Forums » Friday Polls

Friday Poll: Best Places to Find New Salespeople?

    • 1236 posts
    April 5, 2018 11:13 PM PDT

    Happy Friday, everyone!

    Mike Phillips asked recently: "How do you hire salespeople? Our station's success rate is not good. We're trying a new technique later this month that includes dramatic commissions for the first few months."

    So, this week we're going to ask the question of managers and of salespeople, in two different ways.

    For managersWHERE do you find your best candidates for sales positions? And HOW do you get them interested in working for you?

    For salespeople: WHAT job did you have before your current job in radio sales?

    Thanks in advance for sharing your replies.

    This post was edited by Rod Schwartz at April 12, 2018 10:06 PM PDT
    • 1236 posts
    April 6, 2018 1:11 PM PDT

    From Mj Hart: "We have had terrible luck no matter what the pay structure is/was. In fact, we ran into more trouble the more upfront pay we offered in the beginning. Newly hired salespeople would hang on for the easy money and then do no work in return and eventually leave or be shown the door. We have now gone to straight commission. That way we don't lose money on the deal. You want it, you need to work for it. Our two strongest sales people started that way and have been here 9 and 10 years and do a fantastic job. However, finding people like that seems to be like trying to find a unicorn. Looking forward to hearing others input." 

    • 13 posts
    April 13, 2018 6:17 AM PDT

    Where to find best candidates for sales positions and how to keep them interested: The answer has been eluding us for the last several years.  Look forward to hearing other replies.  It seems finding good candidates that will stick around is the proverbial needle in a haystack.


    What did I do before I came to radio: I was a stay at home Mom for 5 years and prior to that I managed a large restaurant/sports bar.

    • 98 posts
    April 13, 2018 6:27 AM PDT

    I've been in my current position with WOWO radio and Federated Media since December 2013.  (Right before taking this job, I was handling the Social Media for multiple brands for an e-commerce company that sold $50 million per year with an average order of $85.)


    My background included 10 years in radio sales in this city and I took a break to work in the web world a couple times.  Altogether, I have over 25 years earning a paycheck from radio in programming and sales.


    My current position is a combination commission and bonus, however it was structured so there was a floor (minimum paycheck) that I would get every month. The return to radio was an initial drop in pay of about 5K.  However in the Social Media job I was salary with no say in pay increases and I knew that I could increase my income in radio.

    Knowing that I could survive on the initial income but knowing that more money was possible made the money decision easy.  But here's what really convinced me to take my current position and walk away from my last position...

    The person I work for.  I first met him when we worked together at another station.  It was his first job in radio and at one point I trained him and he worked for me.  I trust him and we have mutual respect for each other.  Plus the sales environment for my station is fantastic due to his leadership.

    By the way, I was brought on as the 5th person on his team, which previously was the bottom of the totem pole and was a revolving door.  I was not given an active account list, had to start from scratch.  But because I knew what I was doing and their sales philosophy matched mine, it has been a great fit and I am now 2nd in seniority for our full time sales staff on WOWO.  

    • 17 posts
    April 13, 2018 6:37 AM PDT

    I am a sales gal, love sales - majority of the people and for the most part, the challenge and of course I love the results. I was at the local newspaper before the radio station for 11 years and I loved my job but had gotten a new manager and he made it very obvious what his mission was when he came into command.  When he started we had 9 very successful reps by the time I left, 2 of the original were still there.  Anyway my boss now had actually recruited me, I wasn't looking for a different job when she approached me ( I really did like my job ) but I am also a sales girl.  I was thinking, how hard could it be, its just a different media with "like" customers.  Well let me tell you, paper and radio are completely different!!! It took me a good year to actually convince myself I made the right decision.  I have been at Q1073 in Mitchell SD for almost 6 years and it has been very rewarding.  We have been through a buy out and also added a couple of stations, one being KORN Country 92.1 and as of May 1st, KORN 1490 AM will be going into FM frequency as 101.3 so yes, was the journey worth it, absolutely!!! As far as the other sales reps here, there is one other than me that has been here 9 years, our other sales position is a revolving door - combination of personality and accounts (very rural area)...good luck in finding that diamond in the haystack, it may take some looking but it is possible to be found!!!

    • 74 posts
    April 13, 2018 9:53 AM PDT

    As for me, I had been living happily on the other side of the building: a DJ, program director, music director at various stations for a decade. I had been the program director and morning jock at a competitor (the non-compete agreement was so horrible I would tell the GM I gave it to him already or I'd find it and get it to him).

    I was terrified when the GM at this station said he thought I'd be good at sales. I'd been sent out at other small market stations with some cheap package to sell after an air shift and I always found that to be a chore I didn't care for. In my mind I was more like Herb at WKRP. My boss told me to go out there and make friends and work for their continued success. He said if I did that I'd do fine. It was a rough year paying all my expenses in 1987 on $1,000 a month draw. I have to sell and collect $5,000 to reach the draw. By year 5 I had almost doubled my income in this small town and I was having a blast. My understanding of programming and on air ability gave me an advantage.

    A strange side to this: my last on air position was the only station I was fired from. They fired me to hire this major market program director for less money. They never saw the red flag: why a successful major market PD wanted to work a small isolated town was beyond them. One day bounty hunters came in and took him away. It seems in that major market, after a station function, the PD had had too much to drink and struck a vehicle on the way back to the station. He was charged and jumped bail. He was in this town to get some cash to escape in to Mexico. He never made it south of the border. You might say it was sweet revenge but in reality I never would have made the transition to sales without things playing out the way it did. I recall talking to the GM that fired me years later. I told him I was glad he fired me because it made me discover something in me I never knew was there. I wasn't so forgiving as I targeted his accounts with an objective to outwork him and earn their ad dollars. I won a few. By then, it didn't matter.

    The more unusual thing about my new boss was his attitude. Even if the person cannot be out customer now or simply needs a bit of help, give them the time and effort to help. In his mind a good deed always gets returned somehow. In our town of two other competitors, we had 60% of the ad dollars, the bulk of the adult radio listeners and commanded a per unit rate more than double the other two station's rate combined. 

    By the way, one guy had started an insurance company and had barely begun when his first child was born. His child had health complications that caused the guy to center on family. By the time the child's health problems were resolved he could only write motorcycle insurance for one company. He lost his storefront and his mother in law allowed him a desk at her real estate agency. He was in bad shape financially. He moved in with his family. I talked marketing with him and handed out business cards for him to every motorcycle owner I knew even putting his card on cork boards around town. His dad was playing golf one day. The talk on the greens somehow got to me and how I tried to help. It was a beer distributor in a nearby town that was a golf buddy. He called the station and wanted to talk to the guy that helped the struggling insurance guy. He wanted to work with me because he believed I would benefit him most. He was ready to focus on the town, to earn end aisle displays and better shelf space. He dealt with my station exclusively. About a year in he told me why he asked for me. The insurance guy began selling for a well know insurance company and was a major player in the community a few years later. Funny how life works out. All I really offered him was an ear to hear and some encouraging words. He might have sold a few motorcycle policies. For some, I was not managing my time well. In my mind I was trying to do good by trying to help businesses. In this instance it paid off. I'll never know if it paid off for the handful of others I tried to help since I never found out. 


    A comment about new salespeople: It is a rare breed that can sell radio. In radio you go create the sale. Many cannot grasp you create an idea and sell the client's imagination to the client. You are no order taker. You cannot show your product. You learn what the client wants and them sell it back to them. Most people don't get that. Several people I met have had success hiring anyone in a service oriented business where the person gets satisfaction by providing what they do (school teacher, fire, EMS, medical, law enforcement). Because these folks have to give of themselves to make a difference, they think success falls on them. 

    I caution people about hiring commission only. We all know it takes 5 to 8 calls to even develop a relationship and trust level to earn the sale. It takes at least that long to know the client's business and what they need. If you don't want a revolving door, your new hire must be able to live somewhere other than under a bridge and eat out of a dumpster. You have to hold their hand and coach them typically. I ask people who offer commission only how many jobs they have accepted that offer no paycheck. Then I ask if I can have their paycheck until I sell enough to earn it. If they tell me they do offer a paycheck via commission I know they don't understand much about sales. Their company will always chase the crumbs after the real salespeople have taken their slice of the advertising pie. In short, the station that thinks long term and will invest to develop the sales skills of the new hire will always win in the end because for the salesperson at the station that doesn't will be jumping ship soon enough for a station that does.


    • 1236 posts
    April 13, 2018 11:44 AM PDT

    From Carol Schaudt: I've been working at KHPE 107.9fm in Albany OR since 2007.   Prior to that I worked in advertising sales for the local cable company for 18 years (6 years in production and 12 years in sales).  I was recruited away from that cable TV job to work in radio and I am so glad made the move.

    Our best results in looking to fill a new sales position is to look for an individual who loves marketing and not afraid of sales.  We would rather train the right candidate, than retrain someone with sales experience, but no concept on how to help their clients with effective creative ideas.

    • 1236 posts
    April 16, 2018 10:56 AM PDT

    From Bill Denkert: in April 2010, I started my own marketing company, ABC Marketing Consultants.  Helped businesses and organizations not only with their radio buying, also print and social media.  Became know as the Big Marketing Guy, as I'm 6-2 and over 350 lbs.  I've been working for Wisconsin 106 (WCWI-106.1)  in Adams, WI since October 2014.  Before starting ABC Marketing Consultants, I was in radio from May 1980-January 2010.  

    • 1236 posts
    April 16, 2018 10:57 AM PDT

    From Sylvester Paquin: 25 years ago before I began sales in Radio, I was in Restaurant Management, I do not miss the 50 hour work weeks!