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Monday, September 29, 2014

(SALES) What I Learned In Big Sky Country


I learned that Montana is still as beautiful as it was 11 years ago when I did a three-city tour across the state last week. It?s hard to beat driving from Billings to Great Falls and then on to Missoula and taking in the scenery, especially from Helena to Missoula.

I learned that the Montana Broadcasters Association is fortunate to have Dewey Bruce as its president. Not only is Dewey passionate about serving the broadcasters, he?s a heck of a driver on those Montana highways. He scooted me pretty quickly right after we left each tour stop and onto our next city. He wanted to make sure I had enough rest before speaking the next day.

I learned that Helena was home to Devil?s Brigade, the 1st Special Forces Commando Unit that was made up of Canadian and American soldiers in WW2 and had their training at Fort William Henry Harrison in Helena. They were the precursor to the SEAL teams we have today in the armed forces.

Eleven years ago we didn?t have digital taking a 17 to 25 percent piece of the advertising pie like we do today. By utilizing our ?Air Force? (radio and TV) and our ?Special Forces? (digital products), I showed the radio and TV reps how they could take up to 70 percent of the total advertising dollars in their market by combining their Air Force and Special Forces for the advertiser.

The first broadcast sales training I ever went to was one of Chris Lytle?s seminars in San Antonio, Texas. That was a huge moment for me in my learning curve in media sales and his training has stuck with me ever since. I know that as sales trainers we have such a massive responsibility to train our media reps and the young reps are soaking up every word. I had some one-month, and in some cases, one-week sellers in the room, as well as 46-year veterans. Some were there 11 years ago and reminded me that my birthday is this week ? you have a great memory or a good working CMP on me, John!

At each location, we did the old-fashioned role playing on setting up a basic appointment. We can do all the ?trick plays? we want, but if you can?t get on the phone and set up an appointment, almost all is for naught. Walking through a customer?s business where possible and taking down notes so you have them in front of you when you set up the appointment is vital. We also demonstrated how using a new digital lead-generation tool like Snapshot can help the rep garner an appointment with the business owner so they can see the ?virtual doorway? of what their business looks like online. In Missoula, I called up longtime radio veteran, General Manager Chris Ackerman from Cherry Creek Radio to roll-play telephone techniques, and he nailed that appointment. Great work, Chris!

I was impressed that Jeffrey Warshaw?s Connoisseur Media?s General Manager Cam Maxwell has been teaching our techniques to his group in Billings and driving home the ?7 Steps of an Opening Call? and the ?7 Steps of a Closing Call.? Terry Strickland, general manager of Benedetti Media Group in Billings had her staff there and they were dialed into the ?Capture the Money? case study at the end of the day. We went to 3:30 p.m. before closing with ?Kiazen? where everybody holds the hands of the people next to them and repeats the phrase, ?In every day, in every way, never ceasing, never ending, always getting better one day at a time.? I emphasize that the competition is not inside the seminar room, it is outside where newspaper, direct mail, yellow pages, and outdoor media reside that takes up to, in some markets, 50 percent to 70 percent of the local advertising pie, especially where print is selling digital now and coming back to advertisers with a digital solution. We should be doing the same -- providing that digital solution so advertisers don?t have to look elsewhere when we have those all-important relationships with the business owner where 80 percent of the decision is based on that relationship, face to face.

I?m leaving out a lot of great people who attended our sales seminars across Montana. I will however bring up Cherry Creek Radio?s Regional Director of Sales Ron Korb. In Great Falls, we had one of his one-month reps in attendance. I was impressed that she had been out in the field using the 1-10 question, and not only was she in the field using it, she was being taught to use it by the Regional Director of Sales Ron Korb in front of business owners.
On a scale of 1-10 and there is not perfect 10, my experience working with Montana sales reps and management last week was a 9.9! Well done Montana!

Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group International and can be reached at or

(9/22/2014 4:22:29 PM)
Thank you Paul. You are very right about the Green Berets and not SEAL. I had it right in front of me also when I wrote it and for some reason went down the SEAL road. Devil's Brigade...great history I didn't know about.
(9/22/2014 9:10:16 AM)
The special forces group you mentioned were the beginning of the Green Berets not the Seals...the green berets were the first special ops group. Special Forces refers to the Green Berets..not the seals or rangers or airborne.
Just FYI from an old snake eater SF operator.

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