Sales advice: What the consumer really wants to hear from your client

Ask good questions, get good answers. Upcoming Radio Conference speaker Paul Weyland writes about radio sales for radioinfo.


As a responsible radio or TV account executive, part of your job is to act as an interpreter between your local direct client and his potential customers.  So, when gathering information to make a commercial, don’t just take what the client gives you and leave.  Ask questions.  When the client tells you mention in the commercial that the business is family owned and operated, find out what that specifically means to viewers or listeners.  When the client says, “We have the best service in town,” find out what that actually means to consumers.  Does the client have some specific examples for you?  You might get an answer that sets your client apart from all of his competitors.

I asked a jeweler what “best service” really meant and he mentioned that he sizes engagement rings and wedding sets in the same day. “I know she does not want to wait a week to get that ring back on her finger,” he said.  That was the basis for an entire commercial. He also mentioned, “Especially in this economy, we are very mindful of a customer’s budget. If the customer says their budget is $1,000, we never try to upsell them.” That became the basis for another commercial.

A local truck rental company advertised that people should rent from them because they’re “locally owned and operated”. “But what does that mean for the consumer,” I asked.  The manager thought about that and said, “We know what you’re going to be using our trucks for, so we’re a little more lenient regarding minor damage, like scratching the beds, than our national competitors.”  He also told me that unlike his competition, he rents to 18 year olds with valid drivers licenses. And, you don’t need a credit card to rent from his company. All of these points make great commercials, differentiating him from his competitors. He also said, “Doing business with us is like owning 50 different vehicles…you have access to them when you need them, but you don’t have to pay insurance on them.”

The owner of a garden supply store in the Midwest is concerned that people will buy from her national discount competitors without even thinking about visiting her first. When I asked her how I as a customer would benefit from shopping with her, she said, “Because we’re family owned and operated.” When I pressed further she said, “We’re from here and we know what grows here and what doesn’t.  Our soil is different and we have extreme weather conditions. We don’t sell people things that don’t grow in Southwestern Michigan.”  There is a great commercial there.  She also said, “We have lots of parking right here at the doorstep and we carry your purchases to your vehicle and load them up for you so you don’t have to do it yourself.”

The owner of a chain of convenience stores told me that people like her stores because they are family owned and operated.  When I asked her to explain what that meant to potential customers, she said, “Well, that means that we have the cleanest rest rooms you’re ever going to see in a convenience store.” Okay, so I inspected her men’s room. I was astounded. It looked like the bathroom in a model home. Not only was it spotless, it was beautifully decorated. “Our employees use the same restroom as our customers, so we like to keep them nice.” Nice? She wasn’t kidding. Her restrooms were so nice you would likely go back to the car and tell somebody else, “You have GOT to see their restroom, Wow!”  There is a differentiating commercial in that.

I visited a furniture store in Wisconsin.  You guessed it…they wanted to be known for being family owned and operated. I began asking questions. The husband and wife opened right up and told me that when they buy, they are thinking about their local customers at home. “We look for high-quality furniture at fair prices that feels as good as it looks. We won’t buy a couch until we’ve personally tested it to make sure it’s nap-worthy.”

When asked what good service meant to a customer, he told me, “It means that I live here in this town. We’re not one of those shady companies that come in from out of town after a storm blows through. We have a reputation to protect. We know you we do good work and we do it quickly because we know you don’t want us here all week. If you don’t need an entire new roof, we don’t try to sell you one. We’re very mindful of picking up after ourselves. And we even use magnets to make sure we don’t leave nails that you’ll mow over later.” 

When you ask good questions, you get good answers. Dig around and help your clients show consumers why it really is in their best interest to shop locally.


Paul Weyland is locally owned and operated.  He helps broadcast stations increase their local direct revenues. His new book “Think like an Adman, Sell like a Madman” is now available at and on Amazon.  You can reach Paul at 512 236 1222 or at [email protected]


Paul has also contributed a second article about sales. Watch for it on radioinfo next week.