Radio Sales Today

RAB Sales Tips

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Last week, we had the privilege of attending CES 2024 in Las Vegas, where the marvels of technology and glimpses into the future left us in awe. However, beyond the dazzling displays, a meaningful realization unfolded during a conversation with Milt McConnell from Alpha Media, whom we connected with during the Jacobs Media CES tour. Milt shared that one of the benefits that he enjoys from CES is to see how other companies are marketing themselves and selling their products. It is, after all, a trade show where companies are showing the latest tech and trying to get potential clients excited.

My son and I were exploring the North Hall, when we happened upon what we thought were little robotic lawnmowers. Turns out they were pool cleaners, but they all look similar. So, we asked at the display booth if they had lawnmowers, and the rep told us they did not but would likely be rolling them out in the spring. Since we wanted to see lawnmowers, we asked if others at the convention (competitors) had lawnmowers. The representative looked awkward and said, "There probably are." We asked if he knew the names of any of his competitors and where they might be because we wanted to see the lawnmower. He stammered, and with a smirk that made it obvious he was not being truthful, he said, "I'm not sure; I think there is a booth right behind us, but I'm not sure what their name is." Really? We walked around the corner, and sure enough, there was a booth with robotic lawnmowers right next to his booth in plain sight. How odd that the rep from this company, who could clearly see his compe titor right next to him, would tell us he didn’t know. We immediately felt like he was the typical type of seller we all try not to be. Dishonest, untrustworthy and only out to make a buck.

Some of us are of a certain age where we remember representing a single station or an AM/FM combo. It's hard to believe in the post-consolidation world where you only sell a single station or a combo, but that's how it was when I started. It was typical for clients to ask about competitors in the market – both in the radio and TV space. Rather than mislead them and tell them I didn’t know who the competitors were, my answer was always the same: "They are a great company. Would you like me to investigate if they have some solutions to help us solve X?" (X was whatever the client’s problem was). Doing this earned me trust and credibility, and I also met new friends in the competitor's space who shared the same passion for helping their clients.

As sellers, our role extends beyond promoting our products. We are here to assist clients and prospects, whether it involves our offerings, those of competitors or a combination of both. It was vital for me to know as much as possible about other market opportunities, even from my competitors. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses, as well as my own, allowed me to serve my clients more authentically and helpfully. I would help with the TV production to ensure brand consistency with our actions. I would enlist the help of other radio sellers to help secure time on their station, which would enhance the strategy for the client.

Clients need our help. They count on us for unbiased assistance in achieving their goals. That's the third- and fourth-level seller we discuss in our certification courses. Your clients are intelligent people. If they need help, they'll find it, whether from you or a competitor. In my experience, being the "go-to" person they called on was far more advantageous, even if it meant sending some business my competitors' way.

Helpfulness, transparency, generosity and authenticity. (Being a servant-seller.) All these are great attributes and strategies to help build trust and credibility and be the person your clients and prospects turn to for help.

Happy Friday,

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at You can all so connect with him on X and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, SVP of Professional Development