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Don’t Let Your Advertisers Define You

Don’t Let Your Advertisers Define You

Few things are harder in the sales cycle than changing a prospective advertiser’s beliefs. Their perceptions could take several different angles. They could range from misconceptions about our industry to misconceptions about your station’s audience. A few examples include:

  • No one is listening to radio anymore.
  • Your station’s format is not popular.
  • Your station’s listeners are not right for their product or service.

It is important to hear what the advertiser is saying and acknowledge their beliefs. While it is difficult, whether you think their perception is real or just a smokescreen, treat it as a valid concern.

How you address these perceptions is crucial to your success. Most important is not to get into an emotional discussion, often called an argument. Countering a belief with unsubstantiated claims is a doomed strategy.

The advertiser’s perceptions need to be addressed with facts. As always, these facts need to be laid out in a clear, professional manner. As an example, let’s examine the three claims stated above and discuss how to address each of them.

  • No one is listening to radio anymore: The simple fact is, with all of the alternative entertainment choices, in most markets, over 80% of the population and of the advertiser’s target consumers tune to the radio in an average week. While showing the Nielsen Audio data is valuable, using qualitative research (Scarborough, The Media Audit, etc.) is even more impactful because you can focus on the advertiser’s target consumers. Tell the car dealer that radio reaches x% of those who are planning to buy a new car. This really hits home.
  • Your station’s format is not popular: As someone who sold AOR in the eighties, some advertisers have a negative impression of certain formats. It’s easy to group your stations with other stations of similar format and show the strength of the entity. Detail the reach of this format group for both broad demographics and the appropriate qualitative groups.
  • Your station’s listeners are not right for their product or service: If you are calling on the right potential advertisers, then simply present the qualitative facts (yes, facts) about your station’s listeners and why they are right for that particular advertiser. If the facts don’t support your claim, and the advertiser is not predisposed to your station, then why are you spending time calling on them in the first place?

While these are positioning statements, they need to be put into a format that can be left with the advertiser. As always, what you leave with them must make a positive impression. Take the time to convert the raw computer report into a graphically pleasing and impactful leave-behind. This leave-behind defines you and your station’s brand. Take the time to make sure it properly reflects this. If you don’t have the time to create professional-looking materials, find someone who can, or don’t make the call.

Always combat misconceptions with well-reasoned facts.