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Hanging on to Sales Stars

All broadcasters face the challenge of hiring and then retaining sales talent in a difficult economy.

All broadcasters face the challenge of hiring and then retaining sales talent in a difficult economy. Laurie Kahn, president, Media Staffing Network, presents today’s session “Great Skills to Find — and Keep — Great People,” 2:15–3:15 p.m.

The session details ways for your company to become an employer of choice and hang onto the selling stars already on your team.

In just about every aspect of the radio business, a plan needs to be in place in order for an organization to be successful, Kahn said. That includes a recruitment plan to help overcome the current hiring shortage of quality sales people.

Kahn is a professional recruiter whose firm helps broadcasters build successful and innovative staffs to sell today’s multi-line radio business. The convergence of a radio station’s Web presence, HD2 channels and other nontraditional revenue opportunities presents challenges when recruiting trained professional sales people.

“There is always a shortage of quality sales talent. Radio is feeling it more now due to more [baby] boomers retiring and all other industries needing sales talent. The compensation model in radio just is not as attractive as what other industries offer when starting,” Kahn said.

Radio sales managers must be proactive when hiring sales talent, Kahn said.

“Establishing a recruitment budget is important. Start selling your opportunities and make sure applicants understand the job before hiring,” Kahn said.

Kahn, whose firm specializes in sales recruitment and custom searches for sales and management positions across all media, said ideal sales candidates can come from many different industries.

“Qualified people come from marketing companies, if they have cold-calling experience. Teachers and insurance sales people, too. Really any outside sales job is a good qualifier,” Kahn said.

Kahn also said, “Managers must be willing to take the time to train those coming in from outside the industry.”

Once selling talent are trained and successful, retaining those key employees should be a top priority for broadcasters, she added.

“You retain talent by listening to needs and addressing them. It’s difficult keeping a whole team happy, but offering flexible schedules for top talent is huge,” said Kahn.