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).

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

Maybe it's because we're an audio medium, but it seems to me that radio has an image problem - more specifically, a self-image problem. Despite that fact that anyone who stays in radio for any length of time has to love the medium - and usually becomes a fiercely loyal 'radio person' into the bargain - when we stack ourselves up against other media, we tend to go on the defense, rather than the offense.

Think about our everyday language when discussing media in general. How many times have you heard (or said) things like,

"Radio only gets 8% of the advertising pie."

"Of course TV is great, but radio can give you great reach too, and it's much cheaper."

"For a local station, we do a pretty good job."

"Our station can really work for that client, but of course they're going to want a mix of us and print as well."

"We'll never get all that budget, but if we're lucky we'll get some."

These might be throw-away lines, but its amazing the effect that constant repetition of something can have. Even a falsehood, if repeated often enough, can become accepted as a truth.

Perhaps the starkest evidence of the nature of radio's self-image comes when we work with clients on a 'revenue.generator' program. Through this process stations have to deal with an enormous number of potential clients in a short time in a very public manner. Often, the transformation of self-image this creates is astounding.

We insist on attention to detail in every respect, from the surroundings, to the station collateral, to the clothes of the sales team, to the quality of the coffee served to prospects.

I often see teams who find these details uncomfortable - we would often much rather hold on to our regular ways - keep wearing those comfy shoes. But once these details all come together in front of clients, and those clients respond in kind (by buying airtime!) a 180 degree change can occur. It's wonderful to see sales people really understand just how respected they are in their market, how important their station is to the community, and what potential they have personally as sellers.

The lesson here is that you get back what you give out. The likelihood is that your station is a vital aspect of life within your community, however large or small your audience. But because your product is so non-visual, the only aspects of the station your community "sees" are those you project.

Pay close attention to everything you give out on behalf of your station, everything you do and everything you say.

Make sure all your station's printed collateral looks professional. This doesn't have to be expensive. Even black and white material can look great if a little time is spent on layout and making sure that there's enough ink in the printer or the copier works really well. Above all, avoid making your proposals look like flyers from the discount warehouse or carry-out restaurant.

Make sure you look as smart and professional as you can. This doesn't mean having to wear a tuxedo all day, but no matter how 'informal' you think your community is, you'd be surprised how well people respond when they can tell you've made an effort.

And think carefully about those casual 'throwaway' lines we use every day when talking about our stations. You don't need to be defensive. Be proud, be prepared and go on the offense - you may be surprised to find your prospects were expecting it all along.

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Radio Blog