Prospecting new business is paramount to the success of stations, and it’s the job of leadership to ensure the team doesn’t let it get pushed aside and forgotten. But finding new ways to motivate and challenge your team to be excited about doing it can be an art form.

When I was a station GSM, I always found it easier to motivate and get the job done if I could inspire a little fun and friendly competition. Here’s a creative idea we used that got both sellers and management involved in the process.

  • Name it, own it, schedule it: we called ours “Wealthy Wednesdays.”  Whether it’s Money Time Mondays or Wealthy Wednesdays, every week set aside time and expectations for new business prospecting sessions with your team.
  • If the allotted time is 2-3 hours, the entire station needs to know. No traffic, promotions, or other interruptions!
  • Once you’ve set your plan, change things up each week or month to keep energy high. An example of how Wealthy Wednesdays might look:
    1. Everyone hits the phones with a vetted list of prospects for a particular promotion, program or initiative. A physical or virtual tracker is kept up-to-date on appointments secured.
    2. When it makes sense for your market, everyone hits the streets to get as many key decision-makers’ business cards as possible. If an appointment is made, that’s cause for a planned celebration.
    3. Entire team in the war room for prospecting calls. Before the meeting, discuss the leads and set goals. During this session, managers—including the GM—participate (appointments booked by managers are given out to the top producers for that session). As a group activity, it shows that managers are willing to work for a shared goal and it allows newbies to hear the veterans. Everyone steps up their game because the whole team can hear the conversations.
    4. “2 by 2” … match two sellers up. This initiates both competition and teamwork. Each pair has a plan for whom they’re going to call on and how they will help each other to win the contest.
  • Varying the sessions challenges everyone from newbies to veterans, and gives them the chance to find their knack in prospecting and hone their skills in connecting quickly with potential advertisers.
  • Remember, in high-performing sales teams, no one is exempt. Everyone plays and is expected to pull the weight of their role. Not all roles are equal, but all are valuable. No one “outgrows” having to do new business. With GM, DOS’s and Line Managers held accountable for new business … why would an experienced seller not be asked to contribute?

Celebrate BIG: sales staffs are being pulled in more directions than ever, so celebrating and rewarding efforts, outcomes and wins is critical to keeping morale high.

What’s a win? Most overall appointments, most meetings set with an owner, most diagnosis calls conducted, most presentations given—all are important. Every step is about moving the needle closer to a sale.

As we re-emerge in 2021, finding and creating fun and unique ways to make sure new business is done consistently is worth the effort. Enjoy the ride.

Margie Chilson is a Senior Marketing Consultant for JDA.media.

Her vast experience includes nearly three decades in broadcast television and digital sales marketing, working in and with multiple markets and affiliations including Dallas-Fort Worth at WFAA, Denver at KUSA-KTVD, KMGH, KWGN, and as a team manager at Millennium Television Sales.

Margie’s years as a local seller were award-winning and inspiration for her jump to JDA.media. She exceeded new business and digital goals on a consistent basis at Belo Corp., Scripps, Tribune, and TEGNA Inc. stations. A true innovator, Margie pioneered job-sharing positions in Dallas and Denver, balancing hectic work schedules and family, paving the way for working parents with careers in media sales.

Margie is well known and respected for her diligence, drive, and new business results. Due to her years in the business as an account executive and sales leader, she knows the station environment well and can easily relate to local sellers as well as the most senior managers.

An alum of Oklahoma State University who graduated with Honors in Journalism Advertising, Margie boasts an outstanding track record of helping business owners strategically grow their revenue through broadcast, streaming and digital solutions.

Margie and her husband Tim have been married for 23 years. The couple and their two children live in Littleton, CO, a suburb of Denver. Their son, Ryan, attends the University of Colorado Boulder, and their daughter, Mary, is in high school.  In their spare time, the Chilsons enjoy travel, hiking in the picturesque Rocky Mountains, cooking, watching movies, and cheering on their kids in various sporting events.