Thu. Sep 20th, 2018

5 Things NOT To Do in Sports Media Sales

Each week as I write, I typically focus on what I believe are some of the right things to do in certain situations. This week, I want to change gears and talk about what NOT to do. Here are five of the top things I believe someone in sports media sales should not do:

“Throw Up On The Desk”

This phrase refers to the act of a media salesperson who walks in to a meeting with a prospect and proceeds to talk only about how great their radio station or cluster is, sites some ratings information to try and back that up, and then presents a pre-packaged offer. Most of the time, this is done after asking very few, if any, questions of the client or getting any sort of information before deciding what the solution should be. If you aren’t asking a lot of good questions and then listening carefully to the answers, you are doing it wrong.

Be late for a sales appointment. 

There aren’t many worse ways to start a relationship than by setting a meeting time with a prospective client and showing up late. You probably worked really hard to get the meeting, and now after they agreed to it, you disrespect their valuable time? If I were the decision maker, when you arrived, I’d thank you for coming and kindly show you the exit. If you want someone’s money and trust in you as a marketing consultant, you have to do everything you can to show that person how well you are going to operate in this capacity. Showing up on time should be the very least you do and if you can’t do that, why should the business owner put their faith in you?

Only see clients when it’s renewal time.

I often talk about the six steps of our jobs and the last step is servicing the account. This encompasses everything from writing copy to making sure billing is correct and several other things, and it also includes establishing a relationship with that client. Building a reputation as a seller who only comes around when it’s time to sell something will eventually catch up with you. This is what the station trade is for, people! Get your client out to lunch, stop by to say hello when you’re in the area, drop off some tickets or even become a client of theirs where it’s applicable, just do something. A week shouldn’t go by where you haven’t touched at least one of your clients in some way that doesn’t involve selling them something.

Cave on all negotiations.

This drives me nuts. A certain percentage of our time is undoubtedly going to be spent on going back and forth on rates and various other items as it comes to finalizing a deal. But, these are negotiations, and the very nature of negotiation is that you give to get. I see a lot of reps forget this when talking to clients near the finish line of a deal. A client will come back with a few more requests at the last minute (they always do) and immediately the rep wants to cave to the demands and not push back. You have to remember that you’re hoping to be partners with this person or company for a long time, so if you’re quick to give in the first time around you’ll be paying for that sin throughout the entire relationship.


Some call it “over-promising and under-delivering,” but that’s really just a different way of saying you lied. You gave your word something would happen and didn’t deliver on it. That’s lying.  Nobody wants to work with people who they feel they can’t trust. Additionally, when we do this, we sour the client on not just the particular station or stations we represent, but we risk it becoming the whole industry and the client becoming someone who “tried radio and it doesn’t work.” We all know each client is too important to not super-serve them and always strive to not just deliver but to over deliver.

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