Recently I was talking with two different sales consultants who we work with in various stations and took the opportunity to ask them about customer service. I asked what is the one thing they recommend local sales reps do differently in 2013 in order to produce better customer service, and be more successful. Sean Luce recommends that reps use some form of an account management system to better track each account versus hit and miss and wait for your memory to trigger the follow up.
I also asked what is the most common mistake you see local radio sales reps making when dealing with local clients? Sean said, “They do not get deep enough inside the client’s business and really find out how they can accomplish success through radio. For some strange reason, in some cases, there is not a balance between selling the special packages and custom tailored campaigns with great creative. Failure to bring an idea – and that idea is not a cut your prices down to the bottom idea – it’s creative and problem solving.” Paul Weyland says, “Too many reps walk to a client not prepared. They flash a rate card and feel they should walk out with the order. Also, clients need help to craft copy points to promote the benefits they offer the customer. This means sales reps need training on how to pull relevant information from the client as to why someone should come and do business with them. Paul feels that most sales reps are lazy when it comes to gathering copy and they do not ask great questions to uncover the nuggets of information. This is why so many ads on radio are jammed with meaningless cliché’s that are not effective for the advertiser.
I then asked what sales reps need to do in order to generate more local revenue in 2013. Sean Luce said, “Measure, source and track the campaigns they run for their clients.” Paul Weyland recommends that sales reps need to ask the client good questions to establish a clear point of difference in their product or service. Secondly, sales reps need to become better listeners because often the client will say something important that the rep will miss because they are more focused on delivering their sales pitch, as opposed to listening to what the client is saying. Paul Weyland also suggests that sales reps need to have more face to face meetings with clients and they need to be doing a better job of closing long term business. He suggests that reps should talk to clients about building a five year advertising and marketing plan broken down into 12 month increments so they can measure progress. He believes a good sales rep will have no more than 32 active long term accounts on the air each month for 12 months a year. They will then work with these clients to provide outstanding service, and ensure their advertising copy is great. The advantage of long term agreements is that the rates are locked in, the client gets the best availability on the schedule and your competitors will be less likely to take budget away from your station because the client is locked in. We also know that radio works best when a client is always on the air because they will be top of mind for that product or service in the minds of your listeners.
Lastly, I asked what trends sales reps should be aware of that may help them in 2013. Sean said, “The continuing shift of media dollars into digital. Radio needs to sell value, not cheap. Sell what radio can do better than any other media…build top of mind awareness as well as drive people into their business and pay full price.” Paul Weyland says he is seeing more “real people” ads on the air. Get the facts from the client and build a conversational commercial. Ask the client what he says to the customer in the show room. If it works in the show room it will work on the radio. So why do we hear radio ads that say, “We must sell 30 units this weekend,” when this is not what they say to a customer in the showroom?
Thanks to Sean Luce from the Luce Performance group at www.luceperformancegroup.com. Paul Weyland has a new book called “Think Like an Adman Sell Like a Madman” which is worth reading. Paul is also from Texas and works with radio stations to build more long term business and help clients create more powerful radio commercials. Find Paul at www.paulweyland.com