By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
Your station gets a sales lead. Based on the system you have in place a quick conversation with the assigned seller is followed by a hand-off. The seller begins the sales process and at some point will come back with feedback. The sales process continues and barring any difficult negotiation, that new advertiser may never hear from a manager again, unless the seller requests it. Most likely not.
Let’s pause for a minute. If your station’s local account profile is like most in the news/talk business, a high percentage will not renew for various reasons, most out of your control. This may be even more pronounced with the unique blend of COVID impact, seasonal business, and now in many parts of the country weather-impacted business. A percentage of accounts may not renew due to poor results or performance issues. And of course the worst-case scenario, bad debt. If you agree with this description of your station’s account profile, time to rethink one small part of your sales culture. The Check-In.
Every time I service my car, I get a follow-up call checking in.
Amazon, Go Daddy, Open Table, American, Delta, Marriott, doctors, and many more will check-in electronically. Many will check-in via text updates of the delivery, appointment or service process.
One of my marketing projects requires initiating contact with radio stations around the country. The first contact is often with a manager who hands off to a sales rep. The project has spanned multiple years, the full spectrum of market sizes and coast-to-coast coverage. I have never received a follow up or check in call from a first contact manager — ever. Please, no defensive answers like, “I trust my reps.” I am confident the airlines trust their pilots and crew, yet they check in after your flight. So where do we begin this concept of “check-in” in a non-check-in culture? How about the manager-seller relationship:
- Tell your reps you will be following up directly with the advertiser to show a team approach. Eliminate any discomfort upfront.
- The goal is not to police the process, but to show an all hands on deck, full resources in place attitude.
- Share and discuss any advertiser feedback.
- Keep notes. Performance always improves with some level of measurement.
The Check-In was a part of a regular system we developed over a five-year stretch at what became one of the top billing stations in the market. Memo to all managers and sellers: Winners Want Feedback.
Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: Steve@Lapcomventures.com