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Wayne Ens

The Empathy Index. Perfect For Your Next Sales Meeting

by Wayne ENS

Last week we critiqued a total of 22 different radio presentations from 22 radio account executives who were asked to send us their best presentation or one-sheet. It saddened me to note that only one of the twenty-two alluded to what they were going to do for the client. The rest may have well been titled All About Me or All About My Station. How do you feel when you try to talk to someone who can only talk about themselves or their business, and in a jargon you dont understand? It's time to change that and this article explains how.

Most radio presentations address my audience, my coverage map, my ratings, my rates, and more all about me subjects in radio language. And frankly, our language can be confusing, even to us, let alone a client. Take the word frequency, for example. It can have three different meanings! Frequency can be your position on the dial, 104.9, it can be the number of times an average listener hears a commercial in a given week, (we say advertisers need a frequency of three) and some even use it to describe how often a commercial runs, a high frequency schedule of 40 spots per week.  

Nelson Mandela said If you speak to a man in a language he understands, it goes to his head. If you speak to him in his language, it goes to his heart. The best radio sales people have learned the power of speaking and writing in their clients language. The under-performers still use radio-speak. None of your prospects who see a customer coming through the door say to themselves Oh look, here comes a listener. Your clients dont care if the person with the wallet is a listener, a reader, a web surfer, or a viewer.and they certainly dont call their customers audience. So why would you?

If you want to build stronger customer relationships, learn the language that goes to their heart, the clients language. When I go on a sales training call to a law firm with a radio account executive, I cringe when I hear them talk about radio generating traffic! The last thing a lawyer can relate to is traffic. She can probably only handle a couple more clients a month, and when you say traffic she thinks time-consuming tire- kickers.

 On the other hand, most lawyers would gladly carve a check for you if you could promise to generate one new client a week or a few more billable hours a month. And while you are talking about cost per thousand or cost per spot, most of your clients are thinking in terms of cost per sale. They dont want spots, or audience, they want sales.

One of the tools we use to measure the effectiveness of language in both written and verbal communications, is the Empathy Index. Empathy is defined as the capacity to participate in the thoughts or feelings of another.  At your next sales meeting, give a copy of your next one sheet, email or presentation to a peer and ask them to circle the number of customer-focused words or phrases and underline the number of you or station-focused statements. You are not objective enough to do the count yourself.
For example, audience is a station-focused term, buyers is a customer-focused term. I or we are self focused, while you or your are customer-focused. Then divide the number of customer-focused statements, the circles, by the number of underlined station-focused terms. The answer is your empathy index. And it should always be a positive 1.5 or more.

Now, have your garbage receptacle handy and calculate the Empathy Index for your station media kit or a recent station sales package. Youll quickly discover why I asked you to have your garbage receptacle handy. The Index on your station pieces will inevitably be a negative number! And most writers know, you cant proof your own work. Why? Because you read what you meant to say, not what the reader or listener perceives. To calculate a truly objective empathy index, we recommend that you have a third party calculate the empathy index on pieces you write. 

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