THEY Totally Motivated Me

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Apr 29, 2024 by Sean Luce

We all need to get out of our comfort zone occasionally. I stepped out of my comfort zone this past weekend in Atlantic City. I attended the World Congress on Disabilities to see how I might be able to give back to some people truly in need. However, the end result was quite the opposite. Those living with disabilities are the individuals who give back and motivate us. I also had the opportunity to meet a truly amazing radio sales manager at the WCD.

At dinner on Friday evening, I found myself sitting across the table from a radio comrade: Dawn Ellison, the retail sales manager for Buckley Broadcasting's WOR/New York. She is an 18-year career veteran and makes 90 percent of her revenue on local direct sales. That's right, I said local direct sales, in New York City. How did I find this old-fashioned (she looks new-fashioned for sure) sales rep? The days of local direct sales are gone. We are in the new economy, a new age of media, right?

Wrong! Dawn was in Atlantic City working a  six-figure deal with the WCD for next year's convention. She wasn't there to sell a package, either. She was in Atlantic City specifically to increase attendance for the upcoming convention by bringing powerful panels together and helping make the WCD a household name in the New York metro area.

Dawn has some nontraditional ways to attack some new opportunities. She's what I call a "gets it" rep, or, better, a "marketing consultant" sales rep. Dawn is one of the 10 percent of the sales population who serves as a genuine consultant or sustaining resource to her clients. I had a chance to grab a few moments and ask Dawn about the secrets to her success. It must also be noted: WOR has a cume of over a million people. It does not have chump change rates.

Dawn's Secrets To Success.
Be honest.
Then you never have to worry about what you said. You fabricate a story to one client, and then have to double up on the lie. Next thing you know, the house of cards comes down and you lose your reputation. I thought it was very telling that Dawn led off with honesty. Honesty is often in short supply in the rabid world of media sales.
Set expectations.
Really? This is New York City, local direct? Dawn says that if a cosmetic surgeon is expecting 100 new enhancement surgeries, she sets those expectations up front. Agreements prevent disagreements: "When we are successful," Dawn says, "I want the credit for the success. If it's not meeting the expectations, I'm deep enough inside the business as their marketing consultant to change it around. They trust me."I couldn't agree more. I think most reps, especially in radio, don't set expectations up front because half the reps that sell radio don't believe in the product they sell. In my opinion.

Write your own commercials.

No way! A sales rep in New York City writing her own commercials? That's what production people do! But Dawn writes her own. In my opinion, that's the way it should be. Did your production people do a complete customer marketing profile on your client? Do they know what the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of your client are? In most cases, the answer is no. Why would you hand off the most important aspect of your campaign for your client? If you don't know how to write copy, then start learning now.

By the way, Dawn plans to someday be a motivational speaker and sales trainer. I think she's off to a good start!

Now back to my original topic. I don't want to hear about it anymore. The physical aches and the pains associated with selling media, weight gain because we don't eat correctly, no time to exercise during the day because we're too busy. It's too hot out or too cold to make those extra calls. Get over it! During this conference, I heard the story of Dave Clark, who had polio as a child and back in the '70s became the first professional baseball player to pitch on crutches. I was mesmerized.

I also listened to Mary Bryant, VP of Achilles International, show how 1,500 disabled people trained for and finished the New York City Marathon. There is a good chance today that if you got off the couch and started training to run the New York City Marathon, you would be passed by a disabled person. After watching that, I speak with confidence: Any challenges you have in the rest of your life can be overcome. Thank you, World Congress on Disabilities. You made my day!

Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached at

For more information on the World Congress on Disabilities, please go to


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