This One Gram Parsons Lyric Could Turn Your Sales Career Around

It's really a great song and one you should probably give a listen to if you haven't in a while – or maybe even ever. You're probably wondering what this has to do with radio sales – or, heck, any sort of sales in general.  Well, it's because of the lyric in the song that says the following...

Parsons’ signature song, Return of the Grievous Angel, is about a young man seeking answers in life.  So, he follows Horace Greeley’s advice and goes “out west to grow up with the country.”

The song tells about his adventures out with “the truckers and the kickers and the cowboy angels,” and an American West that has “a good saloon in every single town.”

Elvis even makes a guest appearance.

The only problem is that no matter where he goes, he finds that all roads lead back to the girl in the calico bonnet waiting for him at home. (“20,000 road I went down, down, down, and they all led me straight back home to you.”)

It’s really a great song and one you should probably give a listen to if you haven’t in a while – or maybe even ever.  (For an added bonus, you can check out the versions by Ryan Adams and Lucinda Williams.)

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with radio sales – or, heck, any sort of sales in general.  Well, it’s because of the lyric in the song that says the following:

“… the man on the radio won’t leave me alone. He wants to take my money for something that I’ve never been shown.”

It’s a pretty astute bit of cultural commentary and disillusionment summarized in just a few words, but it packs a powerful punch – especially if you’re in the game of sales.

Here’s the takeaway…

No matter what we’re selling, from a service to a physical product to air time or digital space, we’re always only selling a promise.

We’re selling the promise of what the product or the service or the air time will give to our prospects.  In exchange, however, we’re asking them for something very tangible and very real – their hard earned cash.

They know how valuable that money is.  They’re the ones who had to work, toil, and sweat to get it.

And they know what it can do for them in the here and now.  They know what bills it can pay, what needs it can meet, and what comfort it can buy.

Once they let go of that money, however, it’s gone.

For you, on the other hand, if the promise of your product or service never materializes, you’re still ok.  After all… you’ve got their money!  For them, however, they have neither the money nor the promise.

Ironically, most sales people try to solve this problem by going back and asking for more money!

They tell the prospect something like,

“The ads haven’t had a chance to work yet!” 

“You’ve got to give it more time.” 

“If you stop now, you’re going to lose all the momentum you’ve gained.”

You might even tell them the story about the guy in Think and Grow Rich who gave up and stopped digging three feet away from one of the biggest veins of gold ever mined in the US.

All of that may be true, too, BUT at the end of the day, you’re still selling your prospect “something that he’s never been shown,” in exchange for his hard earned cash, and if it doesn’t work out again, you’ll still have the money, and he won’t have a thing.

So, as salespeople, what do we do about this?

1) Acknowedge that this is the way things are

Spoken or not, this fear of loss is one of the biggest objections and roadblocks that our prospects have – AND it’s one of the biggest reasons they don’t trust sales people.

2) Use this information to modify your approach

Know in your mind that you’re most likely talking to someone who’s remembering at least one very bad sales experience from their past.

If you know that going in, you’ll know that part of your job is to find ways to reassure them and at least get them to the point where you can have an honest conversation with you.

Do this by showing them case studies, reviews, and testimonials from people they can all relate to.  If they have time, schedule a visit to the radio station or remote broadcast events where they can meet some of the people they hear everyday behind the microphone.

3)  Get them a quick win

You don’t have to hit a home run in the first 24 hours, but help them get something – anything – to make them see a positive result for the money they’ve spent.

How do you do this?

If you read our previous articles on direct marketing, you can start by helping them craft a great offer.

Then, help them set up a lead capture page online — either on your site or theirs – that they can drive traffic to.

Next, drive that traffic!

Dip into the unused air time inventory or digital inventory or maybe even include a bonus spot or shout out to send people to their website.

Help them craft a drip campaign to turn those leads into prospects and, eventually, sales.

Show them the value in this.  Help them see how they can get a steady stream of enthusiastic leads that they can sell to over and over again, and your prospect will stay with you through thick and thin.

It all starts, however, with helping them overcome their fears by getting them that first quick win.

Pic designed by shayne_ch13 for Freepik.

Brent Hoodenpyle is a Texas-based digital marketing and sales specialist with over twenty years experience working with a wide range of companies to improve their digital stats and revenue.

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