Monday Memo: Identify ‘Piano Movers’

By Holland Cooke


BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Question for sales reps…and Side-Hustle Alert for talent: What is difficult for most people but comes easy to you?

  • Example: Piano movers. My brother-in-law, an engineer with a 4-digit IQ, moved one from room-to-room at home; and it was an intricate daylong maneuver involving skateboards and cinderblocks that no mere mortal should attempt. Somehow, he and my nephew pulled it off.
  • Example: My dentist sent me to another dentist, in the same building, for a root canal. My guy knows how to do one, and had previously done one for me in a pinch. But that doc upstairs does nothing-but. She has super-microscopic eyewear and other specialty instruments.

As I observed in a recent column here (“Leapfrog Legacybox”): National media does well selling products, most of which aren’t manufactured locally. Local media does best selling services, which are inherently local.

Sales: Brainstorm tasks – everyday processes, or one-offs – which most people would feel ill-equipped to accomplish; and pitch those businesses.

  • With summer upon us here in New England, I see trucks from a company that fills swimming pools.
  • How about a painter, who says call right away and he’ll repaint/re-stain your deck “in time for the Fourth!”
  • Short on pilots, airlines continue to cancel flights. And Triple-A tells us that — even with pain-at-the-pump — sky-high air fares have many families opting for road trips they’re planning right now. Does a local mechanic offer a multi-point bumper-to-bumper and tire check-up, “so your vacation doesn’t hit a speed bump?”

Because many who play piano own electronic keyboards less-bulky than a Steinway, the mover might be better-off buying Google keywords. But radio sure could keep that auto mechanic busy. Which prompts a caution: Can your advertiser handle the avalanche of business we can deliver?

  • Remember Rush Limbaugh endorsing Allen Brothers’ Steaks? By the end of the spot, you were salivating. And he told the story about making the deal. Steak men came to visit, and brought him samples. On the way out, he asked them if their web site could take a punch, and they chuckled. First time he read the spot, their server crashed.
  • So ask the mechanic – and other prospects – “How much new business can you handle?” My unfortunate experience with Legacybox demonstrates the old maxim that “Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising.”

Hosts/DJs/producers: Your skill set is second-nature to you, but it’s magic to “real people.”

  • Make a list of all the things you know how to do.
  • To-whom would your assistance be helpful?
  • I challenge entrepreneurially-inclined on-air people I coach to fill-in these blanks: “I can help _____________ to ___________.”
  • Try it. Then maybe you should buy some Google keywords. Maybe even radio spots.

Holland Cooke ( is author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books; and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download here. HC is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke