You, like me, probably landed in radio sales on your way to or from somewhere else. You probably began as a rep on the street armed with a one-sheet spot package and a dirge list of discarded “accounts” no one else could sell. You bloodied your nose, learned the business, grew your billing, and one day, boom, someone “leaves” (poor devil) and you are the new Sales Manager! Congratulations my friend, you have arrived! Trust me, I’ve been there.
Graduate From Account Exec To Manager
No matter how good you think you are, you can never be as good as a team with a great playbook and solid execution. Check your ego and nurture new superstars. When I make a sales call with an AE, I introduce myself as his/her “personal assistant.” Prove to them every day you have their backs and are 100% committed to their careers and financial success. Do that and they will break backs for you.
Train! Train! Train!
I wrote my own training manual with proven dialogs, tested methods, and documented strategies for “what to do and say every day.” Great meetings are all about straight talk and prepared speech. Eliminate the word “uh” and skyward glances. When a prospect asks a question, the credibility clock ticks. Understanding dialog is not enough. AEs must commit dialogs to memory. Train
Offer A Career Not Just A Job
In addition to typical cold calling, package pushing, sports, events, and sponsorships, teach them how to operate on a true, two-call consult-and-sell methodology. Too many in radio have forgotten: You can’t achieve client goals if you don’t care enough to first ask what they are. Give them the chance to grow from media rep to true Account Exec. And they will love you for it.
Give Them Great Creative!
You, the SM, should be the best campaign developer in the building with a cunning keyboard and apex retail marketing acumen. Radio advertising is a business of words, yet it’s infested with people who can’t write ads. Provide marvelous creative and watch billing soar.
Recruit Constantly On Air & Online
To a great SM, AEs are your clients and if you lose a top performer, it can be difficult to overcome. Don’t get caught with your knickers down. Constantly recruit. You’re looking for bravery, substance, and brains with outside sales experience and insatiable curiosity for all things retail. And nothing keeps veteran AEs “motivated” like new blood calling on neglected accounts. Recruit constantly and insulate yourself from unexpected turnover.
Account Execs and air personalities (especially the good ones) are often ego-driven, quarrelsome, stubborn, diva/drama queens and/or roguish non-conformists not welcome in any corporate boardroom. These geese that can lay golden eggs are funny birds with fragile egos you must massage to extract max billing and on-air magic. Tolerate.
Don’t Bully Programming
Don’t force lame, client-driven promotions on your air staff. If a kennel/vet wants to give away free stays during a holiday weekend, take it to programming and, if they like, let them design on-air elements. Don’t force them into a “be the fifth caller and bark like a dog to win!” They’ll hate you if you do.
Take Your Production Manager To Lunch
So many in radio trivialize production. Big mistake. Your Production Director is the gleaming Pininfarina body bolted to your Ferrari 12-cylinder engine. You may be a great painter, but you still want a beautiful frame. Retailers notice. Recognize and glorify often.
Be A Coach, Not A Cop
I have seen so many SMs and even more GMs kill morale and run off profitable AEs because they simply make life miserable on the sales floor: too many meetings, rigid scheduling, daily and weekly call sheets, weekly, monthly projections etc. Give them what they need most: daily one-on-ones, working together to manage accounts, write, produce, strategize, and grow new and existing business.
Keep It Fun
There’re only two reasons to work in radio sales: money and fun. Take the fun out of radio and all the good people leave. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Follow these steps and you can be a great Sales Manager.