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I Am Not a Sales Person, But I Played One Recently …

June 16, 2017

Despite the fact that over the past 12+ years I have supported sales people by mining data to provide materials that help put a station’s best foot forward, overcome advertisers’ objections, and ultimately assist them in winning business, I am not a sales person.

There are those who will debate this, insisting that everyone, in every business, no matter what their title, is in fact a sales person. The idea being that your attitude, customer service, quality of work, etc. all play a part in “selling” your business. And, while this may be a topic for another blog, that’s not my intent for today.

As I was saying, I am not a sales person, but I played one recently, although this was personal.

Here’s my story …

A couple weeks ago, my mission was to submit a grant application for funding to send my son to therapeutic riding camp. Relatively speaking, the application was simple. Truth be told, aside from the standard headline info (name, address, phone …), it consisted of just three questions, and two supporting documents.

Still, I found myself tackling the questions as if I were writing a college essay worth 70% of my grade. Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I spent quite some time pondering each one, the points I wanted to make, and how to construct my response. I made a couple of “rough drafts” that were revisited several times before finally meeting my expectations. I also made sure to provide the supporting documents required, but wanted to take it a step further. I researched and found a couple of articles on the benefits of therapeutic riding, and obtained a note of recommendation from one of the instructors. With the deadline upon me, I reviewed the instructions one final time, checked my documents to be sure all was in order, and sent it in. I even anxiously checked my e-mail every 15 minutes for confirmation of receipt.

In the midst of this, I was asked, “Why so much stress over this application?” My response … “money.”
And, yes, I am excited about this program and believe it will benefit my child, but ultimately the funding is what I am after.

And that’s when it dawned on me that I was being a sales person. I had been “selling” myself (or rather my son), and I wanted the organization to choose us, “close the deal” if you will, and reap the benefits of the reward. And, like many of you, I have to wait (at least a month) before a decision is made.

So, now that I’ve played a salesperson, I would like to share a few takeaways with you:

  • Meet the guidelines of the RFP
  • Make sure to include the documents requested (rates, schedules, promotions, on-air bios, etc.)
  • Submit by the deadline and confirm receipt
  • Be excited and believe in what you are fighting for (it’s contagious)
  • Go a step further … Don’t just send the rates, schedule or even that ranker the client insists on; add some qualitative information to show why your station is ideally suited for their business. (Research Director can help with that.)
  • Don’t give up … If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. (No matter what my outcome, I will reapply next year.)

-Karen Blanks, CRMC, Sales Research Consultant