Secret Sales Business

Greg Smith is an inductee into the Australian Radio Hall of Fame, and a Director of Radio Today.

In 1980 Aunard de Camp was desperate to get into radio sales & eager to learn everything he could about becoming a great sales person.

Now, 33 years later, he teaches, manages, mentors & recruits sales talent for Australia’s top media companies.

This is his story.

Greg: Tell us about your journey in sales and what you learnt along the way.

Aunard: I began my media career in radio in January 1980 with 4IP. It was in the early days of my career that I learned some valuable lessons that established the values which I have demonstrated throughout my career, and shaped how I view my business today. Following a redundancy, it was reflection on these fundamental lessons that contributed to the formation of my current venture, The Media People. So what have I learnt?

It’s day two of my job and I’m ready to get stuck into my new life in radio. However… I can’t get into the station because access has been blocked by a large and unwieldy tape machine. The frustrated morning jock had wheeled it out of the studio and pushed it down the stairs… The lesson isn’t just that technology has changed (you’d need a lot more to block the stairs these days), but rather: Keep your ego in check! You risk becoming a roadblock not only to others, but also to yourself.

Within the first weeks at 4IP, it felt like I’d only just had the chance to say hello before having to say goodbye to a number of people who were departing the business… The lesson: change is a reality in all workplaces, so take each day as it comes, work hard, and make each day count. But most importantly, I learnt that people are remembered for how they perform in their final days and how a business farewells people, irrespective of the circumstances, leaves a lasting impression on those who remain.

As the station ‘junior’, I was exposed to a bottom up view of the business. This meant anything from mail duties, to carting, through to filling the odd weekend mid dawn shift…The lessons: everybody makes a contribution to the business no matter how small it may first appear. Respect the different roles that people play, acknowledge them, say thank you, recognise talent and help it to grow. No matter what time of day on or off the air, what you say can make an impact. And we’ve all heard it before… be good to those you meet on the way up as you never know whom you’ll meet or need on the way back down.

A couple of years later, I moved into a direct sales role with limited ratings, a new FM104 and an established market of AM operators.

The lesson: no matter what the ratings, you still need to get out there and find a reason for your clients to buy. You’re only as good as your next win!

Following a brief departure from radio to work in publishing in Sydney, I returned to Brisbane to join 4BK in late 1989. The station became B105 FM and I remained with Austereo for just under 16 years. I held various sales management roles before being promoted to Sales Director of B105 and then Director of Sales of the merged B105 and Triple M. After radio I spent 4.5 years exploring the out of home sector at EYE and then APN Outdoor, where I was Sales Director-QLD until my departure in January 2011.

With a genuine interest in people and the impact they have on a business, coupled with personal experience and training over many years, I wanted to do something where I could put it all into practice. As a result, The Media People Recruitment was born.

Greg: What are the characteristics of a great sales person?

Aunard: They are empathetic, they get on the customer’s side of the desk and try to see the world through their eyes, they are persistent, never giving up, and they have the courage and commitment of their beliefs and ideas. They are passionate about what they are selling and truly believe they can make a difference to the business they work for and their clients. They are focussed and goal oriented, knowing what and how much they need to do to be successful, they know their numbers and measure their performance.

Greg: How different was selling radio compared to Eye (now ooh! media since takeover) & APN Outdoor?

Aunard: Interestingly, there were many similarities in the style of selling required for both. What I mean by that is as mediums, both radio and outdoor were commanding a sub 10% share of all advertising revenues. As a result, the attitude to the sell was similar. You need to be proactive in selling both to ensure that you are considered and relevant. The biggest difference is in the products and adjusting to that, radio had that immediacy where, if needed you could get a client on air quickly. Outdoor, being visual, has longer lead times to allow for production and posting. As a salesperson, whatever the medium, you need to understand what your clients’ needs are and how the product you are selling plays a role in meeting that need.

Greg: You must have come across some American sales consultants over the years. Who impressed you the most & why?

Aunard: I would have to say the most impressive was Steve Marx and the team from The Center for Sales Strategy. Why? They are incredibly well structured and detailed in what they deliver and cover everything from selling skills to management processes.

Greg: During your years in sales you would have experienced numerous highs & lows. What did you learn from that experience?

Aunard: I think my view of highs and lows was formed as a result of growing up observing my parents who were in small business. I have learnt that in both cases you need to take the time to review what it is that contributed to the outcome. In the case of a high, analyse, acknowledge what you will repeat and celebrate. In the case of a low, analyse, acknowledge what is you will not repeat then move on.

Greg: What advice can you give Sales Managers on how to get the best out of their sales team?

Aunard: This will come as no surprise, the first thing is to hire right, your decisions can have a major impact on the team dynamic, then get to know and understand each person, what it is that motivates them, focus on their strengths and manage the weaknesses, be consistent in decision making, communicate expectations clearly, provide structure and accountability, acknowledge good performance, be quick to address underperformance, take the lead and share your vision. Check in with your team on a regular basis as you would with your biggest client.

Greg: Let’s say you’ve got the chance of landing a big client for the first time. What would be your strategy to complete the sale?

Aunard: Every situation is quite different depending on the client. In some cases landing a big client can be a transactional sale where there is an immediate need and therefore quick turnaround or it could be a more strategic sale where the client has time to plan.

Either way make sure you understand their needs, identify where and how they spend their marketing budget, be prepared to float ideas to excite the client and gauge their response, put together a compelling proposal to support your ideas, look beyond the immediate need so as the client does not have to think about what they will do if the first phase is a success, present with passion and belief and ask for the business.

In the case of the strategic client the process is similar however you may need to dig deeper, establish trust and value in self and then my product. This can take time, so at all stages you need to have a next step confirmed with the client so as each meeting ends with confirmation of the next discussion, if you do your job well you are closing throughout the process and completion of the sale is a natural conclusion.

Greg: Tell us about The Media People Recruitment business you’ve set up. Was it something that was missing from Australia’s media landscape & what benefits do you provide to your clients?

Aunard: The Media People Recruitment is a business dedicated to servicing the media and advertising industry. Our methods are founded in fundamental values of respect for our clients and candidates. Having served a 30 year apprenticeship in the media it was the people element of the business I had enjoyed. I had also identified, during my time as a manager, that recruitment was a critical and ongoing part of the role and considerable time could be dedicated to the process, often to the detriment of other requirements.

Looking externally for assistance I also realised that there was an opportunity for a media/advertising specialist in the market. The real opportunity was to bring my own way and knowledge to the market. In starting out I wanted to be able to assist businesses, utilising my experience by providing a service that benefits their business through human capital with the real benefit being an improved business and in turn improved profits. Beyond recruitment the business has naturally evolved to include consultancy from mentoring to personal presentation.

Aunard’s contact details
m: 0418 743 105
e: [email protected]

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