Forums » The Round Table: Brainstorming & Problem-solving

Talking Price and Frequency

    • 94 posts
    August 2, 2019 8:42 AM PDT

    While I've been doing radio sales for just over 30 years, I still get stumped. I see this as an easy solution but hard to put in to words. In fact, I retreated to make a battle plan.

    I have a client that always spent on the station. They opened a new location in a town about 40 miles away. They're putting the co-op dollars there and don't want to do anything until the next infusion of co-op dollars.

    I countered with the need to advertise day after day to maintain and not let a competitor get a leg up. They said they could spend an amount equal to the amount they kick in after co-op pays. If that was $500 with co-op, we're talking $250 they'll be willing to spend. That meant slicing the number of units in half but paying close attention to placement on busier days and prime hours.

    I present this and I am told how much advertising the same dollars get them 40 miles away and that it is working in reaching that rather rural county. I'm somewhat berated for offering such a small number of units for the price.

    Before I wage battle, I like to learn from the client and hang out in their shoes for a while. Now I know the station 40 miles away has about 50% of the population we do in their primary signal and they are an AM only. They're a good station, mostly live and local with lots of local information. I know this is an apples and oranges thing.

    I could have talked price,"You're in business. If they could charge what we do, wouldn't they? And if you pay $2 or $5 or $10, you expect $2, $5 or $10 in return. If we can't deliver $10 in results we couldn't charge $10, could we?"

    I could talk population, listeners and all the other things that justify being double the cost. I could make it obvious a kumquat is not a navel orange in respect to radio stations. I could talk personal service, expertise and such.

    From the client's shoes I learned they believe this: that really cheap advertising in the town 40 miles away works. (heck, we're actually under priced). They conclude if the same number of units play on my station they'll have the same results. For the client it isn't the number of listeners. It's not that we are in a market with double the population. It's not that they're AM and I'm FM. For them both locations, because of number of competitors, both can generate about the same in gross sales. They don't see that they have greater potential in a market twice the size.

    I didn't engage. I want to plan my battle. I simply stated that the proposed schedule would do the job. I said commercial inventory is tight right now and we may be looking at a slight rate increase pretty soon (the truth). 

    Here's where I'm stumped: How do you suggest I communicate legitimate reasoning for spending more per unit here when they don't see this as an apple and an orange. I really like my client to save face (they figure it out versus me pointing it out).

    For now, I have a proposal before a competitor. My strategy has always been if one business in a business competitor says no, go win over a competitor that appreciates what you do. 



  • August 15, 2019 12:35 PM PDT

    I'm just going to leave this here ... most clients can grasp it

    A Chevy Sonic has the same number of wheels as a BMW 7-Series.  The Sonic is tens of thousands of dollars less.  But they both have four wheels, so they must be the same thing, right?

    • 13 posts
    August 28, 2019 8:22 AM PDT

    Volunteer to do the creative regardless of where the client spends their money. Then you have a valid reason to stay in touch as things progress and you'll be there when they need to get started again on your station. 

    • 94 posts
    August 28, 2019 9:50 AM PDT

    What a great idea. I try to position myself not as a salesperson but a marketing professional they can turn to for ideas. That keeps me in the loop and solidifies my position over and above just being a sales guy.