A few years ago, I added the words “always hiring great sales talent” to my LinkedIn profile. Since that time, I have had exactly two people reach out and say they were looking for a job. Two.
I am guessing there isn’t a single sales manager out there that isn’t “always hiring great sales talent,” but where is all the talent?
When I first started in radio, I watched an incredible transformation happen. I was working for KFNS in St. Louis when a local ownership group took over the heritage sports station. The first order of business was to bring in almost an entirely new sales team.
I watched as a group of men in their 20’s came through the doors. Even though I hadn’t been in the business very long, I had been around long enough to know that 50% of them probably wouldn’t be around in six months. I immediately started to try and pick out which ones might make it in my head.
What I saw over the next couple of years, however, was remarkable. These guys not only worked their tails off to drive a ton of new business, but they were doing it while being required to raise rates substantially on a station with little to no ratings.
These guys were competitive, they were motivated by money and success and they did what was expected of them (well, most of the time anyway!). The manager used to have meetings at 7:30 in the morning and the sellers had to sign in and sign out throughout the day. They had very little sales collateral and even less help from the programming team.
None of it phased them. They were determined to make it, determined to make it fun, and mostly determined to give themselves raises. There was no secret formula besides following the playbook (see last week’s column) and just good ol’ fashioned hard work.
Not only did a few of those guys make it, but a few others came along and did as well. To this day, the ones that I have kept up with are still doing great things and, I am sure, owe a lot of their success to working as hard as they did at the very beginning.
So, where is the next group of great sports radio sellers going to come from? I know this is a question a lot of sales managers ask themselves often. I think about it all the time. I am constantly looking, and rarely finding, people willing to put in what the group at KFNS did twenty years ago.
As I have said many times, what we do is very hard. In fact, when I interview people, I am always sure to tell them how hard of a job it is. I don’t ever want them to be able to come back and say I didn’t tell them how hard it would be.
But it’s still a great career. If you have the work ethic and are self-disciplined enough, you can do very well financially (and remember, you won’t ever have to ask for a raise!). If you like to help people solve problems and be creative, it is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. For me, it’s the passion you can have for what you are selling. You can like selling insurance, but you can love selling sports media.
Yes, help is very much wanted and needed. If you’re interested, I am always hiring great sales talent!