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From the Editor

This was in 1998, years before Wendy Tooley joined our sales team. She sat before a very intimidating ad agency marketing director, trying to sell her on buying pages for De Beers diamonds in New Woman magazine. No, no, no, the woman kept saying. Wendy, daunted, left empty-handed. Soon after, she headed to a lovely resort in Mexico for her honey- moon, thrilled to get away. Within hours, she spotted a familiar, if not quite friendly, face. Yes, the very same marketing director … coincidentally on her honeymoon too. What are the odds? Wendy sent over some champagne and, before you know it, the two had bonded. And before leaving Mexico, a deal was struck for those pages in the magazine.

This happy ending notwithstanding, selling advertising is not all honeymoons and champagne. It requires brains, charm, resilience, dedication and much, much more. I’d like to introduce you to our Gulfshore Life Six, the women who venture out daily and produce the results we’re so proud of.

The Active Listener—Associate publisher Diane Loveless is the leader of the gang. Originally from Battle Creek, Mich., she recalls her first selling job pushing vacuum cleaners door to door. "I sold only five," she says, "and they were all to my relatives." She rose to her current success after 17 years in the Southwest Florida magazine market and says her style is to research, listen to her clients’ needs, find a way to meet them and sign a deal right away. "I love grouping clients together in big deals that feed their best interests," she says. And she loves where she is: "I would only work with Gulfshore Life because it’s the leader in the market."

The Innovator—Wendy Tooley, from Bethlehem, Pa., parlayed her marketing degree from Susquehanna University into sales jobs at Men’s Health, Success, New Woman and YM. She tries to win clients’ attention with fresh and different approaches. For Andersen Windows, she sent a small pane with a note saying, "I hate to be a pane, but …" The pane turned to pleasure when she landed the sponsorship she was seeking.

The Friend—Liz Goodman, a Lake Bluff, Ill., native, spent 10 years in Chicago selling for Cosmopolitan and Ladies’ Home Journal. The University of Tampa graduate remembers trying to convince a roomful of skeptical people at Andrew Jergens Company that Cosmo and its sexy content were good for them—a tough, but successful, sale. Mostly now, she works to create personal relationships with her clients. "I take care of them," she says, "and vice versa."

The Believer—Barbara Gregg, Chicago-born, has college degrees in dance and in Latin American history. She’s worked for Harper’s Bazaar (landing Evian pages before others jumped on the bandwagon), Details and Condé Nast Traveler, among other national publications. At In Fashion, she remembers the sales team celebrating a good year with champagne in a hot tub, then hearing the next day that the magazine was folding because of circulation woes. "I’m not a natural-born salesperson," she says, "so I must really believe in the product and why it works for the advertisers. I do it with blood, sweat and tears."

The Bearer of Gifts—Christy Luthringer, a Wisconsin native, has lived in Lee County for 30 years. She originally intended to be a psychiatrist and has consulted for national companies on payroll benefits, but she couldn’t resist sales. Selling clothing on Captiva, she remembers the telltale sign Kevin Costner was in town to buy: the sound of his helicopter landing on the golf course. She believes in relationship selling and loves the face-to-face exchanges, easing into the meetings with strategically delivered gift bags.

The Therapist—Kerry Barth-Salmon says she gets to know a lot about her clients’ lives. "People tell me everything," she says, and they often ask for advice. "People buy from folks they like," she adds. A graduate of Mississippi State, she started out in graphic design but switched to ad sales while working at the Naples Daily News. Most memorable moment: She split her pants in a huge showroom while pitching pages to Lexus in Fort Myers. The client shielded her for a strategic exit … and also bought the pages.

So while we editors get all wrapped up in our bylines, we salute our sales team’s buy lines, too. Without them, we’d be Pageless in Paradise. Thanks, guys.

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