(By Brandi Jackson) After 20 years in the agency business, I’ve come to realize that when it comes to client service, some of our very best media sales reps are radio reps! For the past 20 years, our agency has bought radio in well over 75 markets, and here are some of the things the best and brightest radio sales reps always do (or never do):
1. Always go above and beyond. Whether it’s submitting a radio proposal that meets cost/CPP goal parameters or coming up with a great promotional idea, the reps that take it upon themselves to go that extra step are the ones we enjoy working with most, and the ones we view as our “go to” station partners in a given market. If we ask for a cool promotional idea for a client and the station takes the time to really think of a great idea, put it into a nice presentation/format for us to send the client, and really seems to be excited about the opportunity (as opposed to sending over a cookie-cutter promotion, not fleshed out and just stuck into the body of an e-mail), it makes all the difference in the world. If the station can get excited about a cool promotion, it makes it so much easier to sell to one of our clients!
2. Come up with compelling opportunities for our clients without being asked. Just because we haven’t sent an official avail for a buy or haven’t let you know our client has budget for radio doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be open to finding budget for a relevant or cool station promotion. If something comes across the rep’s desk, take a moment and consider which clients may really benefit from the idea. It doesn’t always happen, but often, if the idea really makes sense, the client will find the budget to participate. Then we all — station, agency, and client — win! If it works out, great, if not, we (the station and the agency) are still showing the client we are thinking about their business.
3. Be an agency champion. We realize that station managers always encourage developing a relationship with the client; we get it. However, our best sales reps do respect that the client has hired us for a reason. If the station and agency have a solid relationship, the station reps should feel confident that the agency will at the very least review any proposal and, if it makes sense for the client, show it to them. In our experience, rarely will a client sign off on a specific station buy or promotion without running it by the agency. Our best station reps understand and respect the client/agency relationship and as long as they are given fair consideration, make it a point not to go around us. And we do appreciate that, and certainly don’t take that fact lightly.
4. Show our clients and the agency that you appreciate the business. Quite often, our station partners will send us an e-mail that they’ve given us/our clients some additional bonus spots, or a plug on social, or some other value add that maybe wasn’t part of the
original buy. This shows us that they appreciate our clients and are always looking out for their (and the agency’s) best interest. If the opportunity arises and you can give someone a little extra something, I assure you, it will be remembered!
5. Keep us up to date on new media, new station offerings, new opportunities. With digital and social, our business changes by the day. Make sure the agency is aware of everything your station has to offer in terms of digital, streaming, social, ROI/lead generation, etc. As a full-service agency, it’s likely we already handle much of this in-house, but it helps us to know that you all have certain capabilities as well. Don’t assume a full-service agency with a digital department wouldn’t be interested in what you have to offer. You never know when a buyer may be strapped for time, and to know there is a station group who can help is pretty valuable. Also, your station group may offer a new technology that no one else does. Make sure the agency knows about it right away!
6. Help us show the client the value/ROI of your medium. Now more than ever, our clients are focused on lead generation, attribution, and ROI. We are deeply involved in helping our clients understand how radio fits in with the media mix, and when there is
any way that we can show them what a valuable medium radio is, we want to do so. If your station has lead attribution capabilities, make sure the agency is aware of these. Offer to help put together reports that show the value of radio. We all know it works; help us let the client see that!
7. Be excited about our clients’ business and agency partnership, no matter how big or small. As a fullservice agency that handles national, regional, and small local clients, we value all of those relationships and the trust our clients put in us to spend their
money efficiently and effectively. Our most trusted reps always put their best foot forward, whether the available budget is $300,000 or $3,000. It truly makes all the difference, as it shows the agency that you are focused on client success and not just how much of a budget you can get. In the end, we want the campaigns to work and be successful, and the best reps realize this and help us (and the client) shine no matter
We continue to be impressed at how strong most of our radio partners are and how important they are to our clients’ media mix and success.
Brandi Jackson is Media Director at O’Brien et al.