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EPISODE 186: Entercom Sales Leader Dave Scopinich Explains His Passion for Radio and Why It’s the Most Powerful Audience Access Medium in the World
DAVE’S FINAL TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “I think too often we don’t step back and think about the fact that we’re helping people and it’s something that’s a very important part of a company’s existence and the American economy. We make a difference. Every day I get up and I’m excited to go and talk about these brands and help our clients grow their business.”
David Scopinich is the VP and Director of Sales at Entercom, Philadelphia.
Dave has been in radio advertising sales since 2007.
We also interviewed Ivy Savoy-Smith, Dave’s counterpart in Washington DC for this podcast.
Find Dave on LinkedIn!
Fred Diamond: Tell us what you sell today and tell us what excites you about that.
David Scopinich: I sell access to audience. I really harness the power of audio for clients who are looking to deliver a message to a targeted audience and increase their sale, product or services by using the power of audio. Primarily that’s through radio stations. Entercom in Philadelphia owns 6 radio stations and to give you an idea of the scale, our 6 radio stations reach 2.7 million listeners every single week so that’s more than half of the adult population in the greater Philadelphia region. When you think about Entercom across a national scale, we’re more than 235 radio stations reaching more than 170 million listeners.
Radio reaches 92% of all Americans every week, it’s the most powerful medium in the world, #1 reach. We sell access to audience via radio but also Radio.com which is our streaming audio platform, fastest growing app in streaming audio where you could find podcasts – hopefully this one soon – and all of our radio stations and network of 3,000 podcasts and more than 300 radio stations total. Obviously all the radio stations that are over the air but also other customized radio stations as well for people to listen to.
Fred Diamond: Dave, people who listen to the Sales Game Changers podcast like to know who our guests physically sell to. Tell us who some of your customers are – not necessarily by name – who do you physically sell to? Is it advertising agencies, are they business owners, is it Fortune 100? Give us an idea on that.
David Scopinich: It runs the gamut. We deal with everybody from mom and pop businesses in the greater Philadelphia region to companies that have maybe 3 or 4 locations, big car dealerships, things like that. We have advertising agencies who we do a lot of business with them as well and then on a national scale we have partnerships with the biggest marketers in the world like PMG. PMG has recently gotten very much back into buying radio and they’re seeing great results from it, so really we can deliver measurable results for advertisers. That has opened up a universe for us where we can talk to the biggest marketers in the world, I can help my local advertisers who might own a one location restaurant and I can show them what type of results they’re getting from the radio advertising.
Fred Diamond: Dave, I have a question. We’re going to be talking about your sales career and your journey and get some tips for salespeople, but what is it about selling radio? What are some of the interesting things, unique things about that that our audience should probably know?
David Scopinich: Radio is a very intimate way for a business to communicate with a consumer. If you think about radio, it’s one of the last places where you can talk to somebody while they’re paying close attention and while you’re one-on-one with them. It’s a very intimate medium because most times people are listening to the radio when they’re alone in their car or with their headphones on listening on their phone via Radio.com. It’s a great way for clients to reach people in a very intimate way and a great way for people to reach a lot of people.
I look at radio advertising where the business owners who we deal with, they’re great salespeople in their own right and if they could sit down one-on-one and have a conversation with somebody, they could sell them their product or service. The problem is they can’t sit down and have a conversation with a thousand people every day. Radio enables them to have that conversation, to open that dialogue with consumers on a grand scale.
If you think about it, I have radio stations in this market where at any given moment I have 25 thousand people listening. Think of an NBA basketball game sold out, a sold out stadium there. Radio enables you to stand on half court and talk to the entire audience for 30 seconds, and that’s powerful and it delivers a huge impact for our clients.
Fred Diamond: Just curiously, the message could be anything? Is it user branding as well? What are some of the main ways people would want to use radio advertising to be successful?
David Scopinich: We customize each program for different client’s needs. I have some clients who want to use radio and heavy up on messaging for, “Attend this open house at a university two weeks from now.” They might just air a ton of short duration commercials, “Remember, next Thursday at 6 pm come out to this university, we’re going to talk about an open house.” I have other advertisers who want long-term branding placed and for them that might be integrating their name into our programming every hour via maybe a studio naming rights deal.
I think of Tastykake in our market, Tastykake is synonymous with WIP because Tastykake is the naming rights holder of the 94 WIP Studio. When one of our hosts say, “Broadcasting live from the Tastykake studio” that’s a meaningful thing in this market and a branding opportunity for Tastykake. We try and customize each program to fit the exact need of each client.
Fred Diamond: I’ve got a quick question before we ask you about how you first got into sales as a career. A lot of times when I listen to Talk Radio type stations or things on those lines and WIP, who you mentioned do a lot of interchange with people on the phone, it’s not just local anymore. You get people who are from Philly who maybe live in San Diego now but they listen via alternative means. Just curiously, how has that played into your sales process? Has that changed things for you?
David Scopinich: It’s tremendous because it enables each market. If you think about Entercom’s footprint, we’re in 48 markets across the country. For me, when I’m selling Radio.com impressions I’m selling them in Philadelphia to whoever is listening to Radio.com in my specific geography, perhaps. I can offer an advertise or access to that. They might be reaching a listener who grew up in Chicago who loves listening to her favorite Chicago radio station but she lives in Philadelphia now and I’m able to reach that audience who is not even listening to one of my products.
Conversely, you talked about how you interviewed Ivy in Washington DC. A lot of people from Philadelphia maybe move up and down the coast and they move to Washington DC. You might have a huge Eagles fan who desperately wants to listen to Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP after an Eagles game on Monday morning and he’s listening from Washington DC, but listening to a Philadelphia radio station but that is Radio.com. Those impressions delivered in DC can be sold by either me or by Ivy. It has really expanded our reach even further and it enables us to target people by geography. We have mass of audiences in markets where we don’t even have radio stations.
I think of a market like Nashville, Tennessee, great growing American city, super popular. We don’t have radio stations in that city but I have hundreds of thousands of listeners on Radio.com who move from all over the country from Entercom markets to Nashville who still want to listen to their home radio station. That’s really the power of radio, too because if you think about it, you talk finally about the stations that you listen to in Philadelphia as a child and people just have that one-on-one connection. When they talk about a radio station they say to me a lot, “That’s my station” and I love that, they always smile when they say it and it’s great when you see how people feel about a radio station.
Fred Diamond: I live in Washington DC, actually Northern Virginia and we come up to Philly not infrequently, my parents still live here and we like coming up to Philly, I still follow the Philadelphia sports teams. Right when we get past Wilmington, Delaware you can start getting the Philadelphia stations and one of the cool things is you hear some – I’m not going to mention the names of the stations, in case they’re not one of your products – there are some DJ’s who were around when I was in high school and the college years who are still seemingly very strong. I guess there’s that attachment to radio.
David Scopinich: Yes, radio is special that way, people grow up with it. Again, it goes back to what I said about the intimacy of our medium. Those radio hosts, they’re people’s friends and when I think about radio and what’s most special about it, every moment of consequence in my life, radio was a part of it. When I drove to pick up my now wife for our first date, the radio was on in the car as I drove. As we drove to the hospital to give birth to our child, the radio was on. I think of moments of happiness and moments of sadness, all those big moments in life, if you think about it the radio is by your side and that’s why there’s such an emotion to it. People just feel that way about these stations and it’s special, we have to be good stewards of it.
Fred Diamond: One last question before I ask you how you first got into sales as a career. Evidently you and I could talk for hours, you and I both are kind of radio geeks, if you will. Is everybody like that? Does a 60 year old woman living in South Georgia, does she also have those ties to a radio station like you and I do?
David Scopinich: Most normal people, I think yes. 93% of Americans love a radio station. I think people are passionate about radio and it’s funny, my wife is sometimes entertained and sometimes is appalled by me at a little league game where someone will find out where I work and they’ll say, “Oh, I hate those guys on WIP” and of course I get very defensive about all of our stations and then talk about it [Laughs]. It’s funny how much passion people have for our brands whether they are telling me, “Oh my god, you get to work with the guys at WIP” or, “Oh my god, they said something that annoyed me so much” or, “Why does that station play this music now? It’s different, why has it changed?” We have a station in this market, 98.1 WOGL that you probably remember and from long ago you probably remember it has Oldies 98.
Fred Diamond: Even before that it was Top 40.
David Scopinich: Yeah, Top 40 and then in 1987 it became Oldies 98. People will sometimes say to me, “You work for Oldies 98?” and I used to correct them when I first became a sales manager. I was at 98.1 WOGL and I used to correct them and say, “We’re not Oldies anymore” but now when you look at the way they say it, they smile when they say it. Now of course I say, “Yeah.” Sadly, we’re listening to what are the oldies, now you and I, it was Run Around Sue and now it’s Jessie’s Girl and someday it’ll be something different. People just have a long-time relationship and a passion for radio, it’s special.
Fred Diamond: Dave, how did you first get into sales as a career?
David Scopinich: I actually started my career as a writer and I was writing for business trade publications. I would be in the office and I was writing about the convenience store industry.
Fred Diamond: You and I could talk about Wawa probably for about two hours as well.
David Scopinich: I can, I’m an expert on Wawa as a consumer and as a former writer for convenient store trade magazine. I sat near a lot of the sales guys, I liked what they did, I thought that I could do it and I also happened to notice that they were all making a lot more money than me and driving nicer cars than me and I wanted to give it a try.
Eventually I realized that while I’m a pretty good writer, I keep that to pretty much emails now and sales proposals but I wasn’t going to become an uber successful writer so I asked them to give me a job in sales. Initially they laughed at me and said, “A lot of people on your side of the business think that you can come into sales and you can’t” but I kept asking and didn’t realize it, but I was selling them. I kept telling them why they should give me a chance and they finally gave me a chance and I fell in love with the career.
Fred Diamond: What were you selling in the first few years?
David Scopinich: I was selling advertising in a magazine and that magazine was sent to decision makers. Not a magazine that would be in the Wawa, but a magazine that would be sent to corporate Wawa and hopefully the candy buyer would read it and read information about what’s next in the candy category and they would see advertisements from M&M, Mars and Hershey’s and the other candy companies about end cap displays and things like that, different kinds of ads. It was interesting, it was a great education about sales and about business in general.
Fred Diamond: What are some of the things you learned when you made that shift from being a writer to being a sales rep for this publication?
David Scopinich: I learned that it is harder than I thought it was going to be as a writer. In that beginning period of my time in sales, my first sales call was literally a scene out of Tommy Boy where I went in, showed up and didn’t ask enough question and I just started talking to them about the magazine and didn’t listen. They basically told me to leave and I got up and left and then I went outside and thought, “Oh my god, that went terrible, this isn’t going to work” but you learn and people coach you along the way.
Fred Diamond: Tell us what you’re an expert in, tell us about your specific area of brilliance.
David Scopinich: I would hesitate to say I have any area of brilliance, first thing’s first but I would say that I’m an expert now, I’ve been selling radio since 2003. I believe I have a good level of expertise when it comes to helping clients use the power of our medium to communicate their sales message. I have a good sense for what messages will work on which stations for the type of business that my client happens to be in. I would also say that my other area of expertise is I learned early on that going from sales to sales management, my job didn’t change, my client base did.
My clients are my sellers and if I treat my sellers the way I treat my clients when I was in sales, things will generally go well for me in my career. If you think about it, as a sales manager you should be thinking about keeping your sellers happy just like a salesperson keeps their clients happy. You should be thinking about how to help them grow their business, how to say no when it’s not good for the radio station or your company, all those things that you did as a salesperson. If you take that and don’t forget that and use that when you’re dealing with your new clients, your sellers, typically you’ll have happy sellers who know that you care about them, who know that you have their best interest at heart, hopefully you’re listening to them and that they stay with you. That’s the most important part of sales, retaining and growing your clients and the most important part of sales management is knowing your client, helping them grow, keeping them with you and keeping them happy.
Fred Diamond: Do you recall when you had that revelation?
David Scopinich: The revelation came when I was at a lunch with a newer seller in our company and it was probably my third or fourth year in sales management. He said, “What’s the trick to sales management?” and honestly I had never thought, it was a jab in the face with that question, I wasn’t prepared for it and I thought about it for a minute. I thought about what I did every day and the things I do that are good and the things that I do that are not so good, the mistakes I make and they’re the same good habits and mistakes that I made as a seller.
When I was a seller, if I didn’t listen closely enough, if I cared about my needs more than the client’s needs then I would not be successful. As a sales manager if I didn’t listen to my sellers, if I didn’t truly care about them and what they thought and their future and their earnings and their families, there’s a lot of trust that they put in our hands when they come to work with us and it’s our job to help them grow. It was an epiphany, if you will – not an epiphany, but it helped me crystallize my sales management philosophy and that is that your sellers are your clients.
Fred Diamond: Dave, again you’ve had a great career, you’ve made it to the top here in Philly. You must have had some great mentors along the way, why don’t you tell us about an impactful sales career mentor or two and how they impacted your career?
David Scopinich: If I’m looking at my top two mentors in my career, #1 would be David Yadgaroff, no question about it. David hired me into the business. We have an interesting business where David has hired me four times and I’ve never left him, just at a company moving things around. He’s been a game changer in my life, if you think about it. To get anywhere in your career you need someone to believe in you and I walked into his office at the end of 2002 and applied for a job at a radio station with no experience selling radio, very little experience selling local media and he took a chance on me and believed in me.
More important, he spent time with me. This was a guy who was a top executive at the time in his organization and I’ll never forget, one of our first calls was to a local karate school – not the calls that he was used to. He was used to going out to calls big and small but the most important calls. We went out to this karate studio and they made us take our shoes off and walk on the pads and present our radio station and he stood by my side. When somebody does that and goes on those calls with you and helps you and gives you coaching on the drive home, on the drive back to the office after that call, you know that you have someone who’s going to spend a lot of time with you and believe in you and take the time to really teach you. He does that to this day, he’s my boss to this day, he’s the general manager of our radio stations at Entercom, Philadelphia.
Fred Diamond: I have a quick question about that. We get that not infrequently on the Sales Game Changers podcast where someone took a chance on somebody who maybe they weren’t in sales, maybe they were an engineer or a consultant or in media or in something different. If I were to ask David about Dave Scopinich, “What was it about him? in 2002 when you walked into his office, what do you think he would say?
David Scopinich: I’ve asked him so I know the answer. He would say two things. I wrote him a letter – getting back to writing – about how much I loved his radio station and I incorporated a lot of things in the letter that would leave no question in his mind that I had a lot of passion for his brand. Then #2, oddly I brought a calculator to the meeting – this was before iPhones so there wasn’t a calculator on my phone – and I asked him about commission plans and I asked him about earnings and I asked how much somebody who’s just coming in could expect to bill and I sat there and figured out in front of him how much I could earn.
I remember him laughing at me – looking back, probably he was laughing like, “This guy thinks he’s going to sell this much in year 1?” but he loved the passion and the fact that I was goal oriented. I think that’s what he would say and what’s funny is hopefully he would say the same thing today, that i bring a passion for the brands, a passion for our people and that I’m hyper-focused on delivering our goals.
Fred Diamond: You said there was a second person?
David Scopinich: Yes, this is a guy named Rob Kaloustian who I still get a chance to work with every day. Rob works with us here at Entercom, Philly and he was my local sales manager at KYW News Radio very early in my career. Candidly in the beginning of my career I had a lot of rocky patches and there were months where my sales managers could have given up on me easily. Rob believed in me and spent a lot of time with me, again another person who would go on every call, would stay at the office late at night to review proposals with me, would make me role play what I’m going to say in a sales call, would really coach me.
Candidly, I would say that I would have not made it in radio without David and Rob. When you think about it, it can make you emotional about it – all the great things that have happened in my life and things that I’ve been able to do for my family would not have happened without those guy helping me along the way.
Fred Diamond: We always have some amazing stories about mentors along the way but the thing that struck me about that also is passion comes up a lot in the Sales Game Changers podcast and people don’t always think about it. We have people listening to the Sales Game Changers podcast who are your peers, sales leaders around the world and people who want to be sales leaders and the one thing that keeps coming back besides preparation and all those types of things, passion. The more you love about your product and the more you believe in your product, the easier it is to sell.
David Scopinich: Absolutely. Google lets you fake preparation and fake knowledge very easily nowadays, you cannot fake passion. You can sniff out if somebody is not passionate about what they’re selling if they truly don’t believe in it. When I sit across from somebody and I’m talking to them about considering a radio campaign, I would hope if nothing else they leave with the impression that I believe that it would work for them, that I know in my heart. The beauty is when I was first selling radio I had no way of proving it, now with everything our company has done I can prove that radio works. We can actually show somebody analytics reports that prove that our radio campaign is effective.
Fred Diamond: Dave, to get to the VP level of sales you’ve got to have a lot of things going for you. You’ve got to have the hard work, you got to have innate ability, you got to have passion, of course. I have to say, probably out of all the hundreds of people that we’ve interviewed on the podcast, you definitely have the most passion for what you’re doing.
David Scopinich: Thanks.
Fred Diamond: I’m going to ask you a weird question, I’ve never asked this question before.
David Scopinich: Hit me.
Fred Diamond: Is this a dream job for you?
David Scopinich: It is, honestly people make fun of me that I’m the happiest guy in radio and I am. I was a kid who would call into WIP and not be allowed on the air because I was too young, there used to be an age limit and they would sniff out that I was an eleven year old calling in wanting to talk about the Philly’s with the Eagles. Now to get a chance to be in the office at WIP every day, I get a chance to meet Howard Eskin and all that, now it’s the norm but I still have that excitement when I come into a radio station. KYW News Radio is just such a special part of this city and I remember being a kid on something like a snow night and waiting for the next day to find out if I was going to be off from school.
We have a joke in my family because my daughter makes fun of me for listening to WOGL too much. She listens to another one of our stations which is good, we have a Top 40 station, 96.5 but I used to complain to my mother, “Please turn off WOGL, can’t we listen to something else?” Now my daughter is complaining about it to me like, “Let’s turn on a different station” and I joke with her that in 20 years when WOGL is playing Rihanna and Katy Perry, remember this when my grandchild is asking you to turn off WOGL. These radio stations, again, are with you your entire life and it becomes a special part of who you are. For me at least they’re very much a part of my life in every way.
Fred Diamond: We grew up with WIP way before it was the sports talk. Wee Willy Webber and…
David Scopinich: Yeah, it used to be a full service, news, sports and everything.
Fred Diamond: Everybody’s parents that we knew all grew up with WIP.
David Scopinich: It’s an iconic station. It was 610 and then it moved to 94 WIP, 94.1.
Fred Diamond: Again, it’s your dream job, you must have a ton of challenges. What are two of the biggest challenges you face today as a sales leader?
David Scopinich: There’s a myth in America that radio isn’t as important as it used to be. We battle against that myth every day, every day when we all wake up at Entercom or really any radio company – and my hope is that every radio company feels this way – is that we have to constantly talk about the fact that no other medium in America has the reach of radio. 93% of Americans is just an astounding number and radio faces new competition just like any other medium, but I say to my salespeople, “Would you rather be radio competing against Pandora or Spotify or would you rather be television competing against Netflix and Hulu and Amazon?”
Radio is in such a good place, especially as long as we’re in the center of that dashboard on the car, we’re going to be so close to people and now we’re in homes. Convincing the Smart Speaker has put radio back in American households where there was a gap there, where maybe people didn’t have a radio as much and there was a time when it was more in office or in car listening. Now we’re very much back in the home, every holiday season millions of radios are delivered to American’s homes and the #1 thing people do with Smart Speaker is listen to audio and the #1 type of audio are AM/FM radio stations.
That’s been a game changer for us and that’s why Radio.com, the app, is so important for our future as well. I’d say my #1 challenge is convincing people that that myth is incorrect because it’s easy to just say, “No one listens to the radio anymore” when in actuality I have facts that can prove that wrong. That’s where we get back to the arguments at the little league field when someone says, “Do people listen to radio anymore?” and then I go after them, in a fun way.
I would say #2 is finding new ways to inspire my people every day and to come at them with fresh ideas and fresh approaches. We do a group sales meeting every Thursday and I look at it like I am scripting a show that has to be compelling and entertaining and make them laugh and make them feel and inspire them to go out and tell our story. I have to constantly stay fresh and that’s where Entercom has really helped us a lot.
From a company standpoint they are tremendous advocates for radio and have invested enormous amounts of money advocating for the medium. That’s made our job easier, all that advocacy by Entercom has resulted in Procter and Gamble coming back to radio and now we can see that Procter and Gamble are having positive sales results and they’re crediting it in part to their investment in radio. That enables me, it not only helps my billing but where it really helps is when I have an uncertain buyer who I’m talking to and I say to him or her, “Look at the companies investing in radio on the national level. Procter and Gamble, Uber, Amazon, Facebook, Google.
These companies are not run by dummies, these companies are investing in radio because there’s a real audience there and there are results that are being generated by radio.” That gives the guy who owns the fireplace store or the lady who owns the car dealership, that gives them confidence in our medium and it enables them to dip their toe in the water and come along with us with less unease. Then Entercom has also invested in an analytics platform where nowadays in radio if a spot airs on the radio, I can tell one of my advertisers how many people visited their website within an 8 minute window after the commercial airs. I can show them how many people come to their website on a day when they’re on the air compared to a day when they’re off the air. That type of data and attribution is a game changer for us and that’s where Entercom has really done a tremendous job of making those investments and it helps people in my position on the local level give confidence to our clients.
Fred Diamond: A lot of value there for your customers. Before we take a short break, Dave I want to ask you one question. Take us back to the #1 specific sale success or win from your career you’re most proud of.
David Scopinich: We talked about the moment of revelation, about how to manage effectively and I would say that the sale that I made that helped crystallize how I was going to be successful selling was to a law firm. I was selling for KYW News Radio and I was calling on this law firm, I probably had 6 or 7 meetings and failed every single time. Kept going back and I was talking to the marketing director there and eventually in my head I ran out of questions and I finally asked her, “How could I help you then?” and I’d never asked that question, foolishly – it was early in my career and sad that it took me that long to figure it out. I would go out with, “Hey, I have this idea, it’s great for you.” “Hey, I have this new event, it’s great for you.” “I have this new product, it’s great for you.”
I never asked her, “How could we help you?” and she said to me, “My law firm has an expertise in helping companies expand into China. If you could figure out something that would help us grow that aspect of the business, I would buy it from you.” I went back to the radio station with good information this time and I told David Yadgaroff, I told the program director at the time and I told some other people who would be key decision makers at the radio station about this. The result was a big program with this law firm that included a business breakfast including KYW experts and experts from the law firm and about 200 attendees looking to learn more about how to help their business grow in China at the time, this was 2004-2005. That sale was a fun sale because it incorporated an event and it was something different, but what it really taught me was ask them how you can help them, really learn about what their needs are and everything else will take care of itself.
Fred Diamond: You mentioned you ran out of questions and one common theme that comes up on the Sales Game Changers podcast not infrequently is the concept of listening better and asking better questions. You said something interesting, you said you always went in the previous meetings with this marketing leader at the law firm with, “Here’s an idea we have that we think can help you” and, “Here’s an idea we came up with that will help you do this.” Finally you shifted the paradigm and asked them, “How can we help you? What are you looking for that we have no idea about?” and she had to trust in you to throw something out there. She could have said, “There’s nothing I could do with radio, thank you, keep in touch, I’ll see you around” but I guess she gave something there, she threw something out there.
One of the cool things with a lot of the Sales Game Changers podcast interviews we do is something like that happens where a trust level has been built up at some level where they would even throw a bone. It’s like, “Here’s our big challenge.” Maybe she had no expectations, maybe she wanted you to go away.
David Scopinich: Very possible, very likely with me [Laughs]
Fred Diamond: Dave, what’s the most important thing you want to get across to the junior selling professionals listening around the globe to help them take their career to the next level?
David Scopinich: Be persistent and be curious. Look to learn about your industry and your clients. I pride myself on a couple of things, I try to ensure that there’s not one client who I could talk to who knows more about my radio stations than I do and I also find that I’m a naturally curious person. I look for curious people because I want them to ask questions, I want them to be inquisitive, I want them to look to learn more. It’s probably the writer in me, I don’t think it’s actually a huge leap going from being a writer to being in sales. I did initially but as I reflect on my career, if you think about it, a writer asks questions and then creates a narrative to hopefully get people to look at something in a different way than maybe they looked at it before.
I think a salesperson asks questions and they create a narrative – might be a proposal – and their hope is that proposal will get the buyer to look at things in a different way to make a different decision about how they go to market or how they try and sell their product or service. I think they’re actually very related careers, I think it was a natural step, actually a more natural step than I may have initially thought.
Fred Diamond: We didn’t really talk about it too much but almost every Sales Game Changer we’ve interviewed – as a matter of fact, all of them – have had an affinity to their customer. “How can I help my customer achieve their goals?” I wonder if that conversation we talked about before we took the break that you had with the woman who was a marketing director at the law firm, I wonder if that was a transformative situation for her. All of the sudden now she saw you as a partner.
David Scopinich: We’re still Facebook friends, we’re still very close, she’s somebody who I would count as a business confidant and yes, that moment transformed the relationship and we are trusted business partners. She’s in a different role now but our relationship is still as deep.
Fred Diamond: Tell us about one of your selling habits that has led to your continued sales success.
David Scopinich: From sales or sales management selling?
Fred Diamond: Yes, sales management.
David Scopinich: I would say the habits are to make sure that our culture at the office is fun. I think salespeople get beat up when they’re out here and I think the office should be as much fun as humanly possible. The office should be a place where the salespeople can have fun and get help and be comfortable and know they’re coming home to a good environment where they’re going to be helped and supported. I would say that’s the best habit that I could practice every day, is to make sure that that culture is right. From a selling standpoint it’s probably the answer that everybody gives you through the down times and the up times: you’re never as good as the best sale you made, you’re never as bad as the week where no one bought anything.
Ride out those waves and make sure that you never get too high, never get too low but you just keep consistently doing the activities that you know will result. If you focus on the process and truly do the process well and truly enjoy the process well and truly enjoy the process, you will have success. I tell a lot of our newer sellers, “Go home and make sure you’re happy on a day when you know that you’ve made a lot of phone calls or contacts or walk ins. If you’ve generated a lot of activity, decide that you’re going to go home happy that day and it’s not only the days when you make a big sale when you get to go home and be happy. If that’s the case, you’re going to be unhappy probably 70% to 80% of the time in our business and that’s no way to live. You have to make sure that you decide, “If I control the process, I’m going to be happy.”
Fred Diamond: Tell us about a major initiative you’re working on today to ensure your continued success.
David Scopinich: Entercom has done a great job in the attribution space, in analytics and attribution and I talk to you about the fact that we can measure results for radio advertisers now. It’s going to get even deeper where radio stations for decades have had first party data on our listeners. Our listeners text in, they call in to talk about the Eagles, they call in to win tickets to Hall & Oates, they call in traffic tips on KYW News Radio and we have a relationship with our audience where we can do a lot of audience modeling for our advertisers. We can do a lot of foot traffic attribution with cellphones so there are a lot more ways that we can prove that the radio advertising works and that is putting us in a very interesting space. A decade ago this was really something that was a disadvantage for us and an advantage for companies in the digital space at that time.
I would say that Entercom is a leading media and entertainment company – and this is a David Yadgaroffism that I’ve adopted – it’s a leading entertainment media and data tech company really. Entercom through 235 radio stations has data on so many millions of consumers in this country that that provides a lot of value for our advertisers where we can help them more carefully craft campaigns.
Fred Diamond: That’s very powerful. One of the common statements about advertising is, was it John Wanamaker who said…
David Scopinich: [Laughs] “Half my advertise goes wasted, problem is I don’t know which half”
Fred Diamond: I love the way you just answered that question with analytics and attribution that you can now provide so much value to your customer so that they can really focus on growing the business. Dave, you’ve given us so many great insights today, I’m going to ask you for one final thought. Before we do, you know sales is hard. Again, you started out your career as a writer and then you moved into sales, obviously we talked about your passion and we talked about your knowledge of what you’re doing and how much you love what you’re selling but sales is hard. People don’t return your calls or your emails, again we talked about one of your examples where you went after them 7 or 8 times, we have examples of people going after them 10, 15, 20, 30 times before they still don’t become a customer. Why have you continued? Obviously we get the passion but what is it about sales as a career that keeps you going?
David Scopinich: I’m a big baseball fan and that prepared me for sales because – you probably know where I’m going with this – in baseball, if you succeed 30% of the time you’re going to Cooper’s Town at the end of your career. I joke with our people that about 90% of our activity results in nothing and that’s okay because the 10% that becomes a partnership, those are special partnerships. You just have to understand that goes back to trusting the process – Sixer’s fan as well. You have to trust that if you’re doing the right things and you stick to those good sales habits and if you have a good product and if you’re passionate about your product, you’re going to succeed.
Now, if you’re faking passion about your product you’re not going to succeed. If you have a terrible product you better be a super salesperson to succeed. Again, if all the things are in place and I think at our company those things are in place: we have brands that people are passionate about, we have great products that get results. If we do the things that we should do, the good sales habits, the nuts and bolts then more often than not, enough times deals are going to close and you’re going to be able to make the type of income that you want to make.
Fred Diamond: Give us one final thought to inspire our listeners today.
David Scopinich: The job of a salesperson is sometimes the butt of jokes but I will tell you that I believe that what we do is super important. I believe we help businesses, I believe that we can be big time game changers for our clients and I find a lot of satisfaction, value and fulfillment in that, I really do. I think that what we do is important and I would say to anyone listening, especially people who are beginning their career, there will be times where you think it’s not the career for you.
There were times when I didn’t and there were months where I was bartending part time to make sure that I could have enough money during a month when I wasn’t selling enough. I’m so glad that I was persistent and I’m so glad that I had a passion for the brands and for radio because it has paid off so much not just in income. That’s an important part of it obviously for people in sales, but I think too often we don’t step back and think about the fact that we’re helping people and it’s something that’s a very important part of a company’s existence and the American economy.
I think that we make a difference and it’s something that every day I get up and I’m excited to go and talk about these brands and help our clients.