Networking for radio sales professionals from Grace Broadcast Sales.
I just started in radio sales, and as I am only 24, I know a lot of potential clients will find it hard to get on board if they think I am too young, or don't have as much experience. When I'm thinking about my key accounts, how can I convince them I am not too young or "youthful" (as my boss puts it) ?
Side note: all the other account managers are much older; I think its some what of an industry standard to go into sales after you go through your first career as that adds life experience. I want to be in sales now. Any tips?
I'm also your age and have found that once people see that you know what you're talking about, they usually drop their reservations about your age. Just stick to how you can benefit them and you'll be golden. There are times when my age works to my advantage, especially with those clients that are marketing to people my age. You can really be the go-to person when it comes to questions about new media, social media, and digital sales. As long a you show them you are professional and that you follow through with them, they won't even question your age. Hope that helps,
I am assuming that the radio stations you are selling for have been in the business for a while. Use the credibility of your company until you have earned the creds in your own right. You can say something like, "Yes, I may be young in this business, but my company has been successfully growing businesses like yours for many years".
I sit in the camp of Lynn...if your radio station has been around a while then that is creditability alone.
One other aspect of your youth is the understanding potentially of "new"media and the importance of understanding how that woks for an advertiser.
While I believe that other media like Facebook and such like is another channel for advertisers to use, you might be able to advise the best way to use both. That may just position you as the expert, something that is vital in this "new economy"
Age is a two edged sword. Youth is inexperience but it is also energy, enthusiasm and innovation. The older salespeople you work with have experience but may not bring the energy, ideas and openmindedness you have. The struggle of managers (I am one) with older salespeople is that they are predisposed - and you probably hear it all the time at your office - about what this or that client will buy, why this or that category just doesn't seem to work for radio, etc.
Your age allows you to ask - out of naivete or curiosity - where and when the others may not. And clients are willing to give you a chance where a more established salesperson may not be given that. Your boss is not entirely correct in saying your age is a liability of some kind. Some accounts work better with female sales people. Some with men. Some work because of something in common like kids in sports, fan-dom for a MLB team, antique cars - who knows! My experience is that age is the last issue clients have with sales people. Some of what you are encountering is that you are a new salesperson to that client (not necessarily to radio sales). Clients almost always 'test' a new salesperson regardless of age or gender - does he get back to me? does he listen and incorporate the ideas I have in what he presents? is he persistent?
Number One Rule for young, just starting out salespeople is: never, ever fake it. If you don't know something, tell the client that that is an excellent question, you are relatively new at radio sales and you don't want to give an inaccurate reply so you are going to find out and let them know the answer. Then do it. Even if you walk out in the parking lot after the appointment, call and get the answer and go right back in with the response. Get back to the client with an answer as quickly as possible - shows you are interested in what they asked and in knowing they get their answer. It also engages them in a learning experience with you. It will build credibility that you are concerned with doing things correctly - not just to get a sale.
Use your age to work for you. Be over the top professional - overdress slightly, written presentations, organized purposeful discussions with clients, bring ideas. It shows you take your job seriously and are building a career - not just punching a clock or going thru the motions. Your older co-workers may tell you you don't need to do all this. They don't. You do. It will pay off big time.
Also - join the local JayCees or volunteer group that has young business people your age. This networking with your age peers will help you.
You will be judges even before you open your mouth. Dress conservitavly. Suit & tie. Conservative hair cut. Hide the "tats". Glasses can help. Don't smoke or drink in front of the clients.
It may sound boring or stiff, but you will be seen as an up and coming executive. Remember, the first thing a salesman sells is himself.
Some of the most successful radio sales people I know were young (early 20's) when they started and had zero experience. They brought a new sense of energy and excitement to the table. Clients liked them and people do business with those they know, like, and trust.