Pending Business: Killing the Customer - TALKERS magazine

Pending Business: Killing the Customer

| November 1, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — The past 90 days have been a roller coaster for many on the marketing side of the radio business. Hopefully your ride has evened out and the rest of the fourth quarter is downhill. On the way to year-end, here is an experience that may help you improve your personal sales and customer management skills.

Our situation is based in a top 40 market with a dominant radio station and a solid talent. After several rounds of well-received negotiation we came to an agreement with clear expectations. The station seller and talent agreed to live reads and the advertiser approved the deal. We were locked and loaded with approved creative and good to go all around.

About two weeks into the campaign we received word the station management had decided to stop the campaign. No complaints from listeners, just a sudden decision from station management to stop. The business category is common, chances are you would want the category on your talk radio station and is most likely active in your market. The station simply decided to stop taking any live read business in the category after the campaign started. Cancel after start by station management isn’t easy for any seller, but cancelling the relationship with the advertiser?  In a world where digital, social, and programmatic are eliminating the need for live reads by great talent, why eliminate a customer?

The takeaway here is not simple. A management decision after the fact presents a seller’s nightmare. The order was accepted and agreed to in good faith and suddenly with no notice the deal is dead. The takeaway begins with answering the question “What is the lifetime value of a customer?” Chances are this question never made it into the conversation that leads to killing the customer. But here is what you can do when faced with mission impossible:

  • Discuss the question thoroughly with your manager before you initiate the contact with your advertiser that could end a relationship.
  • Ask for involvement. Sometimes having a manager on the call to hear the other side can make the conversation more resonant.
  • Try and focus on preserving the relationship.

Sometimes short term agendas get in the way of long-term business. Be smart and try to show a win-win option even when the chips are seemingly down.

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