Mark Shaffer started his radio career back in 1989 after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa. He heard an ad for an Account Manager on Trending Media’s KXIA-FM in Marshalltown, Iowa, applied for the job, and has been there ever since. He spent his first 12 years selling, the next 15 as an Assistant Sales Manager and the last five as the General Sales Manager.
Trending Media Owner Todd Steinkamp says in his 20 plus years working in all departments at radio and TV stations in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, he has never met a more dedicated, smart, hardworking General Sales Manager than Mark Shaffer. He calls him his go-to-guy. “If you need help with sales, programming, loading the station vehicle for a remote broadcast or moving a desk, Mark is always ready to help. He’s a great Sales Manger but more importantly he is a great human being and we definitely need more people like him in the world.”
Here’s our interview with Mark Shafer, General Sales Manager at KFJB-AM/FM and KXIA-FM in Marshalltown, Iowa.
Radio Ink: How did you know you’d be good at selling radio? When did it click?
Mark Shaffer: I didn’t know if I would be good, but it worked out. My third month here I found a client who had $38,000 in 100% paid coop they had never used. Up until that point I was sure I would be fired. 00% coop– those were the days!
Radio Ink: Why are you a successful leader of salespeople?
Mark Shaffer: We have a great sales team of dedicated veterans who have been selling in this market at these radio stations from 12 to 38 years. Not many stations can claim to have that kind of loyalty, dedication and expertise. So, my success has been easier to attain because of them, along with having two quality radio stations to sell. The sales team has my respect and I believe I have their respect. Together we make a uniquely formidable sales force.
Radio Ink: Tell us how you spot a great salesperson.
Mark Shaffer: I observe how people interact with others. Body language, sincerity, trustworthiness, follow through. In everyday life it seems like service is becoming a thing of the past. Our team is big on servicing our clients and when I interact with someone providing outstanding service, I take note.
Radio Ink: How do you keep your team motivated?
Mark Shaffer: Again, our team is very passionate about the radio stations and self-motivated. Our sales program rewards successful selling and I think it has a lot to do with the longevity of our team here at Trending Media, Inc.
Radio Ink: What are you doing to always be on the lookout for new sellers?
Mark Shaffer: Watching and listening. In my position, I come into contact with lots of people. “Can they sell?” is always in the back of my mind.
Radio Ink: How do you keep yourself sharp, up on all the trends, ahead of the competition?
Mark Shaffer: Our sales meetings are a free exchange of ideas and information and along with our programming people we create promotions and sales efforts. Everyone participates and can tell their honest opinion on a subject pro or con. From these meetings we have created opportunities for clients our competition just hasn’t or couldn’t provide. As for keeping up on all the trends and staying sharp I can’t say I always do, but again with input from staff and our GM they keep me on my toes.
Radio Ink: Over the past 18 months, what are you most proud of?
Mark Shaffer: That’s easy: the fact that during the pandemic and a devastating “derecho” or inland hurricane that blew through Iowa August 10, 2020, we never laid anyone off. Everybody kept their job and we adapted to serve our community and maintain sales as best we could during a very uncertain time. 2021 has been strong. That’s a credit to our entire staff, management and ownership.
Radio Ink: What advice, in this competitive environment, do you have for other sales managers across the country?
Mark Shaffer: If you find good sales people keep them!
Reach out to Mark to congratulate him on his longevity with KFJB-AM/FM and KXIA-FM and for being named Radio Ink’s Sales Manager of the Week at [email protected]
Check out all of our Sales Manager’s of The Week HERE.