Now more than ever, we hear about how much competition there is for the ears of our listeners and the dollars from our advertisers. Here are 10 ways you can help your team stand out at your next staff meeting.
1. Do your homework. While all the other guys are beating their chests about how great they are and how many people they reach and reciting the various audience demos where they’re number one, you should focus your efforts on being the rep that does their homework. Bring valuable insight and expertise that is relevant to the advertiser’s business. Focus on their challenges and their opportunities, and how your expertise can help them meet and exceed their goals.
2. Surprise and delight. Look for ways to surprise and delight your on-air audience as well as your advertisers. Think about the Ellen TV show and how Ellen DeGeneres has been able to stand out from the pack by coming up with ways to surprise and delight her audience. Sometimes it’s gifts for the audience, sometimes it’s a surprise guest, but in either case the aaudience leans forward as they wonder what might happen next. The same is true with advertisers: Do the unexpected and look for ways to have them lean forward with enthusiasm.
3. Say thank you. Amazingly enough, there are a ton of people who simply forget to say thank you. The excuse is typically something like they are “just moving too fast” or “have a lot going on.” While that is probably true, I say you go the extra mile, write a thank you note, and really stand out.
4. Be a thought leader. Do all you can to establish yourself as the expert, the opinion leader, and the go-to person on a particular subject. Practicing thought leadership will serve you well, and at the same time put you head and shoulders above those you compete with.
5. Come in prepared. I am a big fan of preparation, and being prepared has tremendous advantages over just winging it. Yes, there have probably been times where you’ve been spontaneous and had success, but this is about standing out from the competition. If you want to consistently stand out and look the best, spend the time to prepare. And prepare yourself for what could go right as well as what could go wrong.
6. Put your game face on. Nowadays we don’t get many second chances. There are way too many choices out there, and more coming every day. This means that every interaction with a listener or advertiser is important — even critical. So put your game face on. That next point of contact might be the most important one yet.
7. Create evangelists. In the movie Gladiator, there’s a famous line: “Win the crowd and win your freedom.” The same holds true today. Win the crowd. Whether that crowd is made up of listeners or advertisers, if you win them over and get them to be your evangelists, you will stand out from the rest.
8. Be a problem-solver. One way to become a problemsolver is to first seek to understand the nature of the problem. From an audience point of view, at 8 a.m. the problem might be that your listeners are stuck in traffic and frustrated, so focus on solving that problem. From a sales perspective, the client’s problem might be that they need help getting people in their store on Tuesdays before 6 p.m. Once you understand the problem, you are on your way to standing out as a problem-solver.
9. Do way more than most. Think about what most people or, in this case, what most of your competitors do, and then go way past that. The challenge with this tip is the doing, not the knowing. Yes, you’re busy — but slow down enough to do more than most and you will stand out from the rest.
10. Don’t give up. It’s easy to quit. So many people quit right before they make a breakthrough. I encourage you to stick with it. Commit to standing out, and commit to doing the little things that set you apart. They say it takes 21 to 30 days to create a habit, but I think when it comes to standing out from the competition, you should double that estimate. Don’t give up!
Matt Sunshine is EVP of the Center for Sales Strategy. E-mail: [email protected]