By Kathy Carr
2023 is here and those of us in radio sales have our work cut out for us. Hope the following tips are helpful to you.
1. Celebrate your client’s joyous moments and victories. It could be the birth of a grandchild, birthday or company expansion. Take time to buy a baby gift, send flowers or even just a card. One in the mail is better, but an electronic message can do the trick as well. I prefer the ones sent via snail mail, because they are always opened. It shows that you made an effort. Back in my early 20s, a colleague pulled out a tattered calendar and asked me if I knew what it was. Of course, I didn’t. She told me this was where she kept her list of clients’ birthdays. I don’t remember her name, but I do remember the tip.
2. Grow your existing client base. One of our top clients for 2023 was one of our more modest buys in 2022. Take the time to listen to everyone and find out what is working (and what isn’t). Then try to match their needs with what you have to offer. Make that difficult trip to visit them in person. You can have a great phone relationship, but there is still nothing like face-to-face. It forever changes the relationship. Zoom is not the same as in-person, obviously. If your customers seem unwilling to meet, suggest lunch. It will be well worth it.
3. Don’t take your long-term clients for granted. Our longest-running advertiser has been with us for more than 25 years. Keep the copy fresh and suggest new marketing ideas. Those bedrock clients are your greatest strength. Without them, you cannot succeed. As in a marriage, don’t stop trying. Let them know you value them and care. Call them once a month and not just when the invoice is past due. Email them an article about their business. Wish them a Happy New Year. It’s not too late. Even if it is just a text.
4. Network with your friends. One of our top clients came from a random phone call from a friend. It wasn’t even about advertising. He was asking for a favor about something totally different. When he began talking about the person who wanted a favor and was telling me about his business, I instantly realized that this company would be a great advertiser for the network. The client has been with us for years now and as a result of that one simple call advertises on radio throughout the country. You don’t know who knows who. Listen to your friends. Your next big client could be right in front of you.
5. My last tip may be controversial but is critical if you truly want to make 2023 your best year ever. I don’t believe in the old saying, “The customer is always right.” We’ve all known clients that are verbally abusive, liars and just an overall pain-in-the-you-know-what. There comes a point when if you are spending hours daily kowtowing to just one client, you have to consider the time it is taking away from new business, other customers and also your own personal mental health. If someone in any part of your life is sucking the living energy out of you, you need to move on, or you will remain stagnant and 2023 won’t be your best year ever.
Whatever else you do in 2023, remember to work hard, have fun and of course never give up. Happy 2023!
Kathy Carr is president of HCRN which distributes the Howie Carr Show and Grace Curley Show. She can be reached at Kathycarr@Howiecarrshow.com