“What’s the hardest part of the job?”
That question was posed to me last week by someone who’d never been in the industry. My answer was simple: “the maybe’s and the roller coaster.”
As much as I hate no, and believe me I HATE no, I hate maybe even more. No saves me time. Once I’ve challenged the no (you’re all challenging the no before walking away, right?), and feel the no really means no, I can move on. With a maybe, I have precious head space filled with a strong combination of cautious optimism and concern while wondering if I’m overanalyzing the situation as I continuously think of how to breathe life in to a deal I feel is slipping away while mapping out new strategies to get the deal closed (sound familiar to anyone?).
Maybe’s are the worst. I remember still learning how to sell when a manager looked me in the eye and said: “Cross that one off your list, they’ve been saying maybe for a year!” Often times, maybe is really being disrespectful of our time – it’s someone who doesn’t want to hurt our feelings by saying no, or who just enjoys being chased. None of us have time for that. Find a way to get the objections and answer them, but if the list of objections just continues to grow, find better use of your time.
I believe a big part of what has made me successful in the industry is that, over time, I’ve come to have a much better feel for what is a “maybe yes” and what is a “maybe no.” But, either way, I still hate the “maybe’s.”
The roller coaster is the part that will make or break someone in this business. I have discussed before that when hiring, the unknown is how people will handle the grind and the obstacles six months or a year down the road. It’s that roller coaster that’s the main culprit. Is the person you’ve brought in someone who can handle the constant ups and downs of our world? How can you really know until they’ve faced it and you watch it unfold?
If you can avoid getting too high when the orders are falling out of the sky, and too low when every well seems to be dried up, you’ll be set up much better to succeed. I’ve seen too many people come through who start high-fiving and dancing before the signature comes in and then end up needing psychiatric help when the deal falls apart. It happens. Welcome to sports radio sales. Now, go sell something.
I’ve always told sales teams they should assume they’re about to lose their largest account. Therefore, if, and when, it ever happens, it’s not a surprise. Be prepared for it, but most of all, have things in your pipeline that will replace it.
I had a situation once where a top five client gave notice of cancellation. I had had a bad feeling about the account and thought the AE shared my concern. I had gone as far as already thinking of replacements for the sponsorship the advertiser had. When the notice came in and our attempt at saving it fell short, the AE was crushed and came in my office a few times to vent frustrations before finally saying: “What do you think we should do?” I said, “There’s only one thing we can do – go sell it to someone else.”
I was just as disappointed as the AE that we’d lost the account, but I’d learned long ago that being overly upset about things wasn’t going to change anything. What makes it better is to go make a sale and get that winning feeling back. It’s like the closer who blows the save – the best thing they can do is to get right back after it the next night and get their mojo back.
There’s no better feeling than the wins, no worse feeling than the losses and the maybe’s will drive you nuts. Learning to balance this emotional roller coaster will make you a much more successful seller and then perhaps it won’t always be one of the hardest parts of the job.
PS – I would love to feature some outstanding sports sellers in future columns. If you manage a staff and have someone working for you who you believe deserves recognition or if you’re a seller with a good story to share, please email me email@example.com.
Keeping Premier League Games Shouldn’t Be A Hard Call For NBC
“Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans.”
NBC Sports is facing some tough, costly decisions that will define its sports brand for the rest of this decade. A chance to connect with viewers in a changing climate and grow Peacock’s audience as well. However, making the right choice is paramount to not losing to apps like Paramount+ (pun intended).
NBC is currently in the business of negotiating to continue airing the Premier League as their current deal ends after this 2021-2022 season. NASCAR is contracted to NBC (and FOX) through the 2024 season.
NBC’s tentpole sports are the NFL and the Olympics.
Negotiations for the EPL are expected to go down to the wire. Rather than re-up with NBC, the league is meeting with other networks to drive up the price. NBC has to then make a decision if the rights go north of $2 billion.
Should NBC spend that much on a sport that is not played in the United States? It’s not my money, but that sport continues to grow in the US.
If NBC re-ups with the Premier League, will that leave any coins in the cupboard to re-up with NASCAR? Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted that there might be some penny pinching as the prices continue to soar. This may have been one of the reasons that NBC did not fight to keep the National Hockey League, whose rights will be with Disney and WarnerMedia through ESPN and TNT, respectively.
“These are really hard calls,” Roberts said. “You don’t always want to prevail, and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but I think the sustainability of sports is a critical part of what our company does well.”
Roberts was speaking virtually at the recent Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference. He told the audience that between NBC and European network Sky, that Comcast has allocated approximately $20 billion towards these sports properties.
Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh spoke virtually at the Bank of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference and echoed that the company is in a good position to make some strong choices in the sports realm.
“The bar is really high for us to pursue outright acquisitions of any material size,” Cavanagh added. “We got a great hand to play with what we have.”
While the European investments involve a partnership with American rival Viacom, the US market seems to have apparent limits.
Last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway was seen by around 2.19 million people. It was the most-watched motorsports event of the weekend. That same week eight different Premier League matches saw over 1 million viewers. More than half of those matches were on subscription-based Peacock.
Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans. A game of typical soccer fan is used to a sport that is less than two hours long. The investment in a team is one or two games a week.
My connection to the Premier League began before the pandemic. When I cut the cord in late 2017, I purchase Apple TV. Setting it up, it asks you to name your favorite teams. After clicking on the Syracuse Orange and the New Jersey Devils, I recalled that my wife has family based in London, England. They are season ticket holders for Arsenal, and that family redefined the word “die-hard” fans.
I’ve long been a believer that sports allegiances are best when handed down by family. I love hearing stories of people loving the New York Giants because their parents liked them, and they pass it down to their children.
I’ve successfully given my allegiance to the Devils to my young daughters.
By telling Apple TV that I liked Arsenal, I get alerts from three different apps when the “Gunners” are playing. The $4.99 is totally worth it to see Arsenal.
Whenever I told this story, I was amazed to see how many other American sports fans had a Premier League team. Students of mine at Seton Hall University rooted for Tottenham Hotspurs, while an old colleague cheers on Chelsea.
This is not meant to say that NBC should sign the EPL on my account. The key for any US-based soccer fan is that between Bundesliga, Serie A, and other leagues, there will be no shortage of soccer available on both linear television and streaming services.
Besides, Dani Rojas did say that “Football is life.” NBC, originator of the Ted Lasso character, should make keeping its Premier League US connection a priority.
Media Noise – Episode 45
Today, Demetri is joined by Tyler McComas and Russ Heltman. Tyler pops on to talk about the big start to the college football season on TV. Russ talks about Barstool’s upfront presentation and how the business community may not see any problems in working with the brand. Plus, Demetri is optimistic about FOX Sports Radio’s new morning show.
6 Ad Categories Hotter Than Gambling For Sports Radio
“Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life.”
For years sports radio stations pushed sports gambling advertisers to early Saturday and Sunday morning. The 1-800 ads, shouting, and false claims were seedy, and some stations wouldn’t even accept the business at 5 am on Sunday.
Now, with all but ten states ready to go all in on sports gambling, sports radio stations can’t get enough of that green. Demetri Ravanos wrote about the money cannon that sports gambling has become for stations. Well, what if you are in one of those ten states where it isn’t likely to ever be legal like California or Texas? Where is your pot of gold?
Or, let’s face it, the more gambling ads you run, the more risk you take on that the ads will not all work as you cannibalize the audience and chase other listeners away who ARE NOT online gambling service users and never will be. So, what about you? Where is your pot of gold?
Well, let’s go Digging for Gold.
The RAB produces the MRI-Simmons Gold Digger PROSPECTING REPORT for several radio formats. In it, they index sports radio listeners’ habits against an average of 18+ Adult. The Gold Digger report looks at areas where the index is higher than the norm – meaning the sports radio audience is more likely to use the product or service than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. The report, generated in 2020, indicates that sports radio listeners are 106% more likely to have used an online gambling site in the last thirty days. That’s impressive because the report only lists 32 activities or purchases a sports radio listener indexes higher than an average adult. I looked at those 32 higher indexes, and I think we can start looking for some gold.
Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life. The gambling companies who commit significant money to get results will continue advertising and chase the others away. So, the future of sports radio needs to include other cash cows.
If it is evident to online sports gambling services that sports radio stations are a must-buy, who else should feel that way? I looked at the Top 32 and eliminated the media companies. ESPN, MLB/NHL/NFL networks, and others aren’t spending cash on sports radio stations they don’t own in general. But Joseph A Bank clothing, Fidelity, and Hotwire should! Here’s your PICK-6 list I pulled together that’s hotter than sports gambling:
- Sportscard collectors, Dapper Labs, Open Sea- read about Sports NFT $.
- Online brokerage firms-Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Robinhood, Webull, TD Ameritrade
- Golf courses, resorts, equipment, etc.- we play golf at home and vacation
- Hotwire.com, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Carnival Corporation, and Priceline.com- we’ve used Hotwire in the last year.
- FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle-we wired or overnighted $
- Jos. A. Bank, shein.com, macys.com, nordstroms.com- we went to Jos. A. Bank in last three months
The sports card/NFT market is 32% hotter than the sports betting market for sports radio listeners. Everything on the PICK-6 is at least 100% more likely to purchase than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. All listed are at or above indexing strength compared to sports betting. The individual companies I added are industry leaders. Bet on it! Email me for details.