Anyone who works in ad sales has heard the claim that “advertising doesn’t work.” When a prospective client tells that to Robert Bongiardino, he knows the client hasn’t been using the right ads at the right time in the right place—and he knows how to fix that. In his 20-plus years selling radio advertising, Bongiardino, who lives in Hawthorne, has learned that commercials must resonate with the right demographic in order to be effective. How does he determine what makes a good match?
“Sales is all about understanding what your clients’ needs are, and then finding the best solutions for them,” says Bongiardino, a senior account executive in the White Plains office of Pamal Broadcasting, LTD, which owns and operates seven New York radio stations, including Westchester favorites 107.1 The Peak and 100.7 WHUD.
“I’ve gone into sales calls where I made the assumption that someone would be a great fit for one of my radio stations, but, the more time I spent with the client, I saw that was not it at all,” he admits. When meeting with one Westchester day spa, for example, Bongiardino figured it would be best served by Pamal’s female-skewed radio station, since the spa caters to women. “But the owner explained to me that they wanted to advertise on the radio to sell gift certificates, and men are the ones buying the gift certificates,” recalls Bongiardino, who ranks consistently as one of Pamal’s top three reps and brings in more than $1 million in sales each year.
Bongiardino also puts creativity to work when it comes to boosting sales. Instead of always trying to sell a standard radio spot, he will steer clients toward options such as sponsoring a concert series or promotion, or suggest they advertise during months when there are fewer commercials on the air. “Helping them to stand out can help boost their business and mine,” he explains.
And while boosting business is, of course, the end goal for all salespeople, Bongiardino evaluates his own effectiveness by slightly different means. “The best measure of your success is not your billing numbers,” he says, “but how long you retain a client and the referrals you get to develop new clients.”
â–º Bob Petrocelli, New York Life Insurance Company
â–º Linda Ruggiero, Avon
â–º Susan Strawgate Code, Houlihan Lawrence
â–º Guy Forgione, White Plains Chrysler Jeep Dodge
â–º Jeff Griffin, ADP
â–º John Doolan, Heineken USA
â–º For more from 914INC’s Q2 2013 Issue, click here.