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SAPAToday The Bi-Monthly Newsletter for the Free Paper Industry

September & October|2007

Playing the Game of Work By Tim Smith How do you play and win at your game of work? Why do we as Americans pay more for our avocations than our vocations?

In this Issue: page 2 SAPA Board of Directors

page 3 Don’t Criticize the Competition

page 4 Leadership Lessons

page 9 eConferences Detailed

page 10 Calendar of Events

Southeastern Publishers

Advertising Association

Think about that for a minute. We pay to play our sports, games and hobbies, but when was the last time that you paid for a seminar or class to enhance your career? Being from Allentown, PA there is a time of year here in PA that the state shuts down. That time of year is the week after Thanksgiving, we call it Hunting Season. I have several good friends who for 51 weeks out of the year walk around in a fog both personally and professionally. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, our Creator puts “life” into them. They drive into the woods, then hike 5 miles with 70 pounds of equipment on their back over terrain they would not drag their dying best friend over. To then wake up at 4am and make a breakfast fit for a king, these guys burn water on a regular basis. After they walk into the woods with 100,000 other people with live ammunition to sit under a tree in sub-zero degree weather hoping to see a deer and then kill that deer. They then drag 300 pounds of deer over

terrain again to then have it framed on their wall and cook deer meat. Why? Because there is a definite visual end result. If they come home with a deer they know they have won. Did you win or lose today at your game of work today? And if I ask your manager if you won or lost, would their answer be the same as your answer. In recreation goals are clearly defined, shooting a deer, scoring a touchdown or losing weight – the results are clear and easily measured. Would several hundreds of thousands of people get up at pre-dawn hours on a Sunday to run 26 miles through the streets

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S o u t h e a s t e r n Ad ve r t i s i n g P u b l i s h e r s A s s o c i a t i on ( 8 0 0 ) 3 3 4 - 0 6 4 9 ( 8 8 8 ) 3 3 4 - 0 6 4 9 f a x

SAPA Board of Directors

President Mike Woodard Tuscaloosa Shopper & Reporter Northport, AL 205-333-7525

Vice President Bill Bowman Up & Coming Weekly Fayetteville, NC 910-484-6200

Treasurer Russell Quattlebaum Southeast Sun Enterprise, AL 334-393-2969

Secretary Tony Onellion Bargains Plus Slidell, LA 985-649-9515

Past President Greg Ledford Shelby Shopper & Info Shelby, NC 704-484-1047

Past President Molly Richard Quik Quarter Classifieds Lafayette, LA 337-234-3463

Past President Brenda Finchum Coffee County Shopper Manchester, TN 931-728-3273

Past President Gary Benton Peddler ADvantage Paris, TN 731-644-9595

Board Member Alan Lingerfelt The Piedmont Shopper Danville, VA 434-822-1800 2 SA PA Tod a y

Board Member Garth Hawken Flashes Shopping Guide Stuart, FL 772-287-0650

Don’t Criticize The Competition keep the dialog moving in a positive direction

By John Foust, Raleigh, NC

competition to appear strong in any way.)

Criticism can kill a sale. Just ask Daryl, who handles the media planning for a large regional advertiser.

There’s no reason to be caught off guard. You know your competitors. There are plenty of nice things you can say about them.

“I remember one sales person who started on the wrong foot, and went downhill from there,” he said. “When he found out that I was considering advertising with one of his competitors, he told me in great detail what was wrong with them. He actually thought he was helping me make a decision. Obviously, he had never heard that old saying, ‘When you sling mud, you only lose ground.’” “His rant didn’t reveal much about the people he was criticizing, but it said a lot about him,” Daryl explained. “I decided then and there that I didn’t want to do business with him. “ In a sales environment, mud-slinging usually hurts the critic more than the object of the criticism. Here’s a three-step formula to avoid the criticism trap. 1. Ask non-confrontational questions. “Sharp sales people keep the dialogue moving in a positive direction,” Daryl said. “When they learn that I’m considering their competition, they see it as an opportunity to learn more about my business – and how I want to promote it.” Ask questions like, “What do you like best about Brand-X Media?” You might learn something that can help you tailor your presentation to better fit your prospect’s needs.

3. Stick to the facts. After you’ve said something positive about the competition, you can use point-by-point comparisons to shift the attention to your product’s attributes. The “Criticism transition is simple. Prospect: “Yesterday, I met with someone from Brand-X.I’m trying to decide between advertising in your paper or theirs.”

can kill a sale.”

Sales Person (asking nonthreatening question): “I’m curious. What do you like best about them?” Prospect: “Well, it looks like they reach a lot of people.” Sales Person (watch for the compliment-tocomparison shift): “Yes, they have high numbers. That’s one of their biggest strengths. Now, let’s look at the facts about their readership and ours. To make a fair comparison, here’s a chart that shows the numbers for both papers in our geographic area. Although their overall numbers are high, you can see that we actually reach more of your potential customers.”

2. Compliment the competition.Think of something you sincerely like about the product you’re selling against. For example, “I know several of Brand-X’s people through our local advertising club.They have a good reputation.”

Ancient Greek painter Zeuxis proclaimed,“Criticism comes easier than craftsmanship.” Daryl – and your advertisers – would agree with the old artist. It’s easy to take pot shots at the competition, but it takes creative thinking to craft a compelling presentation.

This kind of comment demonstrates your intention to tell your sales story respectfully. Plus, it shows that you have confidence in the product you’re selling. (If you weren’t confident, you wouldn’t want to your

(c)Copyright 2007 by John Foust. All rights reserved. E-mail John Foust for information about his training videos for ad departments: jfoust@

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Leadership Lessons From A Crazy Airline by Jerry Bellune Texas lawyer Herb Kelleher and businessman Rollin King created the concept for Southwest Airlines on a cocktail napkin in a San Antonio restaurant. For a year, other airlines tried legally to keep them grounded. But the two men star ted Southwest in 1971. They succeeded because they dared to be different. They offered low fares by eliminating unnecessary ser vices. They did not tr y to compete with the traditional air lines. They looked for people with what they considered the right attitude -team players. They wanted people who took their work seriously but not themselves. They took what could have been a good organization and made it great. What it takes. For 35 years, Southwest has been profitable in an industry where many of its competitors have lost millions of dollars a year. Its flights are on time. It has never had an in-flight fatality. And it is annually among 4 SA PA Tod a y

Fortune magazine’s top five Most Admired Corporations in America. What’s the secret to building a great organization? How do you build a culture of commitment and performance? “In two words; Be yourself.” Kelleher says. Here are 16 lessons all of us can learn from Southwest Airlines: 1.Take care of business. Southwest Airlines has a reputation as the ‘crazy’ guy of commercial aviation. Yet, in many ways they are a conservative company. They maintain a strong balance sheet, watch costs and make every dime and dollar work. In the early 1990s, when the airline industry lost $12.5 billion, Southwest was able to buy more planes to compete in a growing market. 2. Have fun. “We’ve always believed business can and should be fun,” Kelleher says. “At far too many companies, when you come into the office you put on a mask. You look different, talk different, act different. We try NOT to hire people who are humorless, self-centered, or complacent. They are what makes us different, and in most enterprises, different is better.” 3. Share responsibility. Asked if he was afraid of losing control of Southwest, Kelleher said he didn’t

have control and never wanted it. If you create an environment where people truly participate, you don’t need control. They know what needs to be done, and they do it. 4. Create servant leaders. “We’re not looking for blind obedience,” Kelleher says. “We’re looking for people who want to be doing what they’re doing because they consider it to be a worthy objective. I have always believed that the best leader is the best server. And if you’re a servant, you’re not controlling.” 5. Listen to the troops. Kelleher believes that top management is likely to be a step behind its employees. They can’t know everything that goes on in their operations and shouldn’t pretend to. Meet with your employees not to give orders but to learn the problems they face and see how you can help. You are all servants carrying out a mission. Your people always come first. 6. Encourage initiative. The f reedom, informality, and interplay that people enjoy allows them to act in the best interests of your company. For instance, when competitors demanded millions of dollars a year to use their reservations systems, Kelleher said “forget it -- we’ll develop an electronic, ticketless system so travel agents won’t continued on page 9

Is on the Grow!

Find out why! KIDSVILLE NEWS! IS THE NATION'S FAVORITE AND FASTEST-GROWING CHILDREN’S NEWSPAPER. From a humble but persistent start of four publications just two years ago, to over 80 editions today, Kidsville News! is making an educational impact all across the country. Why? Because children need to read and Kidsville News! creates new revenue streams and higher profits for newspaper publishers.

With a circulation of over 900,000, Kidsville News! has proven itself to be a fun and effective learning resource for children, teachers and parents. It is the source for school news, information and local community events, while promoting literacy and the development of good reading habits, character traits and study skills in young children — and Kidsville News! is always FREE!

September 2007: Publishers: 80 and growing! Circ.: 900,000+

Find out the revenue and profit potential in your community and explore the Kidsville News! opportunity by visiting our booth at: MACPA Fall Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, October 5-7 MFCP Fall Conference, Coraville, IA, October 19-20

Call today to “get on the grow� with Kidsville News!TM Contact: Bill Bowman, President 910-222-6200 or 910-391-3859

January 2006 Publishers: 21 Circ.: 420,000

January 2005 Publishers: 4 Circ. 80,000


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eConferences... What’s it all about? One of the most important membership benefits we offer SAPA publishers is training by our very own executive director, Douglas Fry. He has been able to get around to see many of you. However, they haven’t perfected the cloning process yet so he can’t be everywhere– until now. Beginning November 1st, 2007 SAPA headquarters will offer group and one-on-one training over the internet. You will receive an email telling you of the date, time, web address, and toll-free number call in on. Then just log on and dial in, to watch, listen and learn. We have investigated the possibility of web based training and eConferences for quite a while. The problem with most of them is that they are limited to PowerPoint presentations. PowerPoint presentations can be dynamic and interesting but they lack real-time interaction with the participants. By using the service participants can watch and discuss as a

process or technique is explained. This is much more engaging and interesting than listening to a canned presentation with little ability to interact. We’ll keep the eConferences to only 30 minutes each. This will allow your people to participate, learn a new strategy We want or hone existing ones, and still have plenty of time to do their to stay in jobs. touch with Watch your mail for a form that will give SAPA Headquarters the email addresses and interests of your staff. Return the form to them and your people will be contacted with all the information.

If you would like a demonstration of this great, new benefit please give Douglas Fry a call at 1.800.334.0649. He’ll show you what it’s all about.

FOR SALE: Narrow plastic Sho Rack Model SC-1900R de-

signed for magazine distribution. Quantity: 4, 2 of which are still in the box. They are $140 new. I’m asking $100 each. Also available a wider plastic Sho Rack Model SS5 designed for tabloid distribution. I have 9 of these for sale and all are in very good condition. They are $124 new. I’m asking $80 each. The purchaser will have to make arrangements for shipping or pick up. Interested parties can call John McKinney or Jeff Phenicie at 910-791-0688. Jeff Phenicie Publisher, Wilmington Media Publishers of Ad Pak, Encore Magazine, Brunswick Co. Ad Pak, Kidzink, Local Motive Magazine & Savings 101 (910) 791-0688 Ext. 1013

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free paper publishers. This is the best way to do that.

Leadership Lessons From A Crazy Airline continued from page 4 have to hand-write Southwest tickets.” Southwest people from several departments were already working together on their own system in anticipation of their competitors’ demands. “That kind of initiative is possible only when people know that our company’s success rests with them,” Kelleher says. 7. Communicate, communicate, communicate. “I have seen brilliant entrepreneurial strategies falter as an organization grows and matures,” Kelleher says. “You change your practices, not your principles. You share with all employees not only what’s going on in the company but in the industry and the marketplace.” 8. Keep your ego in check. Don’t preoccupy yourself with cosmetic things like big offices, fancy titles and executive dining rooms. Those only eat up money you need for growth and your people. 9. Build trust. If you take a genuine interest in your people, you create trust. That leads to things like Southwest’s extraordinary pilot’s contract. The pilots took stock options for five years in lieu of raises. To show good faith, Kelleher personally took a fiveyear wage and bonus freeze. 10. Create a mission. Southwest inspires their people to buy into 9 S A PATo d ay

a concept, to share a feeling and an attitude, to identify with the company -- and then to execute. 11. Watch the dollars. Because low fares are central to who they are, Southwest employees are enormously cost-conscious. They don’t have traditional budget struggles at the end of the year. Managers don’t inflate their requests thinking, “If I ask for 200% more, maybe I’ll get 100.” 12. Build a legacy. “I have told our people in the field that my hope is that when they’re talking to their grandchildren, they say that Southwest Airlines was one of the finest experiences they ever had; that it helped them grow beyond anything they thought possible,” Kelleher says. “We are not afraid to talk to our people with emotion. We’re not afraid to tell them, ‘We love you’. Because we do.” 13. Pay well. You can’t have commitment without equitable employee compensation and that includes executive compensation. Most Southwest employees are at or above average airline industry pay levels. 1 4 . R e w a rd p e r f o r m a n c e. Southwest officers are paid 30% less than their counterparts elsewhere. They make up that difference with stock options whose value depends on how well the company does.

15. Share profits. Southwest employees have shared the airlines’ profits for the past 25 years. “We want them to share our success,” Kelleher says. “We want our people to be productive. And we achieve productivity through people’s enthusiasm and dedication.” 16. Protect your people. After 9-11, when other airlines were laying off hundreds of employees, Southwest made a commitment to keep every one of its people. Their commitment to job security has helped them keep their work force smaller and more productive than their competitors. Since his days carrying a beforedawn route for the Greenville, S.C., News, Jerry has been involved in every aspect of the newspaper industry, from small weeklies to large metropolitan dailies. He and his wife MacLeod own and operate a publishing company in South Carolina. Their staff has won more than 200 national and state awards for excellence in advertising and journalism. If you would like to sign up for his free e-letter “Success Stratgies” simply go to his website: www. and click on the eLetter Signup button.

Playing The Game of Work of New York City if the starter would announce before the race that they are not keeping time and the winner would not be announced for another six months? In recreation the score keeping and measurement is better and consistent. Recreation allows players to compare current performance against past performance and against a consistent standard. In recreation everyone knows how to keep score, if you ever went over to a friend’s house to watch a sporting event the first question out of your mouth is “who’s winning”. If you have ever gone to a Weight Watchers meeting the first thing you do is weigh in. In business have you ever walked into your office and asked “who’s winning” people would look at you like you have an extra appendage sticking out of your head. In business sometimes activities don’t count, workers don’t understand the score keeping or the score keeping changes in the middle of the game without everyone knowing that the rules changed. That is usually followed by “didn’t you get my e-mail” As publishers, editors and managers we are constantly trying to keep costs down, so we tell our staff to reduce wherever and whenever possible. A customer comes in and wants a refund on an advertisement they placed because it was wrong, the customer is told by the staff they can’t because there is a no-refund policy. The Advertising Manager over rules the policy to satisfy the customer. The next time a customer comes in and the staff refunds the money only to be criticized by the manager for not sticking to the refund policy. Does everyone in your organization know policies and procedures? As a consultant I have done a lot of Customer Service Training and I have become aware that customers lie. Customers will find the one person in the organization that will give them what they are looking for. Do you have people within the organization that will “give away the ship” and then others that look at everything as “black and white”? We create angry customers by not being consistent with our game of work. A personal example, recently I was at the food store and in the CASH ONLY, 8 ITEMS OR LESS aisle and the person in front of me had about 20 items

continued on page 11

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Calendar of Events MACPA October 2007: Mid-

Alantic Community Paper Association. Occurring Daily Beginning Friday, October 05, 2007 Through Sunday, October 07, 2007. Phone: 800-450-7227 Location: Crowne Plaza Pittsburg Airport, Coraopolis, PA email:

MFCP October 2007: Midwest Free Community Papers Fall Conference, October 19 & 20, 2007 at the Marriott, Coraville, Iowa. For more information call 1-800-248-4061 or email S A PA J a n u a r y 2 0 0 8 Publishers Retreat: the Southeastern

Advertising Publishers Association will hold its first Publishers Retreat in conjunction with their annual board meeting on January 18 & 19, 2008 at the Disney Yacht Club in Orlando, Florida. Space is limited so make your plans now to attend this planning, training, energizing conference.

AFCP Conference 2008: The Association of Free Community Papers hosts its annual conference at the Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California. This is in the Coachella Valley adjacent to Palm Springs. Westin Mission Hills, Rancho Mirage, CA 4/24/2008 To 4/26/2008 SAPA Conference 2008: We

contracted the Renaissance Hotel in refreshing Asheville, NC on August 22 & 23, 2008 for our Fall Conference. Mark your calendars today. And please give us a call at 1-800-334-0649 or email: info@ if you would like more information.

Mark your calendar today to attend


in Asheville, North Carolina on August 22 & 23, 2008

and a check card in their hand. Obviously not following the rules, the cashier let the person go through the line. The next time, I was in the same aisle with 10 items, I was told to go into another line. Was I upset – no, was I frustrated – yes. They changed the rules in the middle of the game. Not only do we change the rules for our staff members, we change the rules for the customers which makes it harder for them to do business with us. A touchdown in football is 6 points regardless if the team went 1 yard or 99 yards to score. The referee does not give just 4 points because it was too easy. Within your organization is a sale always a sale or is it sometimes not counted because it was part of promotional piece or the sale came in after the contest was already over. Is the advertisement deadline a deadline or is it just a random target that we try to hit every once and a while. When performance is measured, performance improves. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Being in sales myself, the measurement is fairly easy – calls, contacts, appointments, sales. How many calls do you need to make to get one decision maker? How many decisions makers do you need to talk with to get one appointment and how many appointments do you need to close on sale? As a salesperson and sales manager those numbers should be reviewed on a daily basis. There are a number of things to measure in business; here are 8 essential items for everyone to know for you and your organization to win at Your Game of Work. The Goal of your Organization – does everyone know what it is, specifically. The Expectations – what do you expect from everyone and make it specific. Do a good job is not specific. We need to define what “good” is. Roles and Responsibilities – does everyone know what their job is. Here is a teaching point; at your next staff

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meeting have everyone write down their top 5 job duties as they see them. Then compare their list to your perception of their top 5 job duties. Do they match? Authority – how much decision making power does each person have. Is it consistent or does it change on a daily basis.

The Goal of your Organization – does everyone know what it is, specifically?

Accountable – does everyone know the disciplinary process and is it followed by all the managers and supervisors consistently. From a positive side, is there a documented career path for the superstars within your organization? Policy and procedures – does everyone know “how we do things around here?” Measurements – what is the score keeping method? Feedback – when do we do performance checks, hopefully it is more than once a year. Feedback is the breakfast of Champions. In closing, help your people stretch, help your people grow, educate them, lay out ground rules, set up a system for keeping score, do all the things successful teams do and you will be the champion of your game of work. Tim Smith is President of Tim Smith Consulting which is an employee training corporation located in Allentown, PA. Tim has worked with the SAPA for the past five years doing seminars and workshops for the newspaper industry. If you would like information on Tim doing a FREE Customer Service seminar for your customers thanking them for doing business with you, Tim can be reached at or 610-435-0661.

Higher standards. Better results. &SAPA

members receive CVC audits and readership studies as a member benefit.


a map? CVC offers additional custom mapping services for publishers and advertisers.


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Call today for more information 800.262.6392.

2007 September  

SAPAToday our association newsletter

2007 September  

SAPAToday our association newsletter