put more effort into trying to reach a reporter, producer or whomever it is I am contacting on their behalf. It doesn’t always have to be by phone either – email, LinkedIn, twitter, all count as contacts. Find their preferred method of communication, as well as the most effective method of communication (they are not always the same!), and be pleasantly persistent without stepping into the realm of annoying.

4. Book appointments as soon as possible. In sales, if you book an appointment the same day 63% of the people will show up, compared to booking four days away when only 28% of the people show up. In PR, you may finally catch someone on the phone only to discover that it is not a good time for them to talk. Propose another time, preferably later that same day, to increase your chances of getting them on the phone again.

Do you have other tips you’ve borrowed from another industry that help you in PR?