Selling Radio Direct with Pat Bryson

My “I” Controls My “R”

We’ve all had a salesperson who has excellent sales skills, seems to enjoy selling and yet consistently underperforms.  At least, they underperform in OUR estimation.  But they are performing within their comfort zone.  They are performing as they see themselves being able to perform.

The good news and the bad news is that people will perform only to the level that they see themselves performing. If their level of expectation is too low, they may never reach their true potential as mature salespeople.  Their “role” as a salesperson has been modified to fit their “identity” as a person.

The reason that so much sales training fails is that it focuses only on technical sales skills and does not address the identity of the person who is being taught.  Technical sales skills deal with behavior.  Belief drives behavior. People will adjust their behavior to operate in their comfort zone based on their identity.

As managers, we must “hire in” to people with strong identities.  If you ask someone to rate himself (his identity) on a scale of 1-10, 10 being highest, winners will consistently rate themselves as 7 or above.  The “at leasters” will rate themselves between 3 and 7.  Losers will rate themselves 3 or below.

People require “strokes”.  “Conditional strokes” are based on role behavior.  “Unconditional strokes” are based on the person’s identity.  We as managers can help to raise someone’s identity by giving him unconditional strokes.

We should also manage the “I” side.  Think of your person as wearing a scuba suit.  You have the suit (R), and the person inside it (I).   When we need to correct “R” behavior, we should make sure we stop occasionally to check on how the “I” side is doing.  “This is an “R” side conversation.  If you start feeling it on your “I” side, stop me.”  Direct your corrections to the “R” side.

The easiest way to improve “R” side performance is to give “I” strokes.  When a person has a strong Identity, he can afford to risk failures in his role as a salesperson.  He can handle the rejection that comes with the job.

Simply correcting behavior will not solve the underlying problem of a poor identity.  People will adjust their behavior to operate in their comfort zone based on how they see themselves.   Does your current sales training address both the “Role” and the “Identity” of your sales staff?

Remember, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.  There is a new way to look at sales success!


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

Read more Selling Radio with Pat Bryson here and here.

PIc: Pat Bryson with radioinfo’s Steve Ahern at Radioidays Europe.