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).

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

So how is it all going - so far, so good? We're practically three quarters way through our sales year - are you satisfied with your selling results to date? Has everything gone as well as you'd planned?

The continuing downturn in the economy has affected salespeople in all industries everywhere. For the radio industry historically strong advertisers are cutting back their annual advertising investments, and at the same time they're demanding more and more from us. Even worse their loyalty to us is tumbling almost to the depths of despair, and when we are in front of them all they seem to want to talk about is price, price, and price. To top it all off your market competitors have never been more willing to cut their advertising rates to win them over. It's no wonder you're not hitting your monthly quota. Times are desperately tough.

Despite these obstacles though there are a few salespeople in radio continuing to grow, who are continuing to win and win, aren't there? You and I know who these 'special' salespeople are. They're the gifted ones, the ones who get it easier than the rest of us. We know the salespeople I'm talking about - they have it better than everyone else. They've inherited the best advertisers from account managers long departed just by hanging around longer than the rest of us. They have better accounts, better industry segments to work with, and better advertisers. Even the boss seems to cut them more breaks than he does you, doesn't he?

High fuel prices, unemployment, mass lay-offs in your town, weak economies, the emergence of digital radio, aggressive Cable salespeople, the ubiquitous i-anything, and even when the competitive radio station down the street starts dropping its rates down to "a dollar a holler", nothing seems to affect these people. They're certainly the lucky ones aren't they?

But is it really like this?

Perhaps, just maybe, the top salesperson at your station is doing something a little differently than us - doing something we're not. A thing so understated you may not even believe it. Something you might even dismiss as irrelevant or trivial if you knew what it was. Something so simple, you could be doing it right now. And at the risk of sounding like a late-night motivational television infomercial - something so powerful your life will be changed forever. (Insert echo here).

This "something" is the basis of their sales and life success. Do you know what it is? If you knew what it was would you be willing to go to any length to do it? To change your life?

The thing I'm talking about?

"Taking responsibility."

Great salespeople take responsibility for themselves, their circumstances, and their future. They know what they 'do' and how they 'think' has deep impact on their lives, and the lives of those around them. They've made a simple decision (sometimes on a daily basis) to take 'the blame' for their own lives. Great salespeople are confronted with the same challenges the rest of us are, but the difference is they don't shift the responsibility of "whose in-charge of the outcome" to anything or anyone else. Is it really the state of the economy, our competitors, and our station's marketing program; our rate card, or even our disloyal clients who can be charged with our less than stellar results? Or are these simply obstacles that must be overcome?

When faced with tough times, great salespeople approach things a little differently than the rest of us - it can be heard in what falls from our mouths. Those of us who avoid responsibility and personal accountability for poor sales and our lives' consequences ask and say to colleague’s things like: "When will the Program Director do something about our format?" "Why is our sales goal still at the same level, when its obvious local businesses don't have any money?" "When are we going to advertise our radio station on television?" "Why doesn't the boss understand my clients can't afford a $45 spot-rate?" "I can't sell this! Who came up with this dumb promotion?" "Our audience isn't the right demographic - no one wants to buy us!" "I can't compete with those Cable guys; they're always selling cheap spots!"

I'm not suggesting that only salespeople are responsible for the success of a radio station (everyone shares the burden) but its questions and statements like these "who", "why", and "when" questions that ensure blame is entirely laid at the feet of others - it's someone else's responsibility to make things better isn't it? It's always someone else's fault isn't it?

Go and have a chat with the top salesperson at your station (go on). You'll find they ask very different questions every day. "How can I meet my goal despite these conditions?" "What can I do to help my clients understand why our station is better value than everything else in town?" "Do I need to learn more to know more?" "Do I need to do more to have more?" "What can I do to help change the perception of radio advertising in general?" And "How can I make my advertisers love me?"

Taking responsibility isn't easy, but it is simple and the decision can only come from you.

Wal-Mart founder and businessman Sam Walton once said in an interview "I was asked what I thought about the recession. I thought about it and decided not to take part."
Get grateful for what you have even if it's a little, make a decision to take responsibility for what you know you are responsible for, and just start walking.

Sell without regret

Michael Tate

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