Our Support Staff

by Scott Statham

What is it you want to do with your life? If you're doing it now as a Production Director, it's time to change that cynical attitude towards the sales staff.

Sure THEY think you're a second class citizen. Yes, THEY think you have no other purpose in life but to serve THEM. And yes, most of THEM do make far more money than most of us. But, (and it's a cute little but) could you or would you do what THEY do? As far as I can see, selling radio is just the same as selling insurance or water filtration systems. It's just another product. Whether we could or not, most of us wouldn't.

Between jobs, I sold twelve hundred dollar...wait, let's re-phrase that...I tried to sell one of those twelve hundred dollar vacuum cleaners. Please don't repeat that! I had moderate success selling perfume door to door for some national, "just like the original" rip-off outfit. All that did for me was improve my understanding of the word "soliciting." And I got to pay a Chicago cab driver forty bucks to return this drunk soul to his hotel during an oh so inspirational weekend conference.

I WILL NEVER sell anything I don't have a part in creating EVER again. (Yea, yea. Never, ever, shouldn't say that...blah, blah.) Obviously, as Production Directors, we do help to develop the ratings which help to sell our radio stations, but you get my point -- to most of us, being a salesperson would rival an exploratory anal exam!!

So, let's say, for the most part, you're doing what you want with your life. Most of what we do as Production Directors is use our brain. We write and we produce. You, yes you, are the creative force which pays the salaries at your respective stations. It's time for you to be treated as such.

Your position as a Production Director is dependent upon your sales staff. So THEY are your support staff. It's THEIR job to help you do your job. It's THEIR job to go out and take the crap from clients. It's THEIR job to collect information and deliver it to you. Your sales staff serves you. Don't let them forget it.

With that in mind, treat THEM accordingly. Demand things be available to you when you want them. Let THEM know when you're disappointed in THEIR performance as your support staff. Remind THEM every time you cover THEIR butt. Handle THEM as THEY have tried to handle you in the past. Putting the blame on THEM for uncompleted work which THEY simply had to have will also go a long way toward retraining what you should now consider your support staff.

Some other ways to show your control of the sales-production relationship: Calmly define what THEY'VE done wrong in front of other sales people, or better still your GM. (The CALMLY part took me a while.) Remind THEM of what you want from THEM and when. This works best when THEY are in a group. Subconsciously, THEY may realize that each of THEM may have forty clients to service, but you've got forty times the number of people on your support team to service.

Personally I may not be making the money THEY do, but are THEY doing what THEY want with THEIR life? I am. 

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