Gordon Bayliss

Greater Public Corporate Support Advisor and Vice President of Sales and Marketing at WNED
Find me on:

Recent Posts

Answers to Most-Asked Questions From the PMDMC19 Underwriting Basics Cohort

PMDMC, credit copy, Corporate Support

Leave a comment

When a group of sales reps and managers gathered at this year's Public Media Development and Marketing Conference (PMDMC) to explore and reconnect with the essentials of underwriting, these were the questions they felt were most urgent to their daily work:

How do I get underwriting renewals or increases?

  • Think of how well your membership department has converted members into sustainers. Instead of treating sponsors simply as renewals, steward them like public media marketing-campaign sustainers. Also, weave in components that are valuable to them like digital media, or sponsorship of a station event.

How long should I wait to follow up with an underwriter? How long is too long to not talk with them personally?

  • When your underwriter has signed an annual agreement, ask how often he/she would like to meet with you. Whatever the underwriter says, increase it by one or two times.
  • When a new underwriter signs up for a year, your first follow-up should be two to three weeks after the schedule begins.

How can I close faster?

  • Make sure you’re talking from the start with the person who has the authority and the budget to make a buying decision.
  • Do they have a need?
  • Do they have a time frame?
  • Assess up front: Are their company’s mission and/or vision statements compatible with those of your station?

How can I identify new underwriting prospects?

Check out Greater Public’s Underwriting Category Study for the categories that offer the most potential for stations.

Continue reading →

Staying on Top of Trends in Advertising and Marketing

sales strategy, Corporate Support, underwriting prospect

Leave a comment

When I started working in sales in commercial media, about the year 40 BC (Before Computers), it wasn’t uncommon to ask a prospective advertiser for recent copies of the trade magazines they subscribed to. That was how almost every salesperson learned about the prospect’s industry and business. Back then the prospect was willing and had time to talk about it with sales reps.

Times have changed.

Now, prospects are bombarded by media sales reps. Think about it. In almost every city there may be about 30 salespeople representing various radio and TV stations, and a half dozen or so from the daily, local, and business papers. Add in another dozen sales reps from billboard companies, direct mail and marketing businesses, cable TV, and online marketing companies. It’s easy to understand that a business owner or their marketing person is being called on by dozens of media sales reps every month. Businesses don’t have the time to educate every salesperson about their business, nor should they have to do that. That’s our responsibility.

Continue reading →

How to Get "in the Zone" in Underwriting Sales More Often

sales strategy, Corporate Support

Leave a comment

There’s a familiar phrase in professional sports: “in the zone.” Professional basketball  players on a hot streak shooting from beyond the three-point line are in the zone. Baseball players enjoying a hitting streak might say the ball seems impossible not to hit when they are in the zone. When a golfer’s swing seems effortless, when she sinks her putts on the green with ease, she’s in the zone.

What contributes to being in the zone? Being completely focused on the moment. Everything else seems to fade into the background, including the noise of the crowd.

When performing an activity, and being immersed in the moment, there’s an energized focus. Being in the zone is when you’re completely involved and concentrating on your actions.

In sales, you experience being in the zone, mainly when three conditions are in play:

Continue reading →

Sure-Bet Tactics to Renew Underwriting Clients

sales strategy, Corporate Support, underwriter renewal

Leave a comment

I was contacted recently by an underwriting salesperson with a question about renewing one of his account's annual underwriting agreement. He told me that the year-long agreement was ending in a month and he hadn’t talked to the underwriter since the agreement was signed the previous year.

I told him he was about ten months late in starting the renewal process.

The way I see it, the renewal process for underwriting should begin when you first sign up a new underwriter.

I don’t mean that you should have a renewal agreement ready to give to your first-time underwriter. However, when a businessperson signs their first underwriting agreement, that’s when it’s time to ramp up your relationship with the account and start to plan for the future. Instead of thinking of the process as a renewal, look at it as a continuation of your business relationship

Continue reading →

How to Better Motivate Your Sales Team This Year

managers, Corporate Support, New Year's resolutions

Leave a comment

When I worked in the sales department at a commercial radio station, the sales manager went to the extreme to motivate the sales staff just prior to the fourth quarter in preparation for the holidays and leading into the new year. 

There was a huge kickoff meeting, with sales contests and incentives such as trips, double the sales-commission rate, and cash bonuses. But all the “rah-rah” and pom-pom shaking can’t fix a motivation problem.

Sales reps continually face outside circumstances that affect their motivation. Prospects and customers tell them "no" over and over again; the timing may be wrong to sell a particular sales promotion; or there may be some personal situation going on affecting a person’s ability to sell. 

As a sales manager I know that the motivation of sales people can affect their productivity. With an eye toward improving the success of your sales staff, here are some ideas to boost their motivation. 

Continue reading →

Nurture Your Underwriting Client Relationships After the Close

sales strategy, Corporate Support, prospecting

Leave a comment

You’ve worked hard to sign up your new underwriter. You started with an initial meeting to learn about her challenges and objectives. Then you followed up with information how your media can provide a solution targeting her desired outcome. She liked your presentation and proposal; your answers to her questions, and she decided to become an underwriter.

What do you do now?

Believe it or not, the sale is not complete. The commitment is there but you’ve not yet started to deliver what she purchased. So, next up… 

Write up the underwriting agreement and have it signed and returned to you.

Corporate Support Administrative Templates

Draft the underwriting copy so it conveys her marketing message and complies with the FCC’s and your station’s copy guidelines. Once the copy is approved, send her a recording of the spot. Let her know she can share it with her employees and post it on her company’s website. 

Send her a schedule of times that her underwriting spots will air during the first week so she’ll know when to listen in to hear her spot.

After the contract is signed, the copy is produced and ready for airing, and you’ve sent her the list of when her spots will air during the first week you’re all done. Right?

There’s still more work to be done.

Continue reading →

How Your Board Can Help Secure Underwriting Sponsors

Corporate Support, underwriting prospect, board of directors

Leave a comment

Your station likely has a board of directors or trustees that can greatly help your efforts to bring in underwriting revenue. Who wouldn’t want that kind of help? But, you'll first need to bring them up to speed about underwriting and its importance to your station.

Continue reading →

What You Might Not Know About Recruitment Underwriting

Federal Communications Commission, credit copy

Leave a comment

Every week I receive a number of questions about underwriting copy.  Some are asking about certain words or phrases and some questions are about specific topics.

I’ll share a couple of credits with you that were featured in a recent credit copy webinar I presented. 

Copy example #1:

Smith Subaru, with hundreds of new Subarus in stock. Now offering customers their Smith Care Coverage Program. Learn more at Smith Subaru dot com.

The question that accompanied this copy was whether or not the phrase “learn more” is acceptable. But there are additional issues with the copy. “Smith Care Coverage Program” sounds like it could be a warranty or service program. You need to remember that guarantees, warranties, and performance claims are considered inducements and are prohibited. Another issue with the copy is the wording “hundreds of new Subarus in stock,” which is definitely a qualitative statement. It’s possible that they may have hundreds of new vehicles available, but just because something is a verifiable fact doesn’t necessarily make the copy acceptable. 

Continue reading →

Know When to Stop Pursuing an Underwriting Prospect Who Isn't Interested

sales strategy, Corporate Support, underwriting prospect

Leave a comment

It has happened to all of us at one time or another. You had an underwriting prospect who had agreed to work with you. She even said, “Let’s get started!” Then she disappeared - with no warning - and you never heard from her again.

So what do you do next?

You begin chasing the prospect. But what you may not be aware of is that you’re trying to catch someone who doesn’t have any intention of letting you catch her.

Some salespeople are doing more chasing than catching.

Continue reading →

A Practiced Underwriting Sales Presentation Will Win Over More Prospects

sales strategy, Corporate Support

Leave a comment

What do professional athletes, actors, and musicians have in common? They practice. Again and again. Their performances and their livelihood depend on it.

How often do you practice your sales presentations? If you’ve come away from having given a sales presentation to a prospective underwriter and she had questions you couldn‘t answer, you probably realized you weren’t fully prepared. It’s not just practicing to get it right but to also knowing how to respond to any question or scenario. You need to prepare to expect the unexpected.  

Start by writing down all of the sales objections you’ve encountered in the past and how you replied. Now, ask your co-workers in your underwriting sales department for the sales objections they’ve encountered and what they’ve said in response.

Continue reading →