Networking for radio sales professionals from Grace Broadcast Sales.
I am looking to transition from the Media Agency side, into a Radio AE role. I had two good meetings with a GSM and three Sales Managers who were very impressed with my media and account management experience but I could sense that all had apprehensions regarding my limited sales experience.
I did my best to overcome those challenges by addressing my limited sales experience before the managers could bring it up themselves and I spoke highly of my self drive and passion for success.
Following our discussions, I have done my best to stay in contact through both email and phone correspondence (mostly voicemail messages). At this point it has been 4 weeks since my face to face meetings and while common sense says to move on and take other opportunities, my gut and heart tell me that I would be a great asset to this group of stations.
Q: At what point am I being a pest?
Q: Is this just a "test" of my "hunter" skills?
Q: Any tricks on getting them to "close" with a yes or no?
Q: How do I set myself apart from another AE with market experience/contacts?
Thanks so much, any advice is much appreciate.
Thanks for sharing your situation and posting these excellent questions. Suggest you read some of the stories here and here, about how some of us got into radio sales, as well as the discussion on what advice you'd give to a new radio sales applicant. You will undoubtedly find some worthwhile nuggets of advice.
In my own case, persistence proved propitious:
One day I noticed a classified ad in the Springfield, IL newspaper. WFMB-FM, Springfield's first FM country and western station, was looking for something called an "account executive." I called the station to inquire about the position. They invited me in for an interview, after which they said they'd call me and let me know if I had the job.
Days went by without hearing anything. So I phoned the station. "We're still interviewing people," they told me.
"Am I in the running?"
(pause) "We'll let you know."
Long story short, I ended up making several more calls to the station over the next week. Even stopped by in person, uninvited, to ask if they were getting close to a decision. I was getting desperate.
After some half-dozen follow-ups, Mr. (Jack) Hoskins, the General Manager, said to me, "You really want this job, don't you?"
"Yes, I do."
"Well, okay, we'll give you a try and see how it goes..."
If you had seen me back then, sporting an "afro" and wearing one of my dad's old suits, you immediately would have understood their hesitation to hire me. Looking back now, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have hired me!
So, I started selling radio advertising for WFMB-FM in January 1973. In the process, I learned a valuable lesson about the importance of persistence. And even though I backed into the business more or less by accident, it turned out to be a much better fit than my dad's old suit.
Having spent 26 of my now 40 years in the business as a sales manager, I believe that most stations (in small and medium markets, anyway) would strive to find a place for a new salesperson who showed promise.
The situation you're facing isn't materially different from that of calling on a brand new advertising prospect who appears to be resisting your overtures to open a relationship. In both cases, if there's something unspoken that seems to be impeding progress, you need to know what that is and why it's a problem. Seems to me there's no substitute for having another meeting with the decision-maker(s) and laying out your cards. You're obviously qualified and experienced, yet they haven't offered you the position. Why is that? What is the basis for their hesitation? Assure them that you'd like to know the truth, and that they shouldn't worry about "offending" you. I believe they owe you that much, based on my (limited) understanding of the situation you describe.
It's possible that they're intimidated by your experience in advertising, experience they lack. One would hope this isn't the case; your experience on the client side could provide valuable insights from which the whole sales department could benefit.
Or perhaps they're afraid, based on your professional experience, that you'll be a "know-it-all", not amenable to instruction or to learning their systems and doing things their way.
Maybe there's something about you or your work history that they assume to be the case, but in fact isn't.
Or it might be something else altogether. The point is, it's better to ask than to guess. So, ask. And make it easy for them to answer frankly. Your first goal should be to achieve a meeting of the minds, a clear understanding on both sides of the table. Only on that basis can each party know for sure that you're a good fit for one another.
Hope this helps.
Rod, Thank you for the reply and the advice.
Right or wrong, my current boss makes it a rule NEVER to hire anyone until they call back at least three times. Had a guy that did this and yesterday just "dropped in" to meet the boss face to face. They ended up spending 45-minutes together. He'll get a job that he otherwise would not have.
Something I tried in 1996 which worked: I offered to work at way less than the going rate for six months of great training. If they didn't like me after six months, they hadn't invested much money. If I didn't like them after six months, I left with training in sales that I didn't have before.