Radio ads are a comprehensive marketing strategy. They’re an ideal way to capture potential sellers and buyers, providing a top-notch source for lead generation. But often, sales representatives may use this to take advantage and manipulate the entire situation so you can bring money to the table. In this episode, join Grace Mills as she gives us useful tips on how to stray away from deceit and deception in the radio realm.
How To Avoid Being Taken Advantage Of When Placing Motivated Seller Ads On The Radio
I wanted to talk or at least share a few ways radio stations can honestly take some serious advantage over investors trying to get their radio ads that were getting marketing on radio, especially for the first time, and even some ways potentially of how to avoid that. Occasionally, I will have a student come in and they will say, “I have done radio in the past. I did it previously. I’m a little bummed out. I don’t know if I want to try it again. I didn’t have that great of an experience. I don’t think it produced very well.” I will say, “Let’s look through your last deal.”
What I usually like to do is get my hands on their last deal. I have looked at enough radio contracts. I know a bad deal when I see one. If someone says, “It didn’t work out.” I’m going, “What happened?” There’s something that would have happened very early on. That would have affected your ability to honestly produce very well.
When I look through those, their previous deals or their previous agreements that they ran on, there’s typically a pattern of red flags. They usually would fall into 1 of the 3 buckets that I want to go over with you guys are three of the most common or the three most common major ways that a sales rep or radio station can take advantage of you potentially as an investor, trying to get your ads up on air for the first time.
For context, I’m going to use the term sales rep. That’s what I used to refer to them as, but a sales representative is a radio salesperson. If you were to approach them and you are potentially looking to get on air, you are going to negotiate with the salesperson. The sales representative or I typically refer to them as the sales rep.
Once you negotiate said stations or whatever it is that you wanted to do and agree to whatever terms that sales rep then almost starts serving as an account executive or account manager. They are going to “oversee and manage your account.” Meaning, all of the things that you agreed to. If you pick up 1 or 2 stations, they will manage and oversee all of those things and be your main point of contact. Should you have any questions or run into any issues, that will be your go-to. If you want something double or triple checked, or maybe you were thinking of expanding that as who you are going to go to. You will go right back to the person you originally negotiated with.
Jumping back into the ways that you can be taken advantage of as you are trying to get your actual ads up. The first major place is price. Price is the biggest way for you to be taken advantage of. Once you agree to that price and hand over that money, it’s usually downhill. It’s setting you up almost for slight failure is the fact that you were manipulated on price right at the gate.
Price is the biggest way for you to be taken advantage of.
This happens because you are talking to a sales rep. It’s a radio sales rep, but that is still a salesperson at the end of the day. If you know anything about salespeople, they like to make money and to make as much money as possible. Radio sales reps are trained to push for as much money as possible right out of the gate. If you were to approach them, as I can usually tell with a couple of students, if they have tried it previously, is that, in a sense, you are almost getting suckered into what I would roughly call the retail pricing of radio.
Sales reps will tell you their retail price initially. That’s what they do. A lot of people do not know how to approach stations or even understand how to bite on it. They take it. They don’t challenge the sales representative in any particular way. Another thing that can affect that is and this is so you have an understanding. If you are coming across like you are almost too excited or you are like, “I’m in a rush to get this done. I’m ready to go. Name your price.” That is the absolute worst thing that you could tell somebody that was already trying to manipulate you on price. As soon as you run over to them or you call them up, and they can hear that you are a little more interested in doing business with them, then maybe they are ready to do business with you.
You’ve opened up that hole to be manipulated on price, even that much more because they are trained to the retail out there to you. If you come across like you are so super ready and you are so excited, you are in a hurry to get this done and you are ready to pray, whatever price, name your price, and then that sales rep was getting ready to have a field day with you in terms of numbers. That’s the game.
Right out of the gate, they are going to try and manipulate you on price as much as possible. This becomes problematic as well. I have a student that says, “I went back in and I did haggle myself a discount.” I will look at the numbers and I will go, “Not really.” The sales rep is going to throw out retail as they are trained, but a seasoned sales representative or sales rep that likes to make extra money whenever they can usually tack on an extra amount on top of that retail.
When you came in to haggle, you only haggled right back down to where they still wanted you to be. You didn’t haggle anything. In your minds, you are thinking, “I was able to haggle myself down a discount.” “No. The sales rep got you right back where they still wanted you, and they do that on purpose.” That’s how they are trained.
In terms of being able to pull out as much money as quickly as possible for incoming clients, that’s a setup for you because it starts to go down here from there if you got manipulated on price. The other piece about being manipulated on prices, they will manipulate the entire conversation, if you will. Maybe they will say to you, “This is the greatest running rate I have or the best price that I have available to you. This is a great rate. I have already discounted it.” No. That’s not how that works. They will tell you that they have discounted it. They will tell you that this is the lowest running rate or the best thing they can do. That is not accurate. It never is. They are already trying to aim to get as much money as possible.
The other place that I find is that, in some cases, students were almost pushed into this idea that there was like one flat fee for all of their stations. Just so that I can clarify this for you in case you ever come across this information, there is absolutely no one running rate for all stations. There’s no way that a sales rep can come over to you and say, “I have got four stations underneath my umbrella.”
The same rate is going to run on all the stations. It’s one price. This price for Station A is the same exact price for Station B and Station C has the same exact price as Station D as the same exact flat price, and they are all the same. That’s not going to happen. Why? It’s because all stations vary in genre, competition, and audience sizes. Every station is going to be different. There’s absolutely no way for a sales rep to honestly try and price them all the exact same price for all stations underneath their umbrella, considering all of those variables.
I have seen a couple of people be manipulated into believing that was the actual case. No. That was a sales rep trying to make as much money as possible. I prefer to approach stations with a buying strategy based on their actual data because I’m already aware that all stations will differ in competition.
A station that is a little bit more competitive. That sales rep will try to price the station even that much more higher. It’s competitive. If it’s doing well, it’s super popular, that station is genuinely going to cost a little bit more money. There is a station that’s a little less competitive that wouldn’t be priced the exact same thing because, with less competition, they want to invite more business into that actual station.
I like to make sure that I keep my eye on audience sizes as well as determine what the buy should be with the actual audience. I like to make sure our students understand that as well, that there are multiple ways to approach buying a station and that your best case scenario is buying it based on their actual data. There’s nothing to argue with there.
People lie, but numbers don’t and that’s why it’s best to approach it based on the actual data to avoid some of that actual flat. In all essence, you have to be very careful and take it with a grain of salt. They are great talkers. They will develop the best rapport and make you feel like you are great friends, your buddies and build some common ground with you. You’ve got to make sure that you keep in mind that their end goal is to try and make as much money as possible.
When you came in to haggle, you only haggled right back down to where they still wanted you to be. You didn’t haggle anything.
Will you still run into some good sales reps out there? Absolutely. More often than that, especially initially going into buying radio ads for the first time. It’s very likely to run into the person that was like, “Let me see how much money I can make out of this individual,” but there are still some good eggs potentially out there. You want to be careful again and take everything with a grain of salt.
Products And Services
Aside from price, and again, like I said, price is pretty major there. The second most common way for a sales representative, sales rep, or you to be taken advantage of as a new investor is on products and services. What by-products and services is this is typically bundled or packaged together. The sales rep will try and get you excited and say, “This element, I’m going to throw in these items in here too, and give you a great bundle package here to go along with what we discussed that X, Y, Z price.” To be honest with you, most of what’s included in those individual products and services are probably things you honestly didn’t even need.
If not, those individual items were also individually manipulated on price. Think of it like a cable package. For all those that still are using cable, and if you’ve already cut the plug, follow me here with this example. If you go to a cable company, the sales representative there will still try to approach you with this package like, “Here’s this cable package that I can give you. It’s going to come with internet and TV. It’s going to come with a house phone service. Here are some premium channels at this price.” That might sound amazing until you start tearing the bundle apart and looking at it on an individual basis. Then you might see, “If everyone in my household has a cell phone.” That house phone doesn’t sound like a great steal because I don’t have any issues right now with communicating with people.
Everybody in the household has a cell phone. What good is the house phone being bundled in there? Maybe you start looking at all of those premium things. They threw in those premium channels that they were selling you on. You look through all of the channels that they have listed and you are like, “I don’t even watch 80% of this stuff,” even if you have time to sit still and even watch TV.
Radio sales reps will pretty much play the same card with trying to bundle and package all of these things that sound exciting. “Premium” to make you feel like you are getting a great deal. When you pull them apart, they are things you probably didn’t need. For instance, you have traditional advertising, which means putting your ads on the radio.
You will run into a lot of stations that are going to offer digital products or digital services. Things like website banners. Maybe even trying to help you with social media management, things like that. In essence, it might depend on who you are. Those might be things that are right up your alley and things that you would have needed.
More often than not, I find that those things are unnecessary, and if not, they are priced too high to have the station do it. It’s usually things that you probably could have done in-house yourself for free or you probably could have outsourced and found someone else to do it slightly cheaper. Should you have been interested in that item? As I’m looking through their deals, most of the students had things that they didn’t even need.
I was like, “Were you interested in this?” They are like, “No. I didn’t even realize I was bundled in there.” I’m like, “You are paying for it. You are paying a pretty good price for that extra product and service to be included in a bundle that apparently you didn’t even want.” That is a second way that usually comes up is unnecessary products and services that were included.
I’d say the third and not that it’s less important for you to pay attention to, but the third way you can honestly be taking advantage of there is with the actual station selections themselves. These radio sales reps know with they know very well. They know their general stations and they know their training very well. If you were to contact them and explain that you work in real estate, or however you want to phrase that, they are going to build some common ground and say, “I know a thing or two about real estate.”
If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I’d probably be in retirement right now. Neither here nor there, being very clear on understanding that they are not experts in this industry by any means. You can do your very best to explain it and explain what you are looking for, and then they will turn around and do their very best to put together the stations that they believe should fit you.
The problem there is that there are a lot of people that have some preconceived notions or even misconceptions in general around real estate investing or even wholesaling specifically. A lot of people have, in one sense, maybe the wrong idea. Sometimes if you are talking to someone, you can tell. You are like, “No. That’s not quite it.”
That will hurt you if the case, especially with the sales rep that you are dealing with. Their limited knowledge is what they are going to be applying to help you select a station. Once you pay for a station, it turns out it was a bad selection because they are not clear on your target audience. They have no real idea trying to pin down your target audience and then trying to figure out how to best position that on their actual station. They are trying to get your business.
Approach stations with a buying strategy based on their actual data because all stations will differ in competition.
In one sense, some of the stations they may select for you were not ever going to benefit you, but they weren’t going to tell you that. They are not going to say, “I’m so sorry. Out of the four stations that I have underneath my umbrella, none of them fit your target audience. You should probably take your business somewhere else.”
Absolutely not. A sales representative like, “What? No. Absolutely. We can make this work. Here’s the best station I think that is going to work out for you.” It takes months down the line to realize that it was a bad buyer or a bad selection. By then, you are going to approach the sales rep and say, “The station didn’t produce well.” They are not going to give you a refund. You get an agreement where you were going to pay a certain amount of price to run on that station and you’ve already handed your money over and pay them. They are going to say, “I’m so sorry that didn’t work out for you. I’m sorry to hear about that.”
They are not going to take any responsibility for it. If anything, I find that they will use that as an opportunity to blame you for your lack of production. They will say, “Are you sure you had everything up and running the way you said? Were your sales team handling everything the way they are supposed to?” They are not going to take responsibility for the fact that they gave you a poor selection.
They have very limited knowledge of this industry overall. Let alone trying to help you pinpoint where you should be on a target audience. Station selection is incredibly important to getting radio set up, but it was one piece of it, but it is a piece that will hurt you like you can get hurt on price in the wrong products and services. Getting on the wrong station is going to be a bad move for you.
There are homeowners everywhere. Believe it or not, there are some stations that serve more renters than they do actual homeowners. What are the types of homeowners that are there listening? I want to make sure we sort through all of those things. On top of that, there are multiple station options within one market, especially in defining a target audience.
You can have one type of target audience and find that same target audience, maybe across 6 or 7 different stations in your market. The sales rep may not tell you that initially or be very honest that you probably could have gone somewhere else. That somewhere else, maybe a station that was a little less competitive and therefore might even have been a little less expensive for you. A sales rep is not going to tell you that right off the bat.
In approaching station selection, I like to make sure that we look at the entire market of every single option because there are plenty of options in your market. I like to make sure that we always pinpoint what’s what, who’s who and find what’s best for you. Just because it is a great station out there, it doesn’t mean that you need to pay that price for that station because we might be able to find that target audience somewhere else and it probably picks it up a little bit more cheaply. Those are three of the most major ways that it can be taken advantage of. That price product, service and station selections, as you are an investor looking to get radio ads up and running for the first time, potentially. I wanted to share that with you guys.
It comes up occasionally that a student is a little bummed out. I’d hate for anyone out there to be sitting there and going, “Maybe I tried it previously and it didn’t work and I never want to try it again.” Do not allow your bad experience with a bad sales rep and a bad deal to make you think that radio doesn’t work at all. There are over 200 radio markets across the United States.
It’s one of the least competitive marketing channels, especially with this industry. I’d hate for people to miss out on a great marketing channel because it ended up being a bad deal, put together a bad sales rep. You got a bad egg who put together a bad deal. Hopefully, this was a bit more helpful for you guys, just so that you have it in your back pocket and have a much better understanding of what you are looking at potentially.
As usual, if you do have any questions or if you are still considering the REI Radio 2.0 Program, if it is up your alley and something you think may be a good fit for your business or maybe you want to fill it out, please feel free to go over to the website and book a call at WholesalingInc.com/radio. We are always happy to answer any questions that you may have that doesn’t hurt. I will catch you guys on the next episode.
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About Grace Mills
Grace Mills is the coach of REI Radio. She has worked side by side with Chris Arnold during the initial program roll out, coaching & fulfilling student needs. For almost 8 years she’s managed and directed all marketing channels and split tested every element of Radio to help investors set up Radio in any market they choose. She has worked with investors & agents all over the United States and has helped many investors make thousands of dollars using Radio.