There are many lessons to be learned from Tom Brady about nutrition, self-belief, poise, and leadership. But one of the best traits I think he possesses is mental toughness.
And we can all use a checkup from the neck up in that department about now. How mentally tough are you? If you haven’t stuck with the plan you established for yourself on January 1 to make more money, use these pointers as motivation to get back on track. Finding new business, renewing old business, or upselling current clients are the same as exercising, eliminating alcohol and sweets. It’s never too late and never look back.
JUST DO IT.
The book, TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance contains four of Brady’s tricks for staying mentally tough. Brady writes, “the right mindset and attitude give us opportunities to do the best we can and realize the potential that’s in every one of us.” So lets max out our potential and get to work on improving our sports radio performance.
1)BE BRUTALLY HONEST WITH YOURSELF
Ask yourself your strengths and weaknesses in selling radio. Are you a good closer? Do you need help finding new clients to call on? Is your referral game up to par? How are you at digital terms and strategies? Figure it out and attack it.
Brady doesn’t dwell on his weaknesses instead he targets his deficiencies. One of the first things he said after the Super Bowl was that he wanted to work on his speed this offseason. If a 43-year-old QB can ‘work’ on his speed can’t we all improve our cold calling skills? Take Brady’s ‘will-over-skill’ mindset and practice, read and discuss with others what you want to improve and you will be amazed at how the results will follow.
Go back and remember what it was like when you first started selling and you wanted to be like the #1 biller. You had excitement, purpose and an openness to learn. You can recapture that enthusiasm. Apply that mindset to improving your deficiencies and let the good times roll.
2) TREAT PRACTICE LIKE A GAME
Brady uses practice to gain the respect of coaches and teammates. He believes that “if I don’t there’s no way the coaches will let me play”. Start participating in sales meetings. Get together with other reps to role play new proposals. Volunteer for bigger learning projects with your sales manager and offer to share with the group what you learned.
Maybe other reps will want to do more team selling with you or managers will feel more confident giving you some larger accounts or agencies because they have confidence in your ability. Be in competition with yourself to grow and learn.
3) GIVE YOUR BRAIN A WORKOUT
“If you want to perform at the highest level, you have to prepare at the highest level mentally,” Brady said in the new Facebook Watch documentary Tom vs. Time. Brady asks, “does it matter what you eat if your mindset is negative or angry or if you have poor self-esteem?” You are what you think!
Get some index cards and write down digital or social media measurement terms on one side with definitions on the back, or positive affirmations that you repeat. Review them alone or practice with your wife and kids. Also, create a regular sleep routine. If it works for you, rinse and repeat.
I am an early riser, so I need to be in bed earlier than most. Just aim to be awake for 15-16 hours day and realize that anything over that and you should be asleep. Who cares if you wake up at 8 am if you stay up till midnight? I wake up at 5 am daily and fall asleep by 9 pm often. I maintain that if you are as productive from 9 pm to midnight as others are from 5 am to 8 am, then go for it. I just think attacking important exercise or work projects when you are fresh from 8 hours of sleep is a lot easier than doing it after you have already been awake for 12 hours.
If you are a night owl, examine what you are doing and if it helps you meet your goals. Brady has his brain trained to expect morning workouts and work projects. It suits him. Brady uses cognitive training or neural priming. You may want to study that more.
4) USE FAILURE TO AUGMENT YOUR EFFORT
Brady says the amount of effort he puts into a game matters more than the outcome. He says if he doesn’t play his best, he reminds himself he should play better and work harder. We can learn from our sales mistakes and try to not repeat them. Sometimes its paperwork issues or sloppy proposal writing. These are correctable mistakes. The key is to learn from those mistakes and move on.
“I found that challenges bring out the best in me, today I think back on them as gifts. I fought hard to get to where I am today, which means I know what it means to fight hard,” Brady said. “When you’re in a Super Bowl game and your team is three touchdowns down and the clock is running, mental toughness is what makes the difference at the end.”
With the pandemic raging on and our billing in decline maybe we need more mental toughness to end up winning the game of 2021.
Asking The Right Questions Helps Create Interesting Content
Asking questions that can get a subject to talk about their feelings is a much better way to get an interesting answer.
When ESPN’s Mike Greenberg interviewed Paolo Banchero in the lead-up to the NBA lottery on Tuesday, he asked what I’ve concluded is the single most maddening question that can be asked of any athlete preparing for any draft.
“Why do you believe you should be No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft?” Greenberg said.
Before I point out exactly why I have such a visceral reaction to such a harmless question, I want to point out the positives because Greenberg’s question avoids some of the most common pitfalls:
1) It is an actual question. That’s not as automatic as you think given the number of poor souls who are handed a microphone and say to their subject, “Talk about (whatever issue they want a quote or a sound bite on).” This is the mark of an amateur, creating the opening for an uncooperative subject to slam the door by saying, “What do you want me to say?”
2) Greenberg’s question can not be answered with a yes or a no. Questions that start with the word “Can you …” or “Did you …” may sound like they’re tough questions for the subject, but they’re actually fairly easy if the subject wants to offer an answer. Now, most interview subjects won’t take that one-word exit, but some will in a touchy situation.
The problem with Greenberg’s question has to do with the result. Why do we ask questions of the athletes we cover? Seriously. That’s not rhetorical. What’s the goal? It’s to get interesting answers. At least that’s the hope whether it’s for a quote that will be included in a story, a sound bite to be replayed later or — like in this situation — during an interview that is airing live. The question should be engineered to elicit interesting content, and there was very little chance that the question Greenberg asked Banchero was going to produce anything close to that.
I know that because I have heard some version of this question asked hundreds of times. That’s not an exaggeration. I attended the NFL scouting combine annually for a number of years, and if a player wasn’t asked why he should be the first overall pick, he’d get asked why he should be a first-round pick or why he should be one of the first players chosen at his position. Never — in all that time — have I ever heard what would be considered an interesting or informative answer. In my experience, players tend to talk in incredibly general terms about their own abilities and then seek to compliment their peers in an effort to avoid coming off as cocky.
Here’s how Banchero answered Greenberg’s question: “Yeah, thank you all for having me, first off., I feel like I’m the number one pick in the draft because I’m the best overall player. I feel like I check all the boxes whether it’s being a great teammate, being the star player or doing whatever the coach needs. I’ve been a winner my whole life. Won everywhere I’ve went, and when I get to the NBA, that’s going to be the same goal for me. So just combining all those things, and knowing what I have to work on to be better is a formula for me.”
There’s nothing wrong with answer just as there was nothing wrong with the question. It’s just that both are really, really forgettable. ESPN did put a clip on YouTube with the headline “Paolo Banchero: I’m the best overall player in the NBA Draft | NBA Countdown” but I think I’m the only who will remember it and that’s only because I’m flapping my arms and squawking not because there was anything bad per se, but because there was nothing really good, either.
First of all, I’m not sure why it matters if Banchero thinks he should be the number one overall pick. He’s not going to be making that decision. The team that holds the top draft pick — in this case Orlando — is. Here’s a much better question: “How important is it for you to be the number one overall pick?” This would actually give an idea of the stakes for Banchero. What does this actually mean to him? Asking him why he should go number one is asking Banchero to tell us how others should see him. Asking Banchero how important it would be go number one is asking him to tell us about his feelings, something that’s much more likely to produce an interesting answer.
The point here isn’t to question Greenberg’s overall competence because I don’t. He’s as versatile a host as there is in the game, and anyone else in the industry has something to learn from the way he teases ahead to content. What I want to point out not just how we fail to maximize opportunities to generate interesting content, but why. Interviews are a staple of the sports-media industry. We rely on these interviews as both primary content that will be consumed directly, and as the genesis for our own opinions and reaction yet for all that importance we spend very little time thinking about the kind of answer this question is likely to produce.
The Client Just Said YES, Now What?
We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES.
One of the most significant moments in radio sales is when the client agrees to your proposal and says YES. But, when they do say YES, do you know what’s next? We better have an answer!
We spend a lot of time getting ready for clients with research, spec spots (thank you, radio sales trainer Chris Lytle-go to 22:30), proposals, and meetings. All of our focus is on getting the client to say YES. We should spend as much time on what we will do after the client says YES. For example, getting newer sales reps to sell annual advertising contracts would be ideal for building a list. They would have less pressure, more job security, and could spend more time making the advertising work for their clients. But, since most newer reps don’t know the business yet, they don’t bite off more than they can chew and sell a package of the month.
When a client says yes to the weight loss promotion, it’s pretty clear how to write the ads, what the promos will say, etc. BUT, if a newer sales rep starts selling annual contracts to a direct local client who needs a resource, how will that work? Let’s make sure we paint the picture right upfront. More experienced reps know that they need to assume the client will say YES to the weight loss promo and have a plan accordingly.
They have the next steps to building copy and promos, a credit app or credit card payment form, and any other detail the client must provide. But, when we ask a direct local client for an annual advertising contract, watch out! You have just made a partnership. Why not lay out, upfront, what that will look like. And I understand not every local client needs the same level of service.
A car dealer has the factories pushing quarterly promotions, agencies producing ads, and in-house marketing directors pulling it all together sometimes. Other clients need your help in promotions, copywriting, or idea generation. Make a plan upfront with your client about when you will meet to discuss the next quarter’s ad program. Include your station’s promotions or inventory for football and basketball season, a summer NTR event, digital testimonials with on-air talent, etc., in your annual proposal. Go out as far as you can and show what you have to offer to the client and how you can execute it. This exercise is good for you and, once mastered, guides the client on how you will take care of them after the sale. It also opens your eyes to what it takes to have a successful client partnership inside and outside the station.
Media Noise – Episode 74
This week, Demetri is joined by Ian Casselberry and Ryan Brown. Demetri talks about the NBA Draft getting an ABC simulcast, Ian talks about Patrick Beverley’s breakout week on TV, and Ryan reminds us that Tom Brady may be the star, but Kevin Burkhardt is the story we shouldn’t forget.