(By Carol Commander) So you’re in radio sales, in a pandemic. Selling air in a pandemic, doesn’t sound all that appealing when worded that way, does it? Think again!
As a radio salesperson, you are indeed selling one of the most exciting products around! Almost everyone listens to radio – each and every week. And almost every business owner or marketing director you speak with does as well. And you’ve got something they need — solutions and ideas to help increase business, build their brand, make their phone ring, increase traffic to their websites, help with their social media pages, raise awareness for their fundraisers, sell tickets to their events, help them hire additional help, and so much more!
I’m often asked “what’s the most important thing a radio salesperson needs to know to
succeed in this business?” It would be impossible to narrow it down to just one thing, so
- Have a strong desire to help. And this is especially important now. Empathy,
creativity, going the extra mile, and overdelivering will make all the difference.
- Lead with ideas. Ideas sell, and ideas help. A fun, creative, memorable radio spot or
promotional idea will get the door open, get the conversation flowing, and deliver results.
Radio is the very best medium when it comes to fun, creative, memorable campaigns!
- Be a fan – a passionate fan of your stations. Know your formats and your on-air
personalities, inside and out. Participate and enthusiastically attend your stations’ events. Shout it from the rooftops that you love your job and your stations!
- Believe in your stations. Passionately believe that your stations deliver results to your
clients. There’s nothing better than a great client success story. Know these stories and
make them a part of your everyday conversations with clients.
- Go the extra mile. Whenever possible, use additional assets to complement a radio
campaign. Inclusions in an e-blast, a text blast, a banner ad, or a share on social media
make a difference.
- Be a sponge. Be knowledgeable about many different kinds of businesses. You don’t
need to know how to repair an engine, but you do need to know the importance of the
back end of an auto dealership. You don’t need to pass the bar exam, but you do need to know the specialties of different law firms. You get the idea.
- Work hard and work smart. Communicate frequently with your managers. Be
accessible, and don’t watch the clock. We don’t live in a 9-to-5 world and radio certainly
isn’t a 9-to-5 medium.
- Live up to your potential. Doing otherwise lets your managers down, and disappoints
your teammates and your clients. Your colleagues need to be confident they are working
with a consummate radio professional who overdelivers whenever possible. This will go
a long way!
- Be a mentor. Is there a newbie on your team? Offer to help in the training of the new
account executive. There’s nothing more important than bringing new and talented
individuals into our industry. Acting as a mentor also helps elevate your own game!
- Get a mentor. In fact, get several. Always be learning. Always be growing. Some of
the best reps I know reached out to busy media buyers early in their careers and asked for their help in becoming a better salesperson. You’d be surprised at what you’ll learn from those around you, those you look up to, and those across the table.
There are many people who wish they had a job where, every day, they help people. You
have that job! Congratulations! You are in one of the best careers out there — yes, even
in a pandemic. And maybe especially in a pandemic.
Carol Commander is the Director of Sales for Tidewater Communications
(WAFX-FM, WNOR-FM, WJOI-AM, TCI Interactive) in Chesapeake, Virginia, and a
2020 Radio Ink Radio Wayne Winner. She can be reached at [email protected].