Pending Business: How Do You Handle Mistakes? | TALKERS magazine - talk media trade : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Pending Business: How Do You Handle Mistakes?

| October 17, 2022

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Regular readers of this column know I am Florida based.

I needed a new screen door for our patio area one year prior to Hurricane Ian. Simple, you say. Not so simple in Florida where colors fade, styles change, hinges, pistons, handles, locks, are all exposed to the salt air yet still need to match and last. Most challenging is getting a replacement door to close and lock in place unassisted. When my screen door repair company finished, it worked perfectly. Within five days, the door would not completely close. They returned to fix it. About 10 days later, same issue; they returned to fix, again. And a third time. By now the project was a loss leader and the screen door company was more protecting a reputation than looking at their bottom line. Now the owner, toolkit in hand, returned to fix the issue. Finally, after four trips and adjustments all is good and there was never another charge or uncomfortable conversation. So, what does this have to do with radio sales?

Let’s get to the hard question. When was the last time you “fixed” a copy, billing, on-air schedule, production or personality read issue four times, never sharing any negativity with your client or bringing your client into the “please change this” zone?

My marketing work has put me right in the middle of a similar situation. One well-resourced top market radio station with the same repeated errors, yet the rep(s) were never in front, always backtracking with an apology, yet fast on the renewal trail. Whatever happened to being proactive and accommodating as opposed to weak, after-the-fact excuses? Because that’s how excuses sound when performance pressure is spread all around.

Here is real world advice if Ground Hog Day strikes:

  • Own the problem. An experienced sales professional, guided by a smart manager can solve most any puzzle. Stop making excuses, start solving problems.
  • Follow the pig through the python. It’s one thing to hand off to a teammate, it’s a whole additional effort to check-in with the fix-it crew regularly.
  • Connect with your advertiser for regular updates and verification. Ask if the situation is improving.
  • Managers can help. Always enroll a manger to help you win back the credibility that may have been damaged when the errors became destructive.

When it’s time for an entirely new screen enclosure, guess who I will call. How about when it’s time for your advertiser to renew? Is your phone ringing?

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