In this time of madness, I present to you a “Sweet 16 List of Reasons We Might Not Get the Sale”
1 – You
I wouldn’t know anything about this, but I’m told there are people out there that some people just don’t like. They don’t mesh well with others. Sometimes, in the end, it all comes down to someone buying you and, unfortunately, a lack of a personal connection can cost a sale.
2 – Not Selling The Value of the Product(s)
Did you take the time to really present the value of what you’re selling? I’ve seen sellers who will throw in “added value” in such a way that completely disregards the actual value of what the client is buying. Doing this may not just have one sale get away but could become the beginning of a trend if you, yourself, don’t believe in the value.
3 – Lack of Persistence
Last year, the Center for Sales Strategy wrote: “Research shows that the majority of appointments are set after five or six contacts but that the majority of salespeople give up after two.” If you aren’t getting to clients simply because you’re giving up too easily, you’ll end up with a career full of sales you didn’t get.
4 – Coming Off as Desperate
We’ve all been there, where you’re trying to get something (anything) sold and you skip just about every step of the sales process. Next, you start throwing value on top of value while lowering the price just to get a deal done and done quickly. See above, “The Value of the Product!”
5 – Not Listening
A lot of sellers never acquire the proper listening skills to really be at the top of the game. Ask great questions, shut up and listen. If you listen carefully enough, you’ll hear your presentation, the client’s ad copy and much more.
6 – Presenting What You Want to Sell
It goes hand in hand with not listening. Many sellers have a tendency to hear what they want to hear and somehow tie the client in to the idea they’ve really been wanting to sell. It’s much like a client telling you they don’t like a station even if it’s a huge hit with their target audience, it’s not about us, it’s what’s best for the client and their business.
7 – Not Identifying the Key Marketing Challenge
If these were being ranked in order, this would be in the conversation for a top 3 seed. We cannot present a solution to a problem without knowing what the real problem is. Most of the time we present a good idea, that is a clear solution to the most pressing marketing challenge of a client, we will win the business.
8 – Not Knowing Anything About The Budget
If the right questions weren’t asked to at least come up with a budget range you should be in, your pitch has a significantly higher risk. Come in way too high and risk the client believing they can’t afford to work with you, or worse, you come in too low and leave money on the table.
9 – Not Bringing an Example
In the sales process, when we go to present, we have the advantage of having thought for a while about what we’re presenting. We have to be careful and remember that when a client is hearing about it, it’s for the first time, and the idea you’re pitching may not come out as well “on paper.” Anything you can demonstrate with audio or a visual can make a huge difference in winning business. Put the client’s name in lights!
10 – Not Taking Yes for an Answer
Sometimes the client wants to buy but doesn’t want the exact thing we proposed. While it is ok to push back and ask more questions, at some point you have to accept that they’ve said they wanted to buy but may need some adjustments to be made. Don’t ever lose thousands of dollars over hundreds of dollars.
11 – Not Discovering the Main Target
The client has to help us dig in to who the real target audience is. The more we know about who it is they’re trying to reach the better chance we have of identifying the correct solution. If the client doesn’t believe what you present will work for their key targets, they won’t see the value in the proposal, and it may come back to us not having asked the right questions during the CNA.
12 – Overpromising and Underdelivering
Most of the time we think of this as something that happens after the sale is made. Some sellers, however, will start to overpromise in the brainstorming phase and get a client’s hopes up before even knowing if something can be done, then risk the chance of having to disappoint the client when the presentation doesn’t include the idea they liked so much. Never a good look for a first impression.
13 – Neglect
This was the topic in this space two weeks ago. Don’t work as hard as we have to work to get a client and then make an “unforced error” and not take care of that client. Remember, we are in the business of renewals and referrals and a happy, well taken care of client is the pathway to both.
14 – Not Negotiating in Good Faith
Either negotiate or don’t negotiate, but don’t land somewhere in the middle. Negotiation is a key skill in media sales and if you haven’t spent time learning about it, you need to. The person on the other side of the table, if it’s an agency, has generally been well trained in negotiation, you should be, too.
15 – Not Being Consultative
People want to buy from someone they believe they can trust and who they think has the knowledge to know the best course of action. If you come off as a “know-it-all” or push too hard to get to the close and the client feels uncomfortable, your great idea may not matter. If the business owner sees you as their new in-house marketing consultant because you appeared prepared, confident and knowledgeable, you may have a new whale on your hands.
16 – Not Calling on Businesses
The undisputed, undefeated, defending champion and #1 seed. The reason we don’t get many of the sales we miss out on is because we simply didn’t call them in the first place. Business goes where it’s invited and that goes for both our clients and for us.
Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing
…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.
In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.
“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.
“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”
Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.
The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?
That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.
You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.
“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”
Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.
Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”
Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”
Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”
Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”
It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.
WORTH EVERY PENNY
I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.
My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.
My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.
After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.
Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.
Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”
My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.
My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.
Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.
And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.
Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio
I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.
A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours.
But is that why you sell sports radio?
In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.
A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family.
Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.
I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.
I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.
Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important.
So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.
Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table
Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.