Cold Calling For Radio Sales

Pre-Call Planning

Article Two

In the previous article, I told you that there are only two goals for a cold call.  

  • To make an appointment
  • To gather information

Consider the following opening for a cold call that I might make:

Hi Steve, It’s Glen from Commercials By The Dozen.  We provide commercial production services, script writing and sales training to radio stations like yours. I’d like to take fifteen minutes of your time and tell you what we do and show you how we are a great fit for your radio station.  I am scheduling appointments for next week. Can we meet either Thursday for Friday morning?

I’d like to hear what your initial impressions were of this opening cold-call statement in the comments below this article.  

What are the mental images that this cold call creates in the prospect’s mind?  

It is clear that this call was made to sell something.  Not to help. If I used that script, I would identify myself as a slimy salesperson who was making self-serving phone calls until I found some sucker who didn’t know how to say “no.”  Since radio managers often get into their positions due to their common sense and mental fortitude, I don’t stand a chance in outsmarting one into accidentally using our service.

There’s a principle that I have not-so-cleverly named the So What Principle.  The So What Principle requires you to consider what you’re saying from the prospect’s position and ask, “So what?”  If what you’ve said requires further explanation as to why it’s relevant to the prospect, then you need to revise your statements.  Let’s break down my opening lines:

Hi Steve, it’s Glen from Commercials By The Dozen.  

The first thing to notice is that I called Steve, Steve.  Do I know, with certainty, that he goes by Steve? Does he prefer Steven?  Does he prefer to be called Mr. Johnson? If he doesn’t prefer Steve, I’ve just made a faux pas that has already told the prospect that I don’t really know much about him, his business, his needs, his situation, his strengths or his weaknesses.  

We provide commercial production services, script writing and sales training to radio stations like yours.  

Let’s apply the So What Principle.  Clearly, there is a lot of room for expansion on this.  My prospect should ask so what?  Because I’ve said nothing to differentiate myself from any of the other services offering similar products that have called him this week. I’ve told my prospect about me and about what I do, but how does it apply to him?  To this point, I’ve left him guessing.  I would expect my prospect to say “we produce everything in-house” and hang up.

I’d like to take fifteen minutes of your time and tell you what we do and show you how we are a great fit for your radio station.  

Where do I start on this sentence?  Firstly, I’d like to take… I’ve been on the phone with this gentleman for 6 seconds and I’m already suggesting that I take something?  I follow this grab for his time with a completely selfish request to tell you what we do.  This poor station manager has sales calls to make, staff to manage, collection calls to make, promotions to plan, a Production Manager who is passive-aggressively being inefficient for reasons that are uncommunicated, not to mention the dozens of other things that are currently on his plate, and I’m asking him for fifteen minutes so I can tell him what we do?  Again, he should hang up now, if he hasn’t already. …show you how we are a great fit for your station.  How do I know we’re a great fit for his station?  Do I know anything about his radio station?  If so, I haven’t demonstrated that to him.  If I had applied the So What Principle I could clearly see that I haven’t demonstrated why our service is a great fit for his station.

I am scheduling appointments for next week.

Is my prospect supposed to be happy about that?  Big deal. I haven’t said anything so far that will get him interested enough to care about anything I’ve said much less where I am on my calendar.

Can we meet either Thursday for Friday morning?

Perhaps you’ve heard that giving the prospect two choices of appointments is a good thing, they can simply agree to one, and you’re home free.  That may be true if your prospect had been sold on the idea of an appointment. But, in this example, I haven’t accomplished that. There is no reason for my prospect to agree to a meeting.

Now consider this opening statement:

Hi Steven, this is Glen from Commercials By The Dozen.  I was talking to Jake, one of your account reps, and he was telling me that he has trouble getting commercials on the air as quickly as he’d like.  He said that sometimes he has customers who are ready to run ads, but the production department takes so long to get them done that he’s lost out on the buy.  I know this is a temporary problem because you’re short staffed right now. We help a lot of radio stations in situations like this with their commercial production.  In fact, we average about an 8-hour turn-around from the time we get your script to the time you’ve got a completed commercial ready to air. I know I’ve interrupted you, so I’d like to schedule a video call where we can talk more and see if we can get you over this hump.  

What are the mental images created in the mind of the prospect during this call?  

Here’s what I was able to do with that call.  

I used Steven’s name.  He doesn’t like to be called Steve, nor does he like to be called Mr. Johnson.  I obtained this information prior to calling.

I talk about Jake.  This gives me credibility.  I’ve already researched his company to find out if my services would be helpful to him.

I knew that Jake was an account rep that had trouble getting ads on the air as quickly as he’d like.  Certainly, Steven knows this too.

I mention the staffing shortage in the production department.  In his case, it’s a temporary problem so I offer a temporary solution.

I also acknowledge that I’ve interrupted him.  I did this to overcome his objection before he has a chance to voice it.  Of course he doesn’t have time now. Of course he was in the middle of something else.  But, if my research was accurate, and I know that it was, I am certain that our service is going to be a benefit for his station.  

Why a video call?  I strongly prefer to not sell on the telephone.  Communication is very multidimensional and I would like to be able to have access to the non-verbal forms of communication too.  

The intention, of course, of my call was to tell the station manager that I can help him solve a problem that the radio station was having.  Not to sell him something.  I didn’t call to talk about me.  I didn’t call to talk about my service.  I called because I genuinely believe that our production service would help his station through a problem he was having.  During our video call, I might also discover other needs that his station has that we may be able to help with.

Your Opening Statement

What do you say when you make a cold call?  Is it about you or is it about your prospect?  Leave a comment below.

Is what you’re saying to prospects all about you or all about them?

This kind of pre-call planning takes effort, research, social engineering and the genuine desire to help, not sell.

By adopting a philosophy of selling that focuses on service, you will begin to better understand what your prospect needs and how you are able to help.


No doubt you have heard the expression, “You never have a second chance to make a good first impression.”  That phrase should be ever-present in your thoughts as you prepare to make cold calls. Prepare, prepare, prepare…as long as you aren’t paralyzed by your preparation to the point of procrastination.

The desire to be perfect is one of the main causes of call reluctance and can be overcome with a simple sheet of paper.

We’ll cover the causes of call reluctance and the how to overcome the perfection problem in our next article.


    Glen Pavlovich

    Glen Pavlovich

    Glen Pavlovich, the founder of Pavlovich Marketing began his career in advertising and marketing in 1989 with a career in radio. Immediately his study of markets, messages, audience building, and the full marketing arsenal began.  More than 30 years later, he has continued to help businesses with their advertising campaigns, websites, e-commerce, and business management, all the while learning about new marketing vehicles, trends, target audiences, and message crafting.  He founded Pavlovich Marketing with one goal in mind:


    To help BroadcastersSmall Business Owners, and Entrepreneurs, regardless of industry, create marketing that isn’t just advertising. It’s the core of their business.  Marketing and advertising that is an investment, not an expense.


    We are very selective when we select clients with whom to work.  We want to be certain we will help them get results, not simply spend their money.



    In 2008 Glen opened Commercials By The Dozen to help radio stations make better radio.  We do this by providing affordable commercial production to radio stations, offering pre-written scripts, custom script writing, consulting, and sales training. Commercials By The Dozen maintains a generous stable of ongoing clients and continues to thrive.

    In 2019 Glen stepped back from his primary role at Commercials By The Dozen to concentrate on teaching and coaching the sales process to various industries.




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