On The Gate

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It has always been puzzling to me why so many salespeople (and not just Radio salespeople) consider “gatekeepers” as menial laborers. By “gatekeeper”, I mean the secretaries, receptionists, and other clerical positions one encounters when calling on (or attempting to call on) advertising decision-takers. For some reason — and this is especially true of male salespeople — there is a tendency to regard gatekeepers as second (or third) class citizens.

Let me tell you: they resent being treated that way.

And if you are treating them as beneath you, what is their motivation to assist you in getting to see the person you need to see to make a sale?

One sales manager I know — after interviewing a candidate for a position — would meet with the station’s office staff to find out how the candidate treated them. What was his/her attitude toward the station’s office staff? Anyone who acted aloof or condescending to the station’s own people didn’t make the cut.

Why make an enemy when you could make a friend? Here’s an idea: find out the name of the primary gatekeeper for each of your customers/prospects. Use that person’s name the next time you call or visit. It works wonders.

The Golden Rule applies every bit as much in sales as in life in general — treat others as you would be treated. Gatekeepers are people, too.

Are You Scared Yet?

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It appears Radio is on the road to Rough Times. Everything you read in the industry press indicates 2009 will be as bad–or worse–as 2008. And 2010 won’t be much better.

Will it really be that bad? Well, that’s up to you.

Radio is a wonderful thing. It can inspire imagination and creativity unlike any other media. But it’s the application of those principles that will make the difference between success and continued declining revenues.

Retailers will be looking to Radio sales pros for fresh ideas and new angles to attract customers. Where else will they be able to obtain affordable concepts? The newspaper? TV? And while the Internet has impacted all media, brick and mortar stores will be with us for quite a while yet. And they are looking for ways to attract and retain customers.

Your stations’ success is tied to your success. Put your brain in gear and start thinking of ways to help your clients. When you help them, they’ll help you.

In the midst of any calamity lies opportunity. Decide today to seize your opportunity to super-serve your customers with ideas.

In the coming days, we’ll be offering some thoughts that might help.