Wed. Aug 22nd, 2018

Radio Works

You did all the work. You saw the billboard on the highway and emailed yourself to call the prospect. You found a way through the gatekeeper and got the business owner on the phone to set up an appointment. You confirmed the appointment, holding your breath until that reply email came through. You did a damn good client needs analysis – you asked all the right questions and listened intently to the answers. With the help of your sales assistant, you put together a world class presentation. You nailed the pitch, you assumed the close and made the sale!

And then, you screwed the whole thing up.

Unfortunately, it happens way too often in our business. The sale is made, and in the end, another good radio client walks away thinking that awful thought: “Radio doesn’t work.”

Whenever I hear those words, I cringe. Of course radio works. Over 15 billion (with a b) dollars is spent annually on radio ads. Companies such as Home Depot, McDonald’s, Mattress Firm, Auto Zone and Walgreens aren’t just spending enormous amounts of money with radio, each month, as charitable donations. They do it because it works.

In the first six months of 2017, Home Depot ran, on average, 233,372 commercials – PER MONTH. Again, they don’t do it because they really feel America just simply needs to hear Josh Lucas talk about carpet installation. They do it because it works.

But, when it doesn’t work, it’s usually our fault, and it’s typically because the person who made the sale at the beginning of this column was never taught that the real work begins when the client says yes.

That is when we truly need to be unique and good at what we do. Step six in the sports media salesperson playbook – servicing the account.

Generally, the first step in the process is putting together the spot the advertiser is going to air on our sports station. This step can make all the difference in the world, and too often, it is mailed in. Too many times we hear why the restaurant has the best food at the lowest prices with the best service. No creativity and nothing that makes the listener feel like they need to take action.

I encourage you, over the next few weeks, to really listen to the radio spots you hear. Make notes on why you liked or didn’t like a commercial. More times than not, a good spot brings out a strong emotion or has a memorable tag or jingle. But, I hear too many that sound like the AE needed to get copy into traffic in a hurry, so they went with the old standby of four or five quick things they pulled off the company website, repeated the phone number or web address a few times and called it a day.

The next step, especially in sports radio, is usually to execute the promotion or sponsorship you sold in the package. So, the AE emails the host, producer the information and assumes it will all get taken care of. A much better way to do this would be to visit, face to face, with the host, or hosts, and the producer and walk them through the promotion, who the client is and what is important to them. When it hits the air, grab an air-check and send it over to the client to let them hear how it sounded on the air. Never assume your client is listening and heard the feature.

Another mistake I see all too often is the AE who only talks to their client when it comes time for renewal. I teach my teams to always find ways to drop into your client’s business or, at the very least, call them to see how things are going. Don’t be the person who they only see or hear from when it’s time to get back in their pocket. Remember, you are hoping they see you as their new in-house marketing director, not their radio salesperson who they see twice a year.

If the copy was compelling, the execution of the promotion or sponsorship was on point, and you truly went out of your way to establish a relationship with the customer, you are several times more likely to get the all-important renewal.

When we don’t do our jobs correctly, we don’t give campaigns the chance to work and we have, potentially, lost a radio client forever. It is our responsibility to hold ourselves accountable so all we hear a lot more about how well RADIO WORKS!

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