Galesburg Broadcasting Company, a three-music, one news-talk station cluster based in Galesburg, IL, handles their salesforce a bit differently than most radio stations. Chris Postin’s six-person team, like other sales staffs, has goals and watches numbers; but that’s where the similarities end.
Radio Ink: How are you different in the way you manage your sales staff?
Postin: We are kind of different to most of the radio industry. We are actually salaried salespeople, we do not use commission-based sales. We have been doing this for about 17 years now and we see it as very client focused. Ours salespeople can work with that business to make sure they get the right strategy in place, without worrying about their next paycheck. We felt that commission-based sales was very salesperson-focused and fostered survivor-like thinking: “This may not be the right thing for your now, but I have to sell you this because I have to hit my number.” We have a team-selling atmosphere and our bonus structure is based on team selling. Our goals are based on company growth rather than individual sales, so we all get a bonus when we hit our goal.
Radio Ink: Can you manage all of your salespeople the same way?
Postin: You really can’t. The veterans need to bounce ideas off you while the newer salespeople need encouragement and training because they are still learning the business. It’s a bit different with our salaried salesforce, there can be the tendency to be complacent and comfortable because they know a paycheck is going to be there. So we still have individual goals that we talk about during our one-on-ones.
Radio Ink: What do you look for when you hire a salesperson?
Postin: When I first started out as a Sales Manager I was looking for radio sales experience; those eagles that are just going to come right in and tear things up. But now, in the last 10 to 15 years, I’ve been looking for character, attitude, integrity, and some business sense. I can teach them radio and sales but what I can’t teach is that drive and positive attitude to keep going out and being told no. Or how to keep after that prospect that you just know you can help, but they just aren’t convinced yet.
Radio Ink: Where are good places to find radio salespeople?
Postin: We have a very small area here, right in the middle of the Quad Cities of Iowa and Peoria, Illinois. We don’t use print to advertise jobs, we get on the radio to talk about what the job is like. People who have been marketers in other industries have tended to be really good salespeople for us. When we are creating the messages for our recruitment we draw those kinds of people. I have a person that was in economic development who heard our message and told me that hearing about the opportunities to work with all sorts of different businesses got him interested in radio sales.
Radio Ink: How important is training?
Postin: We actually tell our new people that it takes about a year to get comfortable in this new position. It’s heavy training for the first three or four months for the new hires. It takes awhile to learn all of the products, especially if you come from another industry you have no idea how radio works. We also do a lot of training in the creative side so they can work with the creative team to develop the right strategy for a client. I have one sales meeting a week that is dedicated to just training.
Radio Ink: What is your idea of the best sales meeting ever?
Postin: I think the best sales meetings have to strike a balance with going over the numbers and being a coach. The staff may want a cheerleader, but I think it’s better to be a more positive coach. A coach that will keep the team accountable but can move things forward. Sharing successes can help move things forward, so we take time in our meetings to do that.
Radio Ink: What are you thoughts on call sheets?
Postin: We don’t use them because, many times, I find them an exercise in creative writing. We have what we call a Top Five List, which is basically the top five things we want to get done today. My salespeople turn this list in to me in the morning and then every afternoon our team meets and three questions are asked: What did you sell today? What did I ask for today? and, What did you do on your top five list today? It’s an opportunity for the salespeople to be accountable to each other, and hopefully their list reflects the activity it’s going to take to achieve our goals.
You can contact Chris Postin at 309.342.5131 or email [email protected]