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Great Ratings Don’t Diminish the Importance of Great Salesmanship

September 11, 2014

A recent Jacobs Media blog addressed a situation that is occurring at radio stations around the country. Many stations are hitting their ratings goals, but missing their sales goals.

Unquestionably, a strong ratings position can have a positive impact on sales. If it didn’t, broadcasters would not focus so much on growing their ratings. However, a station, no matter how strong their ratings are, cannot rely on just ratings and rank.

Regardless of their ratings position, every successful radio station needs a successful sales team. Order takers who just answer the phone will not drive rate or create demand for the radio station. Therefore, reasonable goals will not be met by just playing the ratings game.

So what does it take to turn your ratings into maximum revenue? We have boiled it down to five elements.

Well-Trained Salespeople: Great salespeople are not born; they are taught how to effectively:

  • Understand and position their station and the competition
  • Maximize every avail to the station’s advantage
  • Uncover new opportunities
  • Communicate the benefits of their radio station and its audience

Consistent Sales Story: Advertisers and radio stations alike understand the importance of frequency to drive a message home. The same is true in sales. A radio station sales team needs to determine their primary sales stories, and tell that story consistently. Can different sales calls warrant altering your station’s primary stories? Sure, but the position should not change on every call, and changes in position need to be well thought-out.

Quality Resources: A great sales team is seen as a partner to the advertiser, not just another vendor. The value of being the knowledgeable resource who does more than just try to close the business can make all the difference.

Focus on Research Beyond Ratings and Rank: No one will diminish the value of ratings and rank, but there is so much more available to tell your story. To be effective, a sales team needs to use all of the research at its disposal, both quantitative and qualitative, to position the value of a station’s audience.

Your Station Beyond Research: Conceptual selling is not dead. In some cases, ratings can get in the way of proving your value. What makes your on-air sound or special promotions unique and valuable to the advertiser? Proving that your station has been successful for similar advertisers in the past is a very compelling story.

The final wildcard is market pacing. It is easy to look like a hero when a market is on fire. Unfortunately, that has not been the case for several years now. When demand is weak, it is difficult to get the desired rate, no matter how strong your ratings are. However, a great sales team with the right tools and strategy will minimize the impact of a weak market. This is when the true selling really begins.

The foundation is a skilled and well-armed sales team. The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. love becoming part of that team. Our consultants don’t just create reports; they specialize in understanding your market and station in order to craft the most effective sales strategies.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner