(By Bob McCurdy) A new generation of broadband cellular network technology has appeared approximately every decade since 1G was introduced in 1979. 2G debuted in the early ’90s and effectively took cell phones from analog to digital communications.
The introduction of 3G networks in the late 1990s brought about faster data-transmission speeds, so you could use your cell phone in more data-demanding ways. The term “mobile broadband” was first applied to 3G.
4G was released in 2008 and was 10 times faster than 3G. In 2019, 5G is on the horizon and will be 20 times faster than 4G, promising much lower latency, energy savings, among other improvements.
Mobile broadband keeps marching on and is clearly an ever-evolving and improving technological product. And while we’re not a “technology” — distilled to the lowest common denominator — professionally, we too are a “product.” A “product” that’s leased by our employers to fulfill a service, which is to generate an unfair share of ad revenue. But continuing to do so, similar to mobile broadband, requires us to improve and evolve in an increasingly accelerated fashion. Few industries might be evolving as rapidly as broadband but the media sales landscape is evolving quickly nonetheless, faster than maybe some of us realize.
In business, those that don’t continue to “grow” are often asked to “go.” The competition for revenue has never been this intense. Never. Has the manner and mindset in which we approach our jobs evolved? Are our sales and marketing skills progressing? Fast enough? Are our expectations of ourselves changing? Fast enough? Are we enthusiastic participants in our own professional development? If not, it would be a good idea to become one. What are we no longer doing that we’ve previously done? Remember, evolving also means eliminating. Does the 2019 sales version of ourselves differ noticeably from our 2018 version? Is it considerably different from the 2017 version and vastly different from the 2016 version? It should be.
4G will have about as much in common with 5G as a caterpillar has with a butterfly. Technologically, mobile broadband will soon go through another complete metamorphosis. When was the last time we’ve gone through one professionally? If it was a total metamorphosis, we should cringe when we think back about what we perceived to be state-of-the-art sales skills and what passed for being labelled an effective radio sales professional, similar to the way we cringe when we check out old pictures and see how we used to look and dress.
Staying with the broadband analogy of transformative improvement every 10 years and applying it to radio sales, means that within this window of time we need to up our game and change our modus operandi about 10% annually. If asked by management, can we specifically address how we are approaching our jobs 10% differently from last year? Twenty percent differently from 2017, etc.?
Operating at 4G in a 5G world is not conducive to a continually growing income or long-term job security. As in the tech world, those that don’t evolve, quickly devolve, while those that recognize and act upon the fact that we are under no obligation to be the same salesperson we were a year ago, a month or even an hour ago, will likely have a long and productive career.
Ultimately it is this need to constantly evolve that makes our professional journey so interesting, vibrant, and satisfying.
Bob McCurdy is Vice President of Sales for the Beasley Media Group and can be reached at [email protected]