Radio Sales Today

RAB Sales Tips

The power of engagement

Last week during our RAB Leadership MasterClass, I was reminded of a technique we used to use in our market with great success to achieve sales advances. An advance is something that is agreed upon during a meeting (usually a proposal meeting) to keep the process moving if it doesn't close.

This manager was explaining that he instructs his sellers to prepare a piece of example copy for the presentation but intentionally makes a mistake in the copy – a wrong phone number, or something minor that can easily be corrected.

Side note: We have written a lot before about selling with "demo/spec" spots or at least using copy and how valuable that is in providing tangibility to the strategy we are proposing to the client. Using commercial demos that are either fully produced or written and shared can improve your closing ratio by as much as 70%. We fully support and encourage using demo/specs in your presentations.

Why then would this manager suggest making a mistake in the copy? It's actually psychologically based. When a prospect starts to make edits to a piece of copy, psychologists tell us they are taking ownership. When they take ownership, buying it is the next logical step. Whether you intentionally make a mistake or simply share the copy with them, ask the client for feedback with this question: Is there anything you would change about this? If they give you a quick "no," then you likely are off the mark a bit and you don't have them quite yet. If they start suggesting changes, they are taking ownership and you are on a path to moving forward with the sale.

If they aren't prepared to buy during that meeting, one of my favorite advances is to schedule them in the production studio to record the commercial. Again, if they aren't willing to do that, you are not likely going to make a sale and something is wrong with the strategy. If they are willing to schedule and invest the time in the production studio, then a successful conclusion is near. That's why we call it an "advance." It's not a sale, but it's an advance in the process.

Having them say, "we'll get back to you next week," or "call tomorrow" is a stall, not an advance. Always try to leave your presentations with at least some commitment from the client. It may not be a sale, but it can be an advance.

Jeff Schmidt is SVP-Professional Development at the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can reach Jeff at or follow him on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development, RAB