Pending Business: Raising Your Rates?

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Last week was one for the media history books. For stock market watchers, last Friday was a nauseating roller coaster ride. In case you were off the grid, here’s just a taste.

Netflix lost $50 billion in value, CNN+ shut down after a month, Meta (Facebook) has already lost almost half its value, and Elon Musk may still wind up with Twitter. A top 50-market radio station we use in my marketing work raised rates by 250% as ratings slid.

Depending on your finances, that last headline may be closer to home than the first four. Worry not about Netflix, CNN, your Facebook posts, or Elon. It will all work out for them and hopefully not impact ad spending or seasonal marketing. But that 250% rate increase as ratings drop on a talk radio station going into the summer months? Now that is worrisome.

The rationale? “Well it (the increase) came directly from (market manager).” Not even a weak attempt at inflation or Putin price increase? I guess dropping the market manager’s name is all-powerful. Don’t shoot the messenger? But shouldn’t the messenger be better prepared if the messenger gets paid when the deal closes?  Time to ramp up the pro-level skill set and let go of the shoulder shrug easy way out. There’s no commission check waiting for you at the end of the excuse line. Here are two takeaways to get you out of the messenger line and back into pro-level marketing:

    • Rome wasn’t built in a day. Rate increases are always challenging, no matter what the circumstance. Unless your inventory is perpetually sold at the 90% level, develop a planned timeline to achieve your goals. If you need a 250% increase, break it down into manageable, rational escalators that your clients can absorb and management approves. Don’t kill or ambush the customer. Fear of job security is often transmitted when you, the seller, hit the panic button.
    • Check the price of bananas. Did you ever notice how bananas are always easily accessible in the produce section? I learned from the calls I made on food marketers that bananas are often one of the most purchased and therefore competitively priced items in the produce section. Grab two bananas for your next one-on-one about rates. Ask your manager if the same bananas priced today at .70 cents per pound are worth nearly $2.00 per pound tomorrow? Sometimes analogies work.

    Last week is in the books. Every Monday we are blessed with a new week to earn and learn. Happy selling!

    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: