An Open Letter To Radio Sales Reps-

Originally published in Radio INK

Dear Radio Sales Rep:

Just as you have been asked to rep more stations, sell NTR, get familiar with the web, and add countless reports to your daily tasks, we in the media department at the ad agency have also taken on more responsibilities. We’ve added more research to our plates, and we’re working harder than ever to provide clients with value-added, on our web responsibilities, and on producing countless reports for clients. I guess you could say we’re all working harder than ever (and, hopefully, smarter and faster).

Now that you’re selling multiple stations, I need to understand all your stations, their formats, and how the stations work together, from looking at age-cell distributions to understanding your P1 audience and your station promotions. When you come to me, come armed with information on each station and its associated products. Help me understand the details so I can manage them effectively and efficiently.  Tell me about market nuances. Knowing the market and the people can make a difference in the success of a campaign.

Once you’ve established value, we can talk about rates. But please remember, we sit on opposite sides of the table. Your job is to sell the stations’ worth at the highest rate possible and mine is to buy at the lowest rate possible. In some instances, you may make commissions based on how corporate would like you to sell units, but I’m not bound by those restrictions. If we use traffic sponsorships and you have a different sales staff that sells that product, I’m sorry, but please consider that I don’t get additional budgets because you have two sales  staffs. But if the campaign for the client is successful, that ensures future business for all of us.

We believe in tough negotiations, but we understand that we need to maintain the respect, and even the friendship, of our media partners. We know the same partners from whom we buy are also the partners we want to run free promotions and bring value-added to the table. We understand we need to play ice.

Always remember, I’m an extension of your sales staff outside your office. The more knowledge I have about your products, the better I can help sell your station. Don’t think that just because I’ve been doing my job for a number of years, I have all your information. I’m only as knowledgeable as my reps. It never hurts to schedule a overview to make sure we have all the bases covered.

When you’re selling NTR events, give me all the details the first time. If it’s an event that is tied to client expenditures, it needs to benefit not only the station but the client. In most cases, we don’t get extra budgets because you have an event. Although you work for the station, we ultimately both receive our income from our mutual clients. We must never lose sight of the fact that we’re working to increase our clients’ bottom line. Isn’t that why we went into this business ?

Make sure there is good communication within you walls. It’s frustrating when a new client spends money to air on your stations, then spends money to air on your stations, then spends time fielding calls from competing sales reps on your own staff. If management doesn’t have a system in place, help create one. It makes us all look disorganized and unprofessional when reps from your station call and don’t know a client is already on your airwaves.

If you are selling Internet products, please take the time to understand them. Don’t forget that we need stats such as unique visitors, page views by month, time spent on your site, and monthly average impressions. Comscore and Nielsen NetRatings are also helpful if they’re available. We have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that our client expenditures can be substantiated.

If you don’t understand what you’re selling across multiple platforms, please bring someone with you who does, or let me have access to that person. If they are knowledgeable, we can help each other explore new opportunities. Also, in many instances we are buying banner links not only for the exposure to your audience, but to help our organic search. Make sure your stations are linking properly.

And if you would, please return phone calls promptly. Just as I can’t see what’s on your plate, your don’t know what’s on mine Sometimes we are on really quick deadlines Please help me meet those deadlines

Thanks for all your time and energy helping me understand your products. I look forward to working together for many years. Please come to us often and first- we love breaking new ground !


Linda Kahn Vice President of Media


Penny Ohlmann Neimann

The Ohlmann Group has a rich history that began in Dayton, Ohio in 1949, where the agency was founded as Penny and Penny by Bob Penny and his wife Jean. In 1964, Walter Ohlmann joined the firm. Ralph Neiman came on in 1969 and the firm became Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman. In 2011, P/O/N was renamed The Ohlmann Group to better reflect the agency's ongoing evolution and collaborative nature.

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