Nowadays, I am observing a lot of companies conducting virtual sales training. I imagine much of it is good and may help develop an account executive’s level of professionalism. I’m less certain, however, that it improves actual closing ratios and revenue demand during this specific time.

Why? In listening to what is being rolled out, there seems to be a key component missing when it comes to closing new business during adversity: a decisive focus on “Success Stories.”  Sharing success stories with prospects and clients can help mitigate their level of risk. And lowering risk is what closes and advances the ball, especially right now.

Our EVP and marketing guru, Tom Ray, has been conducting Virtual Client Events for many of our partners over the last three months. Approximately eight minutes into each event, Tom will say to the station’s advertisers and prospects:

“If an AE reaches out wanting to discuss future marketing plans and the only reason they give you is it’s a diagnostic call… or that businesses that keep advertising are shown to grow market share… kick that AE to the curb!  You know that, and you certainly don’t have time to teach someone your business.”

Tom goes on to say “…BUT, if an AE reaches out to share an idea with you, a proven strategy, or to show you a recent success story from a similar category, then you owe it to yourself to listen. Take that call, Mr. or Mrs. advertiser, especially now.”

We all know time is a precious commodity. And not all training is equal.

When weighing out sales training and revenue resources—where to focus time and money for results NOW—I firmly advocate for training and resources that absolutely incorporate role-playing squarely focused on ‘paying forward’ those critical success stories.

Every AE should be prepared to share multiple success stories of local businesses that are successfully weathering the current storm. Help your AE’s and teams circulate their success stories with each other. Nervous clients will feel better when they hear of other local businesses achieving some level of success during challenging conditions.

You’ve heard it from JDA a thousand times: Facts tell, but stories Sell.  We won’t win back local advertisers with glossy decks, ratings information or prettier commercials.

But we can and will create interest from prospects with detailed stories of similar clients who are seeing positive results by utilizing our platforms.

Do you have those proven success stories: real stories about how your platforms worked together and improved sales, lowered the cost of a new client acquisition, and delivered results? And, are your Account Executives confident in paying them forward?

JDA has them… we’re sharing them with our partners and their local advertisers… and yes, our closing ratios are up.

Whether we work with you or not, I encourage all sales leaders to focus on success stories as the foundation of new revenue generation. If you do, I promise your closing ratios will go up.

(View more Prime Time Leadership posts on current happenings in media leadership here:)

We’re having lots of conversations with senior leaders about subjects like this. If we can be a sounding  board for you or your company during this time, please reach out.  or 

Margie Chilson is a Senior Marketing Consultant for

Her vast experience includes nearly three decades in broadcast television and digital sales marketing, working in and with multiple markets and affiliations including Dallas-Fort Worth at WFAA, Denver at KUSA-KTVD, KMGH, KWGN, and as a team manager at Millennium Television Sales.

Margie’s years as a local seller were award-winning and inspiration for her jump to She exceeded new business and digital goals on a consistent basis at Belo Corp., Scripps, Tribune, and TEGNA Inc. stations. A true innovator, Margie pioneered job-sharing positions in Dallas and Denver, balancing hectic work schedules and family, paving the way for working parents with careers in media sales.

Margie is well known and respected for her diligence, drive, and new business results. Due to her years in the business as an account executive and sales leader, she knows the station environment well and can easily relate to local sellers as well as the most senior managers.

An alum of Oklahoma State University who graduated with Honors in Journalism Advertising, Margie boasts an outstanding track record of helping business owners strategically grow their revenue through broadcast, streaming and digital solutions.

Margie and her husband Tim have been married for 23 years. The couple and their two children live in Littleton, CO, a suburb of Denver. Their son, Ryan, attends the University of Colorado Boulder, and their daughter, Mary, is in high school.  In their spare time, the Chilsons enjoy travel, hiking in the picturesque Rocky Mountains, cooking, watching movies, and cheering on their kids in various sporting events.