By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
Relieved? Optimistic? Defeated? Encouraged? Discouraged?
If you are in the sold-out-for-now cycle and selling as much as possible into Q1, life as a seller is good for now. Don’t look back, hands on the steering wheel, focus on the road ahead…you made it. If this recovery is just another uphill climb with no daylight in sight, don’t touch that dial.
As a young manager, I was challenged with a “negative growth” market that featured the motto, “Last one out, shut off the lights.” It was the 1970s in Buffalo, New York. Your calculator isn’t lying, over 40 years ago in a market with over 23% unemployment, 30-plus snow days a year, and recruiting young people who wanted to sell radio was the daily grind at the top of my to-do list.
Like every other challenge in business, you can choose to win or give in. Those few years taught me more about the basics of self-directed management than any post graduate program in the country. To this day, my sales journal includes the lessons I learned. Here are a few self-directed tips to help you get through any down days:
- Budget your sales on an 11-month calendar. December was always a weather challenge in Buffalo, so I said “What if there were only 11 months a year?”
- If unemployment was 23%, thank goodness 77% of our community is working! Focus on the positives.
- Train, train, train. If the team is small, make the skill set BIG!
- Cancellations are a fact of life. The merchant who said, “If they can get to my business, I’ll keep the schedule going,” was on the phone during a blinding blizzard. He taught me to always be real.
- Sell snow shovels even when the sun shines, just reduce the price.
- Believe in people. During one of the worst blizzards in history, we used snowmobiles to deliver food to the elderly. The key point here is that the supermarkets opened and the radio station became a critical part of the community. Ringing any bells with you?
COVID-19 was a nasty experience for most in radio sales. Today, the sun is shining again despite the changes in our workplace, protocols, and client rosters. We all have an opportunity to choose a lane. Pick the one that will help you get to your goals, no matter what the short-term obstacles.
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