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The BSM 64: 16 Reasons We Lose A Sale

“Don’t ever lose thousands of dollars over hundreds of dollars.”



In this time of madness, I present to you a “Sweet 16 List of Reasons We Might Not Get the Sale”

1 – You

I wouldn’t know anything about this, but I’m told there are people out there that some people just don’t like. They don’t mesh well with others.  Sometimes, in the end, it all comes down to someone buying you and, unfortunately, a lack of a personal connection can cost a sale.

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2 – Not Selling The Value of the Product(s)

Did you take the time to really present the value of what you’re selling? I’ve seen sellers who will throw in “added value” in such a way that completely disregards the actual value of what the client is buying.  Doing this may not just have one sale get away but could become the beginning of a trend if you, yourself, don’t believe in the value.

3 – Lack of Persistence

Last year, the Center for Sales Strategy wrote: “Research shows that the majority of appointments are set after five or six contacts but that the majority of salespeople give up after two.”  If you aren’t getting to clients simply because you’re giving up too easily, you’ll end up with a career full of sales you didn’t get.

4 – Coming Off as Desperate 

We’ve all been there, where you’re trying to get something (anything) sold and you skip just about every step of the sales process.  Next, you start throwing value on top of value while lowering the price just to get a deal done and done quickly.  See above, “The Value of the Product!”

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5 – Not Listening

A lot of sellers never acquire the proper listening skills to really be at the top of the game.  Ask great questions, shut up and listen.  If you listen carefully enough, you’ll hear your presentation, the client’s ad copy and much more.

6 – Presenting What You Want to Sell

It goes hand in hand with not listening.  Many sellers have a tendency to hear what they want to hear and somehow tie the client in to the idea they’ve really been wanting to sell.  It’s much like a client telling you they don’t like a station even if it’s a huge hit with their target audience, it’s not about us, it’s what’s best for the client and their business.

7 – Not Identifying the Key Marketing Challenge

If these were being ranked in order, this would be in the conversation for a top 3 seed.  We cannot present a solution to a problem without knowing what the real problem is.  Most of the time we present a good idea, that is a clear solution to the most pressing marketing challenge of a client, we will win the business.

8 – Not Knowing Anything About The Budget

If the right questions weren’t asked to at least come up with a budget range you should be in, your pitch has a significantly higher risk.  Come in way too high and risk the client believing they can’t afford to work with you, or worse, you come in too low and leave money on the table.

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9 – Not Bringing an Example

In the sales process, when we go to present, we have the advantage of having thought for a while about what we’re presenting.  We have to be careful and remember that when a client is hearing about it, it’s for the first time, and the idea you’re pitching may not come out as well “on paper.”  Anything you can demonstrate with audio or a visual can make a huge difference in winning business. Put the client’s name in lights!

10 – Not Taking Yes for an Answer

Sometimes the client wants to buy but doesn’t want the exact thing we proposed.  While it is ok to push back and ask more questions, at some point you have to accept that they’ve said they wanted to buy but may need some adjustments to be made.  Don’t ever lose thousands of dollars over hundreds of dollars.

11 – Not Discovering the Main Target

The client has to help us dig in to who the real target audience is.  The more we know about who it is they’re trying to reach the better chance we have of identifying the correct solution.  If the client doesn’t believe what you present will work for their key targets, they won’t see the value in the proposal, and it may come back to us not having asked the right questions during the CNA.

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12 – Overpromising and Underdelivering

Most of the time we think of this as something that happens after the sale is made.  Some sellers, however, will start to overpromise in the brainstorming phase and get a client’s hopes up before even knowing if something can be done, then risk the chance of having to disappoint the client when the presentation doesn’t include the idea they liked so much.  Never a good look for a first impression.

13 – Neglect

This was the topic in this space two weeks ago.  Don’t work as hard as we have to work to get a client and then make an “unforced error” and not take care of that client.  Remember, we are in the business of renewals and referrals and a happy, well taken care of client is the pathway to both.

14 – Not Negotiating in Good Faith

Either negotiate or don’t negotiate, but don’t land somewhere in the middle.  Negotiation is a key skill in media sales and if you haven’t spent time learning about it, you need to.  The person on the other side of the table, if it’s an agency, has generally been well trained in negotiation, you should be, too.

15 – Not Being Consultative

People want to buy from someone they believe they can trust and who they think has the knowledge to know the best course of action.  If you come off as a “know-it-all” or push too hard to get to the close and the client feels uncomfortable, your great idea may not matter.  If the business owner sees you as their new in-house marketing consultant because you appeared prepared, confident and knowledgeable, you may have a new whale on your hands. 

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16 – Not Calling on Businesses

The undisputed, undefeated, defending champion and #1 seed.  The reason we don’t get many of the sales we miss out on is because we simply didn’t call them in the first place.  Business goes where it’s invited and that goes for both our clients and for us.

BSM Writers

Grant Cohn’s Trolling of Players is Unacceptable

After an altercation between Javon Kinlaw of the San Francisco 49ers and Grant Cohn, it became clear that Kinlaw was being trolled by a member of the media.



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Grant Cohn is a media member who writes for the FanNation 49ers blog on He also talks about the team on his YouTube channel, which has over 48,000 subscribers as of noon Thursday. His father, Lowell, was a longtime columnist in the Bay Area.

Javon Kinlaw is a defensive lineman, whom the San Francisco 49ers drafted in the first round despite concerns about the durability of his knee. He played four games last season, his second in the league.

The two were involved in two confrontations this week. The first one occurred off to the side of the 49ers’ practice field. Kinlaw apparently cursed at Cohn and knocked his hat from atop his head. Later in the day, Kinlaw again swore at Cohn, this time after joining a live stream on Cohn’s YouTube channel. (Side note: I have never felt so freaking old as I did while typing that previous sentence.)

OK. That’s my attempt at an absolutely straightforward and objective summary of a situation that scares the hell out of me. Not because a player was mad at a member of the media. I’ve had it happen to me and I’ve seen it happen to others. It’s my opinion that this has been happening for as long as human beings have scrutinized the athletic efforts of other human beings.

What scared me was that I was seeing some version of the future of sports media. A future in which media members behaved like YouTube trolls, acting purposely ridiculous or antagonistic to initiate conflicts that could be turned into more conflicts that would could be gleefully recounted as content for the audience. I thought that because that’s pretty much what Cohn did:

Cohn essentially bragged about the number of different things he said that may have prompted Kinlaw’s reaction, and you know what? It worked. Kinlaw got mad. He confronted Cohn. Twice. TMZ published a story about it. So did

This is troll behavior. You know, the online pests who say or do something intended to provoke a reaction, and once they get that reaction, they recount and scrutinize that reaction with an eye toward triggering another reaction. Lather, rinse repeat. Increasingly, entire online media ecosystems consist of nothing more than people who don’t like each other talking about how much they don’t like one another.

I’m not going to pretend this is entirely new in sports media. Sports columnists have been known to make reputations with their willingness to be critical of the home team. A huge part of Skip Bayless’ brand is his unwavering insistence on highlighting Lebron James’ perceived flaws. Stephen A. Smith has engaged in public feuds with players, namely Kevin Durant.

I do see a difference between this and what Cohn did, though. The reaction Bayless and Smith are primarily concerned with is from their audience, not their subjects. The subjects may get mad, but that’s not the primary goal. At least I hope it’s not.

What happens if that is the primary goal? What if someone is offering opinions not because it’s what they really think, but because they want to provoke a response from the subject? Media careers have been built on less.

I don’t know if that’s the case with Cohn. I’ve never talked to him in my life, and even if I had, it’s impossible to know someone’s true intent. But in listening to everything he said AFTER the initial confrontation with Kinlaw, I’m not willing to assume that Cohn was operating in good faith. Here’s how Cohn described the initial confrontation with Kinlaw, which occurred as practice was beginning.

“In the training room, I saw Javon Kinlaw, who is the king of the training room,” Cohn said. “He’s usually in the training room.”

Cohn said the two locked eyes, but were separated by about 70 yards at the time. Kinlaw then walked across the field to where the reporters were gathered. He stood directly behind Cohn.

“So I turn, and I say, ‘Wassup, Mook Dawg?’ “ Cohn said, referencing the nickname on Kinlaw’s Instagram account. “And he doesn’t say anything. And I say, ‘Why are you looking at me like that, Javon?’ “

“And then he said, ‘What are you going to do about it you bitch-ass,’ and then he said one more word that I can’t say,” Cohn said. “And then I turned to face him, and I said, ‘Oh, it’s like that?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, it’s like that.’ And then he knocked the hat off my head.”

OK. Pause. In my experience, when your job is to publicly describe and critique the performance and attitudes of professional athletes, there will be times in which the athletes do not care for your description or your critique. Some of those who are displeased will make their objections known to you.

However, there are two things that are unusual here: First, the fact Kinlaw knocked the hat off Cohn’s head, which is unacceptable. Second, Cohn then posted a video on  YouTube to not only talk about what had happened, but state he had been so critical of Kinlaw for so long he wasn’t sure what specifically sparked Kinlaw’s anger.

“Javon, what are you upset about?” Cohn asked toward the end of  his video. “Is it the fact that I said you have an 80-year-old knee? Is it the fact that I said that you’re a terrible pass rusher and you’re just a two-down player? Is it the fact that I said the Niners shouldn’t have drafted you and should have taken Tristan Wirfs instead. Is it the fact that I said that you’re unprofessional and immature.

“It escapes me, which of the hundred negative things I’ve said about Javon Kinlaw the last couple of years, moved him to approach me in such a way, but you know what, I applaud Javon Kinlaw for coming to speak to me directly, and I ask you, what do you think Javon Kinlaw is mad about.”

Cohn was trolling Kinlaw. No other word for it.

That night, Cohn was conducting a live stream on YouTube, which Kinlaw joined, while apparently eating dinner, to make declarative statements about the size of Cohn’s genitalia — among other things.

Neither one looked particularly impressive. Not Kinlaw, who was profane and combative with a member of the media, at one point making a not-so-subtle threat. Not Cohn, who asked Kinlaw, “Do you think I’m scared of you, Javon?” He also said, “I don’t even know why you’re mad, Javon.”

I think Kinlaw would have been better off ignoring Cohn. If I was Kinlaw’s employer, I would probably prefer he not log into video livestreams to make testicular comparisons. But honestly, I don’t care about what Kinlaw did. At all. He’s not on a team I root for. He didn’t physically harm anyone. He used some bad words in public.

I am bothered not just by Cohn’s actions, but by some of the reactions to them because of what I think this type of behavior will do to an industry I have worked in for 25 years. Credentialed media members who behave like Cohn did this week make it harder for other media members who are acting in good faith. Preserving access for people like him diminishes what that access will provide for those who aren’t trying to use criticism to create conflict that will become content.

I think Cohn knew what he was doing. In his livestream, before Kinlaw joined, Cohn stated he was not scared because he knew — by virtue of his father’s history in the business — that if Kinlaw had touched him he would potentially be entitled monetary compensation.

By now, it should be pretty apparent how problematic this whole thing is and yet on Thursday, a number of 49ers fans online were sticking up for Cohn as just doing his job. Dieter Kurtenbach, a Bay Area columnist, Tweeted: “Javon Kinlaw does not know that @GrantCohn was built for this.” Built for what? Winning Internet fights? Kurtenbach also deleted a Tweet in which he called Kinlaw “soft.”

Cohn’s father, Lowell, is a former columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle and Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. He promoted the first video his son made on Tuesday:

Sorry, I don’t find it funny because it’s another step down a path in which media members seek reactions at the expense of information. Where they look to make fun of players instead of learning about them. They’ll stop acting like journalists and start acting like the trolls who make their money by instigating a conflict, which they then film: “Jake Paul, reporting live from 49ers practice …”

If that’s the case, thank God I’m about to age out of this business, entirely. I’m 47 years old and I can’t believe there’s anyone in our industry who thinks what Cohn did this week is acceptable.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 75



A new episode of Media Noise is all about reaction. Demetri reacts to the ManningCast’s big win at the Sports Emmys. Danny O’Neil reacts to people reacting to Colin Kaepernick’s workout in Las Vegas and Andy Masur reacts to John Skipper’s comments about Charles Barkley.

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BSM Writers

Bron Heussenstamm Blends Bleav Advertising with SiriusXM

Bron Heussenstamm, the CEO of the Bleav Podcast Network says blending podcasting advertising with satellite radio’s reach is a victory for both sides.



Last week, the Bleav (pronounced believe) Podcast Network announced a deal with SiriusXM to make all 32 NFL team-specific Bleav pods available on the SXM app. SXM can also air Bleav content on any of its sports channels. Each NFL Bleav show pairs a former player with a host to discuss team issues. Eric Davis, Lorenzo Neal, and Pac-Man Jones are amongst the former players Bleav has signed as talent.

I have hosted a Bleav podcast about Boise State football -the Kingdom of POD. I am usually provided 1-3 advertisers per episode by the network and get paid by the download. My subject matter is regional, so my take-home pay is usually under four figures. I have enjoyed the technical assistance and cross-promotion I receive and I enjoyed meeting Bleav CEO Bron Heussenstamm. Bron is Los Angeles-based, a USC graduate, and founded Bleav in 2018. We discussed the SXM deal, podcast advertising, and the future. 

Will the podcast advertisers be carried on the SXM distribution platform?

Yes, Bleav baked-in advertisements and hosts read ads are distributed across all platforms. This enables the host to do their show once through, making it as easy as possible for the hosts and consistent for the advertisers.

Bron Heussenstamm, CEO Bleav Podcast Network

How is advertising on Bleav different? 

We want to be more than a ‘host read ad’ or a ‘digital insert’ with our advertising partners. When companies work with Bleav shows and talent, those companies can receive our omnichannel of distribution points—podcast platforms, YouTube, socials, streamers, TV, radio, and more. This allows for consistent branding across all platforms: great talent presenting great companies to fans and consumers no matter where they consume content. 

What is the growth pattern for podcasts that you see? 

The industry trades have presented 400%-800% percent growth over the next ten years. Once the COVID fog lifted, we really saw these gains. Sports are always going to be at the forefront of culture. The increases in all sports sectors have certainly carried into the digital space. 

SXM has started with NFL shows but can also air more Bleav content – what does that look like? 

We’ve started with our NFL network of 32 team shows hosted by a former player. We’ve kept the door open for our NCAAB, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, Basketball, and Soccer networks. We’re happy for our hosts to be part of such a tremendous company and platform. SiriusXM can continue to amplify its voice and give fans the access and insight only a player can provide. 

The Interactive Advertising Bureau-IAB- says podcast revenue grew 72% last year to $1.4B and is expected to grow to $2B this year and double to $4B by 2024. Have you seen similar growth? What is driving the industry now, and what will be the primary cause of growth by 2024?  

There is a myriad of reasons for the growth. I‘ll lean into a couple. 

At Bleav, we launch and maximize the digital arm of industry leaders. The technology upgrades to allow hosts to have a world-class show — simulcast in both audio and video – from their home has led to an explosion of content. With this, the level of content creators has risen. Having a YouTube, RSS feed, podcast, and more is now part of the brand, right alongside Twitter and Instagram. 

If a company wants to advertise on Bleav in Chargers, we know exactly how many people heard Lorenzo Neal endorse their product. We can also safely assume they like the Chargers. The tracking of demo specifics for companies is huge. It’s a fantastic medium to present products to the right fans and consumers.

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