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July 15, 2011


Sales Training

This type of literary movements should go on, because it makes sense of peace and intelligence.

Paul  Wells

Have to agree with a point several of the comments made, in addition to the truth of what Eric is saying. To underscore this, a friend with a long history in radio (mostly on-air) and in sales over the last decade in a number of industries, was driven back to Copier sales by the offer of a commission only position at a long time ratings leader in the San Francisco radio market. As Rick pointed out, the long-term collateral damage of deregulation has led to the denial of the importance of talent and knowledge on both "sides of the hall."

Rick Hayes

I agree with almost everything said by everyone and I understand the crisis. To my way of thinking, the sales talent crisis was a completely unintended consequence of eliminating the on air talent in favor of voice-tracking. We survived the fractionalization caused by Docket 80-90 by running radio stations in a box. In so doing, we eliminated the farm team for new sales talent and we find ourselves in a situation where we have to train new sales recruits about the basics of radio. What a pickle.

Rick Hayes. [email protected]

Jim Schlichting

The horse is long ago out of the barn Eric.

Remember when "consolidation" took place? While consolidation was taking place the radio sales professionals were shown the door.

They were shown the door by the new generation MBA take-over Sales Manager who had the computer program that told how many cold calls had to be made in order to make a sales quota. No other effort was acceptable.

The established sales professionals knew that it was not quantity or sales calls made but it was the quality of the sales calls made that made the station money.

Take a look at the radio industry today. It is in deed as you and I have described it to be. Sales driven by computer models. Computer models controlled by the new generation MBA take-over Sales Manager.

At what point does management face reality? Reality being that it is the quality of sales effort that matters, not the quantity of sales pitches. That is what you are calling for in your writing. Consolidated owners will not listen.

Reality being that the new generation MBA take-over Sales Manager is the whore of the industry who has turned tricks to get their name on the long established accounts. That is where the once legacy accouts have gone, no longer in the hands of the professionals who knew how radio works.

Part of their whoring has been to drop their pants to take whatever dollars they can find as their computer model quantity sales effort has failed.

The overall industry is bust Eric. Any legacy stations [those that have remained profitable] has held onto their quality people. The consolidated management has simply ignored profitable sales in favor of computer models that please the financial community.

As I said in the beginning, thae horse has long ago left the barn. It's now a dead horse and the efforts to give it CPR are absurd.

JJ Dueling has been a long time programming pro. His efforts are to be admired. Too bad that his efforts are likely to be ignored by management.

It is nice to be retired from the industry. It is so sad to see the industry wandering and not knowing what they are all about.

Rod Schwartz

Appreciate you providing the information on the Katz site and the resource it represents to new radio sellers.
I'll be sharing that information and link with the members of Radio Sales Cafe, another terrific resource for radio advertising sales professionals, that you might also wish to mention.
Among the 2000 members of Radio Sales Cafe are 20-, 30-, 40-, and 50-year veterans: salespeople, owners, managers, along with many younger folks still in their first decade--and in some cases, their first year--in the business. The discussion forums are filled with examples of members sharing resources and ideas, helping one another address sales problems, improving their knowledge and capacity to serve advertisers, and learning to avoid the pitfalls that others have discovered the hard way. It's a thriving, vibrant community of people who are passionate about our medium.
There are plenty of other good people across the country that are helping to train radio's next generation of sellers. You know most of them, I imagine, some better than others. There's Roy Williams (who, by the way, is offering a free teleseminar for radio sales people on Monday); you crowned him Radio's White Knight a decade ago, and he's been every bit of that. There are terrific full-time radio sales trainers, people like Paul Weyland (also in Austin), Jim Taszarek, Darrell Solberg...and part-timers like Chris Rolando, who practices what he preaches at his stations in Lake Havasu City, AZ, and is so generous in sharing his expertise and resources with his colleagues in radio, even his local competitors! Then there are copywriting and advertising experts--Dan O'Day comes to mind--who offer easy-to-absorb training on CD and other media. Jeffery Hedquist's ubiquitous articles and newsletters are filled with tips and techniques to help salespeople create effective commercials for their clients. And, as you pointed out, there's also the RAB, an important resource for research and training. If one's station isn't a member, the RAB offers affordable personal memberships to individuals.
I haven't even touched on all the books that are out there to help radio advertising sales people gain proficiency on a daily basis; many such titles have been recommended by members of RSC, who also share how and why a particular volume was helpful.
The point is, if someone in sales WANTS the help, it's available in abundance. If that person DOESN'T WANT help...doesn't care to learn...he's not going to be around for long, regardless of the resources available to "empower" him.
It's management's job to hire new recruits who are eager to learn, to provide them with the appropriate resources, and to make sure that they (the managers themselves) aren't putting obstacles in their sellers' way that would hinder their success.
Maybe I've been spoiled by the company I've been keeping, Eric, but I don't believe that Radio's problem is the lack of an industry standard for newbies. If anyone's at fault, it's managers who are so preoccupied with numbers that they fail to develop their employees' talents, nurture their aspirations, and give them the help they need to be of genuine, meaningful service to their advertisers.

JJ Duling

How true this is. And, it's been going on for years. At several stops, I've had sellers asking me, six months after they joined us, who was our afternoon talent or "oh, YOU'RE on-the-air?". Not only are too many not students of radio, they're not even students of their own stations. Most of them are actually sharp people but get too little help for the reasons you've mentioned.

I've tried to do my part as a Program Director, including walking the sales floor several times a day, giving all new sellers printed materials on what we're all about, who we target and our talent schedule. I fear that the pressure to "hit that number!" is so great, though, that their focus is on surviving more than succeeding.

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