The continuing stress of the pandemic has given us some new and/or refreshed definitions and terminology. Unprecedented, uncertain, variants, immunity, unusual and essential services, to name a few.
Essential services are the labels government leaders used to determine whether a business could stay open or would be forced to shut down. There was much debate about their definitions. Because we need a little humor, in my home state of Wisconsin, liquor stores were considered essential.
Legal and governmental definitions aside and now that the country is still in the process of being open for business in varying stages, the question for those of us who provide strategic guidance to our clients is, "Are we essential?" The definition for that is much more clear — absolutely necessary and indispensable.
Are you absolutely necessary, indispensable and vital to your client's future? RAB has contact with hundreds of thousands of sellers. Over the years, several traits, competencies and actions have clearly become differentiators between those who are indispensable to their clients and those who are perceived as vendors.
Objective nonsales-driven input and support
Empathy, expertise and problem-solving skills
Offering help before being asked
A relationship beyond the contract
It was legendary sales trainer Don Beveridge who made this claim about being indispensable:
"You can never maintain a long-term competitive advantage based solely on product and price. It's what you do beyond the product that will set you apart."
Here are the problems:
Not a single business owner woke up today and said, "I need some :30's, :60's, morning drive, sports and digital advertising." That's not how they think. They woke up with problems — real problems. Can I open safely? Will my customers come back? Can I protect my employees? Do I have enough employees? Can I recover from being closed? Those are the problems business owners are facing.
As radio professionals, our problems are earning back lost commissions, finding new business and making the month, quarter and the year.
You can become an essential service. Focus on solving client problems. Be indispensable to your clients and prospects and watch your problems fade away.
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.