Sales Training

This page is a database of articles and downloadable white papers on many different aspects of sales training. You can search for any particular topic (e.g. "cold-calling") by typing it into the search box above the list of contents to the right. If you use the productivity tools in Connect (Calendar, Contacts, Workshop, Dashboard) you can use your dashboard results to see which areas of selling you have the most weak spots and then come to this page to find training resources to help you improve.

6 Money Makers

It's mid-week, so its time to wake the brain up! We all know that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity - so..here are six quick ideas for things you can do to 'change your approach' - which could lead to a slightly different you and some new sales too! You can download the document here.

For similar articles, a searchable database of sales training materials, customizable sales proposals, and a complete online sales system for radio sellers, go to www.aria-radio.com

Want to increase your local, direct sales by over 25%? Find out how you can using ARIA's 'revenue.generator' program. Go to www.aria-radio.com/revgen

10 Replies For No

As salespeople we spend a lot of our time being told "No". The secret to success through this process is to understand what "No" really means - or, more importantly, what is doesn't mean.

In most cases a "No" should be just the beginning - so here are 10 ways to take "No" and turn it into the start of something more constructive.

You can download this article here.

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Key Sales Tips Checklist Part 3

Constant self-evaluation is critical for productive selling. To help you do that, we've distilled the most important aspects of the day to day sales process into a checklist of 64 easy tips. Here's part three.

We'll post them in three parts, one each week. You can download the third part here.

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Key Sales Tips Checklist Part 2

Constant self-evaluation is critical for productive selling. To help you do that, we've distilled the most important aspects of the day to day sales process into a checklist of 64 easy tips. Here's part two.

We'll post them in three parts, one each week. You can download the second part here.

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Key Sales Tips Checklist Part 1

It's always useful to take stock of your own sales processes to make sure you've got all the bases covered. To help you do that, we've distilled the most important aspects of the day to day sales process into a checklist of 64 easy tips.

We'll post them in three parts, one each week. You can download the first here.

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What Will You Choose?

If I was informed the life or death of a complete stranger was entirely dependent on decisions made by me, what would I do? How would I act?

What would I decide?

If being courageous was the only way to achieve genuine success, would I choose to be brave?

If my confession helped someone yet was likely to destroy me, would I be selfless or cowardly?

If what falls from my mouth and flies from my soul were the only two things my child had available from which to learn, would I be vigilant and thoughtful about what I said and always considerate of the things I did?

If the only way to succeed was to steal, would I be a thief?

If my brother’s security was singularly dependent upon my actions and advice, would I do and say the same things to my neighbor?

If my happiness is up to me, why aren’t I happy?

If I had the choice to sleep or work which would I choose?

If I had the knowledge that by changing something within me, everyone around me would benefit, would I change the thing? If my pride kept me from telling the complete truth about my failings, would the truth have affected anything or anyone anyway?

If I never fulfill my true potential, never unleash my full power, and never listen or act upon my intuition will I die a sad or safe man?

If I never gave my child everything good within my power to give; fought for him with every ounce of my strength; taught him to love freely and endlessly; allowed him to simply be; shared with him wisdom; showed him how to pray; or how to have the courage to make a stand - of what worth would I be?

These aren’t difficult questions to answer in our hearts.

We all know right from wrong, fact from fiction, and self-centeredness from selflessness.

The difficulty is in committing to what is right, then fearlessly and selflessly seeing it through.

Sell without regret

Michael Tate

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What Drives Your Station?

Every business is reliant on sales, be it manufacturing, importing, distributing, service oriented, a global multinational or the corner grocery store. As challenging as some particular technical occupations may be, even with years of training and knowledge, selling is equally demanding. While a commercial radio salesperson could probably never do the task of a Station Engineer or a Programming Director, it is most likely they couldn't do the job of a salesperson either. Without radio salespeople, those people don't have a job.

Every business is a person-to-person business; regardless of what that business sells.

Companies don't buy advertising campaigns, and audience ratings numbers don't sell airtime - although they may help the buying and selling process. Always remember buying and selling is an emotional process; it is only people that do the buying and the selling. When advertising revenue weakens, every area of the radio station suffers - quotas aren't met, investors lose faith, finances are cut, people are fired, and top air talent looks elsewhere.

Sales are the lifeblood of every commercial radio station. Period.

When airtime orders abound and everybody is working to schedule commercials, produce great creative, achieve strong results for clients, and ultimately keep advertisers satisfied, while dealing with the daily challenges and problems, often the others (those not selling) don't really value the contribution of the salesperson. Sometimes you may even hear people gripe about salespeople.

Go kiss your traffic manager today.

However, as soon as the revenue slows down for even a short time, the radio station begins to suffer the effect. Everyone becomes intensely sensitive of the need for salespeople and winning revenues in order to provide for the company.

The sales department is the locomotive that drives every commercial radio station on the face of the earth - and if you as a sales person are first-class at it, you'll succeed. Many people have risen to CEO of station groups and large networks and mostly because they knew how to drive sales and revenues.

Be proud of your standing as a sales person. Inherently it means you are unique, courageous, creative, and special. You are the driving force of the commercial radio industry, without you we don't eat.

Sell without regret.

Michael Tate

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This Too Shall Pass

We live in a world where we've been taught, indeed, conditioned to believe that a negative view is likely to equal a realistic result; and that a positive vision is one which translates to an unrealistic outcome. It therefore becomes increasingly difficult to truly believe we can change anything or have any success at all in our lives - because ultimately we're just not that special are we?

Just pause and think about it for a moment - isn't the negative view the one we take more often than not? Isn't it the way we generally speak, write, and communicate?

We're not even out of 2010 yet and most radio press and industry leaders are saying radio is headed for a hard year - 2011 hasn’t even started and we're looking for excuses already.

I find myself writing about this stuff so often, but it's because of the prevalence and depth of 'it' that so much can be focused on it. It’s because 'it' tends to drown and suffocate us all. Too often we become our own sad, self-fulfilling prophets.

It was Henry Ford who said, "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." It's the word 'think' that I really want you to look at.

At the base of most singular or collective failure is negative self-talk or in other words - negative thought.

Negative talk (to oneself or amongst us and our peers) is the very best way to keep your self-esteem (or in this case your radio station) beaten down - regardless of the frequency and volume you use. At any time, frequent or infrequent, via full frontal assault or soft shrug, negative self-talk is insidiously and poisonously destructive - even deadlier when it turns into the spoken or written word.

Many people habitually give themselves negative messages throughout each day as and when things begin to go wrong. They'll say or think things about themselves like 'loser', 'stupid', 'foolish', or 'inadequate'. You can insert your own words here.

It's also true of how we communicate in a group - particularly if things aren't going well and we need to justify our non-performance as opposed to taking responsibility for it.

How many times have you found yourself discussing with your sales colleagues the reasons why you can't sell the radio station (as opposed to why you can)? We all know these conversations intimately: the rates are too high; the format isn't right; the economy is soft; the car dealers haven't got any money; and you can insert your own words here - all these statements prove realistic outcomes - right?

If a parent said "you're a loser", "you're too fat", "you don't speak properly", or "you're worthless" to a child with any frequency, what chance would that child have of building a good sense of themselves - a good foundation of self esteem?

The answer is, none!

If you have witnessed a parent publicly berating a child in this way - wouldn't you concede it was abusive? Some of you may even be compelled to step in, or even contact the authorities to intervene because ultimately it is abuse, and it's unacceptable at any level.

Yet you've been this abusive (and even more) with yourself, haven't you?

And what about your radio station - do you verbally or meditatively abuse it?

Is it any wonder that most of us are less than successful?

Is 2011 going to be a tough year for radio? Nobody actually knows!

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right."

Is it any wonder that our industry suffers in the way it does?

If you don't think this is serious stuff cast your mind back - when was the last time you and the station sales crew sat around the boardroom table and talked about what's great about your radio station? When was the last time you thought to yourself you did a good job? More to the point when was the last time you said to yourself "you're a bit of a loser"? An hour ago? Five minutes ago?

Would you let anyone else abuse you in this way? I don't think so.

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right."

The truth is we're not perfect, everyone makes mistakes, some days we just feel down and everything goes wrong, but the secret is to know how not to buy into the negativity.

I've often used a line I heard long ago…

"God doesn't make junk!" I've said sincerely to salespeople who have been struggling with their self-confidence. "And I don't see any standing in front of me!"

It is the truth isn't it?

The next time you have the urge to put yourself down why don't you try and lift yourself up? Use words in your self-talk like good, strong, intelligent, valid, caring, talented, loving, loved, and substantial. Find your own words and add them to your inner-list. If you have the courage ask someone close to you to write down ten words that they think describe you - I guarantee you'll be surprised.

While they're doing that, perhaps you could sit and write down ten words that positively describe your radio station - I know you'll be surprised.

If you've been meditatively abusive to yourself or verbally abusive about your station (and its staff) than its time you changed.

"I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done." Henry Ford.

Sell without regret

Michael Tate

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Heart of the Matter

I meet with a good friend of mine for dinner on a regular basis - he works in an industry far removed from advertising sales. Recently he explained to me that he wanted to learn how to sell because it would help him further his career. I agreed that I would give him simple sales lessons each time we had dinner to help him along.

During our initial discussion my friend divulged that his biggest dilemma at the thought of selling wasn't his product knowledge (he has more than enough); it wasn't a shortage of prospects (his company gets leads everyday); and it wasn't his company's pricing (they are very competently and competitively priced). His biggest obstacle was one he'd placed inside his own head.

At some point he had decided that his prospects were going to reject him or say "no" to his proposal, and this before he even gets on the telephone to make any appointments.

"On what basis do you think they are going to reject you" I asked?

He didn't really have a response.

The answer of course is that he is suffering from fear. My friend had set himself up to fail before he'd even begun.

It is my view that selling isn't complex; it's not a difficult process to understand, and there's certainly no magic required to be a closer. Yet it isn't easy is it, facing our fears?

Because of this 'fear' over the years we've tried to complicate the sales process; to hide the truth from our prospects; to hide the fact that we are actually trying to sell them something.

Just now I Googled "selling systems" in my web-browser and got back 2,210,000 listings!

From "Advanced Neuro Dynamics", "The Getting Into Your Customer's Head Selling System", to "The Customer Needs Analysis Process". From "Solutions Selling", "Spin Selling", and "No Selling, Selling". To "Stop Cold Calling And Start Selling - Selling", "Impact Selling", "Honest Selling", "The New Strategic Selling"; and "High Probability Selling". From "Power Base Selling" "Dream-weaving" to "Customer Centric Selling" there is no shortage of magical answers. Don't get me wrong; most of these are probably very valid sales processes. Yet they tend to fail to deal with the real problem, this one vital issue.

In my last article I asked the question "What is it that's causing this lack of belief that we will win in selling?"

"The physical things that impede us from winning sales can generally be hunted out, yet at the end of the day isn't it all about us? You and me?"

"It's us sitting across the desk from our prospect. It's us who needs to be articulate, alert, and empathetic. It's us who needs to take some courage and action, lean into the conversation at the appropriate time and ask the closing question - "Do you want to dance?""

In the same article I noted that 4 out 6 salespeople don't even ask their prospects to buy after a presentation. This refers to all of us in every industry, working with a sales system or not.

So what's it all about? Do we simply need to suck-it-up and do the work? I believe so.

Try this simple opening statement before your next final presentation. It may help you soften even your most feared prospect.

"Tom I'm a true believer in the sales process, I actually don't believe that someone can sell something to someone who doesn't want to buy it. In fact, if I did push you into something you didn't want, I've done the wrong thing, right?" (You'll get a nod)

"So what I'm going to do today is take you through all the features and benefits of [the product]; we'll explore whether or not those things fulfill your needs and wants exactly; and then I'll ask you whether or not you'd like to buy it."

"As a result all I'm going to need from you today is a Yes or No. Is that okay?" (You'll get another nod).

Sell without regret.

Michael Tate

Turkey Dip

I love Thanksgiving. It's the one holiday that really feels shared on a national level. It creates that wonderful sense that millions upon millions of people, regardless of background or belief, are all sharing in the same rituals and joys, just for a day at least.

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving comes at a bad time for radio sales people because it marks the start of the Holiday season. "What?" I hear you cry, "What could be bad about the holiday season? Lots of cheer, good times, big consumer spending resulting from big ad spending. What's the problem?"

Of course for airtime sales people, this is a wonderful time of year for billing, but it isn't always such a great time of year for selling - mostly for psychological reasons. You can feel the productivity dip in the air all around right now - and what would be a sigh of relief after a whole year of hard work, starts four weeks early, thanks to Thanksgiving.

It's easy to do; especially if Christmas bookings are good. Plus when you add in the extra holiday days, the company Christmas party, people taking extra leave and just how doggone tired everyone is - well, is it any wonder that January is always such a billing nightmare?

So, this year, if you can, use Thanksgiving as a well-earned refresher - a chance to get rested before the final four-week push. Remember that the traditional January dip is a great opportunity for your clients and prospects to really stand out on air - and to get some good frequency going before sales begin to pick up again a few weeks later. And simply addressing these problems on behalf of your clients now, will make you different from the rest of the pack - something that's sure to be appreciated.

Lastly, there is still time to sell nice-sized local campaigns for Christmas itself - so check back in on Monday for a few more ideas and some great downloads you can use to help boost December even further.

In the meantime - have a wonderful Thanksgiving - you deserve it.

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The Treacherous Trio

Introducing....“The Treacherous Trio” - or, “Three Things I Know Really But Pretend I Don't”, or, simply, “Doh!”

1) Your car is not always your friend.

As sad as this may be to admit, your car may be costing you money. No, not in gas and insurance and parts and payments, but in actual radio sales contracts. That's right, your car may be stealing commissions out from right under your nose. The next time you drive to an appointment, think for a moment about how you use your car. Often, you get in at the station, drive straight to the appointment (sometimes listening to the radio), get out, meet your prospect, get back in and drive back to the station or on to the next appointment. Sounds OK. But now ask yourself this. How many businesses do you drive past on the way? How many of those businesses do you take the time to notice, make a note of, check if they're advertisers already and resolve to call them if they're not?

When you've finished your appointment, how often do you stop before you get into your car, take a walk around the area, looking once again for potential new clients? Think of it this way. If you have five potential prospects in the same area (within walking distance of the same parking space!!), how many more appointments do you have time for in a day? As a general sales tip, try walking around a bit. It'll improve your productivity and your health.

2) Coca Cola is a manufacturer, not a retailer.

Oh how we love retail brands. Product, price, location. All the stuff that radio was built to sell. Think again. When you're on your sales walkabout, try writing down ALL the businesses you see. Don't reject any of them without knowing for a fact that they don't want to advertise with you (usually you can't know this until you ask them). How does this increase your productivity? Simple. It means a) that your weekly cold call list will be different from that of every other media sales rep in your area, so b) the people you call won't have fifty other people calling them as well and therefore c) you'll get more appointments from the same amount of calls.

3) People Lie

As shocking as this may be to realize, your prospects are lying to you. I'm sorry, but it's true. Go through your current list of “potential sales”. You know, all those people who are ‘interested’, but haven't quite committed yet. Add up the total dollar value of those proposals. How many of them have put you off at least three times with some excuse like “I'm interested, but we're still finalizing budgets”, or “After the print campaign we're going to assess our needs and you're in the mix”, or “Come back after Labor Day”?

The truth? They really mean “No, thanks.” Let them go and move on. Only have your hands full with people who do want your product. This alone should increase your productivity by about 25%.

4) Stop reading this article

What? Haven't you got work to do?

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Nothing I Wanted

A dear friend of mine emailed a note to me many days ago; I'd like to share with you some of his letters core concepts.

A man found the cocoon of a butterfly.

One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the small hole; after a while it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if the butterfly had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further; so the man decided to help the butterfly.

He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bits of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the tiny creatures body, which swollen as it was would contract in time.

Neither happened.

In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its short life crawling around with a bloated body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste didn’t understand, was the butterfly’s struggle to emerge from the cocoon was God's way of forcing fluid from its tiny body into the wings so they would be ready for flight once it achieved freedom from its cosset. In fact the restrictive cocoon and the great effort required to escape were both necessary for the butterfly to beat in order to live and fly at all.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives.

If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us, wouldn’t it? We wouldn’t be as strong as what we could have been.

We could never fly.

I asked God for strength and he gave me troubles to make me strong.

I asked for wisdom and he gave me problems to solve.

I asked for prosperity and he gave me a brain to work.

I asked for courage and God gave me fear to overcome.

I asked for love and he gave me troubled people to help.

I asked for favors and he gave me opportunities.

I have received nothing I wanted but everything I needed.

Sell without regret.

Michael Tate

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Let's Talk Turkey!

Everyone at your radio station sells. I'm not concerned with what job people actually do at your station but ultimately they're all selling something, and they're selling something about you.

All the people who work with you and around you are absolutely involved in the selling of your station, your airtime, your brand, and your format. And more; they are even selling something about your company's policies, positions, people, and beliefs.

Do you know what's falling from everyone's mouths, and what's really falling from yours?

If you don't you may be headed for certain mediocrity, even disaster; perhaps you're already there.

Everything always begins at the top, including the 'selling'.

It's imperative that your executive team: the GM; the Station Manager; the PD; the Chief Engineer; the Music Director; the Finance Officer; the Traffic Manager, even the announcers; its vital that everyone understands and believes what it is they should be selling.

Perhaps everyone at the radio station should even be asked to put in a few sales calls every month.

I can already vividly imagine the immediate hue and cry from the non-sales folks, but most of the excuses will only be fear-based, won't they? Yet it is vitally important to not only understand the trials and challenges faced by salespeople, but to also get some understanding and feel for what the station's customers and listeners really want; for what we're really supposed to be selling.

Your executive team (sales-related or not) is the core of your station's direction and outcomes. They, through their directions, their actions, their true inner-feelings, their water cooler talk, and what they are even putting out spiritually, affect what's happening to the station.

Take a good hard look at your sales team.

Does everyone at the station support them? Does everyone understand what it is the sales team really goes through, or what your clients really need? Does the PD not only know the company names of your top-ten advertisers, but does she or he also know the key decision makers' names, and what they're expecting as a result of advertising with you? What about how much they spend? Does everyone at the station truly and honestly believe in the power of advertising; advertising on radio; and the power of advertising on your station? Do you hold tight on your published advertising rate card, or do you discount and bonus at any cost to get the sale? In other words does everyone believe in the station's philosophies and commercial value?

There's not much point in having a commercial radio station or selling air space if you're not doing it at a profit, is there?

That's why we have salespeople.

To pay for our salaries, to keep the lights on, and to make a profit. Anyone can sell at a discount but to hold tight on to the rate and to bring in profit, that takes a professional salesperson, that takes an entire radio station.

Having a team that sells well (and at a profit) begins at the top, and not just with the sales manager but with everybody.

When a salesperson comes back to the station and says that they can't sell at full rate because the economy sucks; or because the client wants a discount; or the listening audience isn't the right demographic; or no one is listening because the format is all wrong; or even because the sky has turned green, does your sales manager know how to respond? Does your management team know what to say? Do your managers, your middle-managers, and the entire crew know, understand, and believe what you're doing as a station is the absolute right thing?

Remember you can't con a con, so the belief and passion needs and must be true.

While it's a good idea, it's probably impractical to send all your managers and staff out on sales calls. Instead, why not institute some customer and listener focus groups? Everyone needs to know who your customers are. Enable them to be able to meet and listen to your customers - because it's your customers, your advertisers and your listeners who should be defining your market for you.

Your advertisers and listeners will let you know whether or not you are different from the guys down the road, and if so, in what ways, and whether it's important or not. Get your team to find out what you need to sell, what your 'actual' product is, how best you should be taking it to your business and listening market, and even about what changes you should make that would allow you to hold published rate card or to even charge more.

Everyone from the PD down needs to understand all this (and more) if they're going to play a significant and positive role in setting company policy, plans, direction, consequences, passion-building, and deep inner-belief.

We've all heard the slogan "radio gets results"; yet when I'm out there on the road traveling from station to station training, teaching, and lecturing, rarely do I ever get to look into the eyes of a true believer.

If your executive team and you don't have these 'eyes' you may be doomed to fail because if we're "talking turkey", you can't give what you haven't got. You can't give it to your team, your family, your advertisers, your listeners, or you.

Sell without regret

Michael Tate

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Bang The Drum Of Heroism!

On a regular basis, I hear from corporate executives who say they are ready to challenge the ways things are done in their industry. They want a powerful brand, they tell me. They’re ready to break all the rules. Those words are war drums, a rhythmic sound that’s calling for heroes.

Banging those drums has a way of getting to my heart, animating me, causing me to leap from my chair. I grab the cordless phone (I can’t think while I’m sitting down) and I move from one end of the room to the other.
A million possibilities come to mind, and I become invigorated by potential outcome. My excitement is now at a full fortissimo. I exclaim: “I am ready to kill conventional wisdom; you have my sword!”

As soon as one unconventional idea appears, however, the banging of the drum ends. All the talk was just that: talk. The actions of those executives now bring to mind the words of Henry Ford: “People can have the Model T in any color — so long as it's black.”

Now, they waste time convincing themselves that their present color works. In other words, they convince themselves that things are better the way they are, because they can feel secure and can predict the future with great accuracy. The proposed change would destroy a fine balance of compromise.

Compromise. What a nice village to live in. The corporate bureaucracy demands conformity. The “idea bat” is passed from person to person like a hot potato. Everyone looks at the next guy, hoping that person will be the one to swing.
We have to blame that attitude on management, who rewards complacency and punishes risk-taking. When employees swing for the grand slam and miss, they become examples of failure.

We know that the line between heroism and stupidity is a thin one. Heroic acts, with slight alterations in the outcome, become stories to laugh at. Our experience tells us that failure ends in ridicule, and the thought of becoming the outsider breeds fear. This fear of failure is what creates widespread paralysis in companies.

If we ever hope to move again and create powerful brands in radio, we must be willing to reward risk, both in success and in failure. Rewarding risk allows heroes to live. Your people will no longer be afraid to think outside the radio box and will be eager to color outside the lines.

Theodore Roosevelt said it best in his speech at the Sorbonne, in Paris:
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Are you ready for your heroes? Continue banging the drums!

B.J. Bueno is author of The Power of Cult Branding

Reproduced by permission of RadioInk magazine

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Follow the Leader

In order to build and maintain a great radio advertising sales team you need quite a few assets, not the least of which is you.

If you a sales manager you must lead by example, amazing example. Your positivity and passion are two vital elements in your sales team's daily and ongoing morale.

The truth is that selling isn't for the faint of heart and that good attitude is vital to individual and group selling success. So you need to get with it. You must be the catalyst of the positive mind-set, power, and posture of your team. If they are depressed in any way, you need to take a look at yourself first.

You must be the sales leader.

Enthusiasm is contagious but so is misery, so make sure that what you carry around with you is worth catching. Never manage down, always manage up.

As a sales manager you must supply a good sales methodology for your sales team to utilize. If inadequate policies, procedures, or sales tools are in place, they will sidetrack your sales team, and as a result your people will never realize their full potential. Your principal job as a sales manager is to make sure all the barriers to their success are broken down and washed away.

Tell your sales team that "all the problems belong to you".

If they have a production issue or a traffic challenge - tell them to put it in writing and pass it to you. Apart from the obvious benefits, as a manager you can always solve these concerns more rapidly and easily than they ever could, and by doing so you will increase their selling time considerably.

Understand, when you clear away cumbersome policy and departmental obstacles for your team, you're making your entire team more productive and competent.

Don't ever take for granted that your sales people know how to sell your radio station and those advertising benefits that seem obvious to you. This is one of the greatest mistakes sales managers make.

Do you know what your sales staff are saying to advertising prospects when they are out on the street? Even if you think you do - can you be sure?
Design an effective working method and policy. Lay out your desired sales process step-by-step, overlaying the appropriate tactics and strategies. Set all of this into a formal presentation they can use as both a guide and a constant coach. You'll be amazed at the results before you are halfway through.

Always be coaching. Salespeople get a little lazy from time to time and shortcut their sales processes, usually at the expense of effectiveness. It's only human. By delivering constant training you will keep your team in tune.

And finally, develop a unique selling proposition for your team.

It's likely that there won't be anything available at your station because radio as an industry has a tendency to promote itself to only one client - the listener. But we have two clients we should be talking to, and in two distinct and different ways.

Find the most powerful asset you have, massage it into a business-to-business USP, and begin building the sales brand you dream of. Rally your sales team around that brand and go for it.

Sell without regret.

Michael Tate

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Keys To Better Decision-Making

Why is being able to make better decisions important? Being able to make the right call at the right time, often while under pressure, is a key requirement for any manager or team leader. We make dozens of decisions every day, but when it comes to important workplace choices, too many 'bad' decisions or regular displays of indecisiveness can lead to a loss of credibility with employees and could have a detrimental effect on your career prospects.

WHERE DO I START?

Confirm the decision is both yours to make and worthy of your attention. Avoid the trap of micro-managing every decision that falls under your control - if one of your staff can do it then let them make the call.

Establish whether anyone else needs to be consulted and how long you have to make the decision. Make sure the problem (and its impact) is clearly defined and that you are aware of any underlying objectives and / or the wider business context of the decision. Then detail each concern you want the decision to address and the end-result you wish to achieve.

"If you're clear about what you're doing and why, you will be able to communicate your thinking and get buy-in from all those under your charge, including those responsible for its smooth implementation

CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS:

Once you have sized up the situation using all the information available, you need to work through the alternatives and assess their potential consequences. Weigh up each idea against your stated objectives and grade them accordingly. Consider the pros and cons, the level of risk involved and the worst that can happen.

There are techniques and models available that can provide a more structured approach to evaluating the options, such as paired comparison analysis or decision trees. Benjamin Franklin made decisions by listing down the negative aspects of a decision and then next the “no” list he would write a “yes” list. Whichever list had more points (positive or negative) that was the decision he chose.

CONSULT WIDELY:

Be prepared to cast your net far and wide when investigating possible solutions, as selecting from a restricted range of options may not deliver the best result. The same applies to falling back on safe or previously proven choices. Involve others who you know will have opposing views and different perspectives from you, as they may arrive at solutions you would never envisage. Always make known the rationale for any decision you make. Encourage your team to give feedback and highlight inherent weaknesses in your decision-making methods.

MONITOR OUTCOMES:

It is essential to track the effect of your decisions, especially if the action taken was based on unreliable data or an incomplete picture of the situation could throw up fresh problems further down the line.

LOOK FOR PATTERNS:

Aim to make better and more dependable choices by becoming an honest judge of the effectiveness of your decisions. Get into the habit of regularly appraising your performance, particularly where you were required to make some critical decisions.

This piece is also available as a formatted .pdf for you to file and save or distribute at Sales Meetings. Click here to download.

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Do You Procrastinate About You?

One of the greatest obstacles to personal success is the human condition of being and feeling comfortable.

You know that place, not succeeding but not failing. Dreaming yet not daring to live your dream. Living quietly in-between the gutter and the glory but not really living a full life at all.

"I'm comfortable, everything is okay", we quietly convince ourselves. But are we really comfortable deep inside?

I expect not.

Most of us are so emotionally tied to this comfortable place that we're just not willing to do what it takes to succeed because this activity implies the possibility of failure.

Going for that big advertising account; running your own business; meeting new people; stepping out in faith; learning new things; presenting your ideas; having an opinion (doing something about it); taking a chance; and exerting yourself. These are all very uncomfortable things to tackle, yet are very necessary and pivotal points in the true fulfillment of our lives.

I once heard someone say "Comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable". I like this attitude.

Only you can decide whether you want a life of this type of comfort or a life fully lived.

You can have anything, do anything, and be anything you want, or you can have nothing, do nothing, and be nothing you want - it’s entirely up to you, and frankly no one else will really care what you decide, other than you.

Take a look around you today. At your parents, your partner, your children, and your friends; are they happy? Are they being who they want to be? Who they're meant to be?

Take a moment and observe what it is you do yourself each day. Determine the basis of your actions and your decision-making processes. Seriously ask yourself why is it you do the things you do? Why is it you make the decisions that you do? What are your motivations, your key drivers? Are you passionate at any point in the day? What about being happy, joyous, and truly free? Are your days always familiar, comfortable, and secure? Do you get apprehensive when you think about poking your head outside your comfort zone? Are there things that you evade doing because they might cause you pain and uneasiness?

Do you procrastinate about you?

Do you ever have longings and doubts about you, your life, and your current path?

It’s my belief that this inward distress that you feel is the voice of your God in your heart, seeking to call you out of all that is contrary to how you have been created.

Contrary to how you should be, of how you really are; how you really are deep down inside.

Living our lives to the fullest requires that we step outside of what is known and out of our comfort zone. The truth is that when we dare to go beyond our self-imposed and worldly created boundaries, our comfort zone opens out, it grows as we grow. Slowly as it happens, success in some area of our life will give us more confidence to continue to grow and increase our comfort perimeter to seek out more, to live more.

Don't allow yourself accept a comfortable no-risk life, and certainly steer away from a life of mediocrity because that's no life at all. A small burst of discomfort is far superior to a lifetime of doubt, disappointment, and regret, and oh so much shorter in duration.

Do you have longings and doubts about you, your life, and your current path?

It is my belief that this inward distress that you feel is the voice of your God in your heart, seeking to call you out of all that is contrary to how you have been created, contrary to how you should be.

Let me invite you not to turn away from your inner voice's gentle pleadings because if you do, you might just miss out on the time of your life.

Sell without regret.

Michael Tate

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Cream of the Crop

Elite Radio Salespeople are constantly in demand - in spite of what the economy of the country is doing. The cream of the crop are unique. They are elite Radio Salespeople because they love the burden of doing what they do. In reality great salespeople can be broken into two distinct groups: those who love what they do; and those who are motivated by the desire to be the best at whatever they do. Both types protectively watch over their sales proficiencies and amazingly, most even invest in their own sales training.

They say nothing happens until something is sold. Sure it is cliché, but it does have deep impact, particularly in the development and maintenance of any commercial radio station or network. Winning sales, the cliché says, puts the bricks in the bottom-line. In short, any investment we make in marketing strategies, market research, audience studies, programming formats, and on-air talent. Computers, prospecting lists, contact management software, inventory management software, ergonomic furniture, and aesthetic environments will return very little if the Radio Salesperson presenting our stuff isn't adept at what to say, how to say it, and when to say it.

Each year thousands of books are published focused on the profession of selling - the RAB has over forty industry specific publications available right now. How many have you read in the past year? If you say two or three, you'd better head for the bookstore. How many industry magazines and documents focused on selling do you read each month? If less than one, head for the Internet to find those that apply to you. Do it today. How many newsletters do you receive? If less than three, time to subscribe to more.

Today, most radio stations believe that the quickest way to increase revenue is by taking advertising clients away from the other guys - to fight over the same ever-decreasing piece of meat. Often however the predicament is that during good times, so many radio salespeople became "order takers" and their skills suffered as a result. Today, put into competitive selling circumstances, the best most radio salespeople can do is try to get their own radio stations to lower prices. Radio stations that neglected to keep their sales teams selling skills current are now paying dearly for this error.

There is no easier softer way.

Sales skill-sets have changed in recent times. If the radio sales training program your station or radio network makes available does not help you avert, take action towards, or circumvent the specific objections you get on a daily basis that enter your customers' minds, then you need to get a more up to date training program. There are over two hundred discernible skilled competencies in over thirty distinct areas of selling - like prospecting, presenting, closing, and negotiation. Where do you need to focus specifically?

Salespeople having completed an intensive selling skills training program and then engaging in further continual coaching, show increases in productivity ranging from 35% to 1665%, according to the American Society for Training and Development. Yet, an estimated 70% of radio stations provide no selling skills development at all.

With so many inexpert advertising salespeople taking up space in commercial radio stations, it's of little wonder that as an industry we take only eight percent of the available advertising revenue pie home.

Sales training is relatively easy on the pocket, and yet the return so great (particularly when you consider the alternatives), so much so that it becomes perplexing to conceive of why some radio salespeople and radio stations actually go out of their way to avoid it.

Like any business in any industry that desires to be successful, truly successful, don't we need to stop talking the talk, and start walking the walk?

Sell without regret

Michael Tate

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Interactive Sales Training Exercise

One of the exercises I often include in sales training sessions is an interactive Q & A which is notable for the consistency of its responses from audience members all over the US and translates well into print; so I thought I would share it here today.

The core theme of the Q&A is productivity and learning to overcome anything that may get in the way of your own personal goals. To begin, take a piece of paper and begin to write down in list form anything that, in your opinion, makes your selling job harder. You have complete free reign here - from the things that annoy you most about your own station (formats, ratings, individual programs, owners' reputations, etc.), through the trials and tribulations of dealing with agencies, the stubbornness of clients, the economy, politics, your competitors, the local shopper and on and on.

A typical list, when prepared in group session, might look something like this:

Things that make selling radio more difficult:
Poor station ratings
Clients' Budgets
Agencies
Unrealistic targets
New format
Clients don't call back (voice mail)
Local paper
Other (competition) station
Clients don't know enough about advertising
Yellow Pages

This can go on for as long as you let it of course, but after a while most new items become variations of previous entries. Once you have this list, take a marker pen and go through each item in turn, crossing it out if it is something that you, personally, do not have any control over.

By this I mean reject any difficulty that it is impossible for you to change. For example, the first entry, "poor station ratings", is something entirely out of your control. You're in sales; you don't control the programming or the marketing or the tower strength of the station. So strike that one out and repeat this process all the way down the list. Your revised list may look something like this:

Things that make selling radio more difficult that I can control:
Poor station ratings
Clients' Budgets
Agencies
Unrealistic targets
New format
Clients don't call back (voice mail)
Local paper
Other (competition) station
Clients don't know enough about advertising
Yellow Pages

The result is a very different list indeed. Though simple, this process forces us to focus our energies on the things we can effect - the true definition of increasing productivity. All of us would agree that constantly trying to force the outcome of things we have absolutely no control over is a useless task - and one that drains our energy and resources. Yet, this is precisely what most sales people do, most of the time.

If you want to effect real increases in productivity then channel your energies into those few, simple areas where you can effect maximum change. In the example above, finessing our cold calling and training ourselves to educate our clients more effectively and efficiently are the only two items from the ten we began with that we can profitably try to alter.

On a general level in radio sales, the number of areas in which we have any significant control is actually very small. This should certainly not be seen as a disadvantage however; the fact that huge increases in result can be seen from focused improvements in just a few areas (mainly cold-calling, number of appointments, finessing presentations, closing) means that such increases are available to everybody.

However, to do this effectively we have to be willing let go of some of our traditional complaints, however uncomfortable that might be. Increasing productivity is truly in your hands - but that means it's also your responsibility. Losing sight of the shore isn't always easy, but it's the only way new discoveries are made.

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High Stakes Sales

You may have noticed something about successful commercials in any medium; they resonate with each individual they are targeting. The most successful campaigns, large or small, manage to connect with people; they talk to them, not about them or even really too much about the product or service they are selling. Instead they focus on how the individual feels and how the product will affect those feelings.

We spend a lot of time (or should!) trying to persuade our clients to get rid of the details from their radio ad; how many times have you had clients who insist on creating radio ads that read like Yellow Pages commercials, listing every possible detail; how long they've been in business, their 'friendly staff', their reputation, their huge range of products, their address, directions to the store, three repeats of the phone number and on and on?

We know these ads don't work because they list features, not benefits. How many times have you been told that when you sell your own station's airtime to a new client, you must focus on benefits and not features? How you must describe your product in terms of how it will benefit your prospect, not in terms of how proud you are of a 'feature' or a statistic?

Both these situations are two sides of the same coin. The advice you repeat to yourself about selling radio is essentially the same advice you should be giving to clients about the content of their ads. The reason both these approaches are similar is simply that this is the basis of all successful selling; to frame your product in terms of the emotions your prospects feel and how your product will affect those emotions.

This is not abstract theory. This is essential to understand if you are to be successful in sales. If you are in any doubt about just how important this is, then look no further than the biggest sales campaigns on the planet that are happening all around us right now; the campaigns for the Mid-Term elections.

An election campaign is basically a huge sales pitch; and the most successful politicians are those able to sell themselves most successfully. This is what we mean by 'resonating with voters'; being able to make the debate about how the electorate is actually feeling and how your own policies and actions will affect those feelings.

Just like your prospects and just like your clients' prospects, most of us are less interested in the nitty gritty of a concept, than we are in the emotional outcome of a course of action; "How will this car make me feel?", "How can your station grow my business?" "I just feel more comfortable with Candidate A than Candidate B."

To this end, I encourage everyone in sales to watch this campaign season very closely. Take careful note of how answers are phrased during the debates; how complex policy details are made simple and emotional; how all candidates turn focus away from themselves and towards you. On a very grand scale, everyone involved in this election is doing what you have to try and do every single day; to sell successfully is to connect; to talk to your prospects, not at them; to make the issue about them, not about you.

This skill more than any other will decide the outcome of your next sale.

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People Pleasing

I noticed an advertiser using the tagline "Life's much more interesting when you're direct".

I suspect the advertiser wasn't really referring to anything fundamentally focused on how we communicate, but was trying to get the message out about their new interest rate - the advertiser was a bank. Nonetheless the tag line stuck with me.

"Life's much more interesting when you're direct".

Imagine if we did speak directly about what it is that's floating around in our heads, about what it is we are thinking and feeling?

Would our lives be much simpler? Or become more complicated?

Would things be much more successful in our private, public, and business lives?

Being direct when we speak (hopefully) is about speaking the truth for us at that very moment. Are you direct and truthful, do you endeavor to be?

I believe most of us would prefer to be direct but that takes mountains of courage doesn't it? If you want to be more direct (truthful), as opposed to manipulating circumstances or skirting around the real issues to get a sale or to get your point across, then you'll require some action.

Being direct in your relationships and in selling will open a whole new world and level of inner satisfaction and success for you.

If you want to change the way you communicate you'll need to begin by being honest with yourself. Often we have simply developed a habit of saying what is easier, softer, more comfortable, or often what we believe will please others. We tell people what it is we think they want to hear - our superiors, our sales managers, our prospects and clients, and even our loved ones. In doing this we're actually conditioning ourselves to hide from the truth, even from ourselves. If we're doing this we're certainly headed for a life of resentment and mediocrity.

The truth pushes over all that stands before it.

Being truthful in all areas of our lives is about maintaining integrity and character regardless of the outcome. Bear in mind that I'm not saying to put your needs first over those of other people, rather I'm saying determine to be direct in most areas of your life.

Telling the truth isn't easy but we all know what is and what isn't.

Ultimately not telling the truth only effects us, and not the other party.

Remember eighty percent of all communication is non-verbal, which means when you are in front of a client or prospect; they are sensing and feeling more than your words. They can sense your honesty (even if they don't understand what it is they are feeling), they can sense your spirit, and they're even subconsciously watching your body language.

If when selling and inside you, you are feeling desperation; hunger; indifference; arrogance; a lack of confidence in your radio station, or the advertising schedule you have on offer; perhaps even fear, a prospect will say "No" to your offer because of what it is they are drawing (feeling) from you. Most people will say "No" to you and not even really understand why.

Don't misunderstand what I'm saying, we are not all body language experts but it is our God given intuition that surfaces in order to help us make the right decisions. And the same is happening for your clients.

Do you exaggerate your station's position in the market? Do you exaggerate the results an advertiser can expect from engaging in an advertising plan with you? Do you even steer away from the truth when there is no need to?

As the Man once said, "The truth will set you free!"

The next time you are in a face-to-face presentation, endeavor not to exaggerate or manipulate in order to get the sale. And instead of dancing with objections, yours and your client's fears at the end of the presentation, why don't you simply ask…

"Would you like to buy this advertising campaign today?”

“Yes or No?"

Sell without regret.

Michael Tate

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Yes Or No

Have you heard or said this lately: "Yeah-no, yeah" or "No, yeah-no."?

Have you noticed this tendency in our verbal communication?

Wavering insecurely between "yes" and "no", we've begun bonding these two words together into a single expression. When we want to say "yes", we attach a denial onto it: "Yeah, no, we can do that."

Often we don't state a simple "no" either; we get around it with a most doubtful qualifier, not unlike: "No, yeah, I can't."

A stranger to the nuances of the English language could be excused for becoming confused by all these positives metamorphosing into negatives and back again. Sometimes, "yeah, no, yeah" seems to be used just to fill the void of an uncomfortable silence. But why are we doing this?

Have we become so uncertain within ourselves and of ourselves that we are finally, unknowingly verbalizing our fear and lack of confidence in ourselves? “Yeah-No?” “No-Yeah?” “Yeah-No-Yeah?”

In selling, uncertainty and fear are two elements we confront and deal with on a daily and sometimes an hourly basis. Yet these days even the most confident of us tends to stumble over the finality and decisiveness of verbalizing a simple "yes" or "no".

As radio salespeople we can't afford to be confused about what it is we are saying in front of (or asking of) our clients and prospects or anyone else for that matter.

Change the way you think, feel, and speak. If you hear yourself speaking using this confusion of words, pull yourself up, become aware and change.

Become clear about what it is you want to say before you open your mouth.

Make a decision about what it is you want to say before you say it, but ultimately make a decision not to be undecided, and you will find that your prospects and clients will begin to make some decisions too.

Sell without Regret

Michael Tate

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Sales Hurdles

Recently I had contact with a radio salesperson who told me he was working through the challenges in his sales lull and that he was hopefully getting back into the groove.

"Action plus Courage" is one of my core catch cries and one that I hold close as I can. The philosophy behind this sentiment drives my company and its people, yet the line itself seems counter to the received wisdom that the opposite is true.

Sales people regularly ask me why it is that action is mentioned first in this statement.

Don't we need courage before we can get into action?

For most of us we have been trained and conditioned to think our way through things, to navigate our way through the trials of life, or to want to understand every little element and aspect that lay ahead before we even make the commitment to move. Often we even think we need to psych ourselves into performing or overcoming difficult tasks, using our will power, our mind over matter, or by chanting mantras in order to win.

But if our resolve isn't strong enough or our minds effective enough, what do we do then?

Are we weak? Are we lacking something everyone seemingly has?

Do we actually lack courage?

If we can't convince ourselves that everything will be okay, how are we ever going to convince anyone else? How are we ever going to sell something to someone and look him or her in the eye whilst doing it?

In my experience courage isn't something that is a natural characteristic people are born with, or something they instantly call upon in times of need. Again isn't the opposite true?
Aren’t we much more likely to exhibit fear in tough moments, particularly when it comes to our physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being? Surely this is the truthful state of things - survival is our natural instinct.

Selling, particularly direct selling does bring rise to fear for more of us more often than most vocations ever have or ever will. So how do we deal with this fear, this confrontation?

How do we find the courage really to overcome this fear, and find the courage to persist into action?

Nike tells us to "just do it", and within this slogan lies the truth. Yet this is easier said than done, isn't it?

So how do we just do it? The best plan is to just get into action, even if you have to act as if you believe that everything is okay.

If you are currently facing a motivational block or an emotional sales hurdle the answer is to just do it. There are no secrets. You're not going to chant your way, or hope your way through it.

Action is the dynamic key.

It is much easier to act yourself into a right way of thinking, than it is to think yourself into a right way of acting. So stand up, step up, and simply start walking.

Do the thing that you have been putting off the longest first. The courage will then come, and the fear will wash away.

Sell without regret.

Michael Tate

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Somebody Is Watching

Most of you have probably received or read one of those emails that says something like “mail this to 10 friends and good luck will be bestowed upon you 10 minutes later” or similar. Of course the email will generally include some kind of wonderful sentiment not unlike “dance like nobody is watching”.

We should, shouldn't we? Dance like nobody is watching? Live like every day is our last?

Absolute freedom from self may be impossible but it's an ideal we all should aspire to; after all we are perfect in our creation (just not created perfectly).

Yet the questions I propose to you today aren’t about your courage or desire to be comfortable within your own skin. The questions I want to ask you are; aside from ‘dancing’ what is it that you are doing when nobody is watching? What are you like when the world isn't watching? What are you practicing? What are you conditioning into yourself?

Are you working just as effectively? Do you remain just as reliable and full of integrity? Who appears when you are convinced that no one is lurking behind you? You? Are you just as responsible in the dark as in the light? Just as faithful and true? Are you just as considerate of others? Do you act as you speak? Do you present to your clients the same way you role-play sales processes back at the office? Do you tell the boss what your client really said?

Isn't true inner-freedom and true-life success partially dependent on what you do and who you really are when nobody is watching?

Whatever you think, feel, and do when you are alone (when nobody is watching), won't that ultimately and directly reflect what it is you truly believe of yourself; your true character today, at this very moment?

What are you practicing and conditioning yourself to do, to be, and think?

For example if you cheat when nobody's watching who are you really deceiving?

I recall a time when I once fudged my own golf score to make myself feel better about my ability and myself. Yet I wasn't even on the course with anyone else - no one was there. My ego got the better of me; it deceived me from the truth. It deceived me from me. I was simply cheating me and taking away an opportunity to change and grow. Hadn't I also cheated myself out of some inner-peace?

When we allow mediocrity and soft untruths to eek into our lives we allow in a burden that will continue to grow, a burden we simply don't need. If something is not quite true then it is completely false. Don't kid yourself, there are no grey areas. The truth perhaps is different for each of us but for each of us there is pure unadulterated truth.

Consider then some of the keys for achievement; the seeds of our lives are often sown when nobody is watching.

Contemplate the athlete whose world-beating feat is observed by millions, who spends years preparing while nobody is watching. What about the multi-millionaire who runs a lucrative company? He or she may spend years even decades working late into the night while nobody watching.

What is it you do while nobody is watching?

Sell without regret.

Michael Tate

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What You Give Is What You Get

We can all turn any setback into our favor by making the effort to find something positive about it. This may be demanding but in the end it is by far the best course of action to take.

Genuinely positive thinking is more than merely repeating dry mantras. Thinking positively does not mean however that we disregard the negative things which come along, but rather we put into action the real energy required to invalidate and change these things, and this will take action and courage.

True positive thinking is about dealing with the truth, this means seeing and dealing with the positive, as well as the negative side of any circumstance. However, genuinely positive thought chooses to give effort and sustenance to all the positive aspects.

Thinking positively demands effort (action), and that is why it works so well. It takes effort to see the positive side of things when everyone else sees only the dark side. Yet it is this action that distinguishes winners from losers. It is this action that inspires all great accomplishments.

But what should be the focus of our positive thinking?

Should we be thinking about winning, productivity, or achieving money goals? Should we be thinking about being salesperson of the month, or thinking about how much money we can take from our wealthy client?

What motivates us to action is just as crucial as the act of positive thought itself.

So what are your motives? What wakes you up and gets you out of bed; turns you on and gets you in front of your clients?

If your motive is to give, you will find you will receive. If your motive is to teach, the result is you will learn. When your motive is to harm, you'll eventually be hurt. If your motive is to deceive, you will find yourself cheated. If your motive is to take, you will in the end be taken. When your motive is to appreciate, you will be admired. And when your motive is to help, you yourself will be helped and so on.

So what you give, is what you get because the truth is that we cannot flee the consequence of our own motives - they will always come back to haunt us, always.

You will move forward or back through life depending on the particular motives with which you choose to act. The honesty and integrity of our motives will directly affect the quality of our life. So look directly at the actuality of the world around you and enjoy the vast benefits of true, properly motivated positive thinking.

Sell without Regret.

Michael Tate

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Don't Present Without A Plan

Very few airtime sales are made during the first contact. Even so you should always hold the hope of closing the sale. A good radio salesperson gets an order whenever the occasion presents itself.

Although the initial call by and large is intended to establish and introduce your radio station to a prospective candidate (and specifically determines that particular advertisers needs), you should always be ready to advocate a suitable advertising product. This means some research must be instituted relative to the business you are approaching, well before the meeting commences - even if it is the first meeting. Never walk into any business meeting without some kind of proposal in mind. Should your advertising prospect indicate a desire to get the ball rolling right way - you will be ready.

Always be prepared during your presentation:

CHALLENGE: Establish your prospect's needs. Ascertain the challenge - what is preventing the client from enjoying more business?
BLUEPRINT: Demonstrate how your station can address this need and improve your prospects business.
STRATEGY: Explain an advertising campaign that will be effective. Detail its inherent value.

PRESENT: Make the close.

If the first call goes well you may decide to go for an order immediately. If your prospect is compelled - great. In the event the advertiser is not prepared to make an immediate decision you should obviously make a follow-up appointment. Make a call back appointment as close to the initial exchange as possible to prevent your good impression from fading and growing cold. The primary objective of the return call (if a presentation was made during the first call) is to obviously close the sale and get the order.

To strengthen your argument you must review and consider any objections or reservations that may have emerged during the first call, and formulate a plan to overcome them. Meanwhile your proposition may be strengthened to become even more attractive to your prospective client by producing a 'spec’ commercial for his or her listening pleasure as further incentive.

Should your efforts fail the second time out, make a third and even fourth, fifth, or sixth call.

Perseverance does pay off and many salespeople admit just when they figured a situation was hopeless someone initially thought 'cold' suddenly said, "Yes. Let’s go ahead".

People's needs change from moment to moment…

… to moment.

Sell without Regret.

Michael Tate

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That's Not Selling

The Japanese have an expression "the power is in the question". As salespeople this phrase holds deep implication for us.

So what's coming from your mouth?

Are your questions strategic, powerful, and designed to lead your prospect to making clear-cut decisions? And I mean are you asking for explicit honest decisions, and not just exclusively asking questions designed to move your prospect towards a "Yes". Do your questions demand a response from your prospects and leave no doubt in their mind you want their business?

When I was first learning to sell I was told that I should never ask a question unless I already knew the answer - the lesson has always served me well.

Essentially it has meant I have always had to plan my questions prior to any sales call, but to also plan for, and anticipate the answers that may be offered up. The truth is peoples 'answering options' are limited, the challenge for most of us though is we often feel asking a 'sales-type' question is manipulative and controlling, or a least that's the excuse we tell ourselves.

My experience tells me this problem is more often than not caused by fear, because asking questions designed to get your prospect to make a decision of consequence opens the door for the prospect to say "No". And that's the last word we want to hear isn't it? In this type of situation we avoid asking a closing question entirely and leave the meeting having ascertained a "Maybe", sighing inwardly to ourselves "at least he didn't say No".

I wrote recently current research shows 4 out 6 sales people don't even ask a closing question when they are in a presentation situation. Four out of six salespeople!

That's not selling; that's sitting!

As salespeople we need to get our heads around the fact some prospects are going to say "No" to what we are offering more often than they are going say "Yes". It's simply not possible to get a "Yes" from every prospect we sit in front of. It's unreasonable and delusional to think so.

The next time you're in front of a prospect put your game-face on and ask a question of consequence. If the response you receive is "No", your prospect has disqualified themselves from the sale. It's not that you have done anything wrong it is simply that your solution is not the right fit right now. Respectfully bow out of the meeting and go find someone who does qualify.

Acceptance is the key.

Be prepared to ask powerful questions and be prepared for the consequences - and remember that the consequences of some questions will be great success.

Sell without regret.

Michael Tate

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Leadership

Leaders in any business are easily identifiable; they're the people who have the right spirit, the right stuff. They lead by example, helping to create extra-ordinary results from ordinary people.

Leadership qualities are generally a combination of intrinsic characteristics amalgamated to learned and developed skills - so are leaders born or made? I suspect it is a little of both. Leadership is something we all need to learn and practice.

You will find leaders are both confident and modest. Being a leader is not about making ourselves more powerful, it's about making our people, the salespeople we lead more powerful. This takes courage and confidence and these elements are rare.

Leaders are authentic and walk their talk. Commonly however some people in leadership roles are merely delegate. They send their troops out to fight the battle while they hide back in the safety of the bunker. Worse still they come down from the hill after the battle is over and shoot the wounded for not winning the war.

Leaders should be good listeners. Are you interested and curious in your team and in its individual members? The enemy of curiosity, and therefore listening, is belief that you have all the answers, and the truth is (as you know) that none of us do.

Leaders should always be encouraging, by doing no less than challenging, encouraging, motivating and inspiring the people around them. This is a leader's ultimate purpose. A good leader should also then be able to let go, stand back and allow the process to happen.

Good leaders connect, between sales team members and other divisions within the company.

Great leaders have the ability to direct people, however not in the form of orders and answers but by the use of questions, leading people to follow and put into action what they already know.

Leaders do not blame, they learn, even the smartest in business make mistakes. Do you recall when Bill Gates decided that the World Wide Web would have little impact on his business? Try, fail, learn, and try again.

Excellent leaders know they work for their team members. Your sales team members are your customers, how can you serve them better today for a bigger effect tomorrow?

Wise leaders network with other leaders, and learn from other leaders. Remember: It's only lonely at the top if you place yourself on a pedestal.

Brave leaders make more leaders because the sales team with the most and best leaders wins, so become a leader of leaders.

Leaders understand the difference between leaders and managers. Do you?

The principal difference is leaders understand people work for people and not companies. Not systems, not processes, not your brand, and not your company's philosophy, or mission statement, they work for people. It's a people thing.

As we all know there are 'leaders' and then there are Leaders.

There's that person who walks into a room, maybe things are going moderately well, but the whole place clams up and goes stiff at the mere appearance of this type of manager. Then there's that other person, the Leader who walks in, and even if things are going badly, we all just feel a little bit better, a little calmer, and a little safer. There's a little more confidence and 'buzz in the air' just because of his or her presence and we know we are going to get ‘there’.

Leaders are authentic, they walk their talk.

Sell without Regret

Michael Tate

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Money And Manna

Somerset Maugham once said:

"It's a funny thing about life. If you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it."

Sadly it is true for many of us that our resistance to accepting less than the best for ourselves is often left wanting. All my life I have seen people (and have often been the person) who at times accepts much less than the optimum choice - the best thing for me.

Why does this happen to us? Why do we allow this to happen to us? What goes so wrong within us that we don't give, take, earn, achieve, or allow ourselves the very best? To be the best? To have the best? And to help people the best we can? For some it's refusing the best opportunities, for others it's wasted hours, for more it's being in the wrong relationships, and tragically for some it's a belief they don’t deserve anything at all throughout their entire life.

It’s not money and manna I’m talking about, even the wealthiest person will confess this is true.

What is it within us that stops us from accepting the gifts and grand opportunities that abound? What could cause this so obviously and utterly self-abusive behavior; to accept less than the best, to accept what is often even less than mediocre?

For me it's about me.

It's not about fear. It’s not about lack of skill or courage; it’s about me.

A gentleman once said to me that I had to learn "it was okay for good things could happen to Michael". Yet for the longest time I didn't understand what he meant.

I have learnt today that for me my biggest obstacle to reaching me, is me, but that doesn’t make me healed.

As I have come to understand things, somewhere along the way I was given a good dose of self-loathing (no you're not the only one) I was born with it. Or it was conditioned into me through the way I handled my life's experiences. Regardless however it came to be, it exists within me and only I am the one able to overcome it.

All of us have this dark life-inhibitor lurking about inside. It often manifests itself in negative self-talk, the voice that constantly tells we're too heavy or too short. We're too dumb, incomplete somehow, bad in bed, have a bad smile, pathetic at sports, or simply just don't measure up to the standards the world seems to present to us. In other words it's a dark insidious voice that says, "You don't deserve…"

In selling the voice says things like "I can’t close", "I can't handle objections", "This guy doesn't like me", or "I'll never be successful".

In effect (you are listening to your negative self) you're conditioning yourself to lose, to accept less than you deserve, and to ultimately never achieve you.

Far too many people settle for mediocrity - spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

Stop listening to your head and start listening to your heart - it's a far better servant and far superior adviser than the thing that sits on top of your neck.

The next time your head starts telling you you're not worthy, tell it to shut up. Know everything you are and everything you have is enough to truly be everything you deserve to be.

Sell without regret.

Michael Tate

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Let's Twist Again

You give your stories power when you tap into the familiar in the lives of your listeners. Much of our shared experience in the twenty-first century is in the form of audio.

Creating a radio commercial based on these sound experiences can establish resonance with your audience and give you some great opportunities for humor…if you deliver a twist on the familiar.

Let audience know soon that it’s a parody fairly soon into the story.

A talking toy with an attitude, a car navigation system that makes personal comments about the driver, a discount store price check that mentions lower prices at the advertiser’s store, a disclaimer that takes up the entire commercial…there are endless possibilities. OK, not endless, but quite a few.

Here are some suggested references:

Airline pilots announcements
Flight attendants’ instructions
Elevator voice prompts
Talking toys
Video games
Computer voices
Discount stores p.a. announcements: price checks, lost children, etc.
Fast Food Drive speakers
Airport announcements – bags, smoking, flights
Car navigation voice
Answering machines – preprogrammed announcements
Voice mail
On-hold announcements
Store or mall closing announcements
Instructional audio
Public transportation exit announcements
On-stage concert announcements
Hotel wake up calls
Political candidates – mobile loudspeaker announcements
Public radio sponsorships
Pre-recorded telemarketing
On-air equal time apologies
Disclaimers
Supermarket clerks asking for a price check
School p.a. announcements: menus, daily activities
Hospital paging
Carnival barker
Ringside boxing announcer
Sports play-by-play

Each of the above is begging to be parodied, so answer the call, and do the twist.

Jeffrey Hedquist has left the building. To contact him, leave messages at the following portals: Hedquist Productions, Inc. P.O. Box 1475 Fairfield, IA 52556. Phone 641-472-6708, Fax 641-472-7400, email jeffrey@hedquist.com.

© 1997-2010 Hedquist Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

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