The Salesperson Left My Remote Early ...
April 7, 2015
Bringing clarity and definition to the programming and sales departments are a constant chore on the part of programming. For the air personality, this is essential to meeting performance expectations. I run across interesting situations where jocks get caught in the middle of common sense and execution of on-location broadcasts. Unfortunately there are times when the common sense of two individuals doesn't match; the key is to meet the needs of the client and the overall listening audience.
The following e-mail exchange with this personality clearly indicates a need for clearer guidelines between programming and the sales department.
Jock: I feel stuck in the middle with a salesman, my PD, and a client. The gentleman bought a remote, but could not understand why I was not talking to more of his salespeople and listeners on the air. This was a car remote.
Coach: My first question is, were you having a direct conversation with the client?
Jock: Yes, the salesman left after my second call in.
Coach: Did you call your PD and let him know?
Coach: That is the first thing you should have done. That way he could call the sales manager to find out why the salesperson left. Also the sales manager could call the salesperson to either get back over to the remote or at least explain the buffer system in place to avoid you or your promotions person from dealing with client problems. What is the procedure at your place when things go wrong at remote?
Jock: I gotcha, call my PD. My mistake, so much was going on and the dealership thought I was doing my show from their lot. I guess I was a little overwhelmed. Oh yeah, there was no one from promotions there; I had to drive the van and do set-up.
Coach: Although the salesperson left early and the client seemed confused, it does not mean that they were misled. Sometimes things are just misunderstood. The salesperson was saying one thing and the client might not have understood what they were buying. This could not have been a longtime client.
Jock: You guessed it, a first-timer. He does a whole lot of second-chance financing cars.
Coach: Definition is so important with any client, especially a new one.
Jock: I got yelled at by my PD and sales. My PD said he had heard I did not say enough about the business and the salesman said the client was upset because during the three-hour remote, only one car was sold.
Coach: There is still too much miscommunicating going on. I am still thinking about the client saying he was expecting you to do your show from there and the complaint from the PD about not talking about the business enough.
Only one car being sold is a sales concern of realistic expectations. One thing I learned a long time ago, a car remote is never about how many sales on the day of, it is about all the appointments made during the remote for the days to follow. I made it mandatory for personalities to give the phone number of the car dealer a minimum of at least three times per call-in.
Jock: I just want to make sure everyone knows I was doing my job.
Coach: The most important thing for you in this case, and for anything else which might happen in the future, is to be forthcoming, know when to be quiet, try to never say anything to upset a client, and follow the rules of what to do to solve a problem at a remote. Experience is the best teacher; I know and you just got a lesson. Go to your PD at some point soon and ask how you should have handled the situation, unless you have already?
Jock: No, that is why I contacted you.
Coach: Okay, well in the course of doing so, ask him why the client thought you were doing your show from there. Before your conversation is over, also find out if he thinks all the sales people understand how a remote is executed. Make sure you handle this in a subdued, non-aggressive manner.
Jock: Sam, what do you think happened? Any other advice on stuff like this would be a big help.
Coach: I think all concerns were not on the same page. Oh, and I did not overlook the salesperson leaving your remote after only a couple of breaks. Hopefully the Sales Manager will not let his team make this behavior a habit.
I do happen to have a few things which might help your radio future. Use this checklist, or adapt accordingly:
- Wear station apparel
- No grubs, dress business casual
- Be at your remote 30 minutes prior to your first open mic
- Get copy points in advance of your event
- Write out three scripts in advance you can rotate and adjust
- Use something to time your recorded call-ins/ISDN reports
- Eat before you get there
- Act like a politian and walk around and shake hands repeatedly
- No personal phone calls during the remote
- Call the studio at least five minutes prior to each of your breaks
- Only respond to client complaints with "I'll let the salesman"
- Keep call-ins to no more than 60 seconds total
- Do not force the board op to do lots of production edits
- Be on time for breaks
- Take lots of paper and pens
One More Thing:
I want to also make sure personalities understand how to handle a full-blown broadcast versus a regular remote. Unless otherwise instructed by your PD, remember that there are two audiences being served -- the one in front of you and the other at-home listening. Make sure you know how many commercial breaks there are and get a copy of every scheduled song in the order it will air on your show. Get copies of all written liners.
There are two ways to handle letting the audience know where you are broadcasting from. For example, "Kiss 98 broadcasting live from Larry's House of Cards in Riverdale, that was Do Un With Let You ... keep listening for your chance to win" Or, "Kiss 98 with Dave & Bill in the Morning ... I'm Ron B Bo broadcasting live form Larry's House of Cards in Riverdale, (Back-sell) I am talking with the credit manager (Sound bite 15 seconds or 30 tops)" then get off into your break.
A full-blown broadcast means you are on location and it does not mean you only pay attention to the crowd in front of you. There is time to play to the audience when your station is playing music for the people at home.
It's your show; make sure the board op is on point at all times. Meanwhile, your on-location duties still include shaking every hand, signing autographs, and making listeners believe you care about them.