Valeria Bongard posted this on the RSC Facebook fan page:
At least for us, it is different in that our clients no longer buy what we call fluff ads. Ads such as easter scriptures, veterans day, graduation, etc. And also we now have to hit up any client with an agency at the first of the year with all of the packages we are going to offer that year instead of doing it a month before the package starts or else they are out of money.
I started as an AE in radio in 1971. As in every other business, much has changed since then. What Rebecca says is certainly correct. Plus there simply are fewer businesses to call on then in years past. Retail advertising no longer drives our business, but we generate business from legal and medical that didn't exist years ago. If you work with agencies, the issue of cost per point drives rates down. The internet has taken much from traditional radio. So...it's a much tougher enviornment than it used to be. That said, there are also many opportunities for AE's who work to truly understand their clients pain and come up with ways to allieviate it.
First of all product knowledge is more important than ever. You also need to be able to be more than an order taker. In our community we have seen long time clients drop out or cut back because of the economy. They need your input more than ever to assure them they are working in the right direction to sell their product or service.
Sometimes you have to be willing to say no and explain why. It's like the old movie "Miracle on 34th Street" where the department store Santa sent customers to the opposition when his store didn't have the item. It just built up the credibility of the store. We have to be more accountable than ever.
Today's radio sales reps have an arsenal of tools available to them today than just the RAB. I feel the RAB has been second to none when it comes to giving the selling side of the industry valuable insight and credibility. Today with the Web 2.0 and social media applications such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogging, provide tools that allow the radio sales pro to really zero in on marketing trends at the speed of light.
In the early days of the Internet, I remember reading an article on line about Chrysler offering a backroom rebate for the dealer. I printed it and handed to a sales rep that called on a local Chrylser dealer to see build a campaign around it. The first comment the dealer had to the sale rep, "Where did you get this information and how do you have the news before I do?"
Proof to the fact that if used correctly, today's radio sales people can be the most trusted resource for the for the client when they use the tools available available to them.