Salespeople. YOU Are The Gatekeeper. Here’s Why.


(By Barry Cohen) In all my years on the street selling suburban radio and major market radio — and even as a General Manager selling radio — there was always an issue when it came to selling from a position of strength. The fact is, YOU have the velvet rope. It may sound like posturing, but unless you are selling in Death Valley, or a town with a population of only 40, you are in charge of who has access to your assets. Your audience is your product — not your signal, not your talent, not your programming. Your audience, plain and simple. Their buying power is in your hands. Anyone who wants access to it has to pay the price.

“Your audience is your product; anyone who wants access to it has to pay the price.”

So, how do you maintain control? Well, your opening line of your first conversation with a prospect should go like this: “We first need to determine whether there is a fit between our two companies. You see, we only want successes. If you succeed, then we succeed.”

Drill down deep, way past the usual. Get right to the point. It goes like this:
“Tell me about your best customers; what do they look like? Where do they work? Where do they live? What do they buy from you? And where else do they shop? Now, give me three reasons why they should patronize your business.

If the prospect cringes at these questions, he or she is a suspect. They haven’t done their homework. They don’t know their own customers, so how can they know if your audience will buy from them?

Ask them if their business can pass the Harvard Rule of 4 — a test developed by the Harvard Business School to determine whether a business concept is viable. It goes like this:

1. Something everybody wants
2. Something nobody has
3. Something that’s priced for profit
4. Something that’s priced to sell

If they can pass that test, they’ve got a viable business. Now, it’s your turn to tell them, “This is where we intersect.” Tell them who you deliver that they don’t currently reach. (Show them your exclusive audience and your unduplicated cume, as well as your high indexes in their product categories.) Now tell them what your audience spends in the marketplace. Stress the lifetime value of your audience members if they become the prospect’s customers. The only question remaining is, “How much are you willing to invest to win them?”

Barry Cohen is the Managing Member of AdLab Media Communications, LLC ( He has been a RAB workshop and webinar presenter, and is the author of the book 10 Ways to Screw Up an Ad Campaign; co-author of Startup Smarts.


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