Radio, Beware the Sushi Menu Approach to Sales

Seth Resler

By: Seth Resler,
Jacobs Media Strategies

I first learned the art of eating sushi in the course of my first radio gig, working as the Imaging Director for 105.7 The Point in St. Louis. My Program Director, Allan Fee, was a big sushi fan, and we found ourselves dining out on raw fish frequently. If you’ve ever been to a sushi restaurant, you know the routine: the waiter hands you a slip of paper resembling a Yahtzee scorecard with a list of different offerings, and you enter a number next to the items you wish to order. Experienced sushi eaters like Allan are accustomed to this, but there’s definitely a learning curve to it. Back then, I didn’t know the difference between sashimi and nigiri, and when you’re uninitiated, ordering sushi can be an intimidating experience.

In this situation, a knowledgeable waiter can make a world of difference. If they ask the right questions and assess your desires — “Do you have any allergies?,” “Are you vegetarian?,” “How do you feel about raw quail eggs?” — it can make a world of difference. The wait staff at a good sushi restaurant knows how to tell the difference between a customer who needs help and one who can be left to their own devices. It’s the difference between being an order taker and a true waiter.

Often, when I encounter radio sales teams that are having trouble embracing the digital side of the business, it’s because they’re behaving like order takers at a sushi restaurant. Instead, radio salespeople should strive to emulate the most helpful waiters.Thirty years ago, radio salespeople had few things they could sell. It was pretty much spots, remote broadcasts, and the occasional event sponsorship. Since then, we’ve added many arrows to the quiver. Radio salespeople are now authorized to pitch an array of digital products to clients, from display ads in the mobile app to pre-roll spots in the audio stream to mentions in the social media posts. Today’s list of products resembles a sushi menu.

While some clients are digitally savvy enough to know exactly what they need, not all of them are. We routinely encounter local advertising clients who know that they need to be using digital channels to market their products and services, but are looking for guidance. Are your salespeople trained to offer that guidance? Or are they like the order takers who just drop the menu on the table and leave customers to fend for themselves?

Sometimes, our salespeople push a particular service because that’s the station’s priority, even if it doesn’t fit the specific needs of the customer. Incentivizing the sales staff to “push homepage takeovers this month” is the equivalent of the chef saying, “the mackerel’s about to go bad, push it on special” — it doesn’t prioritize the needs of the client, and it might leave them with a queasy feeling in their stomach.

Instead, more than ever now that radio stations have so many different services to offer, salespeople need to know how to ask the right questions, assess a clients’ needs, and assemble a program to meet those needs. Today, it’s a much harder job than simply asking, “How many spots do you want?”

The more digital services radio stations can offer their clients, the more skilled salespeople need to be successful. For this reason, the roll out of any new product or service should be accompanied by training. Salespeople shouldn’t be asked to sell something unless they are fully educated about it, yet managers sometimes skip this step. We are taught that are salespeople need to be out on the streets at all times, but it’s important to also carve out time for internal education. Every good restaurant takes time to teach its wait staff about the menu; radio stations should do the same.

If your radio station’s sales team finds itself struggling as the company offers more and more services to the menu, think of yourselves like a sushi restaurant, and empower your waiters to offer the best customer experience possible.

For more assistance on digital or social media, contact MAB Member Services at [email protected] or 1-800-968-7622. 

Stop Hating Agencies And Be More Like Them Instead

Paul Weyland

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Paul Weyland
President, Paul Weyland Communication Strategies

Just for kicks, let’s take off our broadcast shoes and try on the shoes of an advertising agency executive. I have always believed we could learn a lot from the agencies about selling and then keeping accounts long-term. How do they do that? Here’s how.

Agencies pitch long-term solutions. They aren’t like us, pitching cheap little packages a month at a time. They sell their clients on longer-term media strategies. We should be doing that, too. That’s why I tell clients I’m there to help them develop and implement a five-year marketing and advertising plan, and that we’ll break that plan down into annual increments so we can measure progress.

I’ve noticed that when I say that to local decision-makers, they tend to nod, because seldom do they have their own long-term plans. That’s why they jump around from broadcast TV to cable to radio to ads in print.

Agencies aren’t obsessed with selling their clients just one or two stations in a market; their approach usually includes more than one medium. With digital products, we too can pitch multiple mediums to our clients. Why, then, are we still so focused on selling month-to-month or quarterly campaigns? Why do we still have trouble pitching and getting long-term agreements with local direct customers? Because it’s not in our DNA. The more long-term (annual or longer) business we get, the better off we’ll be.

When auto dealers tell us they’re using broadcast dollars to pursue new “digital mandates,” why aren’t we offering them a more holistic local approach? For example, why not set up a “Virtual New Car Show” for select auto dealers? I start by reminding dealers that a lot more people come to our websites than come to theirs. And we have great new ways to use our local websites to help them sell vehicles locally.

Why not use the power of our broadcast stations and our digital products to drive consumers to local dealerships? Why aren’t we helping dealerships tell our audiences the features on new vehicles that they don’t have on their older models?

We could be using smartphone cameras to examine new vehicles up close and then tease our audiences with on-air commercials and promotional announcements like, “You’ve seen the new Dodge Challenger on the road. But come to our Virtual New Car Show online and take a look at the interior of this great new muscle car. And we even take a good look under the hood.”  What a great idea to take to seven or so auto dealerships.

By using the holistic power of our broadcast stations combined with our new digital components, we could take a much larger percentage of the client’s local advertising dollars, not just our little piece of the overall broadcast percentage. And we could develop promotions that could include clients who have never considered advertising with us before.

For example, people of a certain age get to the point that they begin to notice that their aging parents might need to reassess their living arrangements. Kids come home for the holidays and are alarmed that one of their parents is having trouble remembering things or is becoming confused about medications.

Why not develop a long-term strategy you could tease on the air that could direct people to a website with the answers to all the questions they might have regarding elder care? “Is she eligible for Medicaid? Could he continue to live at home if he had somebody you could trust that came in to assist? For the answers to all of these questions, visit our website and click on Elder Care.”

You could sell sponsorships to people in the assisted-living area, or certain doctors or healthcare corporations, attorneys that specialize in elder care, home health companies and other businesses that help elderly people.

If we changed our thinking, we could do what good advertising agencies do, and close bigger and longer-term deals. With a more holistic sales approach, we could be the “agency of record” with more of our clients.

Feel the local client’s pain and help them do something about it. Amazon Prime is the biggest threat local retailers have ever had to deal with. Help your clients promote the things that they do best that your audiences of consumers could never get by buying online.

The future of the broadcast industry depends on our ability to help our local direct decision-makers come up with solid long-term creative and marketing strategies.

This article originally appeared in RadioInk Magazine.

Paul Weyland helps broadcast stations sell more longterm local direct business. Reach him at or call 512.236.1222.

So What’s The Best Schedule For A Local Client?

Paul Weyland

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Paul Weyland
President, Paul Weyland Communication Strategies

Paul Weyland will be speaking at the Great Lakes Media Show, March 5-6, 2019 in Lansing.  For more information and to register, click here.

“What is the best schedule to recommend to a local direct client? I heard it was about 35 commercials a month or so, or OES.” That’s the question I was recently asked. Here are my thoughts on that subject.

Back in the early ’80s, the ratings industry introduced us to a revolutionary idea called “OES,” or “Optimum Effective Schedule.” The recommended schedule was based on the old “frequency of three” theory, which assumes that a listener or viewer has to be exposed to a commercial at least three times before they can process that information.

Why three times? Because a psychologist named Herbert Krugman, who was working for back in the 1960s, was trying to explain how people responded differently to TV ads than they did to print. But his research was misinterpreted by television executives who thought Krugman was saying that because of all the advertising clutter (way back in the early ’60s), the target consumer would have to be exposed to a TV advertisement three times before the message would sink in.

And to this day, you hear advertising agencies and media companies reciting to befuddled clients, “We must achieve a frequency of three! Thou shalt achieve a frequency of three!”

The obvious question is this: here we are, at least 50 years later, and in all those years … do you think advertising clutter has gotten better or worse? Well, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure that one out. I mean, after five decades, wouldn’t it make sense that today, in a much more cluttered media world, we should be striving to reach a frequency of eight or 12?

And that’s assuming Krugman wasn’t underestimating the needed frequency way back then.

But wait, there’s more! Does frequency of three refer to the effect of a great ad, a mediocre ad or an ad that sucks? Here’s what I mean. Let’s say you owned a store and one day you lost your mind and advertised that, “Today only, we’re giving away $100,000 to each of the first thousand people who walk into our store!” Gee, I wonder how many times you’d have to run that commercial. Just once? And that would be a frequency of much less than three. So ad content certainly has a great deal to do with the success or failure of a campaign.

A couple of years ago, on behalf of a local direct decisionmaker, I called a media rep from a large cluster. I told that rep that the client had a large budget and I was looking for a schedule with a lot of frequency. The rep responded with a computer-generated report that gave me a frequency of one. I reminded the rep that I was looking for a much larger schedule. The rep said, “Well, one is the new three.” Huh? When I asked him to explain, he said, “That’s what they told us to say.” Whatever.

So what kind of schedule should I recommend to my clients? I’ve been around long enough that I believe in running enough commercials to break through the noise. I believe that clients have the right to know how much it would cost them to own their category on your station. They might not be in a position to spend that much today, but they do have a right to know where they stand with regard to what their competitors are spending.

And by letting them in on the truth, we set the table on schedule cost. We don’t want to leave that part up to them. After all, we’re supposed to be the experts, not them. If we don’t take the wheel on what our clients spend, who will? The client? The agency? Your competitor?

By knowing your client’s gross margin of profit and average sale, along with what their competitors are spending, we can make a reasonable diagnosis and then prescribe an appropriate schedule. In other words, we begin by telling them how much they should be spending. Because if we ask them what their budget is, we’ll almost always get lowballed.

Value almost always trumps price. Educated people buy more than uneducated people. Therefore, it’s incumbent on us to create value in the client’s mind and then set the rate and sell a higher-frequency schedule. Because if we leave it up to the client, we’re no longer in charge. We’re just order takers. It’s up to us to convince them that advertising with our stations is not gambling, but instead a good, calculated risk.

And regarding “Optimum Effective Schedule” and “frequency of three”? Baloney. You still may have to continue to play that bogus game to get agency buys, but for local direct decisionmakers? An emphatic no. Please don’t introduce them to this nonsense. Use common sense, not mumbo jumbo contrived back in Mad Men times.

This article originally appeared in RadioInk Magazine.

Paul Weyland helps broadcast stations sell more longterm local direct business. Reach him at or call 512.236.1222.

The Client Is Never Satisfied

Paul Weyland

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Paul Weyland
President, Paul Weyland Communication Strategies

Paul Weyland will be speaking at the Great Lakes Media Show, March 5-6, 2019 in Lansing.  For more information and to register, click here.

“The client is never satisfied with the results she gets from our station,” said the salesperson. “They are always threatening to cancel. I’m losing sleep just thinking about it.” Unfortunately, this same scenario plays out every single day in every size market. The client just never gets enough response to continue to justify his advertising.

A couple of weeks ago, I got another call from an exasperated salesperson telling me her largest client, a local employment recruiter, was getting ready to cancel. “She spent a lot of money on commercials and a remote in a week and said she only had 57 people sign up, and she’s threatening to cancel.”

In this case, the client recruits radio listeners to work at local fast-food restaurants. Evidently, with low unemployment, it’s getting harder to keep good people in lower-income jobs. So this recruiter runs radio commercials and radio remotes hoping to get good people to work at some of these fast-food chains.

The recruiter is spending about $2,000 per month in a small market. I heard three commercials the recruiter was running, and they weren’t bad. With enough frequency, they should have caught a few fish — and they did. In fact 57, in the client’s own words. So what went wrong?

On the street in my younger days, I ran into precisely this same problem. I recall the sleepless nights, the haunting harassment from bullying clients, and ultimately the inevitable cancellation itself. Knowing what I know now, those cancellations probably would have never happened. But hindsight is 20-20, isn’t it?

The fact is that back then, I had nothing with which to defend myself in front of disappointed clients. And now, it’s too late to go back and change the past. But it’s not too late to save the clients you have on the air now. In fact, not only could you save them from canceling, you might even get them to spend more.

I have worked with recruitment agencies in the past. They are like bounty hunters. They round up interested people for the industry they’re working for, and then they’re paid a commission on each new recruit they sign up.

During the oil boom, Fargo, North Dakota had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. And companies like McDonald’s were paying big bucks to get people to work there. In fact, they were even offering new potential recruits a signup bonuses, in addition to a much better wage than just the minimum.

So what exactly is one new recruit worth to a chain restaurant? Could it be $500? That is, would the big restaurant company pay a recruiter $500 per head for each qualified recruit? Based on what I knew about the situation in Fargo, that would be about right, maybe even a little bit low. And what would gross margin of profit be for the recruiter herself? Well, after the cost of labor she was paying her two assistants, she would retain between 50 and 60 percent of that $500 that she could reinvest in her business.

If she managed to recruit 57 new people from her radio campaign, that would mean the restaurant chain probably paid her $28,500. Fifty-five percent of that would be $15,675 that she would keep after the cost of labor. Hmm.

So, knowing that, in reality, how many new recruits should she actually need to justify a $2,000 expenditure on advertising? About eight would be correct. And that would be a much smaller number than 57, wouldn’t it?

After having this discussion with the salesperson, she went back to the client and went over these numbers. Now, the client is OK with her results and the pressure is off the salesperson. And where did the client get the idea that 57 wasn’t good enough for a $2,000 ad spend? Could it be that she pulled that number out of… you guessed it, thin air? You bet.

How many other accounts could be saved by doing the simple ROI calculation before a campaign even gets started? Why do we always do things the hard way in this business, when doing it the easy way would manage client expectations about results and at the same time, make the client more comfortable with perhaps spending far greater amounts of money on our stations? Why are you hitting yourself? “Ouch!” Why are you hitting yourself? “Ouch!” Why are you hitting yourself? If you and your staff would like to learn more about how to calculate ROI, give me a holler. I’d be happy to help you.

This article originally appeared in RadioInk Magazine.

Paul Weyland helps broadcast stations sell more longterm local direct business. Reach him at or call 512.236.1222.

Sellers: Stop Using Rankers and Start Doing This …

Paul Weyland

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Paul Weyland
President, Paul Weyland Communication Strategies

Paul Weyland will be speaking at the Great Lakes Media Show, March 5-6, 2019 in Lansing.  For more information and to register, click here.

Having just returned from another week in the field, I’m surprised again at how few tools radio account executives are really using when pitching local direct clients.

The last thing clients need to see is your ratings, rankers, complicated rate cards, descriptions of your format or program, or information about how powerful your station is. If they ask for that stuff, you can always provide it for them. But what the client is really looking for are specific ideas that will help make the cash register ring.

In other words, the client is looking for evidence that your plan for their success is better than their own plan. That being said, here are a few things you can say about radio/broadcast media that, combined with a killer creative idea and a calculation of return on advertising investment, might sway a buyer into using you to tell their story. If you like these ideas, add them to your pitch.

Why Radio?

King for a Day with a Putter: How many times have we seen great golfers play a brilliant long game, hitting the ball hundreds of yards to land close to or on the green … and then completely blow it when they try to putt it in? Yes, putting is truly the great “equalizer” in golf. Yes, putting really does help level the playing field in golf. In spot advertising, time is the putting green.

The biggest account in a category on your station intimidates smaller local competitors with massive buys. But remember this: the largest advertiser on your station can only run 60 seconds or less. And your smallest account can also run 60-second commercials.

The biggest account can run only two commercials per hour (or whatever number your programmer decides is the maximum), and a smaller account could also run an equal number of commercials per hour — for a day. Or two. Or three.

So in broadcast, at least for a while, for a daypart or for a program, the smaller advertiser can sound as big as the biggest player.

Online Reputation Management: For clients who insist on spending lots of money on the Internet, a companion radio campaign is one of the best strategies for online reputation management.

Yes, they say “word of mouth” is the best form of advertising. And radio is literally the best word-of-mouth medium. Help your clients control bad word of mouth by selling them a positive radio campaign, an insurance policy against bad word of mouth.

People become familiar with companies they hear about all the time on the radio. In fact, many of those listeners become customers of that advertiser. So if they see a bad online review or a negative comment, they’re more likely to write that comment off to just one or a couple of bad experiences, without writing off the advertiser.

The Last Word: A radio ad is frequently the very last thing a consumer hears before leaving the car and making a buying decision. I know from personal experience that on more than one occasion, while out running errands, I have heard radio ads that absolutely influenced my purchasing decision. More than once, I chose a different restaurant. One time I actually turned around on the way to a specific store and chose a different place to buy a piece of furniture, based entirely on one radio spot. You (or a potential client) might have had a similar experience.

Who’s in Charge of Writing Your Story?: When building a case (your pitch) to local decision-makers, always throw this in. “The question becomes, are you going to write your own story, or are you going to let a few naysayers and your competitors write your story for you?”

Clients should be using radio to sell their stories to your universe of consumers. Tell compelling stories about why your audience should contact your client. Make the stories about the consumers, not about the client. Identifying and solving consumer problems is the objective of the commercial. One subject per commercial, then rotate commercials.

Now get up and go out there and sell something!

This article originally appeared in RadioInk Magazine.

Paul Weyland helps broadcast stations sell more longterm local direct business. Reach him at or call 512.236.1222.

Who Has The Rate Resistance Problem? Could It Be You?

Paul Weyland

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Paul Weyland
President, Paul Weyland Communication Strategies

Some of us met up at the Radio Show in Orlando and discussed rate resistance. Several people thought advertising agencies were becoming more demanding than ever. Others complained about local direct clients. “Especially in small and medium markets, they just don’t have the budgets anymore to buy broadcast.” More on that in a minute.

The greater truth is this. Those with the biggest objections to higher rates and higher budgets are not the agencies and not the local decisionmakers, but instead our own local broadcast salespeople. Huh? Yes. In fact, I’m ashamed to say that most resistance to radio advertising rate increases and higher budgets for local direct clients comes not from clients themselves, but instead from radio and TV sales reps.

One of our Radio Show group said he’d heard that salespeople usually ask clients for no more money per month than they, the radio reps, make in their monthly paychecks. I had to agree with him, because I personally had that very experience. As a first- and second-year rep, nearly all of my local direct orders were under $2,500 per month. Why? After thinking it over much later, these were my only reasons. Number one, that’s about the number that the other, more seasoned sellers at our stations were asking for. But Reason Number Two? At that point in time, $2,500 seemed like a lot of money to me.

For me, that cycle finally broke in Year Three, and it happened totally by mistake. I was pitching a car dealer on a big idea, and instead of asking for my usual $2,500 a month, I took a chance and told the client that the cost would be $5,000. And the client said, “A week?” And instead of saying, “No, a month,” I said, “Yes, sir,” and to my complete surprise, he told me he’d spend that “from now on.” So at that point, the spell was broken for me. I figured that if this client had no problem accepting a larger budget, maybe the same might be true for other customers, and it turned out I was right.

My epiphany came in my third year. For others, this revelation might have come earlier, but in my experience, that would be rare. In fact, I know a lot of seasoned media reps who are still shy about asking for real money.

Maybe they’ve been shot down enough times by now that they’re convinced it’s just easier to ask for a less robust budget, get the sale, and get out, because that’s what works for them.

However, even the happy-go-lucky salesperson might be tempted to ask for much more money if he or she could be convinced that they could get easy yeses from their clients. So let’s discuss some ways to make that happen.

Use iron-clad, evidence-based logic in your presentation. By knowing a few details about your client’s business, you can get the confidence you need to ask for more. How much more? How about four times more? In other words, instead of asking for, say, $2,000 per month, why not ask for that much per week?

Knowing the client’s average sale and her gross margin of profit means everything. Armed with this information, not only can you close much bigger deals, you can also more easily manage your client’s expectations about advertising results. Otherwise, when a client calls and says, “Cancel my advertising. It’s not working,” you have nothing with which to defend yourself. Why would you ever put yourself in that position?

Understanding ROI gives you power. And power leads to confidence. No more mediocre pitches.

Let’s take a furniture dealer, for example. Let’s say your local furniture store’s average sale is $1,000. The owner’s gross margin of profit is 40-45 percent (go to www. and download the free ROI PDF). So for each thousand dollars a week spent on your station, how many sales would the client have to make to break even?

Well, if the client’s cost of goods is $650, that means gross margin, the amount she could reinvest in her business, would be $350. So how many $350s would she need to pay for the $1,000 she invests on your station? Less than three new customers. How many people are listening to your station? How many people come to your website in a week? Three people out of whatever your number might be seems like a pretty good calculated risk to me!

Understanding this concept means you have everything you need to defend doubling, tripling or quadrupling the amounts you’re pitching. It takes away the client’s meager budget suggestion and gives the control to you.

On the situation with needy, greedy advertising agencies and their rate-grinding, I can’t tell you what to do. That’s entirely up to your station’s management and what they feel is best for your station. But with local direct clients, I guarantee that most of them are underspending. Calculate their ROI and see for yourself.

For smaller markets, use the small-market advantage to ask for much more money than you’re getting now. You tell clients, “Well, thank heavens you’ve got the small-market advantage.” “Huh?” they say. And you reply, “Your gross margin and average sale are the same as your brothers and sisters in the larger markets, but here in a smaller market we have smaller rates, so you could literally own the media in our town.” Use this argument and you’ll land bigger contracts.

I practice what I preach. I have taught this technique in all-sized markets in every state in this country, and many other countries as well. And do you know what? Out of all of those thousands of media reps I have encountered through the years, I have only heard of two of our salespeople who were actually murdered for asking for too much money. So your odds are good! Give it a try and see for yourself. I mean, come on. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

This article originally appeared in RadioInk Magazine.

Paul Weyland will be speaking at the Great Lakes Media Show, March 5-6, 2019 in Lansing.  For more information and to register, click here.

Paul Weyland helps broadcast stations sell more longterm local direct business. Reach him at or call 512.236.1222.

MAB Partners with MSU for the Future of Media Sales

MAB members had the great opportunity to mentor student members of MSU’s Global Sales Leadership Society (GSLS) on Wednesday evening as part of the organization’s partnership with the university.

Gary Baxter, WSYM-TV Fox 47 (Lansing), Jeff Hutchings, WNEM-TV (Saginaw), Jamie McKibbin, Jackson Radio Works (Jackson), and Steve Schram, Michigan Radio (Detroit) led a discussion on the basics of selling media in the broadcast industry.  Many students came to the meeting without much exposure to media sales and left with the knowledge that sales positions within the broadcast industry are a great career choice.

The MAB Foundation’s partnership with MSU’s Sales Leadership Program is one way the organization is addressing the industry’s need to build fantastic teams of sellers. Our participating members have already made valuable connections with energetic students that WANT to sell.

If you’re interested in participating in this program for the 2019-2020, contact Rachel Krause at [email protected] to learn more.

Salespeople: Here’s How To Make Live Reads Work

Gary Berkowitz

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

If you were to ask any successful PD what the secret to their success was, I am sure they would tell you that being sales-friendly is one of them. I certainly believe that, and continue to be sales-friendly myself. Which takes me to live reads, arguably one of the most requested and successful tactics for today’s radio advertiser. To get some solid advice on how to make live testimonial reads more successful, I spoke with Peter Connolly. Peter owns LIVE, The Personality Advertising Specialists in Detroit. He creates and manages live local radio endorsement campaigns all over the U.S.

GB: What are the most important strategies for a live read, testimonial spot to be successful?
PC: An AE, PD, or any manager should be able to do a marketing gut check and immediately tell if this is the right customer for a live read campaign. Only start a live read testimonial campaign if you believe the results will be dramatically better versus a recorded :30 or :60. The client must have a strong story to tell in two short sentences.

Focus on the client’s needs. A few years ago, while working with Steve Marx (our sales consultant), he became frustrated when he realized we ditched our customer focus and had a one-size-fits-all “live read” solution to everything. We went from highly customer-focused to a “live read drive-through,” and the first step was skipping over the critical step of understanding customer’s unique strategic and tactical needs and challenges.

GB: When you book airtime on a radio station, what is the first thing you expect the salesperson to do?
PC: They must take the live endorsement work seriously. Get me as close to the talent and any other resources they have for maximum return on investment. I want them to make sure their talent has all the tools necessary to win for our client. If there are any problems or issues, bring them to your agency or account’s attention at once. All of us want client success.

GB: What is the biggest mistake a salesperson can make that will get in the way of a successful live read?
PC: If a salesperson does something that loses our trust, we are probably done.

GB: If you cannot coach the talent, what are some tips you would give the local salesperson for coach?
PC: We never start a campaign without meeting talent in person. If our talent is in Rough and Ready, California or Two Egg, Florida, we go there. How can we expect talent to have clarity and belief in our client’s product and goals, and most importantly, to be personal with our client’s messaging as a partner if we don’t take the time to meet them in person?

GB: Can a PD be helpful with a live campaign? How?
PC: Yes. PDs are the best asset to a client and AE, especially for a live read campaign. We know PDs are the ultimate marketer and primary talent coach at a radio station. Often, we reach out to a PD to use their relationship and expertise to fix a delivery issue. PDs can have exposure to research, ideas and events we need.

GB: How long should live reads be to be effective?
PC: We only do :60s, and we have many campaigns that span six to eight years. We never expect a live read to go longer than one minute (some PDs think we do). Often, some of our best live reads are less than 60 seconds. It’s most important that they be very personal, clear, and well prepped units. We want these to be longterm, multi-year campaigns with key accounts. Unfortunately, some customers are not set up for long-term annuals.

GB: Should they have music under them or not?
PC: Never.

GB: How should the salesperson manage the client’s expectations?
PC: We have some clients that have tethered us to digital performance metrics. Radio and especially live read results are far broader than digital metrics and lead generation. For strategic and tactical battles, radio and live reads are still an incomparable tool for providing far deeper, longer-lasting results. Make a list of results that you can track over a continuum.

We also do a lot of agency work. Agencies are expert at looking more deeply at sales results that are far broader than those of a digital vendor. These campaigns have resulted in and contributed to staggeringly higher market share, far higher web sales, far higher phone metrics, and have made unfair gains in market share at a far lower budget. Finding these results is very tough, as we’re dealing with humans. I always ask the clients’ salespeople, who interact with actual customers, for their input.

In conclusion, as a programmer, I like live reads. They help a person’s personality come out, and if done right (and not overused), can form a strong bond with the listener. It can be useful content as it’s (hopefully) helping a listener solve a problem or need. I’ll take a sincere live read any day over a loud, screaming recorded spot or senseless talk for talk’s sake.

Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations.

Now That’s Selling

Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC

Here are three short stories for you to ponder.

Story #1

The other night a radio salesperson was in a restaurant. Business was a little slow, and so he struck up a conversation with the owner, who told him that she had used radio advertising for a restaurant she had owned back in California, and it didn’t work, and she didn’t intend to use radio ever again.

He told the owner that he and his wife had been in another restaurant in town a couple of days ago, and the service and food were both terrible. But, rather than never go to another restaurant again, he and his wife decided to try her place, where they found just the opposite. He suggested to her that just because radio didn’t work for her in one situation, there is no reason why she should conclude all radio advertising doesn’t work.

That radio sales person had a new client by the time they paid for their meal.

Story #2

Another radio salesperson was calling on a jewelry store. She had made several calls on the owner and was in the middle of a presentation when the owner suddenly asked her, “Have you ever bought anything from us?” She replied, “No, because you never asked me to.” She finished her radio advertising presentation. He signed up.

Story #3

Another radio sales person was calling on a car dealer who said, “I don’t like your radio station. I’ve never liked it and I don’t listen to it.” The radio salesperson responded, “I don’t care if you ever listen to us, for you see we have a lot of people who do listen and like my radio station, and right now your advertising isn’t reaching any of them. But we are telling them about your competitors.” The car dealer was a little taken aback, but proceeded to get serious, and is now on-the-air.

Be Confident

Sales is the transference of confidence.

In each of these short stories, each radio salesperson was confident about their radio station to deliver results. They were also prepared for such objections.


Prepare, prepare, prepare.

There is no substitution for preparation.

As famed Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz put it,

“Everything is won or lost in the preparation stage.”

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is a former professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky and he’s currently seeking his next adventure.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequently at

The Bannister Effect

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.


Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer

I was talking with a sales manager last week and I mentioned “The Bannister Effect.” When that was met by silence, I backtracked and asked him if he know what “The Bannister Effect” is.

When I was a little boy, I had a book called The 100 Greatest Sports Heroes. One of my favorites stories was about the British miler Roger Bannister—he broke the barrier—the 4-minute mile barrier.

For nine years the world record in the mile stood at 4:01.4. Some speculate that the “conventional wisdom of the day” maintained that a man would die if he put out any more effort. Bannister’s own memoir blames the disruption in training brought about by WWII as the major culprit.

Once Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile on May 6, 1954, it only took another month and a half for John Landry to break the 4-minute mile barrier and Roger Bannister’s record.

By the end of 1957, 16 runners had broken the 4-minute mile.

“The Bannister Effect” is the phenomenon of one person showing others that it can be done and, thus, prompting others to believe and achieve.

I market a product called Instant Sales Training. Each week, I create a short audio “knowledge bite” that sales managers can download and send to their salespeople ahead of the sales meeting. I also create some discussion questions so the manager can hold an engaging sales meeting.

I suggest that the managers assign the content three to five days before the sales meeting. That way, a salesperson or two might have implemented an idea with a customer or prospect and have a story to share about it.

A salesperson with a success can share it and the others can see that it can be done. “If she can get results with this idea, so can I,” they reason.

Michael Bosworth and Ben Zoldan encourage this kind of sharing and story telling in What Great Salespeople Do.

They write, “Sales reps can learn a lot from each other’s stories as well. Firefighters have long understood the value of such peer-to-peer story sharing. Every night, in firehouses across the country, firefighters take part in a tradition where they share stories about their day. It’s more than just a social ritual; it’s a means by which firefighters learn from one another’s successes and failures and build institutional memory within their departments. The goal: to make sure every single member of the firehouse has the same level of situational knowledge. With lives at stake, the 87/13 rule simply is not an option in the firefighting profession.

“Sales managers can foster similar peer-to-peer learning by encouraging reps to share stories (including dumb ass selling moments) with each other. One of our clients actually replaced his weekly sales meeting with what he calls “The Monday Morning Campfire.” Instead of focusing on forecasts and pipelines, he goes around the horn and has each of his team members share a story about a recent selling experience. The young reps learn from the old reps, the old reps learn from the young reps, and because the lessons come through storytelling, they’re much more likely to be remembered and taken to heart than anything learned from a sales manual. Since our client implemented the campfire meetings, attendance is up, morale is up, and his salespeople are more engaged. The meetings also promote a culture of story and reinforce the way he wants his sellers to communicate with buyers.”

I call mine “the honors class in selling” sales meeting. It’s peer-to-peer experience sharing and story telling. You’ve got to come to it with an opinion and be willing to share an experience.

Someone always has to go first. Roger Bannister lead the way in breaking the 4-minute mile. Today high school students have run sub four minute miles and the world record is 3:43. 17 seconds lower than Bannister’s barrier buster.

Who on your sales team is showing that it can be done?

My new book is a compilation of 23 of my weekly sales meeting scripts. Need some meeting ideas? Check it out here.

Reprinted by permission