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Pending Business: Who Cares?

| October 11, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Those could be the two harshest words in sales.

Think about this scenario. You have prequalified the advertiser. You spend hours developing a proposal loaded with your best sales points. Every #1 position you can muster is so baked into your pitch you can recite the numbers in your sleep. If your station is not in the business of ratings, you find another #1 strategy. Your talent bios show a spectrum of photos that range from influential guests to family photos that warm the coldest hearts. Confidently, you hit the send button, looking for the feedback that leads to winning the business you’ve worked hard to develop. But wait! You’ve missed one of the single most important steps in this process. Before you hit the send button, has your proposal passed the “Who Cares?” test when it comes to all these perceived salient points? Have you considered what is truly RELEVANT to this advertiser?

Here are some real world examples I’ve recently encountered, of seller-focused pitch points that miss the mark with advertisers. See if any of these hit home with you:

  • “We are the #1 biller in our market.” – Does the advertiser really care? This fun fact is mission critical to station management and ownership but to the advertiser it rings of self-serving banter that will ultimately lead to a “Who Cares?” Having enjoyed that position myself, note to seller: markets correct themselves, nothing lasts forever.
  • “The___ show is #1 in _________.” Warning! Frame this position carefully. Standing alone as a naked bullet point, you will fail the “Who Cares?” test. Most advertisers will be smart enough to realize there are precious few “must buys.” Is your station or #1 show an absolute must buy?
  • “We are sold out” – Tough one for both the seller and the advertiser. Handle with care and your advertiser will still be there. Lean towards self-serving and out comes “Who Cares?” As the great Yogi Berra once said, “It’s so crowded nobody goes there anymore” and away goes your advertiser.

Let’s turn the page. Show the advertiser you understand the importance of maintaining the rapport that comes with a win-win:

  • Check-in for performance feedback during the campaign cycle. So important to keep the communication flow moving.
  • Keep your advertiser informed on key program updates whether they are spending or not. Press releases are fine, personal calls are better.
  • Make sure your advertiser’s expectations are exceeded. Are they getting everything they need?
  • Check in when there is no money on the table.

The digital age has confused many sellers about the importance of exceeding expectations. Be proactive, work to improve your “caring quotient.”

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:

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Category: Sales