(By Laurie Kahn) You have recently been treated to some great insights from local managers on how to find the right salesperson. Lots of great advice and examples were shared. I am here to tell you, that this is the number one challenge we hear from station owners and managers, across all market sizes and in all different areas of media. This challenge is not going to go away, we have a labor force that is growing less than 1% per year and a large amount of Boomers set to retire in the next 10 years.
A key part of your ongoing search to find and hire those next generations will be to create and work a pipeline of potential talent in your community. Relocation continues to be difficult so our advice is to shop in your own market or region. Forget about only hiring people with media experience and expand your qualifications. Look for people who have the right experience, passion, personality, and skills. Find out what their strengths are and how they can help your bottom line. It’s time to be creative.
The first step is to really know what you need to hire. Review your job profile to see how current it is and if it has been written to attract people to your opportunities. In the late ’90s and early 2000s, many radio managers felt it was important to paint a picture of how hard radio sales could be and wanted to scare the job applicants so that only the tough ones kept coming back. That strategy may have worked as we sure don’t have the long lines applying for our open jobs anymore. It just won’t work.
Look at your qualifications and expectations. Many of you remember when Google tried to make a go at radio. They only would hire college graduates with a 3.5 GPA. It didn’t matter if you graduated 25 years ago, an applicant needed to go back and get their transcript. We all know that to be a successful radio salesperson, a high GPA is not a requirement. In fact, a 2017 survey by www.bls.gov showed that the only the Sales Manager position did not require a college degree when comparing General Managers, Engineers and On Air required education. So look at what you are asking and consider what really is required.
Do you really need someone in the office for certain hours of the day? Can a good seller work with more flexibility and still meet their goals? Of course they can. Many companies hire stay-at-home parents to set appointments or handle research, allowing their sellers to spend more time to see clients and close business.
You often think you can’t hire someone without sales experience. Now it will be important to start growing your teams organically. If you have a sales team that is primarily made up of Boomers, you may want to consider bringing in a recent grad to start learning the business before they retire. A fresh attitude can bring new insights in not only how to appeal to different generations of clients but help you better recruit for the future.
Laurie Kahn is the creator and founder of Media Staffing Network. She has worked with media companies since 1993 helping them hire top managers and sellers.