How to Be The Expert: Become Known For What You Know

Here’s how: learn something valuable that your colleagues and competitors don’t know.

sales tip: become a radio advertising expert

photo by waldemarus/dpc


Here’s one example:

Every state has consumer protection laws designed to shield the public from deceptive advertisers. Many small business owners don’t know the laws, and can’t afford to pay a lawyer to keep them on the right side of the law. During my radio advertising sales days, I became that expert.

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

He emailed me  because he was planning to launch a new used-car promotion. He had 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’d been in California, the state of Oregon had 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) explained that MSRP 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 revised law prohibited using an MSRP in any way when referring to anything pre-owned.

I knew this because a little more than a year before, I’d been 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 automotive clients knew I’d taken the time to learn the rules, that I had copies of all the relevant consumer protection laws, and that I checked with my contacts at the Oregon Department of Justice if I wasn’t sure of something.

They also knew that my competitors hadn’t gone to the seminar (I’d been known to bring that up in conversation), and didn’t know the law as well as I did. So I got phone calls, and business, from advertisers who might otherwise take their money to another station.

These days, I train advertising salespeople to do their jobs more effectively, and automotive remains a huge advertising category. In every state I travel to, there’s a crying need for someone who knows the consumer protection laws and can advise their clients on how to keep their marketing legal. It’s rare that I ever see anyone try to fill that need.

Can you be that expert at your radio or television station?

Question: What do you know that your competitors don’t? Where can you be the “go-to” expert? You can leave a comment by clicking here.



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4 thoughts on “How to Be The Expert: Become Known For What You Know

    • Jeremy, in my case I got the name from one of my auto dealer clients — he had an idea for a promotion, wanted to know if it was legal, and asked me to do the legwork for him. Once I made contact with the right person (in Oregon, it was the Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Fraud Division), I made a point of building a relationship with him.

      If you have an auto dealer client you can ask them who is in charge of regulating automotive advertising in Kansas. You can also check with your local New Car Dealers Association, or the Kansas Association of Broadcasters.

      Good luck!

      • Phil – thank you for the guidance. I will find out this information in the next few days. In addition to Kansas law, I will look into Missouri law, as well. One of the joys of living on a state border.