Rob the cable guy: sold newspaper subscriptions, still loves, reads the newspaper

Been reading and hearing about Spectrum Cable’s 100 Mbps internet speed so Wednesday, I decided to give them a call to see what it was all about.

I hate dealing with sales persons for those kinds of companies. They make you think they’re interested in who you are and what you do but most of the time it’s small talk as they do some research for your question or more about just what kind of customer you are.

It started out that way with Rob, the sales person for Spectrum. Friendly sort and it wasn’t long before he wanted to know what I did. As I started trying to explain — “work with all the newspapers in Kentucky” is the way it usually begins — he told me I had 15 Mbps at home and that he could move me to 20 without a cost increase. “But we also have 50, 100, 200, 300, however much you want. So you work for a newspaper as a reporter or what?”

That gave me the opportunity to explain a little more what the job entailed so I said, “Lobbying the legislature, putting on conventions and seminars, contests for newspapers, doing public relations work and we sell advertising.” I told him it’s an association of all the newspapers in the state and that rang another bell.

“Really, that sounds exciting. My last job before taking this one with Spectrum was selling newspaper subscriptions for a news media company in New York. I really enjoyed that job because I believe in newspapers, and my son is about to head off to college and he thinks he wants to be a journalist.

“And I used to work for an association of newspapers in New York.” It didn’t sound like he worked for either the daily or the weekly newspaper association in the Empire State as such because he said some of his association’s members were “like The Penny Saver and some magazines but then some of the daily newspapers, too.”

He said one of the neatest things about the association he worked for was the advertising service. “We could place an ad in any newspaper in New York. That was really a great offering for clients because they dealt only with us. We could place them in newspapers in all the other states, too.”

I reminded him I had said one of the things KPA does is sell advertising and “we too can place an ad in newspaper in Kentucky or any newspaper in the U.S. And we’ve done business with USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Chicago papers. We place in all of them as well.”

It was probably a 40-45 minute conversation and usually I’m ready just to hang up on the sales person even if they aren’t finished with the sales pitch. But then talking to someone like Rob made the conversation enjoyable, the time fly by. Here was someone who had sold newspaper subscriptions, who believes in newspapers, who likes to “hold them in my hands when I read them but as far as magazines being online, that doesn’t bother me. I don’t read magazines as much as I do newspapers.”

Wish there were more of those sales/marketers out there like Rob. Not because he cared what I did for a living, but was interested in learning more about it and could carry on a conversation about the industry.

Now I can look forward to Friday afternoon when FedEx delivers my new modem/router that’s going to give me 100 Mbps speed at home. Don’t know what I’ll do with all of the extra speed but it was an easy sale for Rob.

I probably should track him down and tell him to let Spectrum’s ad agency know that any newspaper ad they want to place, in any newspaper across the U.S., just to give us a call and we’ll handle it beginning to end.

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