Don’t Complicate the Process


(By James Bahm) Automated answering systems that don’t seem to get you to a human being who can assist you, getting your audience to respond to a client’s campaign, and improving sales and revenue all have one thing in common: the process is way too complicated for your audience.

Let’s look at the latter two of the three as we talk about ways you can improve the process for those you are trying to reach since automated systems aren’t going anywhere.

If you want to improve how your audience responds to an advertising campaign, and you also want your sales team to improve their communication skills and increase revenue on a consistent basis, the path to success for each has one thing in common: Make it easy for your audience so there is no confusion about what is asked of them.

Inspect What You Expect

If you expect your sales team to be better communicators, become a better communicator. I know customer responsiveness is a big goal at my company and we have a rule to reply to every customer email within 24 hours of receiving it. (If they reach out on the weekend or on a holiday, respond on your first day back in the office.)

I have a long list of managers I’ve been unlucky to work for who’ve not replied to an email and failed to answer the question(s) I asked left me wondering if all their banter on teamwork and camaraderie caused me to put them on hold so I could call BS to verify the validity of their claim.

Managers, you are so quick to want to hold your team accountable for their actions that you fail to have anyone hold you accountable for yours. You’re not immune to the same standards you’re holding others to, in fact, you should be held to an even higher standard than anyone else on staff.

But you don’t understand how busy I am, you say. Yes, I do. One day last week, I reached out to over 70 customers while replying to every email and message I received. Most of the customers I reached out to were me proactively contacting them for various items we needed, though there were about 27 emails I answered– that in addition to taking a few inbound calls. I believe you may think you’re busy, though in reality you need to be more available to your team, reply to their emails, and answer their questions.

How can you expect something from someone else when you’re not inspecting your actions to see how well you’re measuring up? Making rules for everyone to follow that you are not being held accountable for is not leadership. It’s not parenting, and it certainly isn’t managing. Whatever you’re expecting from others, do everything in your power to ensure you are meeting those same expectations. Make it easy for your team by being the example you want them to follow.

How does that translate to getting more of a response for your clients?

Simple: inspect your copy. Are you making it easy for your audience to respond? Is it well written? Did you eliminate clichés? Most of what I hear on the radio is not very good. Don’t give a phone number in your spot unless it matches the client’s website. If you have an HVAC client and their website has a name that will take up several seconds to say and repeat, do some investigative work, and see if the website is available for your area code and a short name; maybe if you’re in Vegas. Maybe do a quick search to see if the phone is available. Having the website match the phone number makes it easy for the audience to remember and – as Paul Weyland says – have your client be sought after instead of searched for.

Never give their street address, it’s too long and no one’s going to pay attention. Are they in a popular location? If their store is in front of the Eastside Galleria? Then it’s likely your audience is familiar with it. Saying, “They’re the only furniture store in front of the Eastside Galleria” is easier to remember than a phone number, street address, or website, and it’s something that’s easily Googleable – especially if they have that verbiage on their website so when they Google that phrase, their website is first on the list. Now you just gave their Google Analytics a boost.

This may be a way to pluck low-hanging fruit off your competitors’ stations. Walk in their store on a Saturday and see how much traffic they have. Talk to the staff and ask them how busy they’ve been. Their body language will tell you more than their words will. Just be careful in your approach, and don’t knock the spot – after all, many decision makers love to be in control of the creative and that’s not always the best recipe for success. I’ve won accounts off other stations by presenting better creative. It’s not always easy and it often takes a long time to produce rewards.

Another approach Paul Weyland recommends (and it works) is going to their competitors letting them know you’ve found a hole in their competitor’s advertising, and you’d like to provide an opportunity for them to capitalize on it. Make it a game if you must. As Jack Canfield said: Some will, some won’t, so what, someone’s waiting.

If you want to write better copy, inspect what you’re writing. Do you want to close more sales and grow revenue? Inspect what you’re doing daily. Inspect all that you expect.

Inspecting what you expect means taking a long hard look at what you are doing and then making the necessary changes to improve performance. Start with the person you see in the mirror when you brush your teeth. Look at every area impacting your expectations and inspect them with such scrutiny that you’ll want to continuously improve every area and set the expectations you want others to achieve.

Bottom Line: Don’t settle for mediocrity when excellence is easily attainable with a little more effort.

James Bahm has over 30 years’ experience in broadcasting, sales and marketing, and recruiting and hiring. He is the author of Don’t Yuck My Yum – a Professional Development and Sales & Marketing book – which is available on  He can be reached via email: [email protected]


  1. Absolutely right on the mark…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told a salesperson to eliminate phone numbers from ads! Drive them to the customers website. Unless the numbers repeat or it spells out something, give their website address or just say, “google, Joe’s Auto Repair.” All the information someone needs to know is right there and listeners do this every single day. I hear, “the sponsors wants his phone number in his ad.” It’s your job to teach them what’s important and what’s wasting valuable ad time. I heard this kind of thing in a variety of small and large markets while I drove across the country to Florida in January.

    Dealing with customers can be a huge issue. I have a sponsor/friend that I am a customer of that complains regularly since I retired about their salesperson and how when there is an issue with their ad that the salesperson blames the announcer and the announcer likewise blames the salesperson. And this isn’t the first account to complain to me. Stop blaming each other, take responsibility and get it right. Go out of your way to sincerely apologize and do a better job.

    Sales is the hardest job at the radio station. But don’t make it harder by not making an effort and doing it the way you’d expect if you were the one buying the ad package.


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