(By Pat Bryson) If you are a radio salesperson, you know there are lots of us out there. When you call on a new or existing client, you may have been the fifth or sixth sales representative in their door that day. We are all inundated with emails. It’s hard to grab someone’s attention by email. Ditto getting someone on the phone to make an appointment.
With all this competition vying for a businessperson’s time, how do we stand out? How do you become the best seller in your market?
The first thing, and basic to being a good seller, is to know your products. Today most of us sell more than radio. We may sell digital products, print, outdoor. We have lots of golf clubs in our bag with which to play the game of advertising. Which product or products will we choose to make the shot? Without a thorough knowledge of how these work on consumers we are behind the curve.
Along with this knowledge, we need to know how to create effective schedules. What type of frequency and consistency do our clients need in any of these vehicles to move their revenue needle? Now that we have multiple advertising vehicles to sell, the tendency may be to split the original budget among the various choices. Diluting a schedule on one vehicle to add additional vehicles will not result in success. We need to become comfortable asking for enough budget to cover all the platforms in an effective way for each. Remember, most likely your clients are spending that amount of money somewhere, just not with you. Giving the money to you allows you to coordinate the messaging across all their platforms which will create greater results for them. It also saves them time as they only need to deal with one person: YOU!
This leads us to the next skill you need to become the best seller in your market: you know how to create great messages. What does your client’s ad need to communicate? What sets them apart from all competitors? Why would someone shop with them or buy their product? Once you can answer, “Why?” it’s time to translate that message into sound and graphics. Too often in radio we forget how powerful sound can be. We forget that people buy emotionally. They respond to messages that are relevant to them. They respond to messages that evoke emotional responses in them.
It’s important to coordinate these messages across all platforms. We know that most customers respond after receiving various “touches”, usually five or more. If these “touches” are similar in all platforms, the message becomes more memorable. Our job for clients is to give them space in the minds of potential consumers. If our clients are not in the file drawers of their potential customers, they will never have the chance to sell them.
Now that we have mastered our world and helped our clients to increase their brand, it is important to expand your own brand. How can you become known as the marketing expert in your town? Attend local business events. Meet people. Pass out your cards. Let them know what you do. And what do you do? You use your advertising platforms to help solve problems for local businesses. Right now, most of us are helping our clients to deal with inflation, finding staff, changing messages to keep pace with supply chain problems. There are very few businesses out there today that are not dealing with one or more of these.
You can also use LinkedIn and social media to promote success stories that you have helped to create. One of the salespeople I coach regularly posts short interviews with his clients on LinkedIn. The client gives a testimonial on how he has benefited from working with the station.
Haunt the Chamber events. Speak on marketing at every opportunity. Join service clubs. They often have the movers and shakers in any community as members. These people can be powerful references.
Another person I coach has an 8 ½ by 11 sheet full of clients who have agreed to serve as references. When she leaves a needs analysis, she gives that sheet to the prospect and encourages them to call the references. By the time she returns to present, the prospect is already sold!
Now we get to the most important thing you must do to be the best seller in your market: KNOW YOUR CLIENTS! Great salespeople today have a deeper understanding of their clients and their businesses than ever before. They are probing for information during every interaction. Business is evolving quickly today due to outside influences. Great salespeople keep pace with those changes, altering messages as needed. They understand the metrics of their client’s business. They meet with annual clients at least four times a year to do a more in-depth needs analysis to make sure the advertising plan is still on target. They provide follow-up that is customized for each client. They are in contact with each client at least once a month. Some clients may require weekly or biweekly contact. Some prefer to use text, some email, and some phone calls to handle logistics. The best salespeople ask, “What do you consider ‘exceptional service’?” Then they provide it.
Although we have spent several paragraphs talking about our world, this is only the basic knowledge great salespeople must have. Once you have that, what truly matters is understanding the world of your client. Knowing our world simply gives us the skills to diagnose and prescribe once we understand what our clients need and what their goals are. Think of it as going to your doctor with a problem. You HOPE they have a thorough knowledge of medicine, but you also hope they will seek to understand YOUR SPECIFIC PEOBLEM before they start prescribing a course of action. That’s what we do: we diagnose through a needs analysis then we prescribe a course of action using our advertising vehicles.
Have I given you five ways? I lost count. Being the best seller in your market requires commitment to your station and especially to your clients. Your goal: when someone asks whom to call for advertising advice, the answer is YOU!
Pat Bryson is the Founder of Bryson Broadcasting International . She is the author of two books: “A Road Map To Success In High-Dollar Broadcast Sales” and “Successful Broadcast Sales: Thriving in Change”.
You can reach her at: [email protected] .