Finding time to find a good salesperson was a challenge for Cromwell Radio Group’s Nashville Market Manager Jana Hampton. Managing a sales staff of 10 for the five-station Nashville cluster, as well as being Station Manager for two of the stations, forced Hampton to find different ways to meet the next great salesperson.
Radio Ink: How do you find good salespeople?
Hampton: Resumés that come to me I try to see and talk to as many people as possible. I don’t have much time so we do group interviews, where once or twice a month, we call in about eight to 10 people that have applied. This method allows me to see a bunch of people at once when I don’t have time to have 15 interviews a week. If I can bring in a group of applicants at one time, tell them about the positions and let them ask questions, not only can I find people we need, but we’ve also created new friends and a network of people that may be able to refer somebody in the future. From these meetings I’ve hired somebody in promotions and I hired somebody in digital because they weren’t a fit for sales but they had these other capabilities that we had a need for. I’ve also been trying to work with some of the local colleges. I went to Austin Peay last year and sat in with their marketing and communications department and did what they call “mock interviews” to prepare students for actual interviews when they get out of college. I found a lot of good prospective people that way that didn’t necessarily know everything about radio, but had potential.
Radio Ink: What do you look for when you hire a salesperson?
Hampton: Attitude, coachability, team mentality, desire. For me, attitude is the number one indicator of success. Team mentality is important because if everyone is helping with the lifting, then the load gets lighter for all. Also, I rely on team members to help with the training. I think customer service-based experience is important. People who are used to diffusing and understanding customers and have the ability to come up with a solution have the potential to be good radio salespeople.
Radio Ink: Should you manage all salespeople the same?
Hampton: I wish we could, it would make things a lot easier. You can’t, you really have to know your people and what makes them tick. You have to learn what feeds their energy bucket. Some people like the freedom, some people like a pat on the back. You have to find out what is the incentive that drives that person to their top performing level. You also have to understand their strengths and weaknesses and the best way to make your point when they need help on improving.
Radio Ink: Are incentives, monetary or non-monetary, part of your tool kit?
Hampton: You know the expectation is for you to sell something, so I’m not going to reward you every time you do your job. I don’t want to create dissent between departments when every time they show up and do their job and don’t get rewarded. We had a great Q4 last year and our Q1 is good, leading us to believe that we are going to have a great year. There is always room for improvement in certain areas and I’m going to create an incentive program for those that help us make those areas a success this year. In the past we had incentives based around commission percentages, or a day off or an early day.
Radio Ink: What makes a good sales meeting for you?
Hampton: It’s a meeting where everybody is engaged and they have learned something that will help them do their job better. I always try to make sure our meetings involve some sort of training and education on client industries. We use the RAB quite a bit to do research for industry-specific meetings. I think our best meetings are when our people come out learning something and have ideas on who they can go present differently today because of what they learned in that meeting.
Radio Ink: What are your thoughts on call sheets and call quotas?
Hampton: I don’t have a perfect number, I’m still trying to come up with one. It’s going to be different depending on experience level. I have a heavy senior staff here and then I have about four people that are newer. My newer people have a different quota than my senior people, as to calls in a week. We do track those numbers, but for us its more about presentations, dollars, and closing ratios.
You can contact Jana Hampton 615.424.6990 or email [email protected]