Thursday, October 28, 2010

Great Sellers Sell Value, Not Price

Does anyone know if Jack McGann is still around, or Lou Krone?

Way back when W-I-N-S became the first all-news radio station in the world, these fellows had to transition from selling the huge Pulse (bigger than Arbitron back then) numbers associated with Murray the K and his dancing girls (who were they?) to the non-numbers of "You Give Us Twenty-Two Minutes and We'll Give You the World." Jack and Lou had about five other selling colleagues at "1010 WINS" during the transition, but five different ones several months later, and roughly those kind of changes until the ratings said, "wow!"

You see, back then most broadcast sales executives relied upon their ratings, pricing and relationships (lunches and golfing) to get "their fair share" of business. Amazing how much we have evolved as sellers, no?

The truth is that broadcasting has always favored experience over talent to sell its wares. A "list" opens and the raiding party attacks a neighboring tribe. And so the industry recycles "experienced" if unremarkable sellers, over and over again. So decade after decade the RFP goes out; "we have $25,000/week to spend and our CPP is $0.18, please tell us what you can do?" And the seller comes back at $.20 and they settle at $.19. The only piece of selling left is to the manager and his manager that "we got our fair share."

What Jack McGann and Lou Krone were able to do was sit with the buyer, more often than not, the real buyer (the business owner), and explain that the audience for this new format (all-news) was an engaged audience. That research showed it was a better educated and higher socio-economic audience. They effectively made the case that the format was of no value to any listener unless he or she truly listened. And because extraordinary attention was paid to the newscasters, the business' message would be heard. Moreover they produced research that substantiated that there was a transfer of credibility from the broadcasting of news, to a commercial aired within that programming. And finally that if together they paid attention to the offering and the "creative," the products being offered would sell, and therefore the client would grow his business.

Now I'm pretty sure Jack or Lou (and some others), were they working for Discovery, National Geographic, BBC, Weather Channel, FOX News, CNBC, etc. would outsell the NBC Television Network to many, many accounts. And it would have nothing to do with golf, lunches or cheap spots.

"And the CPP is irrelevant don't you think, Mr. Jones? Aren't you really interested in return on investment?"

Oh, what if the conversation was at a media buyer's desk you ask? Well it started the same way, but when it bogged down, as it inevitably did, Jack or Lou would invite the buyer to join them in a meeting they would be having with the client.

You can do this. Become who you are, not what convention says you should be.

Feel free to call or write, if you'd like to talk more about this.

Great Selling!

Love Your Work and Work Tirelessly
Communicate Honestly and Fearlessly
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Serve, Don't Sell

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