How To Find And Manage High Octane Sellers

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Your sales staff is the “face” of your station. These are the people who meet daily with the decision-makers who provide the cash to keep the lights on. Over the next several days, we’ll be presenting a series of one-on-ones with some of the best Sales Managers in the business. Bob Jung is a GSM for Midwest Communications. His management experience spans more than four decades. The family-owned company has 75 radio properties in eight states.

Radio Ink: What do you look for when hiring an Account Executive?
Bob Jung: Personality and how will they fit with our team is the most important thing for me. For their final interview I bring them in front of the entire sales staff and let the staff ask questions and interact. I’m also looking for someone who has enough character and ability to go out and handle rejection. We get a lot of that in this business. I’ve been through Brian Tracy training, and one of the things he said was “hire in haste, repent in leisure.” I have learned that in hiring great salespeople just take your time. So I go through sometimes up to six different interview sessions with different people. In sales, if you bat .300 you’re probably doing pretty good. My best advice for anyone is don’t rush the process.

Radio Ink: How important is training?
Bob Jung: It’s probably the most important thing. I think within 30 days, if you trained them right and they have all the other abilities, they are going to be very successful. And if you don’t train them right they usually fail and it’s usually on you, not on them. I get them out with other reps for the first three or four weeks on a half-day ride-along. After a couple of weeks I have them doing cold calls, because you can usually tell how much courage somebody has by the cold calling they do. I train every week and it’s always about the basics. I like short sales meetings but a bit longer training meetings.

Radio Ink: Do you have benchmarks for your AEs?
Bob Jung: One of my benchmarks is if they get to goals on a consistent basis, and if it bothers them when they don’t hit it. I also do ride-alongs with them and see how they perform with clients and then if they are coachable afterwards. I can usually tell after 90 days if they’re going to make it or not. But what I can’t tell — and usually it’s a good year before I can see — is if they are going to be a high performer.

Radio Ink: How do you manage someone with a big ego?
Bob Jung: I have learned to tell people to go to hell, and make them look forward to the trip. That’s kind of been my philosophy of management over the years. It’s my job to handle difficult situations and always make the person feel better when were done and try to get them to come up with a solution to whatever the problem is.

Radio Ink: What do you think about incentives — both monetary and non-monetary?
Bob Jung: I like a combination of both. You have to know your staff and what motivates them. I still have a budget for bonuses every month. Also you can get Friday afternoons off here by meeting goals and that incentive is tremendous. They also get points throughout the year for meeting various benchmarks and goals. Then at the end of the year I give out a Sales Marketing Consultant of the Year award. It’s a lot of money and a plaque.

Radio Ink: How do you know when it’s time to fire an AE?
Bob Jung: I’ve been doing this for a long time, I know when someone is just snowing me or giving me the truth. I’m not against calling their clients and asking what’s going on, how is this person doing. If I’ve done all that, I will know if it’s better to part ways then, as it will be better for both of us.

You can contact Bob Jung at 715.842.1672 or email at [email protected]

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