Finding Your Next Great Salesperson

By Kathy Carr
Howie Carr Radio Network


BOSTON — What does “sales” really mean in this day and age? And just as important, where is your next great salesperson going to come from?

Here’s a quote from a best-selling self-help author named Og Mandino in his book, The Greatest Salesman in the World.

“Truly, many times have you heard me say that the rewards are great if one succeeds but the rewards are great only because so few succeed.”

This book was first published in 1968, but its lessons are just as timeless today.

Recently, I had lunch with some top executives from one of our major affiliates. Our discussion quickly turned to the subject of what makes a successful radio salesperson in 2022.

Is it age, personality, good looks or experience, or some combination thereof?  After a while, we all agreed that it was none of the above. The one trait that matters above all others is passion for the product.

My top salesperson was and is a P1 listener.  She didn’t have any experience in media sales when she responded to an email blast. When I sent out the marketing blast, I think I was looking for someone like myself when I first began in radio sales. At the age of 23, I had no experience in sales, but I was eager and did listen to WRKO.

My top candidate was much older than I had been when I started, but she was exactly what I was looking for. She was eager and a regular listener. I wasn’t going to have to teach her about the show.

Work comes in two categories — it is either a job or a career. You need to hire people who look at their work as a career. If they see it just as a job, you will get that time-serving, hired-hand mentality that characterizes bureaucracies, both public and private.

Punch in and punch out will be the standard. They will go through the motions, but not much more. They will prefer drawing a straight salary to commissions.

Conversely, if your employees consider sales to be their career, they are invested. They will respond to your texts over the weekend or after hours without attitude.

Our company culture is different than that of most modern radio organizations. We arrive at the studio around 7:30 every weekday morning. Usually, one of our producers has already turned the lights on. Grace Curley will roll in around 8:00 because she may have had a call-in with one of her affiliates at 7:30.

This is when we all start to discuss the latest news of the day and begin planning the shows. When you are in the studio, as opposed to “working” from home, is when your best work can be accomplished.

Every day, I wake up and focus on four things. Those are, in order: prospect, pitch, close and service. When you are just sitting at your desk checking your social media or eBay and waiting for an avail to come down, it could be a very long day. Those days seem to be drying up. But none of that matters if you don’t know what you are selling and are not passionate about it.

Those of us in radio sales must set the tone for the station, cluster and/or product. If you are not into the product, your staff won’t be either.

One of my most recent hires was stunned when she saw how early I begin emailing the staff every morning. Most days start around 5:00 am. I responded to her that if the staff didn’t hear from me by then, they would wonder if something was wrong.

When searching for that next Greatest Salesman in the World, look for someone that is passionate about your show or format. Reach out to your base of listeners, because he or she may be there.

And remember, “Never feel shame for trying and failing for he who has never failed is he who has never tried.”

Kathy Carr is President of HCRN which distributes the Howie Carr Show and Grace Curley Show. She can be reached at