It's vital to execute above and beyond just selling your property especially if you're not in a top 10 market. Most agencies have a hard time accurately tracking results for their clients, so the support you provide when everybody has close to a 5 share means the difference between who gets the buy and who doesn't. Results are what matter - but first you have to get up to the plate. (Spring training begins in February, so the baseball metaphor is appropriate.)
In your next sales meeting, separate your account executives into groups of at least three reps each. Give each group a sheet of paper numbered 1-20, then send them away for one hour with this task: Specify 20 things your station sales department does that your competition doesn't do.The more specific the better: "We provide our active clients with a boardroom lunch for a creative brainstorming session." The items should not be station-specific; you don't want things like, "We have the number one rated morning drive adults 25-54" or "We service our clients." Of course you service your clients; if you don't, you won't have any reason to go above and beyond anyway.
Combine the lists, then select the top 10 or 20 things your sales staff does that separate your station from the competition (newspaper, outdoor,Yellow Pages, TV/cable, and other radio stations). What makes your staff the best in your market?
Here's a sample list from one of our stations that you can use as a cheat sheet. If you could do just two or three of these steps "above and beyond," would it make a difference in your monthly sales? Of course it would ? and it might tip the scales toward being the best sales force in your market.
1. Measurement and tracking services such as secret shoppers.
2. E-mail or call clients with the times of their commercials.
3. State expectations through ROI where applicable.
4. Provide recaps of all campaigns and promotions.
5. Brainstorming sessions for creative bring station copywriters/production to your place of business to create campaigns.
6. Overall station commitment to campaign by all department heads.
7. Bring in outside experts (consultants) to advise clients on their marketing.
8. Service contract with specific dates on follow-up with clients after start of the campaign.
9. Station research with seeding letters and articles.
10. Monthly newsletter to keep clients up to date on market changes.
11. In-depth customer marketing profiles to examine specific client needs.
12. CD album for commercials.
13. Personal marketing profile of all sales reps.
14. Check client schedules to ensure they are run as promised.
15. Bring clients in for station tour.
16. Allow clients to sit in on the morning show.
17. Management regularly travels to visit clients.
18. Return client messages immediately. (Believe it or not, at some stations this does not happen.)
19. Host special client days and seminars for VIPs.
20. Provide focus group research and surveys of clients' customers/prospects.
Your own list which could cover some of the above items should be included in your closing presentations as a service contract between you and your client. If your sales reps were held accountable to the above 20 items (where applicable), would this not separate your sales team from your competition? Also, consider committing to two or three top 20 lists and perfect them (as a sales department) over a specified period. In one year or less you would "own" the market in revenue and selling skills. Many managers talk about these 20 things, but very few actually execute them. Is your staff ready?