Don’t Sell Snowballs To Eskimos


(By Charlie Sislen) You understand how important it is to develop new business, and uncover accounts that are not presently using radio to grow their business. This growth is crucial for you, your station, and our industry. But what happens when your audience does not match the potential advertiser’s target? This dilemma affects every hustling sales rep. Today we explore how to best handle this situation for long-term growth.

Your hustle and hard work looks like they will pay off. You found a client that you’ve convinced it’s time to grow their business with effective advertising, or a non-radio user who is interested in switching advertising dollars to radio.

The next step is in taking this hard fought relationship and turning it into a package on your radio station. This means new billing to your radio station, which will make your sales manager happy, but will also result in a compensation bump.

BUT WAIT! In preparation for that next step, you realize that your radio audience is not right for this advertiser. It might be:

  • They live in the wrong geography.
  • Your station’s demographic profile does not fit their target customer.
  • Your listeners’ lifestyle habits do not match what the advertiser needs.

Hopefully this realization comes early in the process, but what do you do to “close” the client?

You have two basic options:
1) Continue to work to close the deal and hope that the business is happy with their investment. Either way, you get that needed bump in compensation.
2) Advise this business that you might not be the best advertising outlet, and lose this sale – and therefore the billing and commission.

Your decision is based on timeframe. Do you want a short-term bump, or a long-term potential opportunity?

We advise you to go with option #2. While you will sacrifice some potential short-term gains, the long-term benefits cannot be underestimated. By dealing with this business as a marketing consultant (an essay to come shortly) and not a radio rep, you have the opportunity to build a long-term bond that can have amazing long-term benefits. By guiding them to the right advertising opportunity, you can build a bond that will last years. You never know when that will lead to an opportunity that will help you grow both financially and professionally.

Simply put, don’t sell snowballs to an Eskimo – they do not need them.

Need more information? Feel free to contact The Research Experts at[email protected]


  1. The author of this article cannot be serious. Turn down business because your listeners “may not be right for his product”? Who the Hell are you to make an attempt to ascertain that whopper?

    Even if you cannot make a direct hit on proper prospects with every ad, have you not heard of “word-of-mouth”? listeners telling others “I heard on the radio.”
    Also, information contained in ads is often “stored” in the subconscious, then called upon when conditions or wants/needs change in all people.

    A very shallow, misguided viewpoint with zero evidence to back up the ridiculous claims.

    • Thanks for your comment but we respectfully disagree. It’s a horribly short-sighted business practice to sell something that you know will not deliver for the client. Not only will you burn the bridge with that client, but you can be sure they will tell anyone that will listen about their experience with your station. They may even go as far as to utter the seven dirty words about radio: I tried that and it didn’t work.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here