November 26, 2015

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01/07/08 Media Kits: The Sales Crutch That Keeps Limping Along

In a recent editorial, I wrote about a sales exchange with a weak radio rep. When he realized the call was going badly, he retreated to the fall-back position: ďCan I send you a media kit?Ē When I said no, he didnít know how to respond.

I was probably the first person who had ever said no to this offer. What this rep didnít understand is that most people request a media kit because they are being polite. They are thinking, ďI cannot wait to get this kid off the phoneĒ ó but instead they say, ďWould you send me something?Ē

Over the years countless reps have come running into my office saying, ďIíve got a hot one! She wants me to send a media kit.Ē Wrong. She wants to get you off the phone. Media kits are a crutch. They extend the sales cycle unnecessarily, and they serve little purpose other than filling recycling containers and file cabinets and keeping FedEx in business.

What do I recommend instead?

Client: Can you send me something?

Me: Iíd be happy to. What would you like me to send you?

Client: Oh, you know, something about your station. A brochure or something?

Me: Sure, but usually if someone asks me to send them something, one of two things is happening: They are saying this either to get me off the phone, or because I have failed them by not answering all of their questions. Which is it in your case?

Client: Oh, no, Iím not trying to get you off the phone, I just need some more specific information about your station.

Me: Great. Frankly, most people never read brochures and media kits, and I hate to waste paper. Since you have me on the phone now, letís address your questions together.

If executed in a genial fashion, this usually opens the door for discussion. If they donít have a question, they will make one up rather than admit they are trying to blow you off. Itís a perfect way to engage the client and begin a meaningful dialogue.

Iíve probably spent tens of thousands of dollars on overnight mail, but I cannot recall a media kit ever making a sale for me. Itís OK to make sure advertisers have one, but instead of being all about me, it should speak to them, extolling the stationís benefits to advertisers rather than its features.

If clients are engaged, talking about their issues, problems, goals, and needs, you have a better chance of selling them if you can solve their problem. The only problem a media kit solves is how to get you off the phone.

PS: E-mail is the death of sales. Meaningful dialogue and problem-solving canít happen effectively in e-mail. Though itís valuable after the sale is made, e-mail, too, is a crutch that is hurting radio selling. Pick up the phone.

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