How Salespeople Will Win In 2023
Published in RADIO INK September 19, 2022, written by Pat Bryson
Being a successful salesperson today requires a new level of sophistication and expertise. No longer can we “sell a package” and expect to rise to the top of our industry. The business landscape is constantly bombarded by external influences: there is a disturbance in the force. Our clients are daily trying to deal with these shifting sands. The salespeople who will win in 2023 will become the guides for businesspeople showing them a way to survive and thrive no matter what happens in the world.
What skills do we as radio salespeople need to become those guides? How will we spend our time?
Winning salespeople in 2023 will do MORE: Much more! Prospecting for new business is the beginning of any relationship. The winners in 2023 will prospect constantly. They will look for and recognize opportunities at every juncture. No matter what managers might assign as a number of new calls to make daily, the winners will do more. One of my favorite stories is of a salesperson who excelled at prospecting. One day on the way to the station, he had a car wreck. By the time the tow truck had hauled his car away, he had an appointment to meet the owner of the tow truck business to talk about advertising. Prospects are all around us. We encounter them daily. The best salespeople follow up on these.
They also ask for referrals. They use their existing relationships with clients, family, friends to expand their footprint and search for businesses who might need their help. More, more, more.
Winners in 2023 will recognize the need to constantly improve their skill set. Selling radio today requires much more than selling radio did 10 or 20 years ago. They will devote time daily to learning new skills, to acquiring new information that can assist their clients. Good is no longer good enough.
Winners in 2023 will have a deep understanding of their clients’ businesses. They will know that it’s not about US: It’s about THEM. What are their goals and objectives? What obstacles are keeping them from achieving these goals? How is their business changing in response to the external factors affecting it? The successful salespeople will understand the metrics of their clients’ businesses. This understanding will allow them to create successful campaigns designed specifically for that client’s business.
The winners in 2023 will provide solutions, ideas, and moral support for their clients. So often when times are stressful, businesspeople view the world as a half-empty glass. The winning salesperson in 2023 will always have a half-full glass. They will identify problems and challenges and then direct their clients toward the solutions, not grovel with them in the problems. Businesspeople have faced unique challenges since 2020. They have operated in uncharted waters. Although they may be experts in their field, WE are the experts in marketing. We know how to turn their challenges into opportunities. The best salespeople in 2023 will never lose sight of that fact. They will be the catalyst in helping their clients to survive and thrive.
Winners in 2023 will sell schedules, not budgets. Most clients do not know what they should invest in radio advertising. They know what they have spent. They know what we have let them spend. But more often than not, they have purchased ineffective schedules that do not have enough frequency per week (think OES) nor are they long enough (think 52 weeks minimum) nor do they have a relevant message. The successful salespeople in 2023 will advise their clients on what type of schedules they must utilize to solve their problems. In fact, they will insist on it. Doctors don’t let their patients write their own prescriptions. Nor should we.
The winners in 2023 will utilize all the tools in their toolbox. Some will sell radio only. Some will also sell digital. Some will add direct mail or billboards. Today we have many options and vehicles to help our clients to solve problems. The key as to which ones we include in the campaign depends on our deep understanding of our clients’ problems and goals. We provide many of the services that ad agencies once did.
Winners in 2023 will utilize radio’s secret weapon: the power of sound. Too often, we overlook the need for relevant messages. The mind is a powerful thing: we can stimulate it by crafting messages that use sound. We can transport the listener anywhere. We can create situations. We can make them laugh or cry. “People buy emotionally and justify it with logic.” Nothing stirs the emotions as well as a professionally done radio ad utilizing the theatre of the mind. And remember, we are the professionals.
Winners in 2023 will be focused. They will utilize their billable hours wisely. They will recognize that our job is a “whatever it takes” job, not an 8-5 job. They will never quit. They will be so convinced that we have the solutions to creating business for clients that they will not accept “No” as an answer. Not only will they think outside the box, but they also won’t even HAVE a box.
And finally, the winners in 2023 will understand how important our jobs are. Nothing happens until someone sells something. In our economic system, someone has an idea for a product. They make the product. They advertise the product. They sell the product. They make more product……you get the drift. Making those products, advertising, and selling those products turn the wheels of commerce. They create jobs. If those wheels stop, as we saw in 2020, all sorts of bad things happen. The wheels must turn. The grease on the wheels of commerce is advertising. It is what we do. If the US economy is to be strong, commerce must happen. Our job, through helping the local businessperson to increase their revenue, will strengthen the entire economy. Never let people question whether what we do is a “real job.” Not only is it a real job, but it is also a vital job.
The winners in 2023 will recognize their importance to not only their local economies, but to the US economy as well. We can be a driving force for good, for recovery, for succeeding.
I look forward to the challenges of 2023. One of my greatest joys is working with my clients and their clients to move the revenue needle. Are you ready? If so, 2023 will be the best year ever!
Pat Bryson is the Founder of Bryson Broadcasting International . She is the author of two books: “A Road Map To Success In High-Dollar Broadcast Sales” and “Successful Broadcast Sales: Thriving in Change”.
Pat Bryson tells Radio Ink she loves radio because radio informs us, protects us, entertains us, and becomes a friend and companion. “It uplifts us when we need to be cheered, calms us when we are stressed,” she says. “The power of sound creates an intimate relationship with our listeners. We are so much a part of their lives that they often forget how important we are to them.”
Bryson’s advice to anyone starting out in the business: “We must realize that the skills we possess today will not be the same skills we will need tomorrow and next year. We must never forget to keep learning. Expand your knowledge, your skill set, and your network of acquaintances. In the radio business, knowing the right people can open doors for you. Find a role model. Find a mentor.
“I hope that young people may realize that their ‘elders’ in the business, although they may have entered the digital world later in life, contain a wealth of wisdom and knowledge that people new to our buiness and to life can utilize. They should cherish what they can learn from experienced broadcasters.”
On whether the workplace environment has gotten better for women over the past year: “In some ways, the workplace has opened to women, given them more opportunity. Many of the sales staffs with which I work are over 60 percent women; some are entirely female. Women are occupying more mid-level and top-level management posi- tions, also. I believe women are progressing because we are good at what we do. Most women in broadcasting have not waited for doors to be opened for them, they have opened the doors for themselves. Once inside, they have surpassed expectations.”
What does radio need to be better at every day? That’s a question we ask every executive, every manager, and every advertiser we speak with on a daily basis, to keep up with the constant barrage of competition radio is faced with for the advertisers’ budgets. We reached out to some of radio’s top leaders and asked them: “If you could change one or two things about our industry, what would they be?” Here’s what they had to say.
Grow its people. Raise the level of professionalism in everyone on staff. Concentrate on understanding our clients, creating outstanding campaigns for them that utilize theater of the mind, and selling schedules, not budgets. We need to be versed in all avenues of marketing so that we may become the “go-to person” for our advertisers. We need to be the person they think of when they need marketing advice of any kind.
Oh, and yes, radio should shout our attributes from the rooftops. We need to do a better job of being in front of categories of business that need to hear our message. Believe me, they are hearing from our competitors. When companies receive marketing guidance from their national brands, it doesn’t usually include radio. They are directed to other forms of marketing. In today’s world, that usually means digital. Many radio stations now can handle digital for clients. Do our salespeople know how to integrate radio and digital? It’s a powerful combination.
Bryson Broadcasting International
Radio Ink article August 20, 2018
Pat Bryson says she owes her success to the many mentors she’s had throughout her career. “Ken Greenwood, whom I first met when I was a student at the University of Tulsa and he was dean of the communications department, and Carl Smith, who first hired me in sales, were always there to offer advice and wisdom until their deaths a few years ago,” she says. “Finding people who may become invested in your success is vital. But it comes down to hard work and persistence. We will all have ups and downs in our lives and careers. How we respond to those events determines our success. Do we quit? Do we wallow in the setbacks? Or do we pick ourselves up and move on – find another way?”
And how is Bryson paying it forward? “I was fortunate enough to have received scholarships to the Executive Development Program and the Broadcast Leadership Training programs at the NAB. Those programs were life-changing. They invested in me. I want to give that back. And I’ve had the opportunity to do that with my clients. I’ve helped complete startup operations to create their infrastructure, hired and trained staffs for them, guided them as they grew.”
“I once worked with a wonderful lady who had won her station in a divorce settlement. She called and asked, ‘Can you teach me how to run a radio station?’ I was pleased to do so. I believe that the strength of the radio industry lies in large part with the smaller independent operators who spend their lives serving their communities of license. It is vital that they are profitable. My goal is to help them to be so by increasing the skill levels of their salespeople.”
Bryson goes on, “I also believe that we have one of the most important jobs in the United States. We live in a capitalistic system. Someone has an idea for a product, they make that product, advertise that product, sell that product, make more product, advertise that product, sell that product, etc. And so the wheels of commerce move round and round. The grease on the wheels of commerce is advertising. That’s what we do! We work with clients to help them to turn the wheels of commerce. ’Nothing happens till someone sells something!’ How true! Our jobs are vital to keeping America strong. And I believe that radio is the most effective way to influence consumer behavior.”