My Experience Selling Advertisements for The Epoch Times
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings, honorable Master! Greetings, my fellow practitioners!
It's a pleasure to attend the New York Fahui. I would like to share with you my cultivation experiences during this Fa-rectification period.
Getting Involved in The Epoch Times
During this Fa-rectification period, to clarify the truth and save sentient beings, Dafa practitioners started different media projects such as a newspaper and radio and TV stations. Funding is necessary to run the media well, however few practitioners were involved in sales at that time. I was very concerned about this and felt anxious when I saw that practitioners were able to contribute $10,000 at a time to The Epoch Times, while I could only contribute $1,000. I wanted to be able to contribute that much to The Epoch Times or even more.
An opportunity presented itself when I considered selling ads for The Epoch Times to help with running the paper well. The Epoch Times needed help with the booth at the 2003 Asian American Expo in Los Angeles. This was a wonderful opportunity to introduce The Epoch Times to businesses and to sell ads, as many Chinese businesses would come to the expo. I offered to work at the booth, but I was turned down as I was not fluent in English, my expertise was in the field of Chinese medicine and I lacked sales experience.
I seriously considered whether or not I should go to the expo and whether or not I would be able to do this. The Epoch Times is such a good newspaper, for it helps people improve their moral standards and saves sentient beings. Active participation by Dafa practitioners in the Fa-rectification period is necessary to ensure that it runs well. Master wants us to let go of all human attachments, becoming selfless and righteous Dafa practitioners, so what is there to be afraid of? I should not wait or hesitate, and should do it with righteous thoughts because Dafa will give me the wisdom.
After making up my mind, I went to the expo the next day. For two days, I visited the businesses in the expo one by one. I brought The Epoch Times newspaper to them, told them about the paper, and attempted to sell them ads. I knew nothing about advertising and spoke broken English. But I had a pure heart, and I honestly told the businesses that this was my first day selling ads. I conversed with one business owner for a long time to learn every detail of his product. He was moved by my sincerity and told me that he would definitely consider The Epoch Times if he decided to do advertising. Shortly after the expo, he became my first client. In time he expanded his ads to many other regional editions of The Epoch Times. In August, I also helped my second client expand his ad to other regional editions of The Epoch Times within four months.
I realized over time that I had spent a lot of time on my job without being able to save much from my salary to contribute to The Epoch Times. If I sold ads for The Epoch Times fulltime, I could clarify the truth every day, make a living for myself, and bring in more revenue for the newspaper. How wonderful that would be! I immediately quit my job and wholeheartedly worked full time for them. I was soon able to contribute $10,000 and more to The Epoch Times.
At that time, I worked every day until midnight. One time, I returned home at 4:00 a.m. and then went to an expo at 8:00 a.m. to sell ads. In several months, I saw my roommate only twice. With the efforts of many practitioners, The Epoch Times in Los Angeles expanded from a weekly newspaper to a daily newspaper in February 2004, publishing five issues per week.
Persisting Despite Countless Tribulations
In mid April 2004, just as sales were progressing steadily and the branch office was making a healthy revenue, the evil forces slandered us, affecting my clients and creating trouble with ad sales. The rumor even expanded to other practitioners and the entire office. I had never been criticized in my entire life and had grown up surrounded by praise. After I started cultivation, I should have been able to do better. I was now being criticized by my clients. What did I do wrong? I felt that the sky was falling and I ran into enormous tribulations. I felt I had been wronged and was very depressed. I devoted myself wholeheartedly to The Epoch Times, and I served my clients diligently. Why was I being treated like this? I couldn't understand it. I knew it was a good opportunity to improve my xinxing and to elevate myself, but I still felt very sad. It was not easy to pass this test. But no matter how hard it was, my determination to work hard to sell ads and to help Master rectify the Fa was never shaken. I was very determined to eliminate the evil interference, never allowing the evil plot to succeed.
At that time, I was not allowed to take care of my two biggest clients, and I immediately ran into financial difficulty. Even more challenging was the tremendous emotional pressure, but I didn't allow myself to quit. I extricated myself from all this and started from scratch to sell ads again.
In early 2005, the client who had criticized me returned and requested my assistance in helping him with his advertisement. I didn't utter one single complaint and dedicated my utmost efforts to help him with his ad. It's been over five years since then. During late 2005, I found new clients for global ads and they have stayed with me to date, continuously adding new products.
At the beginning, I thought about how my clients had spent a considerable amount of money to advertise with The Epoch Times and that the evil forces would definitely persecute me and my clients. I didn't fundamentally negate the arrangement of the evil forces and just silently accepted it. I didn't look within myself deep enough to search for my attachments, and failed to understand why I had experienced such an enormous tribulation. I was seeking things externally and failed to do well in looking within. It is only from writing this experience sharing paper that I have come to truly understand that the tribulation came from my own gaps. At that time, I was so busy selling ads, but I was not diligent in studying the Fa, practicing the exercises, sending forth righteous thoughts, or looking within. That was the cause of the tribulation. I was suddenly awakened when I found my attachments and the crucial problem. As a practitioner, I can never ignore Fa study and personal cultivation, no matter how busy I am. To study the Fa more and to study the Fa well are the most fundamental.
A practitioner who was getting ready to sell ads once asked, "How do I know what the customer is thinking?" Another practitioner from The Epoch Times answered, "You must show your heart to your customer." That's very true. We are cultivators and cultivation is manifested in everything we do. Our state of mind is very important when we sell ads. The customer can see and feel our thoughts. We must keep a cultivator's mindset at every moment--this is critical in selling ads.
Clarifying the Truth Throughout the Entire Process
Some of my clients actually didn't know much about The Epoch Times, and others even had a wrong impression about it. Some were afraid that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would create trouble for them or affect their businesses in China. Some advertised in other Chinese newspapers and didn't want to advertise with The Epoch Times. No matter what, I patiently stayed in contact with them. I often called them to say hello or invited them to our events, such as The Epoch Times anniversaries and gala, to create opportunities for them to learn more about our media. I used every opportunity to clarify the truth to them, ease their worries, and make friends with them. Especially, I told them about our mission, why and how we have grown to become the biggest multilingual media in a few short years, and how they would benefit by advertising in our media and supporting us. Only by thoroughly clarifying the truth could they truly learn about our media. However, the mind of an ordinary person is unstable. The evil forces and the CCP seize every opportunity to interfere, so we cannot slack off and should continuously clarify the truth throughout the entire process of selling the ads. Only in this way will the client stay with us and invest in bigger and bigger ads. Only after comprehensive truth clarification will the client have the righteous thoughts necessary to resist the evil interference. I had a client who advertised globally. The manager contracted advertisements for three months. However, after six weeks, when the owner learned that the ad was published in The Epoch Times, he immediately wanted to cancel the contract. After persistently clarifying the truth to him, the client resumed the ad a year later, and now he advertises globally with The Epoch Times.
Frequently Sending Forth Righteous Thoughts to Eliminate Interference
We must send forth righteous thoughts all the time when contacting clients to eliminate all factors that may interfere with them, eliminating all interference from other dimensions. I once met with a client I had bought products from and started talking with him about our ads. When he was ready to sign the contract, he suddenly got a phone call. The other party relayed a lot of rumors about The Epoch Times. He immediately told me, "See, I was told to advertise in any newspaper other than The Epoch Times." The client was on the phone for a long time and was hesitant to sign the contract. I silently sent forth righteous thoughts to eliminate all evil interference. I stayed there from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and the client finally signed the contract. Afterward, the client soon became a global customer.
Wholeheartedly Serving Clients Leads to Client Longevity and Potential Increases in Ad Space
Whether the client is a small or large business owner, I always researched every client's business carefully. Sometimes when I had trouble understanding the client's products, I visited the client again and again, until I did. After I learned all the details of the client's business, from the characteristics to the uniqueness of the products, I summarized it and then work with the ad designer to carefully do the layout.
I often spent much time and effort before the ad design was complete. I never took shortcuts or copied the client's ads from other media. One of my clients had designed her own ad. She had created ten designs, but I used none of them. I told her this decision was for her own benefit, as those designs would cost her extra money and that she might later feel that the ads in our newspaper were not effective. She had a very good product with a few product brochures of about 20 pages each. I spent a lot of time reading and researching the brochures again and again. The outcome of the ad in The Epoch Times was very effective, so the client quickly expanded the ad to the other regional Epoch Times editions. The ads that she designed which appeared in another newspaper were discontinued in a month as they were not effective.
Another client has stayed with me for over seven years. When he first started with me, he had tried other print media and the ads had not been effective. However, the ads with The Epoch Times were so effective that in three months he expanded his ads to all the other Epoch Times regional editions. He signed a contract for over $100,000 per year. A while ago, the owner sent me an email with only one word, "Extraordinary!"
Another client of mine grew from losing money to advertising globally, from one product to several products. Her husband often traveled to China. He said The Epoch Times is a pure land. They said the ads I designed for them often exceeded their utmost expectations.
Another client used an ad agent and advertised a quarter-page color ad in many newspapers other than The Epoch Times. For seven months, he kept refusing me. I designed a half page black and white ad for him. When I went to see the owner, I had already completed the contract myself. The owner was quite surprised when he reviewed the ad and the contract. He signed the contract immediately without changing a word, bypassing the ad agent. Soon he expanded the ad to many other editions in the U.S.
Many of my clients have stayed with me from day one. Some grew from small businesses to bigger businesses, some grew from losing money into businesses that advertised globally. It's very important to be responsible and to work exceptionally hard to keep clients, but what's most important is to provide the best service that no other media can offer. When you can bring financial return to your clients, how can they possibly leave you? As long as he needs advertising, he will stay with you forever.
Selling Ads for The Epoch Times Is a Good Job
A few years ago, The Epoch Times coordinator appointed me as sales manager for the Los Angeles office. At that time, very few practitioners were working at The Epoch Times. To expand the newspaper as fast as possible, we had to involve more practitioners, so I often asked for more help in our group Fa study. I talked to practitioners personally and encouraged them to join the sales team. Finally, in 2007, almost simultaneously, several practitioners decided to quit their jobs to join the sales team. At that time, it was quite hard to sell ads for The Epoch Times, and very few practitioners stayed on the sales team. It was a big challenge to train the new salespeople so they could make money to have a stable life and stay on the team with peace of mind. Everything comes from the Fa, and studying the Fa is most crucial.
So we made a regular practice of studying the Fa as a group every morning. We also held weekly sales meetings. Everyone shared his or her experiences over the previous week, in sales and in cultivation, as well as the challenges encountered. We shared very good experiences and worked together to solve problems. On the weekends, we organized sales training sessions to study a chapter from a sales training manual. A few veteran salespeople took turns hosting the training, and shared their experiences. Three months later, we finished the training, and several new salespeople who had joined the team all stayed. They are all doing very well and are playing important roles in The Epoch Times sales team. For instance, one practitioner made a breakthrough in selling real estate ads, one did very well in the classified ads, and another in restaurants and bakery shops ads. There are also those who did an excellent job in ad design on top of the sales. Everyone used his or her own talents to walk well the path of validating Dafa. Some practitioners were not only able to make a living for themselves, but also donated to The Epoch Times to help with further development. Some brought in revenues of tens of thousands of dollars to the newspaper every month.
As a sales manager, I had the opportunity to eliminate many of my attachments. I realized I was offered many opportunities that were not available in an ordinary job. This has been the best place to cultivate myself. I used to be very harsh in handling problems. When I didn't agree with others, I pointed it out straightforwardly. I was often outspoken when I expressed myself, as I was afraid the other practitioner wouldn't get the point if I was gentle, and I didn't care whether the other practitioner could tolerate it or not. I even regarded that harsh tone as something to be proud of. When the sales team studied the Fa together and cultivated diligently together, I gradually improved my cultivation and I often regretted my past attitude. "Why did I do things that way? Why couldn't I handle things more compassionately?" After looking inside, I realized that it had to do with not studying the Fa well. The passion comes from solidly cultivating yourself. If you have not reached that cultivation level, you won't able to handle things well. So I will study the Fa more and study it well, genuinely cultivate myself, and look within at all times, so as to improve and do better.
Many practitioners think it's very good to work for The Epoch Times as a salesperson. It is a good cultivation environment as we can spend many hours validating the Fa, clarifying the truth, and saving sentient beings every day. One new salesperson shared, "It's so good to be a salesperson for The Epoch Times. Every day when I work, I do the exercises, study the Fa, make money, clarify the truth, send forth righteous thoughts, and save people. When it's time for Fa conferences, I can leave for a few days without even having to ask for permission. When there are activities, we can be very efficient."
While working for The Epoch Times, we must also do well in promoting Shen Yun and participating in other Dafa projects. We not only make money to support our families, but also create revenue for The Epoch Times. In one year working full-time at The Epoch Times, we get more things done than working part-time validating Dafa for a few years. Fa rectification is now proceeding extremely fast, so how many more years do we have? The practitioners in The Epoch Times sales department are very proud of themselves and believe that this is the best occupation. Everyone cherishes this opportunity and is working hard to do better.
Starting this year, we added group exercises in the morning at the Los Angeles office. We start our day by finishing the five exercises and reading one lecture in Zhuan Falun. Every Sunday we read three lectures in Zhuan Falun and other lectures as well.
Master said in "Fa Teaching Given at the Epoch Times Meeting,"
"There have always been people who contemplate, 'What kind of business can I get into to help support The Epoch Times?' or 'What kinds of investments can I take up so as to help The Epoch Times reduce its financial burden?' The thinking behind that isn't wrong. But what I'm talking about is this: why not put some thought into making things go better for The Epoch Times itself? If you could really make it reach a certain level, wouldn't you have it all? You can in fact achieve that."
In one word, everything I did was granted to me by Master and Dafa. I was often moved to tears when selling ads. What Master and Dafa have bestowed upon us is unimaginable. When we have pure minds, the wisdom given by Master and Dafa will manifest itself.
Master also said in "Teaching the Fa in the City of Chicago,"
"This instant is precious beyond measure. Completing the last leg of this journey well is what's most magnificent."
It's such an honor for Dafa practitioners in the Fa-rectification period to be able to exist along with Master and with the Fa during the Fa-rectification period. Let's all cherish the precious opportunity offered by Master, walk well with righteousness every step on the remaining path, and not leave any regrets for ourselves and sentient beings.
Thank you, Master! Thank you, my fellow practitioners!