How To Avoid the “Chicken Out” Syndrome

Selling Radio Direct with Pat Bryson

Last newsletter we talked about selling long-term. Part of the process of selling long-term is managing our clients’ expectations by teaching them what advertising CAN and CANNOT do at the time we sell them.  If we wait until later, when they don’t see immediate response and want to cancel, it sounds as though we are making excuses.  

Explaining the results UP FRONT puts us in the position of predicting the future.

 So, how many of you have sold an annual agreement (or longer) to a client and then had them call to cancel between 90 and 120 days?  The call usually goes something like this, “Sales Rep X, this advertising just isn’t working.  I’m not having anyone come in and say they heard it on your stations. I want to cancel.”

 Sound familiar? What has happened?  Your client is in what we call the “Chicken Out” period.  

It usually happens at 90 days, after they have been writing us cheques for 3 months, but their advertising hasn’t had time to ramp up sufficiently for them to see great results.  If we predict, up front, that this will happen, when it does, our credibility goes up.  If we were right about this, might we also be right that the client will like us a lot better in another 3 months?  Having this conversation with a client at the time of closing the sale has saved many annual agreements from being cancelled before they have had time to work properly.

Sometimes I’m a little slow. A year or so ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with a revelation: How many of our “packages” are three months? When I come to work for a station, most of the packages I see are just that, three months. This puts us in the position of trying to renew a client at the exact time they are the least psychologically willing to renew!  They are smack dab (that’s Oklahoman for “exactly”) in the middle of the “Chicken Out” period.

Lesson learned: PLEASE make your “packages” at least 6 months in length.  This will give your clients a fighting chance of seeing their results ramp up.  And, we are less likely to have another disappointed client say, “My radio advertising didn’t work.”


About The Author 

Pat Bryson is the founder of Bryson Broadcasting International, a consulting firm that works with radio stations around the world to increase revenue by raising the skill level of their sales staffs. Her client list spans from the United States to Canada, Europe and Central Asia.

Pat has spent her entire career creating a culture of over-achievement for her stations. She began her career in radio sales, becoming one of the highest billing sales people in her market. Her career advanced to General Sales Manager, and then to Market Manager. Since starting BBI 7 years ago, she has helped hundreds of radio stations to find, train and grow great quality sales people and managers.

Pat was the recipient of two prestigious educational fellowships from the Educational Foundation of the National Association of Broadcasters: a fellowship to the Executive Development Program and a fellowship to the Broadcast Leadership Training Program.

She publishes the Bryson Broadcasting International Newsletter twice monthly and is a contributor to Valerie Geller’s latest book, Beyond Powerful Radio: A Communicator’s Guide To The Internet Age.

You may contact Pat at [email protected] or visit her website at