Mon. Sep 24th, 2018

Creating Ideas That Sell

Let’s talk about ideas. Ideas sell. The only thing better than a good idea is a great idea. And the best thing about a great idea is that it helps overcome many of the objections we often face. I choose to look at it this way.

They say it’s too expensive. I say the idea wasn’t good enough.

They say your ratings weren’t high enough. I say the idea wasn’t good enough.

They say they didn’t like your loud, offensive, morning show host. I say the idea wasn’t good enough.

Had the idea been better, something that truly blew the prospect away, none of that would have mattered.

In our line of work, selling sports radio, it’s all about the ideas and all about the creativity – the “sizzle.” It is no different than the sports we cover. A couple of walks and a bloop in between second base and right field scores a run, but a home run gets them on their feet!

It’s 2017 and people listen to the radio differently than they used to. There are more things today than ever before that can take away attention from our advertisers’ messages. We have to be more creative in coming up with ways to make the sponsors stand out over and above their recorded schedule.

Fortunately, our friends at ESPN did us all a favor when they started doing things like the “Coors Light Six Pack of Questions.” Suddenly, it wasn’t looked at as a “distraction” for there to be a sponsor attached to a feature inside of programming. Now the advertiser can truly feel ownership of a piece of property (and who wants to ever give up their own little corner of the world?).

I remember back when we launched a new ESPN station in St. Louis that you could barely hear across the street from the tower site. The frequency we were on hadn’t been listened to by more than a few people in years. No signal, no listeners, no marketing budget, no big-name hosts – no big deal. We sold ideas.

I’ll never forget closing a sale with McDonalds’ ad agency on a “Dream Job” promotion where a listener would win their very own sports talk show. You know you have done a good job when a media buyer tells you “I shouldn’t buy this, and I have no idea why I am buying this other than it is just a great idea and something we should be a part of.”

Another client we kept going back to with different ideas and nothing would stick. They were always willing to listen so we kept trying. It was a liquor company and it made sense with our “audience,” but they weren’t traditional advertisers looking for spots and dots. They wanted something different.

One weekend I was out of town and I was in the car listening to a baseball game. When they came out of break in to the bottom of the 5th inning, the announcer read a promo for Jack Daniels as the sponsor of the “bottom of the fifth.” Now that was a great idea! And like many other good ideas over the years, I stole it.

We went back to the liquor company and pitched a promotion where a listener would get to pick a player from the Cardinals prior to each weeknight home game, and if that player hot a home run in the bottom of the 5th inning, the station and the liquor sponsor would give them a big screen TV and a stocked bar. The client loved it and it turned out to be a great promotion. It was something different and it tied in perfectly with their product.

Coming up with the idea is important, but only part of the battle – the other big part is how you present it. If you walk in, flip through a bunch of pages, read the presentation and ask for the order, maybe you have a chance. If you go in and wow them with how excited you are about the solution you came up with to answer their issues (what keeps them up at night), you play an audio spec of the station voice or talent reading the intro to the new feature and you make it sound BIG – you have a much greater chance.

It is so much easier to get a prospect to sign the dotted line when they have just been blown away by your creativity. Suddenly, they are only thinking about the idea and are no longer concerned about your prices, your ratings, or the loud, offensive morning host.

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