Gordon Bayliss

Greater Public Corporate Support Advisor and Vice President of Sales and Marketing at WNED
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Recent Posts

Sure-Bet Tactics to Renew Underwriting Clients

Corporate Support, sales strategy, underwriter renewal

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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

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How to Better Motivate Your Sales Team This Year

Corporate Support, managers, New Year's resolutions

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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. 

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Nurture Your Underwriting Client Relationships After the Close

sales strategy, Corporate Support, prospecting

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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.

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How Your Board Can Help Secure Underwriting Sponsors

Corporate Support, board of directors, underwriting prospect

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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.

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What You Might Not Know About Recruitment Underwriting

credit copy, Federal Communications Commission

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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. 

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

Corporate Support, sales strategy, underwriting prospect

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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.

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A Practiced Underwriting Sales Presentation Will Win Over More Prospects

Corporate Support, sales strategy

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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.

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A Simple Formula for Writing Underwriting Copy

credit copy, Corporate Support

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Every underwriting spot contains three primary pieces of information, the same three pieces of information you’ll find in commercial advertising messages:

  • The name of the underwriter
  • The underwriter’s business, products and/or services
  • Where or how you can reach the underwriter or get more information (location, phone and/or web address)

As an example, one of the most to-the-point commercial advertisements I’ve seen was on a billboard on the Interstate.

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How to Get More C-Level Meetings to Discuss Underwriting

Corporate Support, underwriting prospect

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Have you ever tried to set up a meeting with a senior-level executive to discuss underwriting opportunities? It can be tough to connect with these very busy people. It seems as though they’re never in their office, they rarely answer the phone, and seldom reply to your voicemail or email. What makes it a bigger challenge is that their assistants are very effective at being gatekeepers, protecting them from interruptions.

If you want to connect with executives, it likely won't happen easily. To set up a meeting, you first have to get their attention.

  • Keep it simple and get to the point. Don't distract or overwhelm with detail.
  • Be invaluable. Realize that you are the primary differentiator today.
  • Zoom in and align. Focus your message on their key business objectives.
  • Raise priorities. Keep your eye on changes that can affect and increase momentum.

You must convey all of this in a 30-second introduction, voicemail, or brief email message.

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How to Qualify Underwriting Prospects to Lead to More Sales

Corporate Support, underwriting prospect

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A common mistake made by many underwriting salespeople is treating all prospects as if they were all the same. The fact is that some prospects just can’t afford underwriting.

That's where qualifying your prospect comes into play. That simply means that you're exploring how likely that prospect is to become an underwriter. A key part of this process is knowing whether or not they have the financial resources.

Qualifying your prospect isn't  complicated to do. In fact, making sure you answer five simple questions about your prospects can lead you to increase sales, efficiency, and generate more revenue.

1. Do they have a budget?

It doesn't matter how much a person actually wants or needs to reach your listeners or viewers if they don't have the money to pay for it. If a prospect doesn't have the resources to afford what you're offering, then there's no point moving forward with the sales process.

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