Eliminate The Cold Call

The first step you have to take in building a successful partnership between community-minded business leaders and your radio ministry is a simple handshake.

It is very difficult to ask successfully for a donation to your ministry if you haven’t started building that relationship. Cold calls are fine, if you want to waste a lot of time and energy, but if you are like most underwriting representatives, you have plenty on your plate to take up any extra time you may have accumulated. Most Christian radio stations do not have the luxury of having a full-time underwriting director. Most are like you and must serve in other capacities within their ministry.

Time management is key and you have to make the most of your visits. So how can you secure those ‘warm leads’ that help you build a firm foundation for your radio ministry without wasting time?

One way would be to utilize one of the best sales tools you have at your disposal. That is your current longtime business donors. These are men and women who are already sold out on your ministry, your mission, and your vision for their community. These business leaders have a circle of friends with whom they worship, play, have business lunches and family outings with that may or may not know about your radio ministry.

On your next visit, ask them for three names in their circle of friends that might be willing to help move your ministry’s mission and vision forward. Three names, that’s all. Ask them if they would call ahead and get you past their gatekeeper. Or better yet, ask them if they would have lunch with you and their friend. While at lunch, let them do most of the talking, telling about your radio ministry and why it means so much to them and why they support it. You may only need to ask for a follow-up meeting where you can go over some opportunities with them.

Inside their office, take note of their surroundings…pictures, awards, favorite teams, things that can strike a conversation. You might even hit social media before your visit or read up on some of the latest trends in their business. Again, you don’t have to be the expert; they will do the talking and they will build that relationship your desire.

Eventually, you have to make ‘The Ask’. Make sure it is an ‘ask’ for a donation rather than a sales proposal. If you have done your job, those leaders will buy into your ministry, your mission and vision and are not donating for added traffic. That would be a by-product but not the sole (or soul) reason. Those that support you for the right reasons are those that will stay with you over the long haul.

As they grow their relationship with your ministry, make sure they have tickets to your events. Let them see the passion of 5,000-10,000+ of your listeners at a concert praising God and worshipping with others. Let them know they helped in creating and delivering that experience for their community to live passionately for Christ.

Dear Christian Radio,

1) When building a firm business foundation, Be Wise.
2) Listen. Count the words that are said when you listen to a donor.
3) Experience. Watch the story unfold with your donor at a concert or event.

 

Randy Pierce

Vice-President of Underwriting for PAR

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