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Rob Adair

Recruiting Sales Talent


As managers, we have always heard the importance of continually recruiting sales talent. Weve heard a suggestion or two as to how to accomplish this, but its likely you have not been given a proven list of action steps that actually can provide you some success and an effective recruiting plan. If youre doing all of the following, then skip this article and go play golf. Im sure your bench is full.

1. ON-AIR CAMPAIGN: Done by many but done effectively by few. The most effective on-air recruiting ads utilize real-life actualities from two different sources: (a) Your current successful sellers verbalizing their success and love for what they do, and (b) Current clients that share the success theyve experienced with your station and their account manager, by name; an endorsement of how their rep has helped grow their business. Remember, real-life actualities mean taking excerpts from taped interviews, not someone reading copy into a microphone.

2. FAMILY BONUS PROGRAM: Incentivize all employees and their immediate families. If you run into a great salesperson -- it could be at a furniture store, jeweler, wherever -- tell us about them. If we hire them, youll receive $250 and on their one-year employment anniversary, youll receive another $250.

3. GO SHOPPING: Once or twice a month, go to a mall or department store. For example, ask the salesperson at the jeweler, Tell me about this diamond tennis bracelet. I find it hard to believe its worth $2,500. If they do a great job, know the product, are convincing and professional, they may need a career change.

4. PAID INTERNS: Marketing and mass communications senior students need spending money while in school. Working in your sales department for $10 an hour, 10 hours a week can be a great training ground for joining your team upon graduation.

5. UNIVERSITY RELATIONSHIPS: As the GM or GSM, be a guest speaker to advertising or marketing classes at every opportunity. Meet the students and invite them to see you about a career in sales.

6. CLIENT INCENTIVES: Whos calling on you from other media that are really good? Who should I know about? If you hire one, thank that client with a nice dinner for two and tickets to a great concert or event.

7. SURROUNDING MARKET SALES MANAGERS: Contact the sales managers at the #3- or 4-rated station in another market within 200 miles of you. Ask them, Think about the best sellers at your competitors. Who would you like to see leave town?

8. INVOICE STUFFERS or ADS on ELECTRONIC INVOICES: Send out notices of openings and job opportunities to all your current clients when you send out your billing. Make it a hot color, bold, and noticeable.
An hour or two a week devoted to recruiting can change everything, but you have to have a specific plan. Ask any coach of any team about the continual importance of recruiting.

Rob Adair is the President of Pinnacle Solving. His company provides revenue growth solutions, branding and differentiation strategies to radio and other industries. Adair is a former radio industry COO and Sr. VP overseeing 25+ stations and multiple major markets. He can be reached at 405-641-0458 or by e-mail

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