Of course, no one ever says it that way. But why would advertisers cancel — after reporting positive ad results? And how should advertising professionals respond to tough cancellations?  

First, you have a choice to make. Will you become defensive? Or maintain the relationship?

If you’re an advertiser, consider the possibility that the radio station needs to adjust your ad messaging strategy — not that “the station doesn’t work anymore.” Think before you employ the “suicide option,” saying goodbye to the equity and goodwill you’ve spent good money to build with the listeners. NASA makes mid-course corrections. Advertisers and broadcasters should, too.

Radio ad execs:  Cancellations are rarely personal. If your client needs space and time, give it to them. Chris Lytle says media “professionals get paid to handle frustration.” If you’re not handling frustration, you’re probably not getting paid much. Give yourself a moment to feel — and acknowledge — your feelings. Then, focus on strategy and tactics. Humans are complicated creatures, and you may be on the receiving end of advertiser frustrations that don’t belong to you. Listen … and ask questions.

SEASONAL ADVERTISERS:  Management loves it if you turn your seasonal advertisers into 52-week clients, but they may cancel if you pressure them on this … and never return. Many businesses lose money 10 months a year, and depend on their high season.

NEW MARKETING DIRECTOR:  New people come in, often with little actual training or experience. And they are determined to make their own mark. Often, they feel very insecure deep down, and mask it by seeking control. Stay positive and sincere — and become a resource. Engage other friends you’ve made there.

IMPOSSIBLE ROI STANDARD: “Yes, the ads have generated calls. But we must have a 3-to-1 ROI.” If your ad produces solid calls and clicks, you’re doing your job. It’s OK to gently challenge this. Ask if any other medium is generating a 3-to-1 ROI, and how. 

SERVICE PROBLEMS: “Studies show that 68% of customers leave a business relationship due to a perceived attitude of indifference on the part of the company.”** Did you (or a member of your team) neglect them, giving your competitors an opportunity?

ALSO CONSIDER:  Is their ad content stale, or do you need to change their ad schedule? Finally, clients cancel because they have money problems, and are too embarrassed to tell you.

HERE’S THE POINT:  If you serve clients with your whole heart each day, everything else takes care of itself over time. __________________________________________________________

** Forbes – Aug. 16, 2015. * Bob McCurdy, Radio Ink, August, ‘17.  To unsubscribe, reply “unsubscribe.” Radio plants. The Internet harvests.*