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Should Clients Be In Commercials? (Part 1)

What’s the easiest way to get a client on the air? Put them in the commercial!

What’s the quickest way to make a bad commercial? Same answer!

Unfortunately, there are very few Frank Purdues, Lee Iaccoccas, Victor Kiams or even Dave Thomases out there. Most clients think they can pull off being great spokespersons. Most are wrong.

Are there ways you can fulfill their desire for 30 or 60 seconds of fame and still make a commercial that works? Yes.

If the owner is a great storyteller, or has an exceptional personality – because he’s so outgoing, (or because he sounds so deadpan); if he has an exceptional passion for what he does, or if her name is on the letterhead, it might make sense to use your client’s voice on the air.

For Bob’s Automotive, let’s hear from Bob – how he got started repairing cars at 14, about how he got his first fixer-upper before he could drive, how he ate, slept and breathed cars all his life, continues to take courses and makes sure he hires people with the same love of cars & trucks as he has. His name is on the door. His pride can say a lot. But make it interesting.

Do an open-ended recording with him. Get him talking about himself and record lots more than you’ll ever need. Most clients have great stories tucked away in their memories. You just have to be patient and probe for them.

“How did you get started in business? What do you love about what you do? What do you hate about your business? What do you do for your customers that no one knows about? What emotional needs do your customers have that you meet for them? What’s the hidden secret you wish everyone knew about your business? What interesting or unusual customer service stories can you tell?” Then edit the responses into several spots.

If he can’t tell a great story, tell it for him. Just have him do the intro and outro to each spot. In: “Hi, I’m Bob and this is my story…” Out: “I’m Bob, and my name is on the door at Bob’s Automotive.”

If your client has a sense of humor, create a campaign that lets her poke fun at herself. Maybe it’s a pseudo-interview, where she never gets a word in edgewise because the announcer keeps interrupting to tell the audience what the client was about to say. Maybe customers keep interrupting, or little emergencies keep appearing that allow you to work in benefits by the way the client handles them.

Jeffrey Hedquist. Email jeffrey@hedquist.com.

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