We had one last response to last month’s Q It Up question that rolled in past the deadline, all the way from American Samoa, but Joey had a lot of good things to say, and it certainly warranted a “Part 2” for last month’s question. Thanks, Joey!
Q It Up: Nightmare Clients. Do you have one? More than likely, you have at least one client that you dread dealing with. Perhaps they come into the studio and spend three hours on one spot. Or they insist on bringing their entire staff along to impress them and waste your day. Or maybe they’re revision addicts. Maybe they’re just obnoxious people. Do you have a nightmare client? Tell us about him/her, what they do to destroy your day, and what you do to deal with it. For the sake of saving your job, you’re more than welcome to change the identity of your nightmare client, but let’s keep the story real. Purpose of this Q It Up question? To vent, to remind us all we’re not alone with our nightmare clients, and hopefully, to share some ways of dealing with these people that will help us the next time the client from hell calls.
Joey Cummings [joey[at]khjradio .com]: A nightmare is just a dream. In radio we have the power of lucid dreaming, meaning we can make it all better with a little effort, a little education and a lot of listening.
When a salesperson comes to me with a handful of frustration and a head empty of ideas, I know that they are working with a challenging client. You know... a real booger. A be-ready-for-a-full-evaluation-of-everything-my-company-does-on-your-radio-station-because-we-want-our-ads-to-be-rewritten-and-for-them-to-only-play-at-peak-times client.
I sit the salesperson down and tell them, “Worry not. This is a brilliant opportunity. If your client is expecting a presentation, be prepared for one. But I would recommend that you take the ‘let’s both sit on the same side of the table and look at this information together’ approach. When it comes time to talk about the content of the ads, watch him carefully. Watch his response when you ask him what a good radio ad is supposed to sound like. Just because he is the Marketing Manager, doesn’t mean he has a clue about what good radio is. Try to determine if he is someone who wants radio ads to sound like radio ads, or if he really has a grasp of the true power and strengths of radio. Remind him that people don’t want to hear how wonderful his customer service is. Be the friend that finally tells him that his customer service is merely standard. If it’s really good, people already know it. If it’s bad, then saying it’s good on the radio isn’t going to fool anyone.”
“Telling the world his business is a One Stop Shop is another bad idea. It was catchy about 40 years ago, but I’d rather breathe chlorine gas than allow that cliché on my radio station again. Tell your client that he needs to focus on his strengths and translate those strengths as benefits to the listener. He sells lots of nice things. And because he buys in bulk, he can give a great price on a great selection of goods. When I say ‘selection,’ I don’t mean that I want you write “look at our wide selection” in the ad copy. I’ll start looking for the chlorine again.”
“And when it comes time to talk with him about airing his ads only at peak times, explain why it’s best for him to be on all day. He’s already said he can afford it. Sell him again on the benefits of airing multiple spots each day, every day. Maximum repetition. Low cost. Covering the WHOLE day. People listen to radio at lots of different times. You have to hit the nail on the head more than once to drive it home. Repetition builds reputation. Remind him about Top of Mind Awareness. When you advertise consistently with multiple ads per day, you are building awareness. This is slightly different than the motivational effects of good advertising. Let’s face it; not everyone needs something from his store every day. But the very MOMENT that someone needs something he sells, he should be the first place they think of. THAT’s Top of Mind Awareness. THAT’S what our station can give him. By hammering his name and products into the listener’s brain every day, he becomes the place the listener thinks about FIRST when it’s time to buy. Share of mind = share of business. Name one company that you hear ALL the time on our station. That company invests heavily in us because they know it’s worth it. And the chances are that they have been with us for 2 or more years because they know it’s a fantastic value for their money. We can sell him specified times. But they will cost more. Why invest his money that way when he can have more spots at a 40% discount? He’ll get more for his money. Like the man before me taught me, I taught you that the only thing that works in marketing today is: What you say, times how many times you say it, times how many people you say it to.”
“Show him the path. This is an incredible opportunity for him to get involved in a professional relationship with a professional marketing machine. Our job is to help him get customers in the door. This is what we do for a living, right? We are not a church supported radio station. We are not a family hobby radio station. We are a business. And we do well because we help people like your client. Show him the list of names and numbers he can reference, but perhaps he’ll take a minute to call one of the businesses he hears on our station and talk to the owner and manager to see what they think of their radio advertising with us. We have a fiercely loyal audience he cannot reach on any other radio station. And once you’re finished telling him all that, ask him about his goals and his plans for meeting those goals. How does he envision the radio as a part of accomplishing those goals.”
“I’m glad we had this talk. Now get out of my studio. I got a stack of prod orders gnarly enough to take off your leg at the knee.”
Knock ‘em dead, kid.