(By Charlie Sislen) Sales success is usually measured in dollars or new business. The more you get, the better you are. However, as any sales pro can tell you, the asking is a lot easier than the getting. This is made even harder when you are focused on those businesses that either don’t advertise on, or believe in, radio.
That is why I started this series of blog posts, “Growing the Radio Pie.” A salesperson cannot succeed if s/he does not capture new dollars and expand their client base.
Being a research and numbers-oriented individual, I look for solutions with numbers, facts, and statistics. However, your success is only limited by your own creativity.
The motto for Skidmore College in upstate New York is Creative Thought Matters. This is more true today than ever before. Most radio sales reps have the same toolkit. It typically contains options like Nielsen ratings, qualitative research, digital assets, and off-air promotional opportunities. How are you going to differentiate yourself from other radio reps (who have access to the same tools) and, more importantly, all other advertising sales reps? TWO WORDS: Be creative.
Dig into the back of your brain to come up with ideas that have not been tried before. Don’t say, “What have I done in the past that will work for this client?” Instead say, “What new idea can I come up with that will meet this particular client’s needs?” “Needs” being the operative word here.
Client solutions are not the only place creativity will help. Use your creative juices to get your foot in the door. Don’t rely on a PowerPoint deck or a series of computer runs to sell your value. Tell your story, and yes, your pitch is a story, in a unique way. This will make you stand out to the potential advertiser. For example, a sales rep could bring a potential advertiser to a station event that will showcase the power of the station. One or two of the personalities in attendance could talk with that potential advertiser and help them understand what the station means to its listeners. In other words, let the advertiser hear it from people who have their finger on the pulse of the audience, rather than it coming straight from the sales rep.
If you don’t think you can do it, and don’t feel that you have creative thoughts, YOU ARE WRONG. It may take time and hard work, but everyone has that deep inside themselves. Still can’t get the creative juices flowing? Sit down with friends or colleagues and talk it through. It is amazing what a group train-of-thought discussions can achieve. Pick people outside your business circle. Since they are not in the day-to-day, they will not fall into the same old ideas.
If you limit your creativity … you are limiting your success.
Charlie Sislen is a partner at Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-956-0363 or by e-mail at [email protected]. This essay is part of a series titled “Growing the Radio Pie.” To view past articles, visit The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. online here.