(By Rick Fink) When you were growing up, you may have heard the expression, “Some things are just better left unsaid”. It was another way of saying hold your tongue because if you say it out loud, it could land you in trouble, or it may cause unpleasantness.
In advertising sales, one of those “things” better left unsaid until the appropriate time is…rates!
However, oftentimes it’s one of the first things new prospects want to talk about. When this happens, how we reply can set the stage and determine what type of relationship we will have with this client far into the future.
So, while we are better off not talking about rates, especially early in the relationship, the topic, especially when asked, needs to be addressed.
When one of your prospect’s first questions is, “What are your rates?”, you must be prepared. Answering the question directly and with as much confidence as possible is extremely important. The worst possible thing you can do is try to skirt the question and give them a song and dance reply!
Here is a suggested reply: “Our rates are great. I can assure you of one thing, we don’t gouge people and we don’t give it away.” Our rates are determined by several factors that include what station and/or how many stations you are on, the time frame in which your ads air, how much frequency you choose to run, the length of the agreement, and the length of the message. With that said, your rates will be somewhere between $__ and $__.”
If you choose to use something like this, make sure the rates you provide are fairly broad, allowing you room to explain the rates you present based on the reasons stated above, i.e. a 30-sec ROS schedule compared to 60-sec drive- times on one or multiple stations.
What we don’t want to have happen is to get into a discussion about our rates vs. the other radio station(s), or comparing the cost of radio to other mediums. The deeper you go with your reply, the more rate will be an issue.
As quickly as possible you want the conversation to turn to how we can help them grow their business with strategies, ideas, solutions, and results!
The right time to discuss rates is after you have presented your ideas and proven that you are there to help them, not just sell them. Then, regardless of what your rates are, they will always appear lower.
Do you want to be known as the media rep with the best rates or the media rep with the best ideas? Having a pre-planned and rehearsed response to this question can determine what your relationship will look like far into the future.
Some things are better left unsaid, or at least said in the appropriate manner, at the appropriate time!