When my broadcast sales career began, we were paid 15 percent commission on both agency and local direct business. Then after a few years, Management reduced the commission on agency business to 10 percent (I negotiated 11 percent). Local direct stayed at the full 15 percent. After the meeting regarding the change in agency commission, an older seller commented, “Well, it’s only a five percent cut.” I said, “Yes, but it’s a 30 percent cut in WHAT WE WERE MAKING.” When he realized what the change actually meant, he too was horrified.
So, guess what kind of business instantly became more appealing to me? Of course, local direct. I handled agency business as well, but my primary focus was on the local direct decision maker. I felt I had more control over local direct accounts, I made more money developing them, and I was more or less immune from drops in ratings. But most of all, it was about the money.
Over the past several years, I have seen a new kind of seller come into the business, a person who is less concerned about money and more motivated by trip incentives or extra days off in exchange for reaching budget. You’re kidding. Extra time off? Why would I want to have extra days off? Extra days that could be used for making more money? And as my friends in Austin, Texas would tell you, I was a money machine. I took days off of course, and I used them to go to fantastic places that I could now afford to visit, because I made more money from generous local direct commissions. But it was always great to get back to the station and generate more revenues and commissions.
As I work with radio and television companies around the country (and in other countries) I am amazed (as are managers) at the number of salespeople who are not taking advantage of tantalizing commissions as high in some cases as 20-30 percent for new local direct business. With percentages like that, what’s to stop a rep, even in a small market, from living like a good doctor or lawyer? The answer…the rep him/herself. You reach a certain plateau of comfort and then you stop working for it. Why? Does making more money disturb your comfort zone? Then, expand your comfort zone.
I always thought about it this way. The station was offering me a “free franchise”. They supplied the product, they provided offices, computers and assistants. All I had to do was sell it and share in the profit. I took full advantage. You can too. With more money than you can spend, you never have to worry about…money. And, when you don’t have to worry about money, you can live where you want, wear what you want, drive what you want, vacation where you want, finance educations for your children and fund your own retirement. Who wouldn’t want that kind of freedom?
The money is there. On the tree, just over the hill. All you have to do is improve your hill-climbing skills and go pick the money off the tree. At first it seems formidable. Then, it becomes possible, within your reach. Then, you get there for the first time. Then it becomes routine for you. You get up, go to work, climb the hill as quickly as possible and collect your reward, the higher local direct commission.
One of my clients sold his business to a bigger firm and wrote me a letter, thanking me for helping him become a millionaire. I shook the envelope looking for a check written to me. There was no check. Then I realized that he had been happily paying me 15 percent of what he had been spending, month after month, for over a decade. He was just one of many clients, paying me a minimum of $600 per month. That’s $7200 per year, at least $72,000 over the life of the account. And that my friends, is better than a slap across the belly with a wet squirrel. Isn’t it?
They say that money is the root of all evil. I say that lack of money is the root of all evil. If the company is offering a higher percentage on local direct business, why aren’t you taking full advantage of the opportunity? If you need help developing long-term local direct, I can help you. But first you must have the desire to go out and earn the higher commission.