Sell As If You’re Running Track


(By Charlie Sislen) Most sales people are relieved that 2020 is in the rearview mirror. It’s hard to imagine another sales year like that.

Now it’s time to move forward.

I’ve never been a fast runner, but I always considered the secrets to successful competition to be:

  • Always look forward
  • Never look back
  • Focus on the finish


So you may ask, what does this have to do with sales and growing the radio pie?

Most sales people were hit with adversity in 2020. From mid-March through the end of the year, selling, especially selling new business, was more difficult than ever before. Those who were successful fought through this adversity and made lemonade from lemons. They became creative with packages and started calling on new accounts. This is a true positive.

Now that 2020 is over, sales people need to learn from the events of the past year, but not dwell on them. What did you do in 2020 that made you a better sales person? Use that knowledge to grow and improve, and ignore everything else.

Don’t dismiss those clients who either cancelled their 2020 buys or never committed to allocating advertising dollars with you. Instead, make sure they know you are open for business and your goal is to help them grow in the future. Welcome them back with creativity and compassion.

New businesses will open where old businesses once stood. Be prepared with grand opening deals, as these new businesses will have to establish their brand.

To be clear, we are not out of the woods. But as vaccines get into people’s arms, the slumping economy will start to rebound. Restaurants will get crowded again. More people will start attending concerts and sporting events. Without a doubt, society will slowly make a comeback. Focus on that, and don’t look back.

For those who regularly read this column, you know I rarely get philosophical. Most of the time, I share basic sales strategies and tips for positioning radio in the best light to potential advertisers. However, I understand that many are still licking their wounds and we should all be patient.

You cannot change the past. You can influence the future. Therefore, the future is where you should put your focus, energy, and concentration. Forget about what you “should have done” in 2020. Determine how best to maximize every opportunity in 2021.

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.


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