Becky Smith is doing annoyingly well for a 25-year-old. After a
stint as a press buyer with Zenith Media, she joined Manning Gottlieb
Media as a senior planner/buyer, and is now account manager on Virgin
Direct and Fuji.
The move into media came after she studied international business at
Loughborough University, where she picked up a fondness for rugby. She
really does enjoy the game, she insists. As if anyone could accuse a
woman of being into rugby for any reason other than respect for the art
Anyone who has dealt with MGM staffers will know they don’t exactly sit
around picking their noses all day. Actually, they work ridiculously
long hours. One of Smith’s bugbears is not being able to reach people
between noon and 3pm. ’It’s especially bad on a Friday if we’re trying
to get a tactical out,’ she says.
Not that she’s averse to a long lunch. Smith does enjoy the opportunity
to get to know the people she’s dealing with, without necessarily having
to talk about work. Building up that mutual trust, she says, makes for
more relaxed negotiations in the future.
But, she points out: ’I do like a rep who understands the difference
between overt bribery and relationship building.’ Sadly, she’s too
discreet to name and shame the offenders - but you probably know who you
Another thing that gets on her nerves is people who get on the phone and
start rabbiting on without having established whether it’s a convenient
time to talk. And reps who take it personally when they’re not on her
schedule tend to grate a bit too.
Although she reckons nothing gets her too horribly irritated, she’s not
too keen on arrogance, or reps who overrate the value of their product
in terms of what it can achieve. She adds: ’It’s amazing that I get
stronger offers at the end of the month than at the beginning. Nothing
to do with targets or commissions, I’m sure.’
Like most people, Smith respects reps who can give credible arguments
for the roles their products play. The same goes for those who have
thought about what they’re offering before phoning her. ’I’ll know it’s
a call worth returning,’ she says.
Rugby Mutual trust leading to relaxed negotiations Credible arguments
for being on the schedule
Reps who are unavailable between noon and 3pm
Reps who wax lyrical on the phone without checking if it’s