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John Perras Talks Radio With Dave Charles

John Perras is a renaissance sales warrior with some new ideas and ways to build better sales results. Exclusive interview by Dave Charles, CEO of Media Results Inc.

John Perras Talks Radio With Dave Charles

By Dave Charles

John Perras is a renaissance sales warrior with some new ideas and ways to build better sales results. Exclusive interview by Dave Charles, CEO of Media Results Inc.


Post Covid, Radio remains cautious about investing in new things.  This week I want to shine my spotlight on elite sales professional John Perras.  Big media companies like Rogers and Stingray brought John on board to develop their sales teams.  John has also been featured at many OABs in Toronto with excellent Sales sessions.  Some radio companies are attempting to claw back lost revenues from two years of Covid.  It’s time to invest in what I believe is very important for radio to grow current and new revenues. 

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DC. Tell the readers a little about yourself.

JP. I was a lifelong radio fan, and in my early working days, I was a client buying advertising for Fairview Electronics & Sound Advice. We had Chum FM’s Pete & Geets doing remotes every Saturday. For years we took the power of local radio to the community.  From there I went to Q107, 92.5 Ciss Country, 98.1 CHFI, 88.1 Indie, 97.3 boom FM. From a young sales novice to the top biller in the country, then Sales Management positions followed, then I moved into Corporate Sales Trainer across Canada.  

DC. That is a lot of years in the broadcast sales arena. Has the business changed much?

JP. There are fewer independents due to the consolidation of the big telcos, more fragmentation, and less uniqueness for listeners. Localism is more and more a thing of the past, and AI is changing that with AI DJs and who knows what else is to come. Lower revenue is very real, but to make that up some larger stations increased the size of your toolbox and you now have more options to sell. Digital, out-of-home, TV etc. have been added to what a salesperson in Toronto might have to offer a potential client. Gone are the days of being a radio expert only in your field; today there are many more offerings for clients to consider.  

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DC. I sense you are not a fan of an expanded toolbox of offerings.

JP. It’s not that I am against it, but now salespeople need to know how to sell more than ever in this changing landscape. There was a beer company here in Toronto that had a slogan, ‘Do one thing really well.’ I am sorry but like a restaurant that offers too wide a menu how can anyone be great at everything?

Let me give you an example. I could have two salespeople each selling a million-dollar budget, one radio only, the other digital only. Hitting budget and growing their pipelines in each specific category. H/O calls and says 'Figure out how to do those numbers with one body'. The end result is those numbers do not get achieved, pipelines shrink, the salesperson spends far too much time putting out fires from missed digital impressions etc.

Not every salesperson is performing in the top 30%. Salespeople need training to really excel at their job and the first thing companies cut back in hard times (Covid) is training, then marketing. That is a mistake. A well-trained salesperson is essential to growing a station's revenue.

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DC. Is that why you started your sales training business Sales Fundamentals Inc?

JP. Yes, and because there was really no one doing any comprehensive sales training here in Canada to speak of. I started a system of prospecting during the 08/09 recession that took me to the number one position for billings in the country and, using that same model coaching salespeople successfully across the country. Salespeople get better for a relatively small investment and a big ROI, their clients get better results, and the station gets more revenue. It’s a pretty simple win, win, win.   

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DC. What are you doing now?

JP. I approached a company I have known and respected called Media Results to see if there was a potential of working together to which they said yes. We had a creative brainstorm to marry texting and radio together, and from that Radio Results was born. There are a few different scenarios to work from depending on the station’s wants and needs. We can do a survey of listeners and give the station the responses the same week on dashboards.

Add to that music tests and qualitative questions for current and future clients. Then we expanded that idea to include advertisers so they could see customer surveys and attribution (something radio has always needed) in real-time analytics. Radio and advertisers both get results right away. Our partners include Text Groove (in over 1000 stations in North America) and Stats Radio (in over 150 stations in Canada). In addition, we also have David Bray onboard, not only for his analytical skill but also for his creative agency. To cover off the stations' schedules and deliverables we have Naaz Jiwa Broadcast Service rounding out our superstar team. It's early days, and we are just getting started.  

DC. It sounds like Radio Results is a good thing for broadcasters and advertisers. How is it being received so far?

JP. The radio industry is still a bit timid about investing in new things after Covid. The industry all wants to see how it goes with someone else before they try it. That ‘wait & see’ thinking is everywhere across North America as I just had a similar conversation with a Broadcast VP in the US.

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The radio industry needs new ideas and innovation to compete with Digital but is reluctant to engage. Part of this is the amalgamations; gone are some of the swashbuckling cowboys who came up through the ready, fire, aim days) Not too dissimilar to your recent article on Mice Nuts, a colleague recently described this ‘industry is like the unhealthy overweight guy with the heart problem who doesn’t want to go the gym.’

 I am all about growing revenue for stations and their clients. It is an exciting new opportunity to grow our clients’ revenue and really look forward to our partnerships and potential results.  

DC. It sounds like the radio industry needs more people like John Perras to help it grow and flourish. What’s the win here for Radio?

JP. I have always been a huge fan of radio and the results it can achieve for advertisers when done properly. I recently congratulated Marc Pritchard of P&G on their Mercury award and being radio’s largest client. P&G knows how the 3 Rs of Reach, Repetition, & Relevance make a radio campaign a success 100% of the time. The landscape of salespeople is made up of 70% not-so-great, 24% strong and 6% Elite!

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My goal is to help that 70% move closer to their 30% colleagues’ performance while selling successful radio campaigns. Radio is still a great industry to be in and even better when you know what you are doing and getting clients results. Business is changing with more and more competitive media offerings flanking radio for revenue.  It’s time for new training and new sales marketing strategies that will work well in 2023 and beyond.

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