The six most-dreaded words in Sales:
“We tried radio. It didn’t work.”

Often the problem is copy that went in-one-ear-and-out-the-other.
Why this happens:

  • Cutbacks: At many stations, including some in major markets, there’s no Creative department. Reps write their own copy…time which could otherwise be spent prospecting/C.N.A.-ing/closing is instead squandered on a task that’s not sellers’ core competency. THEN…
  • Logjam: That special day: The Blitz. Reps schedule no in-person calls, and come to work in jeans. It’s festive. Wolfing stacks of pizza, everyone works the phone like a one-arm bandit. There’ll be a special prize for whoever rings the bell the most. Lots of long-term deals get written during the notorious telemarketing marathon. Copy needs for cut-rate ROS tonnage that’ll run as-long-as 52 weeks overwhelm the system.
How to fix it:

“Once upon a time I had the good fortune to promote Holland Cooke to a major league programming job. He took WTOP Washington to incredible heights…he set the sails that began the station’s rise to the leading biller in America!”
Dick Rakovan, retired Senior VP, Radio Advertising Bureau; previously radio group head, Outlet Broadcasting


Click the pic to read something every rep should understand.

From the bulging E-mailbag: Mike Jean, Sales Manager at 100.3 The Q and The Zone @ 91.3, Victoria BC writes…
“One of the biggest challenges is getting the initial appointment. Any suggestions?”
Getting that foot-in-the-door IS an age-old challenge. As I mentioned during my RAB webinar, “palace guards” are VERY protective, especially doctors and dentists (which explains why so many pharma reps are ex-NFL cheerleaders and other lookers). And the local direct retailers to-whom local radio is a GREAT marketing partner are busy hands-on entrepreneurs.

Give-a-listen to two podcasts:

The semi-sneaky way to get your prospect’s direct-line phone number:
If you get voicemail?

Don’t assume they believe you.
In a national opinion survey, I asked:
Would you expect this response from those-being-surveyed?
(Click on the graphic below to enlarge.)
Read: Important tip for endorsement spots

Help yourself: Spec spots:
Here’s a :60 I wrote for the guy who maintains my quirky well water system.Perhaps this can be useful pitching a similar business where you are.
Tell your prospect that this commercial is producing new leads in the Providence market.

And, generally, this spot might be instructive to the broader issue of using advertisers’ voices. When I scripted what-you’ll-hear, I tried to write it in-his-voice. And I was pleasantly surprised by his delivery.

AND I did something we should do with all spot copy: Boil-it-down to overt benefit statements, as in this great example, and I think every…single…word of this next spot works:″Often, less-is-more. Hear how this starkly-written, well-delivered spot gets-the-job-done in just :30:Try this: Write tight…THEN, cut a sentence, to let copy “breathe.” Too many radio ads sound alike because they’re rushed.

Every time I visit a station, I meet with Sales, and leave ’em a thumb drive fulla “spots that have produced results elsewhere, for businesses just like yours,” magic words on a local direct retail Sales calls.

This session alone was worth the trip!
Again this year, the NAB Show included the RAB’s “Small & Medium Market Idea Exchange,” and it was was one-money-making-idea-after-another, imaginative concepts and packages that fuel radio’s minor leagues and seem to elude stations in the majors. For example?
BethMannBeth Mann manages in a small Kentucky market, and does something that more big-market stations should: a title-sponsored audio page. “The Toyota of Hopkinsville Audio Rack” gets mentioned every time the station plugs podcasts, etc.
Why this is smart, other than the do-re-mi it brings the station, and the frequency it delivers the sponsor?
Station web sites aren’t destinations, they’re archives; and what’s there is a convenience to listeners, who expect content-on-demand.
Want more? Read my May newsletter.
And here are the NAB Show and RAIN Summit notes I’ve already posted.

“For all your commercial copy needs…”
Opportune points for spots we write for local retailers.

Best car spot I’ve heard in a year…
You’ll hear a bold concept, but you won’t hear the hollering that’s so typical in car commercials.
Heck, the conversation Tyler Ford‘s David Irwin has with listeners is so engaging and familiar that he doesn’t always bother saying his name!
But you will hear him make an offer you’ve probably never heard another dealer dare to.
Listen:PS: As with any advertising, the product has to live-up-to the claim. And this guy walks-the-walk. I’ve met the man, and if you’re in East Texas and in the market for a car or truck, go see him. You’ll end up sending your friends.

How big would the new local direct order have to be…ipad
…for you to bonus the seller — in-addition-to commission — an iPad?
Think big, then dangle the offer, with a deadline.
Note: Your top biller probably already owns one. Most go-getters do.
And iPad is the smartest way to present spec spots, something top-billers also do.

So, if she already has one, no problemo. She’ll spiff the prize to an account that commits big.😉

Do the math.
How big would the order have to be to warrant another $500 in commission?
REMEMBER, it’s not just $500 cash, awarded-then-invisible.
The winning rep will now be toting the prize, as other reps will see.
They’re social animals.
You might want to repeat the contest.

Talk Radio: Hug a lawyer…
…and pet a vet!
You’re leaving-money-on-the-table, without these 2 weekend sure-shots.

Research data affirms:
Radio comes closer to the cash register…

according to a Council for Research Excellence study.

“Advertising that works is free. It makes more than it costs you. Advertising that doesn’t work is ‘overhead.'”
Talk radio’s super-successful Dave Ramsey, speaking at a luncheon my client stations WPTF/Raleigh and WSJS/Winston-Salem held for advertisers.
“You’re trying to sell ‘a contact,’ not a product” when you advertise, in Ramsey’s view. “Don’t try to say too much in 60 seconds,” he cautioned.

Every Sales Buzzword Ever Spoken…
…is decoded in 9 pages of Universal Radio Buying and Selling Terms

Thrill to…
“The Incredible Vanishing Stopset!”
Here’s an excerpt from a presentation I’m making to several state broadcasting association conventions this year:

Use syndicated how-to shows to up-sell local retailers who broker time.

  • At a client station which airs Real Estate Today with Gil Gross, we already had a local Realtor® buying a weekend hour, to field questions and tout her listings. We offered her right-of-first-refusal (catnip, because brokers are so competitive) to re-sell the station’s in-program inventory. Her prospects: landscapers/plumbers/painters/other punch-list vendors she has on speed dial.
  • The station wholesales 10 spots (5/hour X 2 hours) to the Realtor® for $X. If she re-sells ‘em for more, she can keep the change. In the process, the station exposes new advertisers without the cost-of-sale. In the process, all those new advertisers’ competitors awaken to the power of radio advertising.
  • And the agent gets a 3-minute local content window in-program, to tout listings.
Admittedly, this model might not scale-up to major markets, where a single agent can’t afford to eat-the-whole-thing.

Because this particular station also airs The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, other value assets include:

  • Sponsorship of The Money Pit Minute, a daily shortform feature which contains a local avail, and no national spot or sponsor. Because both shows are about home ownership, they’re both warm environments for pitches to homeowners.
  • Sometimes, the best Sales message isn’t a pitch, but rather a chance to hear the advertiser simply talk shop. And this is one reason I like working with Sales in small and medium markets. The advertisers we work with aren’t cubicle-bound Sally Timebuyer agency drones…they’re CHARACTERS, dogged entrepreneurs working 14 hour workdays on Main Street USA. These small business people fuel our retail economy; and they’re lots more important to stations since the transactional business Sally doles out tanked.
  • Let them also tell their story on-air, in-program, in the 3:00 window @ 26:50 in “Real Estate Today,” and by using the entire 3:00 local avail @ :51 in The Money Pit.

Example of this advertiser interview technique, a spec that I personally produced for an advertiser on client WPTF/Raleigh: