By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — How easy is it to do business with you?
I’m betting it’s more difficult than you think. Most professional sellers rarely “eat their own dog food,” as in be the advertiser at your talk radio station.
Try this exercise. Be the client trying to make an advertising inquiry. Is the experience of going through the switchboard at your station friendly or is it the typical “if you know your party’s extension….”? Is it a confidence builder or killer as you go undercover and try to navigate becoming an advertiser?
My marketing work took me to a place I hope most never experience: the “surprise closet,” open the door and disappointment awaits you.
Back to the opener. How easy is it to do business with you?
Let’s start with a simple self-check and see how you score in the most basic area: communication.
- How many times has your client said, “Why didn’t you tell me?” or better yet, “I didn’t know.” Those are real-world, red-flag statements. Like it or not, the feedback is that you didn’t communicate. Are you in front of potential issues that will impact your client, or are you the “push-now, apologize-later” seller? I’m finding more and more sellers are apologists. Even when you are the last to know, it’s never a positive to share the internal issues of your company with your client, no matter how many years you’ve worked together. An advance heads up goes a lot farther than you may realize. Especially in this COVID, nobody wants to work, supply chain crazy environment. Just head over to the gas station or supermarket and you’ll experience first-hand sticker shock.
- Are you the “leave well enough alone” seller or the check-in “how are we doing” seller? Survey says, old school leave well enough alone is losing to high contact sellers who check-in with more than an email, anticipating issues and cooperating with solutions. Where do you fit on the communication spectrum when rates are fluctuating, rules are changing, and lineups are in constant motion?
- Collections can be easier than you think. Most sellers who are responsible for collections contact advertisers when commissions are about to be penalized. How about a simple call to your client’s accounts payable department, alerting them to the creeping aging before the real pressure starts. Nobody likes to lose compensation. Stay in front and communicate.
The speed bumps I’m experiencing in my marketing work could be isolated or symptomatic of a business that is aging into “couldn’t care less about the AM station.” (Love that confession!) Many sellers are accepting this mindset. It is never too late to get in front of the mirror reflecting your professional standards. Here’s hoping you like what you see!
Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: Steve@Lapcomventures.com