Category Archives: Sales

Bad Ads vs. Good Ads

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Duane Alverson

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Duane Alverson, President
MacDonald Broadcasting Company (Saginaw & Lansing)

What’s the most important ingredient to the success of your advertising recipe?

Is it the platform you choose (i.e., television, radio, newspaper, billboards, print media, direct mail, digital or social media)? Or is it the amount of money you invest?

A few years back, I might have sided with one (or even both) of these arguments, because both are important elements to advertising success.

However, the more time I spend with Roy H. Williams and Sensory Logic, the more I am convinced that there is an ingredient far more critical than either medium or budget.

Advertising’s Not-So-Secret Sauce

Study after study have returned a perhaps surprising revelation: that messaging is truly the most important factor determining the success or failure of a marketing/advertising campaign.

In other words, what you say — along with how you say it — is crucial to winning the ad wars, no matter whether you advertise on television, the Internet or via direct mail…and regardless of the size of budget on the line.

Whether you’re attacking the market with a long-term branding campaign or short-term sales event, messaging is going to play a key role in the effectiveness of either approach.

Fine. But How?

So, what are the keys to crafting effective advertising messaging?

We at MacDonald Broadcasting have been fortunate to work with a third-party company by the name of Sensory Logic in hopes of improving the advertising messages of our clients.

We truly believe we can generate even more success for our advertisers by learning how to craft more effective radio commercials. Sensory Logic studies what works and what doesn’t every day, and they have shared their discoveries with us.

First and foremost, they tell us, “When writing a radio spot, being on-emotion is even more important than being on-message.” In other words, if you’re more focused on selling your product than appealing to the emotions of the listener, you’ve likely lost them.

Here are some other key points to keep in mind:

  • Know who you’re talking to, and create a “sense of membership” for them.
  • Keep your message close to home by reflecting the audience’s values.
  • Build a distinct, memorable personality for your brand.
  • Tell a compelling story that paints a mental picture.
  • Never lead with price. Always establish value before mentioning price.
  • Vary the pace and tone of your story, and avoid “bald spots.”
  • Sell hope…and a “branded solution.”

And don’t forget these two cardinal rules:

  • Always hook your audience in the first three seconds.
  • Try to use more than one voice, as only a small portion of single-voice radio spots are engaging to the listener.
Duane Alverson currently serves as President of MacDonald Broadcasting Company. Duane has been with MacDonald Broadcasting Company for 32 years serving in various sales leadership positions. He served as Chairman of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 2012 and as President of the Michigan Jaycees in 1981-82. Duane resides in Saginaw, Michigan.
Reprinted with permission. 

Why Do People Buy What They Buy?

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Dick Taylor

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Dick Taylor,  CRMC/CDMC
DickTaylorBlog.com

If you’re in sales, this is probably the question that haunts you most: Why do people do the things they do?

Daniel Pink recently wrote a book “To Sell is Human” and in the book, he tells us, we are all in sales today. In fact, we may not even be aware that we are selling all the time. Daniel told the Harvard Business Review:

“I’m obviously selling books because that’s a part of my business. But if you go beyond that, I (also spent my) time trying to convince an editor to abandon a stupid idea for a story. I tried to get an airline gate agent to switch his seat. I’ve got kids. So, I’m trying to persuade my kids to do things. I have various people I do business with. And I’m trying to get them to see it my way, rather than their way, to go my direction, rather than their direction.”

“And when you actually tease it all out, I’m spending an enormous amount of time selling.”

We’re All in Sales

Looking at this from a broadcaster point of view, we too are all in sales, NOT just the people in the sales department.

Programmers are selling their ideas to management and if management gives them enough rope, they then have to sell those ideas to their air staff who then has to sell the concept to the listeners.

Events Change Our World in a Heartbeat

Sometimes events change the dynamics of what people want, need and do. The recent hurricanes have certainly had that effect on broadcasting.

In Houston, KTRH was ranked #11. 122Then Houston was hit by Hurricane Harvey and KTRH zoomed to #3, but soon after the impact of the storm began to fade and life in Houston began its long road back to “normal,” KTRH sank back to #15.

I ran a news-talk-information AM radio station back in the 90s in Atlantic City and in spite of our big commitment to local news and information, research showed that people would rather spend their day with one of the many FM music stations. However, they knew in times of coastal storms or other emergencies, our AM radio station was the one to turn to.

Radio cannot live waiting for the next emergency.

iPhones vs Androids

We all know that iPhones have not activated the FM chip to receive OTA FM radio broadcasts in their older iPhones. Plus Apple’s newest iPhones (7, 8 & X) don’t even have an FM chip in them to activate. So, if having an FM chip in their smartphone was important to Apple’s customers, why do people keeping buying iPhones? Maybe it is because they use them for other things.

In the USA Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS mobile operating systems are sharing the market about evenly says John Koetsier writing in Forbes. However what we’ve seen over the last couple of years is that what they don’t share equally is commerce. iOS is used to make more online purchases than Android. If you’re selling stuff, that’s an important distinction and it’s why Apps are usually first developed for the Apple Store and then later for Android devices.

Digital Cameras

I recently read an article that said if digital cameras were to stay relevant, they should connect to the internet. Guess what, they now can. Here are seven of the best WiFi cameras on the market according to Lifewire.

Should they also be able to make & receive calls, texts? Contain an FM chip?

As everything becomes connected to the internet should they also be able to receive OTA broadcast?

Electric Cars

BMW was the first car company I was aware of, that when it introduced its all electric car said it would not contain an AM radio. BMW said they couldn’t isolate the noise interference it would cause to the AM signals.

Funny, but I remember when cars used to have only an AM radio and that isolating an alternator was often necessary to not get horrific noise through the speakers. Is this really that much of a problem or has BMW carefully defined its customer’s wants, needs and desires?

Tesla in introducing their new Model 3 also said AM radio would not be part of the center stack options.

Do you think this will give people pause in buying an electric vehicle?

Go with the Flow

None of these things really represent a change in why people do the things they do. Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads, has been writing about these things for decades.

In his book “Secret Formulas of the Wizard of Ads” in Chapter 70 “Better Jewelry, Better Jeweler,” Roy poses this question: “If you had to choose between selling what you wanted to sell, or what the majority of people wanted to buy, which would you choose?” Your future success is determined largely by your answer to that very question says Roy.

Bringing this back to broadcasting, AM, FM, digital, TV and cable, streaming are really nothing more than a display case in a jewelry store. It’s what you put into that display case that matters.

Your success comes down to serving your viewer or listener in the very way they want to be served.

If you’re in sync with the people of your broadcast property’s service area, then you will enjoy their business and they will demand you be easily accessible on the latest device.

The curve ball today is connecting your programming to the internet. The internet is a global community. You can’t be all things to all people. If you try, you will fail.

Define your market, know what they want, then serve it up to them. It’s OK to put it on the internet as long as you stay true to the people’s wants and needs that you aim to serve.

Reprinted by permission.

Dick Taylor has been “Radio Guy” all his life and is a former professor of broadcasting at the School of Journalism & Broadcasting at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in Bowling Green, Kentucky and he’s currently seeking his next adventure.  Dick shares his thoughts on radio and media frequently at https://dicktaylorblog.com.

The Dreaded “Got-a-minute?” Meeting

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

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Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

How long is a “Got-a-minute?” meeting in your office? I’m guessing it’s more than a minute.

Shoot, I remember a “Got-a-second?” meeting that lasted an hour and a half!

Salespeople ask you for a minute whenever they have a fire for you to put out for them.

Could it be that you’ve trained salespeople you’re willing to do their firefighting for them?

Why not? After all, you know more than they do and you’re their boss.

Here’s why not.

Your real job is developing your salespeople so they can do their jobs better.

Yes, developing people takes a lot more time on the front end. As a sales manager, the quick and easy thing for you to do is this:

• Give people the answers to their questions.
• Solve their problems for them.
• Put out the fire.

Then, move on to your next “Got-a-minute?” meeting.

This can go on all day.

And it probably will unless you change your approach.

Developing people starts with your willingness to coach.

Chris Lytle’s Critical Rule of Coaching is to ask at least seven questions before you give an answer.

“But, Chris, I don’t have the time to ask seven questions,” you say. “There are salespeople lined up at my door waiting for me to fix things for them.”

You have to make the time.

Coaching builds loyalty. To ask seven questions, you have to quiet your mind and listen to people.

When people feel listened to and not judged, they become more confident and committed.

Because people rarely resist their own ideas.

And you cannot possibly ask seven questions in a row unless you really are listening.

“You can’t influence someone’s thinking until you know what they’re thinking.” The late Norm Goldsmith said this to our Leadership Institute participants every session.

You won’t know what someone on your sales team is thinking until you ask.

“Got-a-minute?”

That’s your signal that you have an opportunity to develop someone.

Reprinted by permission

How to Win a Customer Before they Google

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Duane Alverson

By:  Duane Alverson, President
MacDonald Broadcasting Company (Saginaw & Lansing)

In today’s world, consumers’ path to purchase almost always goes by way of a search engine. In fact, according to Forrester Research data, 71% of consumers begin their journeys by using a search engine to discover new products and services (initiation), and 74% report using a search engine for consideration and purchasing (research, comparison, transaction).

One of the questions we often hear from local business owners and advertising agencies is, “Does radio advertising drive online behavior?”

What Really Drives Online Behavior?

Results from a recent Sequent Partners research project answers this question.

Study highlights just released include the following revelations:

  • Radio generated an average of 29% lift in Google search activity.
  • Search engine usage as a result of radio advertising is greater on weekdays versus weekends.
  • Radio-driven search activity is higher during midday hours.
  • The quality of radio creative (messaging) has a direct impact on increased search behavior.

Now I don’t know about you, but I didn’t find anything about this astonishing.

For years, adding radio to complement another medium always created better outcomes — whether that other medium was newspaper, television or direct mail. Not even a casual observer should be surprised to learn it’s no different with digital media.

When you reach additional tens of thousands of consumers (mass media) instead of just a few hundred consumers (digital), of course it’s going to generate a positive lift in efficacy. Remember that if you are looking for a way to make your digital investment work better for you.

Note that search results were greater on weekdays versus weekends. Could it be because far more people listen to radio Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. than on weekends?

Also, midday hours were highest in radio-driven research. (Sorry, employers. There’s more search going on during the workday than you would ever want to know.)

And of course quality radio creative has a direct impact on increased search behavior. As much as compelling content drives engagement on the digital platform, it’s never been any different on radio…or any other platform, for that matter. Good messaging drives every communication platform.

Bottom Line…and Top-of-Mind

Bottom line: companies who have used broadcast media over the years to build a brand in the minds of consumers are always going to get better search engine results. Why? Because consumers buy from people they think of first and feel the best about.

How many people are doing business with your company has everything to do with how many consumers in your market think of our company first (awareness) and feel good about your business (trust) when they have a need for what you sell.

On the other hand, if you are not doing as much business as you think you should be doing, perhaps it’s because too many consumers are not thinking of your business when they have a need for the products or services you sell.

Winning the battle for the consumers mind before they have a need for your products and/or services (top of the funnel) has always been the path to winning the business category. Consumers just don’t like doing business with companies they never heard of and don’t feel good about. Would you pick a heart surgeon out of the yellow pages…one that you never heard of or had a great reputation?

If you think or have been convinced that the battle can be won just at the time of purchase (bottom of the funnel), do your own research on what happened to Pepsi and Procter & Gamble: two major firms still trying to recover from a sales slide few want to talk about. For them, targeting only the few consumers at the bottom of the sales funnel proved to be a costly mistake.

It reminds me of an old saying. “Don’t sell just to the kings. There just aren’t enough of them.”

Duane Alverson currently serves as President of MacDonald Broadcasting Company. Duane has been with MacDonald Broadcasting Company for 32 years serving in various sales leadership positions. He served as Chairman of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 2012 and as President of the Michigan Jaycees in 1981-82. Duane resides in Saginaw, Michigan.
Reprinted with permission. 

40 Years Later Sales Managers Are Still Making This Silly Mistake

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

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Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

As a young sales manager, I actually said this in a sales meeting: “We have a new salesperson starting next week. Her name is Andrea. I need all of you to give up five accounts from your lists so I can create a new list for her.”

Nobody complained. They smiled knowingly and gave up the accounts they found impossible to sell:

  • The mean ones
  • The small ones
  • The slow paying ones
  • The ones who’d had a “bad experience” with our station

And our brand new hire began her radio career with an account list that our veterans couldn’t survive on: The Charles Darwin Account List.

In this free Webinar. I describe exactly how I learned to get salespeople to willingly pare down their account lists and thrive.

Plus, I reduced turnover by having accounts with real potential to give to the new salesperson.

This is mission critical “stuff.”

Don’t miss it.

Reprinted by permission

The Shopping Spree

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

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Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

I’m on the road doing my one day seminar Radio Sales $101.

Our brochure advertises a 180-day money back guarantee. Still, I’m surprised when three of the participants leave at noon and ask for their refund.

The temp we’ve hired to work the registration table hands over $303 in cash to their spokesperson.

They leave.

I call Sarah McCann, my partner and wife, to let her know what just happened.

She calls the manager who signed them up. He paid for the seminar after all.

“I want you to know we’ve given your three salespeople their money back. They left at lunch. I’m sorry they didn’t find the training helpful,” she says.

The next day the manager calls Sarah to thank her for the heads up. “Those three women came back to the station gushing about your seminar. They thanked me for sending them to your wonderful training,” he said.

“When I confronted them about leaving early, they were shocked I knew. They admitted they never intended to stay. Their plan all along was to tell you it was a bad seminar so they could take the money and go shopping.”

We all have our priorities. Have you had the conversation with your salespeople about theirs?

Consider doing so before it’s too late.

Reprinted by permission

Ask Every Sales Candidate This Provocative Question

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

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Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

If you want to save yourself from another bad hire, then ask this question toward the end of your first interview:

“We’re about finished with this interview. After this, I will start checking your references and doing my due diligence. Is there anything you would like to tell me now rather than have me find it out later from an outside source or reference?”

Watch closely and listen carefully.

See if the candidate’s eyes dart about in his head. Follow the thought processes as a candidate reaches back into his past to see if there are any secrets he’s willing to disclose.

Allow lots of “dead air” to give the candidate plenty of thinking time. Then, get ready to receive some fascinating new information.

Candidates will reveal some negative information about themselves that they wouldn’t have done otherwise.

Why?

Because they would rather put their spin on the information rather than have you hear it from a reference or discover it online.

Just ask.

“Is there anything you would like to tell me now rather than have me find out from an outside source or reference?”

Please leave a comment about this short article. And when you do, feel free to share your favorite interview question.

Reprinted by permission

The Sales Contest

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

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Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

Let me tell you a story because that’s what I do.

Some of you will remember when I used to tour with Radio Sales $101. It was a one-day seminar for new radio advertising salespeople that cost $101.

Clever, huh?

We got a call from a budget challenged sales manager that went like this:

“We can’t afford to send our whole team to your seminar in Columbus. So we’re going to have a sales contest to see who gets to attend,” he said.

“I hope you’re planning on sending the loser,” I replied.

“We’re planning on sending the winner. Why would we send the loser?”

“Because the winner of your sales contest will have the least need for sales training,” I said. “And the loser will have the most need for the training.”

“But we reward people who sell well with extra training,” he objected.

I tried to reason with him one more time. “Why not reward the winner with a weekend at a nice hotel in the city and some theater tickets? Make the loser sit through six hours with me.”

There’s nothing wrong with training and retraining your best salespeople. The lapse in this sales manager’s logic was thinking of sales training is a reward for, and not a driver of, performance.

You can also be using your sales training program as a recruitment tool. Many entry level people want to know what you’re going to do to make them successful. Their friends are talking to them about the training they’re getting in their first jobs.

Ongoing learning should be part of your retention program, too. Market your sales learning program to your current team. Let them know that you have a budget for their ongoing development and how much it is.

Here’s why: When salespeople think of your sales department as a place to grow rather than just a place to work, they will stay with you longer.

Reprinted by permission

The Debrief: Five Questions to Ask at the End of Your Meeting

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

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Chris Lytle

By: Chris Lytle, Content Developer
InstantSalesTraining.com

Sarah and I are in Bermuda with her brother, Bob, and his wife, Kathy.

On Tuesday morning we get up, get on our motor scooters and go to breakfast. Then we journey to Hamilton to shop. We eat lunch together. By 2:30 p.m., we’re playing golf at the St. George Club.

As we watch the sunset and sip cocktails on the patio, I ask, “What was the highlight of your day?”

We go around the table.

Kathy: “I loved turning the corner and seeing the pink sand beach. Spectacular!”

Sarah: “The lunch in Hamilton was my highlight. It was so relaxing sitting in that open air space overlooking the harbor.”

Bob: “It was on the way to breakfast. As we rode by the airport, there was an awesome military plane being refueled. What was your highlight, Chris?”

Chris: “I should say it was waking up with my lovely wife in this beautiful country. But it was saving par from the sand on sixteen.”

We experienced the same day, the same restaurants, same stores and the same golf course. But we had four different takeaways.

Let’s apply this to you and how you run your sales meetings.

Until and unless you ask, you’ll never know how your salespeople are processing your sales meeting or your training session.

Five salespeople will bring five points of view to the meeting.

You want to find out what they think they have learned. You can’t influence their thinking further if you don’t know what they’re thinking.

To find out, you might ask, “What was the highlight of this meeting for you?”

Once the first person offers a highlight (takeaway), go around the table and get a response from each person. (In the training biz we call this a “whip around.”)

Listen to the responses. Review the whole meeting from the perspective of each person.

Don’t leave it there.

Here are the five (coaching) questions I promised:

1. How does what you learned differ from what you’re doing now?

2. Does the learning apply to a specific customer you work with or a situation you’re facing?

3. What do you think might happen if you use this new skill (learning) in this situation?

4. Do you need more information or practice before you act on this?

5. When will you act?

To know and not to do is not to know. Training that doesn’t change behavior is as useless as a parachute that opens on the first bounce.

“Transfer” means the learning gets from your conference room into the customer’s office.

Without “transfer” there can be no results from your training efforts.

Great sales managers concentrate on and coach the transfer of learning.

Don’t have time for 5 questions? At least ask these two:

1. What did you learn?

2. What are you going to do about it?

Thanks for reading my article. If there was a highlight for you, then please share in the comments section.

Want more? Watch my Year of the Sales Manager Video for more transferable sales training ideas.

Reprinted by permission

Stop Making These Top 10 Marketing Mistakes

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Duane Alverson

By:  Duane Alverson, President
MacDonald Broadcasting Company (Saginaw & Lansing)

If you’re like most business leaders, you’re likely struggling to navigate the myriad of marketing channels available to advertisers these days. With so many options out there, and with attention spans so fragmented and disjointed, how are business owners to know how and where to best spend their precious marketing dollars–especially with limited budgets?

Reflexively, most people fall back on one of three “safe” plans:

1.) They rely on hunches, and/or use the “trial-and-error” approach. They spend a little bit here and a little bit there, hoping that something will pay off somewhere. Then, when none of it works, they’re left scratching their heads.

2.) They play “follow-the-leader,” and simply do what their competitors are doing, without much rhyme or reason to the approach. But what if the competitor is making the “trial-and-error” mistake themselves?
3.) They do nothing, out of paralysis that comes from not knowing where to start. And we all know what doing nothing gets you.
Unfortunately, all three plans are neither safe nor strategic. As a result, these businesses end up repeating one or more of the  Top 10 Most Common Mistakes in Marketing.

Is your company making one of these 10 mistakes? CONTINUE READING to find out–and to learn how you can reverse course and make the most out of your marketing budget! Of course, there is much more to discuss than can be covered in one article. If you have any questions about how you can avoid these mistakes and maximize your marketing potential, contact me to schedule a time when we can review your particular goals in person.

Duane Alverson currently serves as President of MacDonald Broadcasting Company. Duane has been with MacDonald Broadcasting Company for 32 years serving in various sales leadership positions. He served as Chairman of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 2012 and as President of the Michigan Jaycees in 1981-82. Duane resides in Saginaw, Michigan.
Reprinted with permission.