Become Known For What You Know

If I were asked to give one piece of advice to someone considering a career in media sales, it would be this:

Please find something else to do. I don’t need the competition.

If, on the other hand, I could offer two pieces of advice, the second one would be: learn something valuable that most of your colleagues don’t know.

I may have saved a client several thousand dollars the other day with that kind of knowledge. He is the General Manager of a local auto dealership. He worked for a long time in the Portland car business, moved to California for several years, and recently returned to Oregon.

He emailed me the other day because he was planning to launch a new used-car promotion. He has a selection of pre-owned vehicles priced at half their original MSRP, and wanted to feature them in his radio advertising.

What he didn’t know is that while he was in California, the state of Oregon made it illegal to compare a used vehicle’s price to the MSRP in an ad. The official commentary accompanying that section of the law (technically an Administrative Rule) explains that MRSP is a term reserved strictly for new vehicles. Because so many factors (mileage, wear and tear, accidents, etc) affect the price of a used car, the law forbids using an MSRP in any way when referring to anything pre-owned.

I know this because a little more than a year ago, I was the only Portland broadcast rep to drive to Salem for a seminar on the new laws. So I was able to warn my client away from a strategy that would have earned him a substantial fine from the state.

My clients know I’ve taken the time to learn the rules, that I’ve got copies of all the relevant consumer protection laws, and that I check with my contacts at the Oregon Department of Justice if I’m not sure of something.

They also know that my competitors weren’t at the seminar, and may not know the law as well as I do (I’ve been known to bring that up in conversation). So I get phone calls, and business, from advertisers who might otherwise take their money to another station.

The extra income this brings me stops briefly in my bank account, until my wife decides she needs something like new lamps for the living room. The lamps are pretty nice, actually.


Click here to learn the shocking truth about Phil Bernstein

Click this link to subscribe to Portland’s Finest Advertising and Marketing Blog.

Request your free copy of Phil Bernstein’s white paper, The Seven Deadly Advertising Mistakes and How to Fix Them here.

Got a question? Call Phil Bernstein at 503-323-6553.


Sign up for my blog updates and never miss a post. I'll send you the first two chapters of my new book, Breakthrough Prospecting, as a thank-you.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Your Chance to Be Heard -- Comment Here!

One thought on “Become Known For What You Know