If your station is just starting off in sales I highly recommend you start with a part-time sales person rather than jump into a full-time position. Starting with a smaller amount of hours like this increases their chance of success, and will help you to break even on your investment much faster than if you hire someone full-time. Starting with a part time sales person also makes it possible for a lot more radio stations to consider getting started with radio sales, as a part-time salesperson’s retainer works out to a cost a bit over $2,000 per month.
Their peak selling time will be 9am-1pm Monday to Friday, which equates to 20 hours a week. The hours of 9am-1pm should be non-negotiable, as the people being contacted are generally more likely to say yes before midday (less time for bad experiences to put them in a negative mood).
You’ll also find greater success by having your sales person work Monday to Friday (5 days a week) because if say for instance they only work Monday to Wednesday and they find a warm prospect on a Wednesday afternoon, by the time the sales person resumes work again on Monday the sales lead will have cooled on the idea of purchasing your air time and you’ll lose the sales. Having a sales person available every business day makes it possible for them to follow up sooner which often means the difference between receiving or losing the sale.
I’ve found that, when you hire the right person, you can often get the sales person paying for themselves within the first 30 days, which is obviously your ideal, although if your station doesn’t have a strong brand already this will take longer.
It’s worth keeping a realistic view of how fast your sales will take to get going. If your station has sold sponsorship in the past and is coming back after a hiatus, then you’ll have existing client lists and networks which will be very valuable for you, and ultimately speed things up.
If your station has not done any sales in the past and you have no client list at all, then expect it to take between three and six months to develop momentum, and, at a rough cost of $2,000 per month, could cost you between $6,000 and $12,000 before you’re seeing any return on your investment.
Be encouraged, though. This time investing in building sales clients and contacts is worth it, and before long you’ll have an increased revenue with which you can significantly increase the sustainability of your station.