Forums » The Round Table: Brainstorming & Problem-solving


    • 107 posts
    October 11, 2019 9:36 AM PDT

    I work for a small market station. About 10 and 20 miles from our tower site is a huge Farm and Ranch store. Think Walmart Supercenter in size and scope. Literally if they don’t have it, you really don’t need it.

    I finally got through to the decisionmaker yesterday. I had some choice information to share and was looking to learn how I could help them in their marketing. I was doing the traditional consultant sale. I did my homework too.

    My station solidly is within the area of dominant influence for 2 of the 3 locations the company has. Literally we are the only station that relates to the trade area of two of the three locations. The third location, still solidly within our ‘local’ strength signal, is located in a larger community with half a dozen local stations. To be frank, we have a few listeners there but the emphasis is on few. In that city they choose local signals over ours.

    The decisionmaker inquired about listenership for each location. When we reached the third location he abruptly told me we could stop now. He explained we had to be the dominant media choice for all three store’s trade areas to be considered.

    The fact is there is NO media option that is dominant in all three locations. In fact they buy local weekly papers in the two towns where we dominate. They do billboards. I don’t know what they buy in the city of about 75,000 where the third location is based (never heard them on radio or seen them on local TV and the daily paper is not circulated in my area).

    So, they do buy media that does not cater to all three locations. They regularly appear in the weekly papers in the two small towns where they have locations. They buy the football programs and such. The guy lied. I was shut down on a lie.

    I can think on my feet but there are times it is better to retreat and think things out. I thanked him kindly for the opportunity to see him and promptly left. He even handed me my business card back.

    Now I could have challenged him with sugary words like, ‘I may not be explaining myself clearly’ and followed with examples of his buys that do not cover all three locations. I have always felt challenging was not a good idea. The words may have been said to throw me because he needed to do other things or he was just having a bad day. In that respect, calling him out was something I labeled as ‘bridge burning’.

    His response was so illogical I was left a bit dumbfounded. I can’t take the guy literally because he’s running a successful business and nobody would make such stupid decisions and achieve success. I have the #1 universally known and loved heritage station that overperforms to the tune of 35.7% of adults in an area of almost 95,000 people. To blow off that because I don’t dominate in that nearby city of 75,000 is silly.

    So, I’m asking for your expertise in trying to turn things around. Any ideas?

    • 1120 posts
    October 11, 2019 11:13 AM PDT

    If your station will allow you to do this, I suggest you have a bunch of voices from your station record the guy's name. That's all. Just his name. Each audio clip will be just a second or two in length. Insert these into your programming between the end of a commercial break and the next song or program, at the end of a weather update and the next event, etc. Run it several times an hour throughout the day for a week or two. You'll probably hear from him (or his secretary) within a few days, asking why you're airing his name. You'll have an appropriate response.

    There are variations on this device that can be deployed effectively, depending on your station owner/manager's tolerance for audacity, but you get the idea. Just use a personalized message to get his attention. 

    (This is a variant of an old comeback: "Tell you what. I'll run a schedule of ads for you for free. The commercial will say, "__________________ is giving away $50 bills this week only. No purchase necessary. Limit one per person."  You supply the $50 bills and I'll run the ads free. Deal?)

    This post was edited by Rod Schwartz at October 11, 2019 11:14 AM PDT
    • 119 posts
    October 18, 2019 6:55 AM PDT

    You really don't need help overcoming an objection because as you pointed out to us, not him, his so-called objection was a lie.

    Why did he lie?

    I know you said you said you did a consultative sale, but to him, it sounds like you presented yourself as a salesperson trying to convince him to buy something he doesn't have a need for.

    You said he is successful despite not using your station, so what's in it for him?


    Is there a Valid Business Reason for him to spend money advertising with you?

    Is there a Desired Business Result he wants to see that he is not seeing now?


    Sounds to me like he is happy not spending money with you and you have not uncovered a reason for him to start spending money with you.

    Go back and get him to talk about himself and what he has done to be successful.

    Ask him what has changed over the years and how has he overcome the changes ...

    Ask him if there is anything that he wishes was different in the way people think and feel about his business...

    Ask him .... anything about him and his business without trying to convince him to spend money with you.  Don't talk about ratings, listenership or any of the usual media sales stuff.

    He will either share a tidbit of information that you can use to develop an idea for him to buy, or at least leave as friends, not enemies.

    This post was edited by Scott Howard at October 18, 2019 7:08 AM PDT
    • 107 posts
    October 18, 2019 7:53 AM PDT

    Thank you for the ideas. The more I think about this, I believe I am being judged by the past media salespeople he has encountered: the wham, bam and thank you for the order type. My attempt on my visit was to set a time I could learn about his business. I was stopped with: "Let's save us both some time. How well does you station do in (he asked about all 3 locations individually)".  The third location, in a city of 75,000 with 6 local stations, I told him that while we had listeners there, the local stations do a good job serving the city and that my station was not dominant there. He told me since he had 3 stores I had to be dominant in all 3 locations. He then said we had nothing to talk about. I had done my homework. I knew his statement about being dominant in all three locations was untrue as a requirement for buying advertising.

    I figure this was effective in shutting down most salespeople so he used it on me. He threw me under the bus and I crouched down to make it easier for him.

    I believe I'll try this again and ask him if we can start fresh. 

    The point made above is he is successful without me so what is in it for him is an excellent point. My point is that he is successful without me but he can be more successful with me. I represent a gem of a station that is so universally known, loved and listened to in the area that producing ample results (if the message is good) is a given. 

    • 119 posts
    October 18, 2019 8:11 AM PDT

    Bill, this can happen to all of us:   I was stopped with: "Let's save us both some time. How well does you station do in (he asked about all 3 locations individually)". 


    As I look at a few meetings this week, they wanted to treat me like a vendor and not an idea person and they wanted to ask questions like what you were asked which is not helpful in setting myself apart.


    Sometimes it is tough not to slip into salesguy mode when they seem to be sending buying signals but they are really just looking for ways to justify ending the meeting.