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Do the Basics Brilliantly - 6 Tips for Radio Sales Teams

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    January 8, 2021 11:55 AM PST

    Thanks to our friend Jay Mitchell, editor and publisher of The Small Market Radio Newsletter, for letting us share this article from the December 24/31, 2020 edition. Click here to try the newsletter free for two months.


    Do the Basics Brilliantly—6 Tips for Radio Sales Teams

    By Sharon Söderlund‐Green

    Phewwy, is it just me or are radio sales teams becoming increasingly bombarded with information?

    In today’s digital world, businesses have an infinite number of tools to help measure performance and processes. This means the ability to monitor the fine details of your company and teams has never been easier.

    And that’s kind of the problem. With so much information, it’s easy to become absorbed by it.

    So, this is a call for simplicity—a shout‐out for the fundamental sales techniques we sometimes forget to apply. To help your team get back to doing the basics brilliantly, here are six pieces of good solid radio sales advice that you can easily apply today.

    1. STOP SELLING AND START LISTENING (yep, you heard right). Sure, everyone knows listening is important. But sometimes, it’s all too easy to go into instant sales mode. “Hey, Mr. Client, here’s why we’re so great and here’s what we can do for you and look how many listeners we have. . .” You know the rest. (By the way, every time you mention your station’s ratings, a goldfish dies!)

    Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said it best: “Seek first to understand, then be understood.”

    That makes complete sense. Because once you’ve listened to your client and understood their world view, you can then explain what you have to offer from a position of knowledge. You can deliver a sales solution based on a deeper understanding of what your client’s business is all about, and what they want to achieve from their advertising.

    2. NURTURE YOUR CURRENT CLIENTS. It’s easy to get complacent with current clients, especially long‐ established ones. When the client seems happy and pays on time, it’s easy to overlook the opportunity to super serve them when you could be developing new business contacts.

    In reality, it takes far more time and effort finding new clients than it does nurturing an existing one. Applied to business, the Pareto Principle states that 20% of your clients will generate 80% of your revenue.

    So, while winning new business is important, it shouldn’t be at the expense of keeping and developing the accounts you already have.

    With that in mind, consider what areas of their business your current clients aren’t advertising. What media platforms are they not harnessing? They could be ready to spend huge amounts more with you—if only you give them a compelling reason to do so.

    Here’s the other important thing. By looking for growth opportunities you’ll also become an asset to your clients. Even if they choose not to buy, you’ll be seen as someone who adds value rather than being the smiling face who pops in periodically to pick up a check.

    3. DON’T SELL THE CLIENT WHAT THEY THINK THEY WANT. If a client tells you he wants awareness, is that exactly what he means? Doubtful. Will he be pleased that after three months of advertising his friends all mention his ad but sales are flatlining? Mmmm, probably not.

    That’s why it’s so important to dig deep when you meet with a client. Take it as a given that every business wants awareness. Then ask, what do they really want? And why do they want it?

    A car retailer might say, “We just want traffic.” But delve a little further and they might tell you they need to sell twenty cars a month to hit target. Delve further still and they might explain that if they don’t hit that target they’ll have to pull their advertising.

    Suddenly, that sounds a whole lot different from “We just want traffic.” And it gives you the ability to tackle their real need with a specific radio campaign to help sell those cars.

    4. FOCUS ON CLIENT RESULTS. If a radio client doesn’t see a healthy ROI, sooner or later they’re going to pull the plug on their advertising. So, it’s within every sales organization’s interests to constantly monitor the success of a campaign.

    Identifying what the client considers a “successful” campaign will form the basis for future discussions. It’s also crucial to set realistic goals from the get‐go. No point promising a 10% uplift in sales if the client is advertising for a week and only wants to mention their free parking as an incentive.

    The process gets so much easier if you can establish a smart goal with them from the outset.

    A mid‐campaign review with your client is also important to check whether things are on track. If sales are sluggish, you’ve still got time to salvage things and adjust the messaging with a new approach.

    And a post‐campaign analysis will allow you to assess what went well, what didn’t, and what improvements can be made for the future. This helps you offer necessary solutions to current clients while helping to constantly improve the outcome of future projects.

    5. THE POWER OF AUDIO. When you work in radio every day, you can sometimes forget to use one of the most amazing selling tools you have at your disposal—audio.

    Talking with a client about demographics, audience reach and market share is important, but audio captures the imagination and demonstrates the power of radio like nothing else.

    Take audio out with you on meetings. Inspire clients with great ads. Use examples of iconic music that’s helped build a famous brand. Play promotional trailers or clips of excitable listeners winning on‐air competitions.

    If you have a range of audio stored on your laptop, you can use it as part of a planned presentation or pull it out to illustrate a point at a timely moment.

    6. RESEARCH YOUR CLIENTS. You’re stacked with back‐to‐back meetings. You’ve barely got time for lunch. So when you’re about to call a new prospect, your background “research” extends to a quick two‐minute search on Google.

    Your time will always be in short supply, but putting aside some time in the day to research your client (even if you only have 10 minutes) could make the difference between winning and losing their business.

    Check out their website or latest blog articles, take a look at their Twitter feed, go through their latest Facebook posts or see what they’re posting on Pinterest.

    Given the fact there is so much information available to us now, you should never need to “cold call” again.

    A short period of good quality research can give you chance to understand your client’s business, find an interesting angle on their industry, and show them you’ve done your homework.

    Sharon Söderlund‐Green is the creator of The Human Workplace Manifesto™. She has spoken at conferences about how “Freedom to Fail Is Key to Success in Business,” and has coached hundreds of individuals during her established career.