Radio Blog

This page contains blog articles on a range of topics of interest to professionals in radio sales, including everything from selling technique to the state of the industry. If you have an opinion on any issue regarding radio or would like to share some of your sales techniques with others, you can submit an article for the blog here (max 400 words, please).

K.I.S.S.

We live in a complex world. With so much to think about and with the simplest of tasks becoming more and more complicated, small details can make a big difference to our lives and stress levels.

If you do any amount of business travel, you know how true this is. Delays, badly designed check-in machines, extra security procedures, lack of communication, uncomfortable waiting areas; all these details can turn a simple trip into a nightmare of frustration and exhaustion.

I have often thought how close to the sales process the travel analogy is. Primarily the process of turning an unknown prospect into a long-term client is a journey - with your client as business traveler and you as travel agent, shuttle driver, ground staff, pilot and baggage claim.

In this light, consider again your own travel experiences. What were your key concerns? What did you want and expect from all those travel professionals? Wasn't your primary concern simply having your travel problem (i.e. getting there) solved, efficiently and reliably with minimum input from you?

In my opinion, this is basically what clients want from their media sales people. They want to rely on getting to where they want to go (i.e. more business) in the most cost-efficient and professional manner possible, preferably without having to be too personally involved. Smooth transitions. Excellent outcomes.

Is this difficult to provide for our clients? It can be, usually when we forget that to offer simple solutions requires simple processes, not more complex ones. Time and again we have all had experiences with companies who, in the name of simplification, have made life massively more complex (think about tax time!). I heard an interview with Jerry Wang, the co-founder of Yahoo! Inc the other day. He said that one of the reasons they managed to survive through the dotcom boom and journey through into traditional prosperity was because they took a conscious decision to simplify. Within six months they went from over 200 different product templates to four! Four!

The leap they had taken was to realize that, despite the 'newness' of what they were doing, they were basically following a number of basic business models the rules of which were the same for them as they were for a company that might have been created a hundred years earlier.

The radio sales process is precisely the same. From prospecting, through introductions, presenting, closing and servicing, the model is the same as it has always been. When times are tough and when competition becomes fiercer, our natural human reaction is to believe that there must be some additional knowledge or procedure we can add to give us an edge. Usually this means making the process more complex, creating new language, adding jargon, following 'systems'. And the more complex we make this, the further away we get from the basic selling steps.

If you can, resist the temptation towards complexity. Keep it all as simple as possible. And when trying to give yourself an edge over the competition, focus not on adding new and more obscure skill-sets, but rather on honing to perfection the very basic building blocks of the sales process - cold calling, weekly productivity, self-organization, creativity, closing, attitude, focus, respect for your clients, servicing and...closing.

Because, as Bill Gates has forced us all to appreciate through bitter experience, more complex isn't necessarily better!

Matt Hackett, CEO, ARIA Inc.

Radio Blog