Wed. Sep 19th, 2018

Get Your List Together

As the great Eddie Murphy said in Trading Places: “Merry New Year!”

As much as I can’t stand the holiday season when it comes to being in advertising sales, I love the beginning of a new year – a clean slate – and nobody can say, “my budget is spent for the year.”

As Demetri Ravanos noted in his column (, it is a great time to take stock of your professional life, and that goes for everyone, but I think it is especially true on the sales side of sports media.

As the year winds down, we have the dreaded three-week period where nobody in the world wants to speak to us and then that second week of January hits and, all of a sudden, everyone needs everything immediately. So, hopefully, you have used this time to recharge the ol’ batteries, reflect on your year and plan for the year ahead.

I am big on making lists. At any given time, you can usually find several dozen, folded-in-half, pieces of paper with my lists on them, not to mention the hundreds of “To Do” emails I send to myself. As a very young General Manager, I was taught the job could be a struggle if you get buried in the minutiae, and I should constantly be making lists and prioritizing them so that my main focus is always on the most important items (IE the ones that drive revenue!). As my boss at the time put it: “Mark them A, B and C. The A’s should involve revenue, the B’s should be the most important other stuff and find a way to delegate the C’s or they’ll kill ya’.”

So, I have always been big on lists and here are some items that showed up on my first of the year list:

  • Be a better listener. I am a talker through and through so this is very difficult for me and something I constantly strive to be better at. The more we listen to our prospects and clients, the more we’ll be able to come up with the right solution for them. As a manager, the more we listen to our team, the more we can help them identify where they can improve so we can coach them and help them achieve their goals.
  • Be more creative. People like ideas and creativity. People like something new and flashy. People like custom made rather than the same cookie cutter approach. How many of your stations are planning to do the same exact events and promotions you did last year? Can one or two be refreshed, redone or reinvented? It’s a great time for us all to look ahead and see where we can improve events and promotions both for our listeners and for our sponsors. If we wait, we risk running out of time and allowing things to get stale.
  • Ask for more. Ask for more than we should. Ask for more opportunities. Ask for more from programming. Ask for more referrals. Ask for more weeks. Ask for more help. Ask for more from our teams. Ask for more from ourselves. And yes, ask for more money.
  • Be a bigger cheerleader for our industry. If we aren’t going to promote ourselves, who is going to do it? As a whole, we are very guilty of letting perceptions of a few become reality for too many. Know the radio story, tell the radio story. It is also very important to remember radio’s role in the community (you know, why it started in the first place), and use our giant megaphones to be great citizens and charitable partners (future column coming on how much I love to tie in cause related marketing!).
  • Learn more. Anyone in our industry who has stopped trying to learn should really think about a new career. Why even do something if you aren’t going to continuously get better at it? I had a colleague once who always posted items in his cubicle that he wanted to have:  a new car, a boat, a motorcycle, or a vacation destination. These pictures would motivate him to want to be better, so he could earn enough to get what he wanted. Trying to learn and get better needs to be a regular part of all our routines.

Hopefully, you have your list together and are focused on the year ahead with a strong plan for your professional growth. By just being a bit better than we were in 2017, we can all assure ourselves of having a very merry new year.

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