Radio Consultant-Station Management Relationship
Gary Begin/Sound Advantage Media
When the discussion is on value and the radio station is convinced of the wisdom of a relationship with you, fees become academic. (It’s always amazed me that realtors, for example, casually accept a 6% standard commission, when no laws or regulations prohibit a higher commission in return for a higher level of service.) Here are some approaches to develop strong relationships that demonstrate value and result in much higher commitment from the client, and resultant higher consulting fees:
1. Find out what the radio station’s objectives are, personally and professionally. These elements are always intertwined in the sale or acquisition of a station or group. People think based on logic, but they act based on emotion. Find out what visceral needs the client holds dearest, and demonstrate how they will be met, safeguarded, or otherwise supported.
2. Suggest additional outcomes for the client. Every client I’ve ever met knows what he or she wants, but few know what they need. The difference between want and true need is you’re value-added. Once a prospect says, “I’ve never looked at it that way before,” you have a high quality relationship created.
3. Focus on output, not input. No one cares about your advertising or offices. People don’t buy drills because they love the tool; they buy because they need holes. Demonstrate important outcomes for the client, such as speed, promotions, higher ROI, increased ratings, branding opportunities and changeover management. The only real test is when the business changes hands on terms that are beneficial to me and meet or exceed my objectives.
4. Provide assurances and guarantees. Supply testimonials, endorsements and references that are tightly analogous to the particular prospect’s position. Allow others to sing your praises. Two people swearing that you were instrumental to their success beat’s a $1,000 brochure any day of the week.
5. Listen, listen, and listen. I’m buying a new car, and price is no object. Yet most of the sales people insist on delivering a pitch, telling me how to drive, or suggesting features that don’t interest me. You can’t learn while you’re talking. Develop some provocative questions and follow up questions, and keep the prospect talking until you have enough emotional and factual information to embrace them as partners. Don’t teach your sales people “closing techniques” or “features and benefits” spiels. Teach those questioning skills and relationship building techniques. This has been accomplished with sales people all over the country.
One more item: Everyone in your office from secretary to sales person to accountant has a role in client relationships. I’ve taken my business away from otherwise solid professionals whose office staff was rude, incompetent, or unfriendly. Clients want their phone calls returned promptly, and 24 hours is not prompt (my own standard is 90 minutes which I hit 99% of the time, and my clients are amazed).
Stop developing marketing campaigns and start developing relationships. Both the top line–sales–and the bottom line–margin– will improve dramatically, and it doesn’t get much better than that.