Where There’s a Williams, There’s a Way
Introduction and “liner notes” by Rod Schwartz, owner/creative director, Grace Broadcast Sales
He’s been called “the guru of radio ad sales” and a “premier radio sales trainer.”
He’s also been called names that would make polite folks blush.
And that’s just by his friends.
One of his former students, a successful small market owner-operator now recently retired, said that Jim was directly or indirectly responsible for as much as 10% of the radio industry’s total billing between the years 1978 and 1995 (prior to consolidation).
In much the same way that Rush Limbaugh was responsible for the talk radio revolution starting in 1988, Jim Williams helped open the field of serious radio sales training, in the process helping to launch the careers of a number of prominent sales trainers and consultants.
Although Jim never received the industry-wide recognition he deserved, broadcasters in markets across America to this day will tell you that their success is largely the result of their application of the lessons they first learned from Jim Williams.
It is our pleasure to share with you some of these same lessons, in the hope that later generations of radio advertising sales professionals may continue to benefit from his teaching.
Now, you’ll have to overlook the fact that some of this material is dated. It’s been a long time since radio station DJ’s played records or punched up commercials on carts. We’ve stopped using cassettes as “demo tapes.” These days, salespeople use laptops, notebooks, smartphones and iPads to play MP3 files for clients, or simply send them as email attachments. So, overlook the anachronisms and focus instead on the timeless techniques and principles that Jim drilled into his students’ brains, and you’ll be the richer for it.
The Smart Call Demo Plan
Jim Williams was adamant about his students making use of demo tapes, arguably the most important tool in the radio ad salesperson’s toolbox. Jim’s original week-long “boot camps” and subsequent sales training recordings were jam-packed with examples of demos that had been instrumental in closing sales and opening relationships with advertisers. Toward the end of his career, Jim extracted many of these examples from the larger body of work and compiled them for concentrated study in The Smart Call Demo Plan.
By the time you’ve completed the full series, you’ll have 23 specific ideas you can use to increase your billing and your advertisers’ success.
INTRODUCTION (6:40) Jim’s introduction to the subject of demonstration tapes. Jim’s students will recognize the first of the two examples he provides at the end of this introduction, using a “carrot-and-stick” approach to illustrate the advantage of selling with demos.
CHAPTER 1 (7:40) Jim provides some background on the history of demonstration selling and offers valuable insights on the rationale behind using demo tapes. He also provides tips on organizing your own personal demo kit.
CHAPTER 2 – “Solving the Demo Tape Mystery” (10:01) We know that demo tapes are the most effective tool we have; why do we not use them more often? After identifying and discussing roadblocks to the use of demo tapes and dispelling the need for “professionally produced” demos, Jim offers a time-management tip for preparing and organizing next week’s demos.
CHAPTER 3 – “General Dos and Don’ts Regarding Demo Tapes” (8:21) Jim explains the importance of maintaining a demo tape log to help the salesperson stay organized. We need to know what was presented, to whom, when, and what was the outcome. Tracking these details will help us spot trends, strengths and weaknesses, sharpening our skills in the process. You’ll also hear many practical ideas and suggestions concerning preparation and presentation of demos: why it’s important to get into the demo as quickly as possible, how to introduce a demo to command the prospect’s attention, what to do and not do while the audio is playing, how to handle interruptions, ask for the order, etc.
CHAPTERS 4-11. Jim now gets into the different kinds of demo tapes that can become a part of the well-equipped radio salesman’s toolkit. In the following lessons, Jim stresses the importance of having a variety of demos with you at all times. He likens this to a store’s displays, pointing out that this is selling the merchant in the same way the merchant himself likes to sell, with plenty of “things” to offer his customers. The more demos you present, the more sales you’ll make. Jim also provides specific examples of each kind of demo tape. Enjoy! Questions? Comments? Email me.
CHAPTER 4 – “The IDEA Demo Tape” (4:36)
CHAPTER 5 – “The COPY SAMPLER Demo Tape” (12:07)
CHAPTER 6 – “The STATEMENT OF BENEFITS Demo Tape” (5:13)
CHAPTER 7 – “The CONTRACT DETAILS Demo Tape” (4:00)
CHAPTER 8 – “The WHOLE PRESENTATION Demo Tape” (4:00)
CHAPTER 9 – “The PROGRAM SAMPLE Demo Tape” (9:30)
CHAPTER 10 – “The MENU Demo Tape” (7:00)
CHAPTER 11 – “The RESEARCH ABOUT THEM Demo Tape” (4:00)
CHAPTER 12 – “The RESEARCH ABOUT US Demo Tape” (5:00) With the completion of this lesson, we’re now halfway through the Smart Call Demo Plan training tapes.
CHAPTER 13 – “The SUCCESS STORY Demo Tape” (14.50) Classic Jim Williams—this chapter contains the iconic “Heart’s Desire” success story, and one client’s compelling argument for increasing ad budget in a down economy. (This advertiser did admit that his schedule of 8 spots an hour around the clock was somewhat excessive, adding that next time he’d back it down — to just 5-6 spots an hour!)
CHAPTER 14 – “The PROBLEM-SOLUTION Demo Tape” (11:00) Another JW classic—this chapter features the KOAL (Price, UT) coal miners’ strike story from the mid-1970’s, in the words and voice of broadcaster Tom Anderson. Also noteworthy: Jim’s interview of a Michigan car dealer who doubled his ad budget in 1990 in the face of a recession, and won.
CHAPTER 15 – “The CHALLENGE-REPLY Demo Tape” (7:00) Your client has just told you that another station in town has made a compelling case for canceling half of your $10,000 monthly ad schedule and giving it to them. Wow. What do you do when a client presents an unexpected, serious challenge that needs to be addressed—thoughtfully and seriously? Here’s Jim’s advice on how to buy the time to deal with it appropriately and not in haste, with the actual case history cited above.
CHAPTER 16 – “The THIRD-PARTY DECISION-MAKER Demo Tape” (10:00) This is classic Jim Williams—the account rep who obtained out-of-town approval for a coop buy by using the phone and a tape recorder instead of the mail. (Today, you’d use email for the same purpose…but the audio component would still be useful for emphasizing the importance of the transaction.) Contains the Bill Knudsen Chamber of Commerce presentation, aimed at small business owners, on the subject of Advertising.
CHAPTER 17 – “The PHILOSOPHY Demo Tape” (2:30) Here’s where you share conversationally your particular beliefs on advertising: Why advertise at all? Why advertise on Radio? Why voice your own ads? Jim illustrates how to show prospects that you think—and care—deeply about these things.
CHAPTER 18 – “The POLICY Demo Tape” (6:00) From time to time we’ve all been asked to air something that runs counter to station policy, FCC regulations, copyright or licensing restrictions, etc., which could result in a fine or even jeopardize the station’s license. By crafting a policy message ahead of time, you can nip these potential problems in the bud. Jim tells the story of one appliance dealer’s surprising tactic for undermining another dealer and asks, “Would you take the order?”
CHAPTER 19 – “The GENERIC COPY FILE Demo Tape” (4:00) Why carrying a bunch of “fake” ads can help you sell ideas to prospective advertisers. (A good source for copy: the Yellow Pages.)
CHAPTER 20 – “The LISTENER-IN-A-BOX Demo Tape” (3:30) What’s on this one? Your listeners complimenting your programming and personalities. This chapter includes a promo spot for the WGMD (Rehoboth Beach, DE) Radio Classifieds Program (in which listeners pay to run short classified ads), including a testimonial from a listener who had success using the classifieds.
CHAPTER 21 – “The BRAG Demo Tape” (1:24) Here’s where you document recognition your station has received—awards, accolades, news stories, etc. When you’ve earned bragging rights, put ‘em on a demo tape!
CHAPTER 22 – “The COMPETITIVE STATEMENT Demo Tape” (5:44) What separates your station from all other media? What makes you better? Why is a client likely to get better ad results using your station? Why Radio? Why your station? Most radio salespeople fail to play on radio’s great strength: the superiority of human voice advertising. (See Trouth & Ries’ “The Eye vs. The Ear.” Also see this post on Radio Sales Cafe for an illustration.) How does your client conduct his business with customers, by speaking to them or by handing them memos? Do you prefer to hear a song or read the sheet music?
CHAPTER 23 – “The COMPARISON Demo Tape” (4:38) Overcoming the perceptual problem of the “print” part of the merchant brain vs. the “radio” part of the merchant brain, Jim explains his famous “$ for $ and Time for Time” philosophy of selling radio to a print advertiser. Radio’s second greatest strength, after the superiority of human speech, is intrusive repetition. Jim illustrates this presentation with a homemade comparison demo, comparing print vs. radio “full page” and “half page” equivalents, with pointers on how to do it right.
CHAPTER 24 – “The HAPPY EVENT Demo Tape” (5:35) Newspapers do this all the time; why shouldn’t radio? Clients will buy ads to recognize their employees, if you offer them the opportunity. Jim shares several ideas with case histories.
CHAPTER 25 – “The NOTE-TAKER Demo Tape” (4:20) Includes an actual “Pitch Check” first call by Jim Williams himself, on the ad manager of a six-store chain in Texas, that ended up with a YES on the first call. Priceless!
CHAPTER 26 – “The BOSS Demo Tape” (2:54) Designed especially for new hires. Listen to an actual recorded pitch made by the manager for use by his salesperson.
CHAPTER 27 – “The ACCIDENTAL Demo Tape” and CONCLUSION (3:21) Accidents happen—and sometimes result in a sale, as you’ll hear in this station recording.
NOTE: Additional segments will be added regularly, so be sure to check back. Better still, sign up to receive the free GBS IdeaGr@m (emailed to our subscribers approximately twice a month) and be among the first to find out when new segments have been added, along with a variety of ideas and tips to increase your sales, from Grace Broadcast Sales and the Radio Sales Cafe.