Sellers: Stop Using Rankers & Start Doing This…


(By Paul Weyland) Having just returned from another week in the field, I’m surprised again at how few tools radio account executives are really using when pitching local direct clients.

The last thing clients need to see is your ratings, rankers, complicated rate cards, descriptions of your format or program, or information about how powerful your station is. If they ask for that stuff, you can always provide it for them. But what the client is really looking for are specific ideas that will help make the cash register ring.

In other words, the client is looking for evidence that your plan for their success is better than their own plan. That being said, here are a few things you can say about radio/broadcast media that, combined with a killer creative idea and a calculation of return on advertising investment, might sway a buyer into using you to tell their story. If you like these ideas, add them to your pitch.

Why Radio?

King for a Day with a Putter: How many times have we seen great golfers play a brilliant long game, hitting the ball hundreds of yards to land close to or on the green … and then completely blow it when they try to putt it in? Yes, putting is truly the great “equalizer” in golf. Yes, putting really does help level the playing field in golf. In spot advertising, time is the putting green.

The biggest account in a category on your station intimidates smaller local competitors with massive buys. But remember this: the largest advertiser on your station can only run 60 seconds or less. And your smallest account can also run 60-second commercials.

The biggest account can run only two commercials per hour (or whatever number your programmer decides is the maximum), and a smaller account could also run an equal number of commercials per hour — for a day. Or two. Or three.

So in broadcast, at least for a while, for a daypart or for a program, the smaller advertiser can sound as big as the biggest player.

Online Reputation Management: For clients who insist on spending lots of money on the Internet, a companion radio campaign is one of the best strategies for online reputation management.

Yes, they say “word of mouth” is the best form of advertising. And radio is literally the best word-of-mouth medium. Help your clients control bad word of mouth by selling them a positive radio campaign, an insurance policy against bad word of mouth.

People become familiar with companies they hear about all the time on the radio. In fact, many of those listeners become customers of that advertiser. So if they see a bad online review or a negative comment, they’re more likely to write that comment off to just one or a couple of bad experiences, without writing off the advertiser.

The Last Word: A radio ad is frequently the very last thing a consumer hears before leaving the car and making a buying decision. I know from personal experience that on more than one occasion, while out running errands, I have heard radio ads that absolutely influenced my purchasing decision. More than once, I chose a different restaurant. One time I actually turned around on the way to a specific store and chose a different place to buy a piece of furniture, based entirely on one radio spot. You (or a potential client) might have had a similar experience.

Who’s in Charge of Writing Your Story?: When building a case (your pitch) to local decision-makers, always throw this in. “The question becomes, are you going to write your own story, or are you going to let a few naysayers and your competitors write your story for you?”

Clients should be using radio to sell their stories to your universe of consumers. Tell compelling stories about why your audience should contact your client. Make the stories about the consumers, not about the client. Identifying and solving consumer problems is the objective of the commercial. One subject per commercial, then rotate commercials.

Now get up and go out there and sell something!

Paul Weyland specializes in helping broadcast stations get more long-term local direct business. Contact him at his website or call 512.236.1222.


  1. While Paul can be depended on to provide high quality, useful information, I appreciate the (included) requirement for an equally high quality message to be produced, as well.
    As to James comment: What a refreshing and starling observation – “Several hundred (listeners) who are in the market for your products and services right now.”
    Indeed, THAT’s Real-Time Radio!

  2. Great article, Paul! Reinforces my belief that selling is all about the customer! When I am in front of a local-direct, I ask about them and their business to craft a message around and addressing their customer (without cliches!).
    If a local-direct ever asks, “How many listeners does your station have?” I always reply with, “Several hundred who are in the market for your products and services right now. And unless you invite them to do business with you, they may otherwise not know who you are, what you do, and how to get in touch with you!”

    I appreciate your insight, Paul!


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