Networking for radio sales professionals from Grace Broadcast Sales.
Hello Radio Sales Cafe-ers!
My name is Mary and I'm NEW to basically everything in Radio and Sales. First let me tell you briefly my situation. My family owns an AM Radio Station in Tennessee and I have volunteered (mainly because I’ve been unemployed here in Raleigh, NC) to go help my grandmother and uncle by selling advertising for the station. I'll spare you the family drama details...but basically they haven't had anyone actively looking for new customers for a long time now and unless that changes, they will be forced to shut down. That's where I come in:-)
Like I said earlier, I am new and have zero experience but I like taking on new challenges. Hopefully my heart and personality can make up for some of the knowledge and experience I lack. Right now I’ve been researching online and that is how I discovered this website. I definitely plan on reading the books many of you recommended to start off with. Now I seem to remember from a marketing course I took many years ago, that you need to know who your listeners are (demographic s, etc) so you can target your advertising. I do not have a clue how to find out this info, unless you join Arbitron but I can already tell you that we cannot afford that option.
I also had an idea that I could make them a website and sell advertising on it…but if our listeners are older, I seriously doubt they would use a computer (which is another reason that I thought I would need to find out who our listeners are.)
So if anyone has any advice on how to find out this info I would SO greatly appreciate it! Thanks for all of your help everyone and I look forward to learning everything I can (as quick as I can, lol) about Radio Sales:-)
All of us were new at one time or another and faced the daunting task of finding a way to start. Here are a couple of thing you should know:
1. The worst radio station in the WORLD can get results for clients if they run enough ads. A friend says he knows this is true because he has owned some of them, He's right on both counts.
2. The radio station format will tell you a lot about who your listeners are. The truth is, while a lot of your potential advertisers will ask you for numbers and demos, most of them wouldn't know what they are looking at even if you showed them. They don't really CARE. What they DO care about is increasing their sales and seeing more customers coming through the door. Their FEAR is the risk of buying your product and not seeing any results from it. More than anything else, this is the number one problem most salespeople have to deal with.
3. At this point, a website isn't what you need. What you do need is your sweet, smiling face in front of as many people as you can call on each day. Cold calling is never fun, but it is effective IF you stay with it. Warm leads are better, but at this point you need any kind of lead you can get.
4. Before you start making cold calls, go see all of the businesses that are currently using your radio station. Take their pulse on how they feel about the advertising they are doing with you. Ask questions. They can give you some insight into the good and the bad of advertising with your station. Let them know you are on a fact finding mission, not trying to sell them additional advertising; at least not right now..
You might want to go to, www.salesheartbeat.com and look through the posts you'll find. I spent 40 years doing what you are about to do. Perhaps you'll find some things that can be of help. It's a free service; and it sounds like you and your family can afford free right now.
Also, I suggest you do this. Use the comment section or email me to ask questions. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll help you as much as I can. Sounds like you've got your hands full.
Congratulations Mary! You have just joined the greatest profession on earth! And it sounds like you have a tremendous opportunity to really grow your own business. And this is exactly what it is. Your family may own the station, but you can take ownership of the business you are building with your clients.
You don't say in your post where you are in Tennessee, but whether you're in a small market or large, every station has an audience. I totally agree with Alan in that.
As to your listener base, I think your best research tool is the microphone. Run a small contest and see who calls in. Ask them (off air, of course) a little bit about themselves and what they like best about your radio station.
You could also set up a Facebook page (again, free) for your station and you'll glean a lot of information off your "likes". And I do have to disagree on your statement on older listeners. Our stations Facebook page, website, and auction page have lots of older visitors.
I spent hours on www.rab.com when I first started. Even if you can't afford a membership, there is a ton of general pro radio info on there. And, if I were to start again, I'd be mining this site for every nugget.
Again, congratulations! If you believe in yourself and your product, the sky's the limit!
Good advice from both people. I would add that it is important to be very community-active. Align yourself and your station with as many community events and causes as possible. Have people that are promoting their own events and causes come to the station to record their PSA's-get local voices on your station. Consider doing telephone sales blitzes for cause-related campaigns.
In time, getting a basic web site in place is a good idea, though. Older folks (like me) use the computer a lot more than some people think. Web sites don't have to be expensive or fancy either, and don't expect huge metrics. For AM stations, streaming can also be very helpful, but there is an added cost, so be careful.
Also, your commercial rate isn't nearly as important as the total amount of dollars you get from a client. Getting clients to run a lot of commercials will really help to ensure that they get response and results, and that will surely help in client retention. Have clients voice their own commercials, or at least take part in them. Their friends will tell them they heard them on the radio-and that helps too! Most smart phones have excellent built-in recorders, so they don't have to come to the station to record.
All the best!
When possible take an idea to sell. Local sports....swap shop show.....funeral announcements....local news or
weather. You can't do this with every client, but can help build your cash flow, and that's what will count in the
All of these suggestions are good advice, Mary. Ron is on the money when he says take an idea with you on your sales calls. It will help you gain confidence and, as Ron says, it will help your bottom line.
Don't look to Arbitron. Look at your coverage map and your format. The music you play will define your audience. Get involved in the community. Join the local chamber of commerce. Find out what local businesses support what charities and run PSA's for those charities. If they have golf tournaments or other activities get the station involved.
Have I used the word 'involved' twice. There is a reason for that. Think about that. The community needs to understand that their radio station is an asset. You can lead them.
Hi Mary, I've been at this crazy game of media sales for over 20 years and I think if you ask your family who is listening they will have a very good idea of who their talking to...more important for you is to find out about the client you are going to try and sell, get on the internet find out about them...they really don't care exactly who the radio station appeals too as long as they could become their customers. I'm sure you know by the type of music that is being played who is most likely to listen to it...sort of logical but try and figure out what your prospective client wants before they book advertising so you can see if you met their expectations. Keep it fun, clients will remember a happy face and you long after the commercials have aired and that's your key to going back and asking how things went and don't be afraid to ask (they might tell you it didn't work but they have been know to lie) and I'm sure they will book again.
Just get out there and let people know who you are and go visit the exisitng clients of the station and get feedback from them as to who shows up when they advertise on the station. I think you'll do fine once you get going and it's a lot of work and a lot fun!!! Enjoy yourself ! June
Hi Mary - I have been selling radio ads and promotions for a small country AM/FM radio station, for the last six years. Like Columbus TN, Dodgeville WI is a short distance outside a much larger city/market (yours is Nashville, ours is Madison). Our station has certain advantages and disavantages over these larger-market radio station groups. You will soon find yourself in the same struggle for advertising dollars in Columbus, as we are in Dodgeville! To my way of thinking, there are "Big City" radio markets, "Rural Town" radio markets ... and what I assume the Columbus TN and Dodgeville WI radio markets are: "Suburban Town" radio markets.
"Suburban Town" radio station advertising representatives share a unique set of benefits and problems. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, shoot me an e-mail on any day, to: email@example.com
In a very real way, I do envy you! Best of Luck, Mary!
Mary, I've been in radio 40 years. 30 of the 40 years in sales. Forget Arbitron. Most of the stations that I've worked for couldn't afford to buy Arbitron numbers. I just say, "We don't subscribe to Arbitron, so I cannot discuss those numbers without paying Arbitron." (pause) Then I calmly say, "Let's say we pick a hypothetical number... 50,000 listeners. If they 'all' came in this week, that would be too many people in your store, right? Let's say we have less than half of that... 20,000 people. If your radio ad on my station brought in 200 people over the next year, you'd be happy, right?" Client nods yes. "So you can see that our radio station has enough people to do the job for you. The key is writing a good, compelling commercial, with a good "Offer" from you to bring people in... Then sticking with your ad campaign over the next 12 months, to stay with customers while they consider switching from where they buy what you sell... to your store, right? Just saying that you have a friendly staff and parking at the door won't work. What really great "offer" can we put into your first ad with us?" Now they're helping you create their ad, and they've already decided to buy ads with you. God bless you, Ed Brady firstname.lastname@example.org
Lots of good advice here so I will not duplicate.
Radio is mass media. It's like fishing with a huge net rather than a single line for bass only.
There are two ways to increase revenue: Get more per commercial and get more advertisers. It's always easier to get existing clients to spend more. When looking for new clients, look to see who is advertising in the local newspaper and yellow pages. These are two dying mediums.
So, how was your first month in radio ad sales? What's the best thing that happened to you last month? The worst? (Both will undoubtedly be learning experiences for you.)
Just in case you haven't already discovered the forum here at RSC, you'll find a large and helpful collection of discussions, recommendations, stories, and many helpful resources in the NEW TO RADIO SALES section.
Don't worry so much about trying to match your advertisers to your listeners by demographic information. Consumers have much in common that has nothing to do with their preferred radio format(s). Everyone drives, eats, sleeps, enjoys recreation, etc., etc. Target by means of the ad copy instead - and the message will find its way to those who are in the market for the product or service. (Roy Williams has taught extensively on this; read his Wizard of Ads books and check out this DVD.)
Look forward to hearing back from you, Mary!