By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
How might we better serve you in the future? How would you rate our service?
These are two common questions you will see on many restaurant info cards as you pay for your meal. After all, the restaurant business is fundamentally based on great food and great service at a reasonable price. Think about this: If either of those two basic components, food (product) and service are missing, you are outta there!
Our radio/audio sales business is based on the same thing: great product and great service at a reasonable price. Yet, why is it you will never find yourself or a manager asking those questions as a part of your regular follow-up or follow-through routine? Oh sure, there is the ever-present pre-sell, “How can we help?” as your advertiser mutters, “lower rates,” under their breath. But seriously, no one above or below your pay grade can process or properly evaluate the answers to the two service questions posed, let alone act intelligently on the response. Could it be we still think our sales and management roles are rooted in show business and if we put on a great show delivering great ratings the advertisers will follow?
Some advertisers will show up, others need to be sold. With Zoom, Teams, programmatic, AI and other initiatives gaining more and more traction, the service improvements in salesmanship is becoming a lost art.
Time to hit the pause button, step back and learn from our friends in one of the oldest business categories on planet earth: hospitality. Let’s learn.
— Ask for feedback as you “serve.” Since my first meeting, my mantra for sellers and sales management was and still is, “How are we doing?” Go back to your winning and losing sales calls. Even managers should review meetings that did or did not move sales and ask, “How can I better serve______?”
— One step at a time. If you could improve just one thing to better serve an advertiser, what would it be? What could it be? Do you even know?
— Do you care? Ouch! Now that is a hard core, in-your-face question. Comfort zones are just so easy to occupy, we rarely push forward.
My real-world experience happened years ago when I asked our advertisers what we could do better to serve them. Many host-read advertisers wanted times sent to them in advance so they could hear the talent in real time. Every one of those advertisers became longterm fans. Do you send your advertisers host-read times in advance? Sometimes, it’s the little improvements that win big dollars when it counts.
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