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Sean Luce

Luce On Sales

Luce On Sales

Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor at the Luce Performance Group in Houston and can be reached at

How to Avoid a Bad Sales Hire.

What does it cost you if you fail to screen out the poor performer or the non-performer? We try to bury this hard cold fact every time we look for a new employee. Our wonderful optimism takes hold and we say to ourselves: "This time it will be different." Yet, we continue to use the same process don't we? First we either like or dislike their looks, their tone of voice, their smile, their sense of humor, their experience, their education, or who they know. So why doesn't it work?

Setting Phone Appointments

Setting up appointments on the phone is all about confidence! Here are the important points to remember when using the phone, no matter which appointment you're trying to set up. Remember, when setting up an in-person appointment, its about getting the appointment, not selling your company or the continuous overcoming of objections. Are you going to get blown off the phone sometimes? Yes. Thats means youre just one step closer to getting the next appointment.

Yukon Gold For Advertising

April of 2013, I did a seminar for business owners and marketing directors in Whitehorse, Yukon. It was called Maximizing Your Advertising Dollar. The seminar is not skewed to any one medium, rather it captures the unique strengths and weaknesses of each medium and how to properly market your business. Being up here in the Yukon is like being in another world. After April of 2013, I came back that following summer to ensure that the business owners were on pace with the suggestions and recommendations I made to them privately.

What's Working At The Coalface

Whit Adamson, the president of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, calls it Pioneering. I call it getting out in the field and seeing sales reps on their turf. I recently followed up with some sales reps who attended one of my seminars to see what they actually took back with them and what they are applying in the field. I was kind of startled. Here are some of the results and maybe you and your staff can go over these points to see if you are using them in your sales department.

Are You A World Class Negotiator?

Here are five simple tips you should know when it comes to negotiating. Keep them in mind the next time you go into your next closing call or a call where you know you will have some negotiating to do.

May I Use The Restroom?

During a recent seminar in Missoula, Montana, I had a breakout session where I grouped up the attendees in groups of seven or eight people and went through several case studies and,as a group, answered questions in those sales-call situations. In one case study (sales call), part of the description of a clients business showed that they had a dirty restroom, among other things, inside the business.

What I Learned In Big Sky Country

I learned that Montana is still as beautiful as it was 11 years ago when I did a three-city tour across the state last week. Its hard to beat driving from Billings to Great Falls and then on to Missoula and taking in the scenery, especially from Helena to Missoula. I learned that the Montana Broadcasters Association is fortunate to have Dewey Bruce as its president. Not only is Dewey passionate about serving the broadcasters, hes a heck of a driver on those Montana highways. He scooted me pretty quickly right after we left each tour stop and onto our next city. He wanted to make sure I had enough rest before speaking the next day.

Your Time Management Checklist

Here is a quick check on how you manage your time. It was prepared from ideas collected from many salespeople who realize the importance of good time management. Its made up of yes or no statements. Review each no answer for possible improvements. This is also great to cover in your next sales meeting as a team and discuss the ways everybody can improve their time management. In my experience, there are always one or two areas we can improve on when it comes to time management.

The Enemy In The Shadows

That was the message at the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters summer convention in Murfreesboro/Nashville, Tennessee last week. During the convention, my company rolled out a full-day of the Liquid Fire Double Oh! 7 seminar. We started out with a video from the most recent James Bond movie, Skyfall. M (Judi Dench) quotes a stirring passage from Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (thanks to Eon Productions/Sony and Universal for the clip from the movie Skyfall...

Observations From The Road

No matter your challenges, your struggles, your pitfalls, theres a really good chance you will never have to overcome lifes challenges like Louie Zamperini did to achieve what is, by anybodys standards, true success and happiness. Louie Zamperini died on July 2. In 1940, he was on pace to break the prestigious 4-minute mile, possibly by the time of that years Olympics in Tokyo.

40 Ways To Improve How You Sell

Heres one you can pin up by your desk. You may never make the 4o Most Powerful People in Radio list, but you can improve how you represent yourself, your station, and your company every day. Read through this list every day before your first call. Go out that door with confidence every day.1. The Look: Look like a million dollars, even if they could flip you upside down and not a penny would fall out of your pockets. Its your look. You own it.

20 Commandments For Success

After watching that heartbreaking draw tonight with Portugal in the World Cup, maybe we could use some positive reinforcement, especially for USA soccer fans. That was one of the best soccer matches Ive watched on TV. Hats off to Portugal -- they didnt give up and they reinforced the mantra that its not how you start, its how you finish. Great job by team USA; they looked like a Euro soccer team and played like one, in my opinion.

What I Learned At The WAB

I learned that Banff, Alberta, Canada is absolutely one of the most beautiful places on earth. Most of the time when you travel you get locked inside the room. In this case I was able to get out and see how beautiful Banff is. If you are ever planning on going on a vacation to Canada, besides Kelowna, youre going to have to visit Banff. Lloyd Robertson -- there is nobody like him. For 41 years, until 2011, Lloyd Robertson co-anchored CBC and CTV...

The Dirty Dozen Of Social Events

In our field of media sales (outside sales, in most cases), which is very social-friendly, we have to pay attention to the perception we give new prospects and customers after-hours. If you break societys rules, you easily can sabotage yourself on your way up the ladder of success.

Be On Time For Meetings (& The Plane)

If there was one thing for which I was known for as a day-to-day sales manager, its that I locked the door at sales meetings. I know it might seem old-fashioned in the age of high tech and work from home. But promptness counts and being on time is the most important thing you can do as the teams leader. Ive had numerous arguments with reps over this one. If you cant get out of bed in the morning, then you cant see your customers in the proper frame of mind.

Hiring With No Stone Unturned

One of the toughest things to do as a sales manager is fire someone. That makes hiring the right people the most critical aspect of sales management. If you dont hire the right people, then you will have a lot of stress in your management life. (See last weeks article on the definition of stress.) I believe that in the hiring process you must use good employee assessment tools.

How To Reach Your Greatness

Have you ever heard someone say, or maybe even you've made the comment, Im stressed out. Or, Theres a lot of pressure to get that sale. Is stress and pressure really real? We all go through tough cycles in our life and we go through cycles in our sales career and if youve been selling for more than six months, you know what I mean. The critical thing is to be able to manage yourself through those cycles.

How Do You Stay Motivated?

A reader sent over a message this week and asked: How can I stay motivated? Not easy. Running 100 miles per hour every day is tough at your job. We all need to find some balance in life. Maybe you have been in sales all of your career and sometimes you need to re-boot yourself. In business/sales I always remind myself of this proverb that I found hanging in a general managers office at a car dealership. Its stayed with me over the years...

Do What You Fear

Doing what you fear is easier said than done, I promise you. How many of us really take on the thing we fear the most and conquer it or continually challenge it until we overcome that fear? The sales profession has a graveyard of people who couldnt overcome their fear of call reluctance and settled for something lesser than taking on their fears and reaching their true potential.

Believe in Yourself

Yes, you can do many things with your cell phone -- one of them is put a picture of an affirmation or of yourself on your home screen. The people youre around the successful people youre around people that will help you, people that will mentor you to go to a whole nother level, because inside of us, each one of us, we have a whole nother level that we never tap in to...

You Need To Get A Bible

In my first experience in media sales, selling radio, I was hired at the same time as four other people. Its whats commonly known as a cattle call. In this case, you throw five rookies up against the wall (unbeknownst to me) and see who sticks after a period of time. In some circles today, this is still the hiring methodology, unfortunately. I was determined to make it. I had two young children to feed and a wife at the time. I was highly motivated.

Managing The Sweet Spot

A rule of thumb as a sales manager is you should know, within about 90 days of hiring a sales rep, if theyre going to work out for you. The exact timeframe varies depending on their sales experience, or their lack thereof. My belief is that with no experience sales reps, you hire slow and fire fast. If you have your finger on the pulse of your department, you should know if your new rep is going to make it or not. What about the Henry Petersons of the world? The reps that are not going to be your top billers -- maybe ever.

What Ive Learned Consulting Local Internet Sales

Like any other medium, content is king on the Web. You can have the greatest Website in the world, but if you cant sell it, not much is going to happen except you lose money and maybe take the 10-year wedding march to some unknown destination. Ive seen local media companies try to shoe-horn in Internet sites -- local news content and radio stations tinker with selling their Websites, which are not different from the radio station across the street other thanl in their music (and that music can be picked up in a variety of ways by the consumer today).

Basics Of Good Proposals & Presentations

Whatever you do in your proposals and the delivery of your presentations, love giving them. Enthusiasms sells, and remember: 80 percent of what the prospect buys (in local media sales) is the faith and trust they have in you, the sales rep, to deliver the goods and expectations of your proposal. If youre not excited about the proposal and how you deliver the presentation, then your prospect is not going to be excited either. That other 20 percent is the product or service you sell. Seems strange right?

The Way

Youll have to be in a real quiet place to understand this article. And youll have to switch your mindset to Eastern thought to understand the book I mention below. You might not understand it at all, and thats fine too. Even if you dont understand Eastern thought, you can still take away some gems from this.

Meeting Expectations

Do your sales reps know what they can expect from you, their sales manager? Expectation is a two-way street. We are talking about you leading the way. Its one thing to demand something from your people, its another thing to let them know what you are planning to give them and how you are going to hold yourself accountable as a sales manager. What are you going to provide to the team? How are you going to contribute outside of coaching them to success?

The Importance Of Attitude

Attitude is contagious. A great leader with a great attitude can take everyone with him or her to the top. Attitude is one of the only cutting edges we have in business and especially in sales. Over the years, I have told this story in most of my seminars and to all the sales staffs Ive worked with. Its the story of the two Zen monks who were going home from the monastery when they came upon a woman who was standing on the banks of the river crying.

Visualize Your Way To Success

Here are four different ways to visualize. You can experiment with all of them, although I would pick just the one that makes you feel most comfortable and go with that. From athletes to those in business, visualization is proven as the key to living your dreams!

Luces Top 10 Tips For Public Speaking

How we speak and act can have a great impact on our leadership style. Your voice is the church bell of your intellect. How you speak when training your sales staff or speaking in public is vital when it comes to leadership. Ive been asked many times in seminars to give a few tips that other speakers and managers can use during their next sales meeting, addressing their local chamber of commerce, or at their next national conference.

Your Bushido In Business And Life

Yes, we always finish on time during my seminars. The flipside of that is sometimes we dont get to cover all the material in the handouts. Below are pages 33 and 34 (the last pages) of my sales and/or advertiser seminars. Theyre probably the most valuable pages, if you really read them, dissect them, and then try to execute some of their contents with your sales staff or business.

Who Is Your Rowan?

Do you know anybody who would do this without asking you a single question of who, what, or why? Their mission is to find the leader of the Iranian insurgents deep in the heart of Iran that could tip the scales of the nuclear enrichment negotiations between the United States and Iran. If the message was relayed over the Internet, the message would certainly be blocked and intercepted by the Iranian government cyber networks.

Meet Me In St. Louis

Meeting me in St. Louis over Thanksgiving weekend can be tough, especially if youre coming out of San Francisco! A little late is better than never with holiday traveling. I love St. Louis and have fond memories of the city. Especially with the sales staff and people we had at KLOU. They are exceptional people and they ran account management like the Auburn Tigers (or War Eagles, depending on who you talk to) run back field goals.

Beyond The Crux

Do you ever feel like quitting? Its natural to feel that way sometimes. Especially in sales. Its the end of the year and maybe you feel like youve run a marathon and youre at mile 19 or 20, which I think is the mile they say you have a real gut-check on stopping or continuing on. Ive never run a marathon, so thats just what Ive been told. Id never done climbing before either until last Friday night. I have a new respect for mountain climbers now.

What I Learned At The MBA

Here are some things I learned while speaking at the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association in Natick, a suburb of Boston. We had a great group in attendance. We had the new generation of up-and-coming sales reps and we had the veterans. And it was a great mix of TV and radio reps.

Live And Let Die 7 Steps

For those of you who will not be in Boston this week for the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association, here is a sneak preview of Live And Let Die 7 Steps, which will be featured as part of the sales seminar The Shift. This is the prequel to the Double Oh! 7 Steps Closing Call that was featured in Orlando at the NAB/RAB show. We will be bringing back to the stage Ian Flemings 2nd James Bond book "Live And Let Die." Margaret Wood will be making her second appearance as the Bond girl who plays the stunning and enigmatic role of Solitaire. The guys attending should be happy.

Three Million Miles To Boston

If you count all the "Seal team travel -- sea, air and land -- its been roughly three million miles of travel since I started my business 1999. Coming up on November 14, is a seminar I will be doing for the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association. Over those three million miles Ive learned quite a few lessons. No matter how old or young you are, you always continue to learn new things along the way. Heres one I learned on my way to Boston. Whats your one sentence?

Awesomeness Is Being And Feeling Fit

Im not sure about you, for me failure can be not staying in decent shape physically. After some long summer months of road traveling, I felt recklessly out of shape. No excuses! Back to the gym. From time to time, I get some re-grouping time and, over the past three weeks, Ive been able to hit the gym hard. Not easy keeping up with energetic reps in the field either as a sales manager or as a sales consultant! You need to be in shape. I get the reps best day when Im out in the field with them calling on advertisers.

That Takes A Cake!

If you want an appointment with a prospect bad enough, you can get it if you are willing to do something extra to prove to the prospect you are deserving of their time. Far too often, we just use the phone to try to set up appointments. And far too often we just leave messages on their voicemail over and over again, somehow expecting them to call us back.

Luce Releases Liquid Fire

Sean Luce's latest book on sales is called "The Liquid Fire." It's packed with short and informative chapters on R.O.I, Prospecting, How to Increase Billing, Service After The Sale, and is 48 chapters in all. It's an easy read and a must-read for salespeople who want to succeed in 2014.

Today I Have a Test For Sales Reps

It is time for a test. You knew it was coming! Lets review your knowledge of retail terms and phrases along with some other key things you should know as a media sales rep. The answers and grading are at the bottom. No peeking at the answers!

Duck Dynasty Rules!

Im probably the only person in America who hasnt seen a full episode of "Duck Dynasty." Little did I know I would be right smack in the middle of a full day of Duck Dynasty-style team-building in the Ozarks last week. Before last week, I thought that only Texas, California, and Mississippi women could shoot. You need to add Missouri and Arkansas women to that mix. The guys are pretty good shots too. And the women are no slouches with their duck calls!

Lean In And Lets Get Started

Great sales reps have that vibration. They are magnetic and electric. You can feel them when you're in the same room and they often take over the room. Be careful if you're in the same area they're in. They can be infectious and dominate you. Radio is a good metaphor here. Many of you who are reading this article know this law of the universe: If you are vibrating high, you attract high vibration people; if you are vibrating low, you attract low vibration people.

Rolling In The Deep At The NAB/RAB Show

I have the privilege of working with all types of media, but this article is for the great people in radio. Here are some of my highlights, kudos, and observations from the NAB/RAB Show in Orlando this past week. The scars of the Great Recession left some people with the thought that radio needed an obituary. Radio is actually coming back stronger than ever thanks to the leadership and new ownership in markets where they are taking radio to another level.

Keep Calm And Sale On

For the first time in five years, the NAB/RAB Show in Orlando will feature consultants speaking and training on stage. On Friday morning, September 20, I will be honored to participate in a Super Session at the show featuring some of the best consultants in broadcasting. The session is titled "The Sales Consultant Series." Erica Farber, the president of the Radio Advertising Bureau, and one of my favorite broadcasting movers and shakers, will lead off with the "Seven Steps for Selling Success."

The Call Of The Wild

If you havent been to the Yukon, you havent been anywhere. Its still the wild wild west. Theres still gold in the Klondike! This gold comes in the form of business owners reaping a bumper crop of results from an advertising seminar held in Whitehorse, Yukon mid-April. The Yukon is also where best-selling San Francisco/Oakland, CA, author Jack London ran Miles Canyon when he was 21 years old and his time in the Yukon helped inspire one of the first books I read as a boy: "The Call Of The Wild."

Going For The Gold

There is nothing that brings a team closer together than having a team-building event. And it doesn't have to be a once-a-year thing. In the market I was in last week, we held our annual and 6th Annual Olympics. Last year was quite the show and this year was even better. If focus follows fun, then we should have another revenue record-setting year at this $4 million annual revenue hyper-local Internet juggernaut.

Scoring Huge In 7 Easy Steps

Finding great sales talent is an art. It's not easy to find the eager and talented sales reps that can compete in todays media world. Our management team in California found a couple of them recently. The exciting part is to train them from the ground up or build upon the skills they have already acquired. Thats my job!

Top 40 Prospecting List of Do's and Don'ts

Here's a little "Liquid Fire" for your prospecting. Here are my Top 40 Hang on Your Wall list of dos and donts for successful prospecting. Never, ever stop prospecting! This list should hang right next to Luce's Top 40 Sales Tips. 1. Dont take rejection personally. It's not always about you.

Stripping And Dressing For Success

Here are some odds and ends from the road as I finish up my vacation here in Kelowna, British Columbia. There is a reason they call it Beautiful British Columbia. It is like no place on earth. Kelowna is the hidden gem of the world. Even though the city swells up to 400,000 people over the summer, they all fit in quite nicely.

With A Little Help From My Friends

In the early days, I had some people walk out of my training seminars, so I sought out some mentors. Those mentors helped me refine my skills in public speaking and sales training. One of those mentors was Dave Gifford. He retired last Friday as a master trainer in media sales. Dave always gave me the straight talk when he visited with me he never minced words with me.

Stopped Dead In My Tracks

When I conduct seminars, I rarely get stopped dead in my tracks by an audience member. It happened recently while I was doing a seminar for the Missouri Broadcasters Association. I had an electric group in attendance, and they kept me on my toes while we were role playing on how to ask questions during a sales call. Asking open- and closed-ended questions should come easily in a sales call if a rep knows what that means.

Live Your Dream

Life is too short to let it pass you by. Live your dreams. This one goes out to Vince Flynn. We lost not only a best-selling author this past week, but a fine individual. Vince passed away after two years battling prostate cancer. Vince Flynn was the best-selling, and I mean best-selling, author who wrote the Mitch Rapp counterterrorism thriller series. He sold more than 15 million books in the United States alone.

Rise Above The Clutter

Off to the firing squad I go. Yes, I am guilty! I do not write enough thank you notes. A thank you note is so much more than sending a simple acknowledgement. George Bush 41 attributed his presidency to writing personal thank you notes. He would always write something special in the note that would let the recipient know it was personally written by him.

Prospecting Tool That WILL Make You Money

For many, the toughest thing to do in sales is prospecting for new accounts. I have always said that referrals should be the number one prospecting tool. However, sales reps often fail to ask for referrals. I think satisfied clients can wrap up for a rep during a closing presentation. Prospecting should be no different. Sales reps should use their network of success to set appointments for new business calls.

What I Learned At The Missouri Broadcasters Convention

I learned about the Testicle Festival. More on that laterDon Hicks, the outgoing MBA Executive Director of 29 years, told me Friday night, We wanted to have an NAB/RAB-type show on an MBA budget. Just so you knowthe MBA pays full freight and it shows. Eighty-two categories of awards as well as Hall of Fame inductees.

Taking Total Control Of The Sales Call

Out in the field last week, I noticed some moves by a couple of young sales reps that exemplified controlling a sales call from start to finish. On average, once we get into the meat of the sales call, we have about 17 minutes to accomplish our intended purpose. In this case, I had two different sales calls.

Selling Annual Agreements -- All The Time

Its mind blowing and excruciatingly tough to sell short-term, one-hit-wonder schedules. Its fatiguing and quickly burns out a sales rep. If youre selling short term and youre dealing with more than just agency business, then your lifespan in media sales is about the same as the average running back in the U.S. National Football League -- very short.

Must-Haves For Your Advertising Strategy

In my advertising seminars for business owners, I cover many points in a short period of time. By far, the most asked about section is the one on developing an overall advertising and marketing strategy. Listed below are the tips that I share with business owners on advertising and marketing.

Could Your Team Pull This Off?

Recently, on a visit to a media company where I consult, the sales manager and I decided to conduct an interactive sales training with a twist. The goal was in-depth training in several specific areas. The training method that I am about to describe cannot be pulled off by every sales team, but the benefits are worth the effort for those who can achieve it.

Reviewing This Week's Game Films

Sales managers would love to have a video cam in the field with their reps to watch how their stars perform on sales calls. Obviously, we dont have this luxury in media sales like the NFL does on Monday morning when the coaches break down game films from the day before to see how their players performed position by position.

Top 40 List for Sales Success

Just in case you forget -- and we forget about 99 percent of what we encounter daily -- here are my Top 40 Points for Sales Success, which I believe can lead to selling more every day. They are not easy to follow, and I have struggled with them many times. Keep them with you and keep them in front of you. Just a couple tweaks here and there could mean much more money in your pocket.

Make Your Advertising Rise Above The Clutter

According to research from "Advertising Age" magazine, a typical consumer encounters between 254 and 5,000 advertising messages per day in one form or another. That number includes signage on cars, t-shirts, radio, TV, newspapers, and so on. If a business is going to be remembered, the advertising message must rise above the daily clutter of messages.

Observations From The Road

Since the beginning of the year, I have been on a whirlwind tour of the United States and Canada doing seminars, consulting for clients, and attending Convergence 2013. I have noticed some common threads in my travels, and I wanted to share some of those observations.

Recognizing Your Superior Performers

At Luce Performance Group, we continue to give out awards that recognize top performances in several categories from the various media companies that we consult. I remember one night when we gave out our awards tied to the Radio Advertising Bureau's national convention in Dallas, the president of our company, George Luce, put it best during the commencement of the LPG awards show that night: This is the most important night of the year for LPG.

Entertainment Is Education

A few years ago, after giving a speech in Dallas, I ran across some interesting words inscribed on a plaque at one of Dallas famous downtown pubs. The words, were simple, yet succinct: Entertainment is education, education is entertainment, and if you dont know that, you dont know anything about either one.

Its Your Choice To Win!

James Allen had a quote that Ive always loved, You will become as small as your controlling desire; or as great as your dominant aspirations. After finishing a speaking engagement in Los Angeles, I was having dinner at Casa Vega restaurant in Sherman Oaks with a good friend of mine, George Gallo. George is a screenwriter, producer, and director in Hollywood.

5 Tough Tactics To Tackle Ad Agencies

As a boy, I used to play Stratego, a two-person, war-type board game. The object was to uncover the opponents flag before yours was found. Whenever a confrontation occurred between one of your pieces and one of your opponents, the hidden number behind the player was revealed. This decided who won that battle.

How To Calculate Your Clients Full ROI

The No. 1 buzzword (okay, buzz phrase) for retailers is return on investment. Media salespeople are discovering that one way to quantify and qualify their clients' objectives is to use the ROI formula. Here are a few reasons you should use ROI calculations with your client.

Selling To The Egomaniac

Selling to someone with a massive ego can be one of the easiest sales to close, or it can be one of the most difficult. Making a little mistake or infringement to this personality type can wreak havoc with your chances of selling. A large ego creates a more fragile psyche. Playing to the ego is only part of the process. Learning how to maneuver to this type of buyer is much like a chess game.

Establishing Your Credibility Statement

What makes a new prospect want to meet with you? Even sales veterans have a tough time establishing a reason why a prospect should meet with them, but a well-rehearsed credibility statement will provide that information in a succinct, effective manner.

The Black Belt Formula

(By Sean Luce) If you invested approximately 1,820 hours over five years to earn a black belt just to break into sales management, would you have been a better sales manager when you took over your first sales department? Most probably we all would have. Thats what it took me to achieve one black belt in martial arts. This short black belt course will give you some techniques as a sales manager for you to strive to achieve your business black belt.

Ichinen Iwa Wo Mo Tosu

Thats Japanese for a focused mind can pierce through stone, and it came from a Samurai warrior. The Samurai were known for their intense focus on the battlefield, which required a plan, a goal, and plenty of focus. Are you prepared for the battle of 2013? It all starts with a plan. I hope you have one! If you were hoping the end of the world was going to come on December 21, then you better get re-dialed in quickly.

2013 Resolution: Make Your Boss Look Good

Most of us make New Years resolutions, or at least attempt to make them. The majority of resolutions never get past the planning stage. Why not make a resolution that will not only help you this year, but also in years to come? Resolve in 2013 to make your boss look good.

Its How You Make Them Feel

One of the shortest and most remembered speeches in American history was the 273-word Gettysburg address by Abraham Lincoln. He didnt need to say much after the Union and Confederate forces lost 50,000 men in one battle over a three-day period that was the turning point of the Civil War. This article is in honor of less is more when it comes to powerful words. Someone told you they loved you once and it changed your life. Three words.

Leadership Lessons From a Great One

(By Sean Luce) During my travels in Europe, I often took note of the influence of Alexander the Great who is a favorite leader of mine. Almost 2400 years after his death, his presence is still felt in modern-day Europe and Asia.

Coaching Reps To Make More Money

(By Sean Luce) The challenge of coaching sales reps in the field has never been more important than it is today due to increased media consolidation that has increased responsibilities of sales management. The real art lies in the difference between just riding with a rep and coaching a rep in the field to increase their sales skill sets.

Improve Results With Clients Now

One of the functions that I perform in my consulting business is to travel in the field with media reps to coach and train them. I see the issues first-hand that the reps encounter day in and day out. I would like to share five practices that I have observed that can improve media reps results with their clients.

Five Surefire Signs Of Failing As A Manager

How would you rate yourself as a manager? Have you ever received a handful of surveys that were not what you expected? An IBM general sales manager who thought that she could do no wrong received some surprising news. After reading the surveys like the one shown below, the manager called the sales reps into a room and asked for constructive feedback. The staff told her outright that she was favoring some sales reps over others.

Which 50% of Advertising is Wasted?

John Wannamaker, of retail fame, is credited with that jewel of a statement I know that 50 percent of my advertising is wasted, I just dont know which 50 percent. Being a business owner myself, quite frankly, that statement scares the heck out of me just to think that half of my marketing efforts are going to waste. I am sure that if any of your clients are thinking this way, its pretty tough to convince them how effective electronic media works or, more aptly, how effective electronic media is.

Focus Follows Fun!

In our crazy deadline-oriented world, we often forget to have some fun. I like to remind the sales managers that I work with that focus follows fun. Creating a fun work environment can be accomplished in various ways. One of the best that I have found to establish a fun atmosphere is to specifically design an event that challenges the group in an enjoyable way.

What Size Russian Doll Are You Hiring?

When searching for a new sales rep in the pool of recruits, is there a list of magic-bullet interview questions to use when searching for the fire-breathing, wont-take-no-for-an-answer over-achiever? David Ogilvy, the advertising guru and founder of the ad agency Ogilvy & Mather, Inc. took his managers in a conference room one day and handed them a set of Russian nesting dolls.

Find The Liquid Fire In You

I started my consulting business, Luce Performance Group, in the summer of 1999. My venture began with a vision of coaching media reps to become the best that they could be in their field. As with any career change, I was taking a risk in starting over. Before I set off on my new career, I decided to visit my parents in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Just Say No To Bad Sales Tactics

Listed below are the still-too-common mistakes made by sales reps that I work with around the world. This list can serve as a reminder for veteran sales reps and an initiation for new hires. Sales managers can cover this material in their next sales meeting then post it on the sales bullpen bulletin board for future reference.

Service After The Sale

We are all guilty of it. We sign an annual contract, turn in the order and count the commission in our pockets. As soon as the first ad hits the open market, the competitors will target a fresh prospect which is your new client. If a sales rep does not service that new client, competitors could potentially steal them away. To head off the competition, make sure to provide plenty of service after the sale.

Dont Get Burned With Objections

Objections are an everyday fact of life. They are also a key part of the selling process. Learning to overcome objections should be an ongoing training and roleplaying topic for sales reps of all experience levels. This point is especially true during a closing presentation.

Increase Your Appointment Closing Ratio

In the early morning, when most sales departments are abuzz with reps on the phone setting up appointments with prospects, I often hear the proverbial, Id like to come over and talk to you about advertising. Inevitably, I also hear, We have something special that you might like to see coming up for Christmas. These techniques endure despite their meager five percent closing ratio.

Six Tactics To Get And Keep Clients

Although many sales reps do not want to admit it, they have taken a client for granted at least once. One reps top client is usually someone elses number one prospect. There is a tendency to take our current clients for granted in a rush to procure new business. I am often asked how to get business away from an account where the competition is firmly entrenched.

Should You Attend The Radio Show?

Measuring desire in a salesperson is a question that I have tossed and turned about many times over the years. Before making an investment in a potential sales rep, what characteristics should managers consider? I received the following email regarding attendance at next months NAB-RAB Radio Show. Put yourself in the sales managers position and decide whether or not to take Cindy to the conference.

The Magnificent Seven

Are you a micromanager of people? By all means, please sign up as an aide at Children's World. Although some days may seem like Children's World, sales managers are supposed to be supervising adults, not kids at a daycare center. When something goes awry in the sales department, the blame most often belongs with the sales manager. Finding skilled talent, training that talent, and implementing the process systems are the responsibility of the sales manager. In the end, accountability belongs with the leader.

Kicked Out. Now What?

In your selling career, hopefully you will never be physically thrown out of a customer's business. I have been thrown out before. Customers can become irate for many reasons. We must make sure we are not the reason for their frustration. An old Chinese proverb states, "Never let success go to your head, and never let failure go to your heart." In other words, whatever you do, don't take it personally.

How to Master the Sales Game

Are you a student of the sales game? When I first started my career, I believed that the sum of sales boiled down to three elements: 1. Qualifying prospects; 2. Determining the prospects' needs; 3. Influencing prospects to spend money on my product in order to increase their business.

Fifty Shades of the Ozarks

On a recent consulting trip to the Ozarks, I rode shotgun on sales calls with Brad Trail who is one of our top performers. Brad is the leading producer for the Ozark Horse Trader (, a weekly shopper of unusual market dominance.

Sell Digital to Increase Revenue

I was one of the smart ones. I attended the recent Convergence 13 hosted by Radio Ink in Santa Clara, California. There was still some talk about how digital can "add value" to the radio revenue experience. But the only way radio revenue will get back to the 2007/08 levels is with digital sales added. However, the model of adding digital to radio is old and lacking substantial growth curves.

Manning Or TebowWhat Say You?

Denver Broncos quarterback legend John Elway, acting in his current role of VP of football operations for the club, chose Peyton Manning to be the team's new quarterback. That makes perfect sense. If John Elway was looking for a QB similar to himself, Peyton Manning would be the current NFL quarterback that comes closest. If you were doing a sales hire, would you choose someone who was closest to your skills and talents?

Avoid The 8 Sins Of Media Sales

Most of us know what it takes to make the sale. However, many times we find ourselves flabbergasted when we lose the sale or don't get the reorder. There are thousands of reasons customers get upset with us. When you draw the line in the sand, the clients who get mad usually do so because you've committed one of the flowing eight sins of selling media.

No One Sees Or Hears My Ad

The number one objection I hear from media customers is, "I haven't had anyone see or hear my ad." The previous number one objection was, "That's too much money." The media that retailers use for their marketing has shifted since 2007, and so has the rate at which they expect results. Retailers often demand that customers rush through the door and say they saw or heard about the business through one form of media or another. You MUST manage their expectations.

Strictly Confidential

Strictly Confidential

I recently had something hit me like a smack in the head -- metaphorically speaking. It was in the form of a client reminder and a question. I was on a rather important customer marketing profile call (a.k.a. a CMP).

Check Your Companies Fun Meter

(by Sean Luce)I called a sales meeting in the middle of the month. We were behind budget and my people were expecting me to pull out one of the latest video training series. Things were tense. I did pull out a video, but it wasnt the customary training video.

Why Sellers Should Never Give Up

The average sales call is closed after 5.3 calls/attempts. Most sales reps never get past the first few calls, nor do they have the determination to keep working on a qualified business prospect. A rep will simply quit. In many cases, they are so close to the finalizing sale. The same can be said for prospecting. Having more than one arrow in your quiver can be a key to getting the appointment with a busy owner/manager.

The Heart Of The Matter

How many sales reps are (answer honestly) finding out what their prospects and clients needs are for their business? I mean asking the questions that really make the prospect ponder on what would happen if they used your radio station. Do you really find out what problems theyre dealing with?

7 High Impact Negotiating Techniques

(by Sean Luce) Recently, I attended a speakers convention on rather late notice. I arrived one day after the convention started without a hotel reservation. I tend to become very parsimonious towards my expenses. I try to negotiate the best deals. Surveying the convention site, I selected my target. Using these seven techniques, I was able to stay at this hotel for less than half of what other attendees paid. These same techniques can easily be applied when a client attempts to negotiate with you.

10 Tips To Increase Your Billing

How much time do you spend in front of prospects or clients? Is it as much as 45 minutes per client? Most of us work eight to nine hours per day. Could one more call be squeezed in per day? The answer in most cases is yes. Salespeople are in front of qualified prospects only 40% of the time which means a rep being is in front of the wrong decision maker 60% of the time. The most successful sales reps invest better than 50% of their time in front of the correct decision makers

Limit Your Pink Slips. Always Recruit.

Let me start by saying there is no doubt a sales team needs to be fired up versus being fired. If firing someone is the best answer, then something was missed in the recruiting process. Many of the mistakes made in hiring a sales force start with a desperation move. The problem begins because a bench of potential 1st round draft picks is not available. A sales manager must take the time to continuously look for superior talent. That means a sales manager must recruit every week.

How To Find The Decision Maker

Sometimes a sale will backfire at the last minute even though it appears that the prospect is signed, sealed and delivered. Other influences can have an impact on the sale. Sales reps have been conditioned to call on people with the right titles: owners, general managers and agency buyers. However, other influences may need to be identified.

A Life Lesson. A Sales Lesson. Never Give Up

An Alexander Karelin will appear in each of our lives sooner or later in the form of one of lifes challenges. These life challenges can be from the minute to the massive. These trials can be anything from a flat tire on the way to see a customer to the loss of a loved one. We all encounter them. It is up to us to decide how to meet lifes challenges.

Have You Red Tailed a Client Lately?

How much bonding can be done with a client over a PowerPoint presentation even with all the bells and whistles? How stimulating is it for a prospect or client to sit through that Customer Marketing Profile or a seventeen minute closing presentation? Yes, sizzle can be added to the presentation, but is that really building a relationship with the client?

Should All Sales Reps be Treated Equally?

Absolutely yes without a doubt, and I would start by treating them all with dignity and respect. Sales reps are high on the list of the most valuable assets in a business. The sales department is the money generator that keeps the cog in the wheel turning. When it comes to treating sales reps equally, remember that everyone is different. Each persons DNA is unique, so they should be managed differently. Does that sound like double talk?

Seven Questions to Ask SM's

(by Sean Luce) Sales Managers I work with complete a weekly questionnaire. In addition, they forecast 3 month rolling projections for their sales staff. The recaps give me a chance to prepare for weekly conference calls that keep the consultant and management on the same page. The goal is to identify the problems before they occur.

Finding Your Station's Sales Leaks

(by Sean Luce) The following is a case study I used last week for a consultant property in Missouri to identify and assess challenges and opportunities in the sale department. This is a good exercise for January-when you come back from the holidays-or anytime you want to maximize your departments potential.

Why Businesses Should Advertise Every Day

(by Sean Luce) During a recent keynote address to business owners, I posed a question that has been asked many times over the years. Which is more important in advertising, the frequency or the message? The majority of hands were raised for the message. Surprisingly, quite a few of those hands represented radio stations whose main feature is frequency.

Breaking Old Habits

(by Sean Luce) With 2011 drawing to a close, I like to do an inventory and take out the old and bring in the new which translates to setting goals for the upcoming year. I have had an affinity for sports since childhood. I often use the correlation between sports and sales in my training. I have observed that there is not much difference in the way the best athletes prepare to win, and the way the super achievers in sales become successful. The little things are the primary difference between a good and a great athlete. The same holds true for sales professionals.

Your Daily Management Test

(by Sean Luce) After my last article on Listening. I was asked for the 10 questions on my Daily Management Test. I hung them up on my cars dashboard in laminated fashion. They were 10 questions to give myself a quick critique on my days performance. As I drove home, I mentally would play back the days events and challenge myself with the following test.

Want To Sell More? Listen to Your Clients.

(by Sean Luce) Many sales reps are too eager to talk. They are thinking about what to say next in a conversation instead of paying attention to the client. The majority of the time the client will actually tell a rep exactly what is needed in order to sell the product or service to them. As my mom used to say, Listen up.

SM's: Set Simple Rules For High Performance

(by Sean Luce) My previous article entitled: Ten Reasons I failed as a Sales Manager received an interesting question from one of Radio Inks readers. Before I respond to the question, let me state that I made all of those mistakes as a sales manager. The key is to learn from those mistakes. I had some outstanding mentors early in my career who allowed me to make the tough mistakes. They knew that those mistakes would pay big dividends down the road, and they did.

10 Reasons I Failed As A Sales Manager

(by Sean Luce) Monday was Columbus Day here in the States, so lets revisit the Christopher Columbus School of Management. The mantra is:You dont know where youre going when you leave, you dont know where you are once you get there, and you dont know where youve been once you get back. Not a good place to be, especially in management.

Do Your "Quiet" Research First.

(by Sean Luce) Several years ago, I was on a call with several key decision makers from Pepsi. During the luncheon, I ordered a Coke. One of the most utterly stupid moments in my sales career was ordering that Coke. I try to limit those "stupid moments" to once every 10 years.

Feel Broken Today? This Will Help You Get Over It

(by Sean Luce) Since early in my career, videos have been a key component of my sales training. I started using videos as a sales manager and have continued showing them in my consulting business. The videos originally provided me with a chance to swallow some water in case I became nervous while speaking. Videos are now a key component of my speaking engagements. In my experience, the videos should be no longer than 5 minutes, but I did have an exception to that rule. I would show a documentary about Ernest Shackleton called "Endurance." I had never found a story to rival Shackletons tale of human endurance in the Antarctic until this past July.

Coaching Sales Reps to Make the Grade

(by Sean Luce) How many sales managers ride in the field with their sales reps on coaching calls? Coaching calls should be the most basic and on-going part of training sales reps. For various reasons, training in the field has gone by the wayside. Since lack of instruction in the field is a primary cause of poorly trained sales reps, I would like to share some tips on how to coach and grade reps in the field.

Improve Your Sales Meetings TODAY

How challenging are your sales meetings? Do you challenge your sales reps? Or do you just cover the normal administrative inventory, avails and rates, maybe throw in a few success stories, and hit the door? Then, do your sales reps "hit the door"? Like really hit it, and charge out into the field with improved selling skills and motivation?

Is Selling Internet Really Hard?

During one of my recent seminars for business owners, called "The Shift -- How Online Advertising Can Strengthen Your Media Mix," I pointed out that since 2007-2008, how ad dollars are allocated has been changing, with the Internet grabbing hold of money that had typically gone to radio, television, and, of course, newspapers. Add the "Great Recession" in the fall of 2008, and it was the perfect storm for reallocating media dollars.

Never Give Up

Those of you who have attended my seminars know that I tend to show a lot of motivational videos, and especially those of athletes, as business and sports have a great deal in common. Not only does your attitude determine your altitude, being physically fit means being mentally fit. Nutrition, exercise, rituals, and deep breathing make a huge difference when it comes to the end of the day and you don't feel like making that one more call -- the call that could make your year. Imagine if you make one more call every day each week. With 240 days a year, on average, that you are selling, 240 calls would make a huge difference!

The One Question That Shouldn't Be Asked

Regardless of what media you sell or represent, finding an emotional connection between yourself and the prospect is one of the most demanding aspects of a sales call. If you don't go deep enough, you could skim over the prospect's real needs. Don't be afraid to ask a question you think might be shrugged off. You might get a response of, "It's none of your business" -- but it IS your business, if you want to uncover the prospect's needs.

How To Overcome The "Radio Doesn't Work" Objection

Two weeks ago, I made a prospecting call with a sales rep. It was right in the wheelhouse demo of our station, right in the geographical circumference of the stations coverage and the product would be a product (above mid-line specialty furniture) our listeners would shop for. They do have multiple locations. We walked the business. We did a physical in-store for 5 minutes and took down all the vital information. The rep called immediately for the owner from the car. Voicemail. The rep then walked back in the business and asked the receptionist for his personal voicemail box. She was successful. Here's what happened:

You Can't Find Good Radio Salespeople Because You're Not Looking

Sean, I just can't find any good salespeople." I've heard that line over and over the past few years, and it's incredible to believe that in many areas -- especially the West Coast, where there is 14 to 17 percent unemployment -- radio stations "can't find" find good sales reps. I wonder if the real answer is that management doesn't want to train them.

ITP Or Nothing.

A few weeks back for Radio Ink, I wrote about the open house we did in a large market. We interviewed 15 candidates on a Saturday and found two sure-fire potential sales reps. One came almost directly out of a university and the other had sales experience from selling alarms and satellite services. Here's an update on that story.