Trip to Sierra Leone

Last week I had the pleasure and honour of spending time with a group of radio people in Sierra Leone. I learned a great deal from spending time with them and chatting over curried fish, tasty rice dishes and fried plantain.

People like to think their situations are different to everyone else, but advertising principles stay the same. Generally clients are not INTERESTED in your radio station, and they are certainly not interested in SPENDING THEIR HARD EARNED CASH on your station. What they ARE interested in is investing money to solve their business problems.

That’s how good sales people become successful. By concentrating on helping the client you become a valued marketing partner… not just someone there to sell spot ads. I was once told by a colleague that this approach to selling radio was “old fashioned”. True it’s not a new theory. But it’s still highly effective for those who practice it. Yet still, very few stations actually practice it! Most radio stations and groups try to convince clients to advertise through unfathomable figures that clients often can’t get their heads around.

Many of the Sierra Leonese delegates were complaining that no one wanted to advertise on their stations. That many clients were unconcerned about holding a market position and selling goods, because good were in such short supply that stores sold out of commodities very quickly. Well, there are lots more reasons to advertise… and I don’t think anyone WANTS to spend money on advertising. But Sierra Leone is developing an economy. The successful businesses then will be the ones who already own their unfair share of mind. The sharp and sensible business people know they need to. Advertising is like breathing for a business. It’s when you STOP doing it that you really notice a difference.

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The Team in Freetown, Sierra Leone

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