By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND — If you work on air, you get to keep working because you’re real valuable to sales. Heck, you should be in sales, if only handling a handful of accounts that you yourself prospected. Commission-only! The station has zero to lose, and another set of feet on the street; and you COULD double your income. Yes you could.
To get you started, here’s a sure shot, including killer copy points, from a radio great.
When I moderated the very first session at the very first Talkers New Media Seminar — as Talkers New York was called in the 1990s – venerable Bruce Williams was among the panelists. And he ad-libbed a paragraph my clients have been making money with ever since.
Although Bruce’s recognizable voice and trust-me delivery slam-dunked the copy, this spot could also be effective voiced by the client, unless the attorney can’t affect the sympathetic delivery necessary.
Your prospect: A female attorney who specializes in divorce
Look ‘em up under “Family Law” in the Yellow Pages. Bruce’s suggested copy:
“It’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to do: divorce. It won’t be easy, and it’s never completely fair. So do you really want to share the most intimate details of your personal and financial life with just any lawyer? You can confide in attorney Marilyn Sawyer. She’s been there. She knows. She specializes in family law. And she’s a good listener.”
Because the spot targets women, your best prospect is a lady lawyer. And — without coming right out and saying “DON’T TRUST A MAN” — this spot is intended to resonate with listeners who, at this moment in their lives, are less-than-enchanted with the opposite gender.
• Already got a female attorney advertising on-air? Take this to another. Why: You already have what you already have; so use this to develop new business. Use the fact that you already have attorney “A” on-air in the pitch to attorney “B.”
• If your prospect “can’t talk,” consider hiring outside voice talent, ideally an actress, rather than announcer. It’ll be worth a talent fee, which you build into the pitch, since this copy needs to stand out from other spots.
• THEN, as marketing guru George Costanza would say – “Do the opposite.” Find a guy divorce lawyer, and get him on tape, in unscripted Q&A, from which you lift-and-write-around sound bites about how he’ll keep her from taking you to the cleaners.
Admittedly, divorce is the legal category’s low-hanging fruit. It’s the back end of The Wedding Industrial Complex, fueled by human nature and recession resistant. But there’s plenty else lawyers do that radio sells quite well, and radio has lots more to offer ‘em than :60s.
Nobody understands billable hours better than a lawyer
Paying hundreds of dollars for an hour of weekend airtime is perfectly logical. After all, that’s what attorneys charge for their time. And that’s just THEIR time. You’re The Media…sharing THOUSANDS of peoples’ time. And, because advance retainers are customary in legal practice, don’t be shy. The counselor is expecting to pay you cash-in-advance.
And the station gets to, in effect, sell the hour twice, since it retains the spot avails. The show itself is the attorney’s marketing.
Horrified that a programmer would advocate brokered programming? If what-comes-out-the-speaker is engaging and delivers value to listeners, they’ll listen. Can you say as much for Saturday/Sunday re-runs of weekday shows laden with Wednesday/Thursday references? How naïve to think that calling it “Best of” doesn’t scream “nobody’s home.”
Listeners get it. In focus groups, they call Public Radio Pledge Week “that begging.” They understand that commercial radio is free because advertisers pay for it. Whether they pay by the minute or the hour is irrelevant if it’s good radio.
And this isn’t just about lawyers, although they should top your hit list. A close second: Veterinarians. ICYMI: Talk Radio Weekends: 2 Sure Shots.
Hey, want to hear AN EXTERMINATOR…WHO ROCKS? Stream into WPRO, Providence Saturday mornings at 9:00 ET.
Your advantage over sales reps? Don’t laugh…
It’s the aircheck meeting you used to dread. Now, you be the PD, to help lawyers and other weekend warriors do a better show. As on-air talent, you know how to make the phone ring; and umpteen other hosting fundamentals are second nature to you, but not to someone who’s not what Rush calls “a highly trained broadcast professional.”
This hand-holding is the difference between your client simply “advertising” (running spots) and “marketing” (moving prospects through The Sales Funnel). More callers to choose from equals better on-air callers, asking relatable questions about legal topics that are in your client’s wheelhouse equals more calls to the office Monday.
Coaching weekend warriors is something I do for client stations; and in some markets where I don’t have a station, I’m working directly with the brokering hosts, since nobody at the station seems to be coaching them. Super-serve your accounts this same way, and you’ll mean lots more to ‘em than the Yellow Pages rep shows up once a year to renew.
Your skill set also allows you to add value in other ways that are increasingly important: i.e., repurposing airchecks into online content, Tweeting-out the links, etc., etc., etc. ICYMI: Are You Doing Both Kinds of “Radio”?.
Read/see/hear more at www.HollandCooke.com, and follow @HollandCooke on Twitter. And meet HC at Talkers New York 2013 on June 6.