Big Sales Pitches Take Time
starts like this: The program director walks into the general sales
manager’s office with what he says is an amazing sales opportunity.
While the concept is a really good one, there is a problem: The
program director has given the GSM just 10 days to sell something
that would normally carry a substantial price tag.
the GSM been presented with this opportunity six weeks earlier, she
could have sold it for $10,000 — but on such short notice? She’d
be lucky to get a client to shell out even $1,000.
PD, as usual, seems stunned that this is even an issue. Later he
complains to the market manager that the sales staff isn’t capable
of selling under pressure.
scenario will repeat itself countless times this coming year unless
PDs plan and understand that it takes time to sell anything
does this happen so often?
program directors rarely are exposed to the sales process. Because
selling belongs to another department, they don’t look at sales as
having much to do with their world.
is essential that program directors get the bigger picture.
Exceptional program directors ask the right questions on their own,
of course; but sometimes it takes a superior market manager who
forces her PDs to learn about the sales process.
had been in radio on the content and marketing side for about 15
years before I was pushed by a forward-thinking market manager to
attend a “needs analysis” seminar that filled every minute of its
three-day schedule. That seminar opened my eyes to what it takes to
uncover a client’s requirements, build a plan to meet those needs
and then actually close the deal.
it’s difficult to distill the sales process for content people in a
short article, here are a few tenets that, when believed, are easy to
understand. I emphasize “believed” because often PDs will hear
the process described but won’t give credence to the information
until they’ve received formal training — or until they have at
least gone on a few sales calls to see the process for themselves.
basic fact is that there are absolutely, positively zero clients who
have stacks of cash sitting in an office drawer collecting dust, just
waiting for a radio sales person to come along and ask for it. As at
your company, clients live and work with an actual budget. This is as
true for the small retail places of business as it is for major
a sales person presents an opportunity for sponsorship, the client
must have time — weeks sometimes, even months — to consider the
proposition, ask questions and often filter information through the
people who will be affected by this decision.
is even more cumbersome when dealing with an advertising agency that
vital element is almost always a preexisting relationship with the
client, as it’s nearly impossible to cold-call them with conceptual
sales ideas. Trust, developed over a lengthy time period, opens the
door and gives the sales person the perceived credibility to point
out the value proposition.
sales reps know their client(s) well, they understand what interests
them and how much pressure they can apply to close the deal if it’s
getting close to decision time.
number one thing a program director can do to help his general sales
manager maximize sales opportunities is to create a solid 2014
calendar of events, activities and promotions, many of which, I hope,
can be sold to clients.
must remember that it’s not only ratings that drive a commercial
radio station’s success; those ratings must come with the sales
necessary to drive profits. At the end of the day, this is about
everyone’s job security, peace of mind and mutually beneficial
Lapidus is president of Lapidus Media and a longtime RW contributor.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.