Radio Blog

This page contains blog articles on a range of topics of interest to professionals in radio sales, including everything from selling technique to the state of the industry. If you have an opinion on any issue regarding radio or would like to share some of your sales techniques with others, you can submit an article for the blog here (max 400 words, please).

Elephants & Caskets

I recall an executive training session many years ago when I was working for Toyota. The trainer stood in front of the marketing team and the first thing that fell from his mouth was…

“Why can’t you buy an Elephant in Sydney?”

We all began to ponder the answer to the mysterious question.

“Because nobody is selling one!” said the trainer with a grin.

I don’t recall much else from the workshop but the trainers riddle helped me realize some kind of sales epiphany.

My grandfather once asked me “There are buyers and sellers in the world. Which one are you?”

The truth is we are both, we float from one to the other, sometimes becoming either in mere seconds and back again.

A couple of hours ago I read Wal-Mart has begun selling caskets and urns online, it seems the world's largest retailer wants to keep its customers even after we die and whilst this is a fairly new offering from Wal-Mart all reports say that sales are going well. But who knew right?

I’ve been on the road visiting many markets across the US recently speaking to local businesses about “How to Advertise in Tough Economic Times”. Over the course of my market visits this means I also met many radio sales people as well.

Most sales people (in general) in radio these days bemoan the state of the economy - it’s the number one justification for poor performance in the selling of airtime; in the selling of anything at the moment.

The main excuse I hear from radio people is advertisers aren’t buying airtime because of the state of the economy, but I can’t help thinking perhaps we need to turn this statement around and look from another perspective.

“Why can’t you buy airtime from a radio station these days?” “Because no one is selling any!”

There is no doubt the economy’s tough, but I get the feeling some of us have drunk so much of the “Bad News Cordial” we’re not even prospecting anymore.

You can’t sell if you’re sitting at your desk, you can’t sell if you’re not sitting front of a client; and you can’t sell if you’re hiding out in the local Starbucks all day waiting for the afternoon sales meeting.

Productivity is the real key in good and bad economic times.

I was taught 80% of your selling day should be made up of prospecting; 5% of your time should be spent securing ad contracts (actually selling); and 15% on administrative work.

How many appointments did you turn up for this week? How many appointments did you list in your sales meeting that weren’t really appointments at all?

ARIA’s revenue.generator program proves productivity is the key time and time again - even in this tough economy.

Local businesses are serious about what they do and they want answers on how to get through the time ahead. As a local radio person shouldn’t you already know what the answers are? Shouldn’t you be out there spreading the good news that now is actually the best and most important time to be buying advertising?

Our revenue.generator event this year has consistently seen small businesses turn up to our workshops in droves. I’m not kidding - we’re continually meeting with 250 to 350 businesses at each event. Why? Because the revenue.generator isn’t only a sales event it’s an educational event - people leave happy knowing there is something they can do to get through this period even if they don’t buy advertising at the event.

And the money? At the end of each workshop we show those present an opportunity to buy radio the right way. Our average project result is about $360,000 per station over a 4 day period (the most we’ve delivered in a 4 day period was $680,000); the airtime product available for purchase isn’t overly discounted and we get the businesses to pay for their advertising on their credit cards. We even ask them to pay for their advertising at the beginning of the month instead of the end.

Pre-billing a business via credit card for their advertising in these tough times? Nothing is impossible, absolutely nothing.

Why can’t you buy an elephant in Lafayette, Louisiana?

Sell without regret.

Michael Tate
President: ARIA


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