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How I Negotiate Deals 4,500% Better Than You Can

how to negotiate tv and radio deals

Please don’t be offended, but there’s a really good chance that you’re absolutely terrible at negotiating with TV and/or radio stations.

I don’t care how good you are at negotiating other stuff, it’s an absolute certainty that you SUCK at negotiating with these guys.

The reason why is simple: You don’t speak their language.

Yep; media has its own “language,” and if you’re not fluent in it, you’re going to end up buying swampland in Florida when you thought you were getting oceanfront property in Maui.

It’s one of the main reasons you need to come to my 2-day seminar in Dallas on April 26 & 27. To learn more about the event click here.

Let me give you an example.

I’m working with a new client in Milwaukee. They got interested in radio and TV recently and started trying to make a buy themselves.

Here’s what they ended up with:

TV Commercial Schedule Example
This is swampland, pure and simple. Let me explain:

  1. After we researched the market, we determined that this is actually the 4th or 5th best radio station for them to be on. That might be okay if the DEAL was so good that they just couldn’t pass it up, but….
  2. They have no way of knowing how good this buy is based on this document. It states that they will get 20 spots a week for 24 weeks for $800 a week. Is that good? Unless you know HOW MANY PEOPLE are going to hear those spots, it is 100% impossible to judge.
  3. The Endorsement by “Elizabeth” (on-air personality) is way overvalued—it’s 20% of the budget. We found out she endorses FOUR companies simultaneously—that’s too many!
  4. The sponsorship on the left and the list of stuff on the right is FILLER GARBAGE that is worth approximately nothing. If you don’t know that, it’s a problem.

When I called the station and had them send me the numbers on this buy (which the client never ever saw—by design of the station), here’s what I got:

TV Commercial Schedule Filler GarbageThe Cost per Thousand (CPM) looks pretty good at $5.26. But then you realize that they are padding this with a bunch of GARBAGE (circled above) and it’s not so good. In fact, it’s terrible.

It’s like going to the store and getting 4 pounds of bananas… 1 pound is fresh and ripe and good to eat, but the other 3 pounds are old and moldy and useless. But all you know is you paid a certain price for all 4 pounds.

Let’s ask them to take 3 pounds of moldy bananas out, and just sell us the 1 pound of GOOD bananas.

I did exactly that; I asked them to remove the garbage, which exposed what a bad deal this really was:
TV Commercial Schedule Good Bananas/Bad Bananas
Boom, the price (THE REAL PRICE!) just MORE THAN TRIPLED to $16.30 (CPM).

When I told her what I wanted, she then pulled a fast one on me—trying to trick me:

TV Commercial Schedule - Pulling a fast oneOkay, look, the price is down to $9.99—a big reduction. Except she used 30-second spots instead of 60 second spots to artificially lower the price.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, they will pull this crap on you all day long.

I went back and asked to price it out for 60-second spots:

TV Commercial Schedule - artificially lowering the price Okay, now the schedule is right, but the price is terrible. I would NEVER pay $14.04 CPM for radio for my clients.

Would you? Would you even know?

I sent this “lower the boom” email; note that I am asking for a price almost 2/3 less than what she had offered:

Commercial negotiating lower the boom emailThree hours later, I had this offer in my inbox:

Commercial decent offer$9.99… the same price she had previously offered me for 30-second spots. That’s a huge reduction with just one ask. I am sure I could get 20% to 35% more off… but since I don’t really want this station anyway, I decide not to put the thumbscrews on her.

Instead, I focus on getting a better price from a better station, and I am able to get prices of $8.00 CMP and $7.56 CPM from two stations I like better…

Then I start to negotiate with TV stations.

Long story short, I negotiated with one of the best stations in the entire market to get on for $3.50 CPM.

The original deal they had negotiated was $16.30. I ended up with a deal on a better station on TV for $3.50.

That’s media buying like a boss.

That’s how I negotiated deals that are literally 4,500% better than you.

If you think your AGENCY is doing a better job than you could, you’re probably right.

If you think your AGENCY is doing a better job than I would, you’re almost certainly WRONG.

The problem with agencies is that they almost always leave the negotiation to some junior-level wannabe who sucks at buying media.

When I took over Jericho’s $1 million media budget in 2015, I was able to negotiate deals 20% to 30% better than what they had been paying.

It happens all the time.

This is what you will learn at my “Make The Jump” seminar on April 26 & 27.

I hope you can make it.

You need to make it.

I’ll see you there.


Rich Harshaw





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Should You Star In Your Own TV Ads?

Should You Star In Your Own TV Ads
A few years ago, I met a man named Kip Lee from Savannah, GA who owned a sunroom and window company.

Kip’s business was getting along just fine. In fact, he had one of the country’s top sunroom companies, despite being in one of the smallest markets.

Kip spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on newspaper advertising, and was just starting to dabble in TV commercials.

His first few commercials featured a spokesman who talked about the qualities of the company’s products. The actor had charisma, great stage presence, and came across as friendly and knowledgeable.

The commercials worked OK, but were not generating the results required to take Kip’s business to the next level.

I started working with Kip around this time. As I was reviewing his existing marketing materials, one item caught my eye: Kip’s infomercial.

Kip made an infomercial basically as an afterthought because the production company cut him a good deal on it. Kip only ran the infomercial on early Saturday and Sunday mornings, so it didn’t produce many leads and sales.

In the first few seconds of watching it, though, I knew this forgotten piece of advertising—relegated to a time only insomniacs and new moms were awake—was THE key to increasing Kip’s business.


Because Kip was a natural-born star.

One of the biggest reasons Kip’s company is so successful is because he has one of the most friendly, authentic, teddy-bearish personalities on the planet. When he sat down in someone’s home for a sales presentation, it was a done deal—prospects just knew they could trust Kip and that he wouldn’t BS them.

Kip’s demeanor came across like gangbusters in his infomercial. So I told Kip right then and there that he needed to be the star in his advertising.

And, practically overnight, a star he became.

First, we put Kip in a set of TV commercials. Then we started putting his picture in his print ads and his jovial voice on the radio.

Not long after, folks were recognizing him at the grocery store and in restaurants.

He heard, “Hey, you’re the guy from TV” on the daily. Random strangers high-fived him. He even signed some autographs.

Yeah, a sunroom guy… signing autographs.

But becoming the face of his franchise did more than make Kip the George Clooney of Savannah, Georgia.

As people saw Kip on TV and became familiar with his “We Take The Risk Out Of Home Improvement” pitch, they began to truly believe him.

Kip’s cost per lead started shrinking as his stardom rose. It wasn’t overnight, but that’s the name of the game when you’re using brand-building advertising methods like TV.

After a while, Kip started getting plenty of leads contacting him even when his ads were NOT running.

Here’s the million-dollar question…

Should YOU star in your own ads?

Like everything else, there are pros and cons to being the face of your franchise. So consider a few things before taking the plunge.

Can You Act?

can you act in your own tv commercial

Everybody has seen that business owner “starring” in his own commercial who looks like a deer in headlights and reading straight from a cue card. When you watch them, you feel a mixture of pity, secondhand embarrassment, and a tinge of guilt at your urge to laugh.

To pull off effective TV commercials, you have to have personality, charm, polish, and enough acting talent NOT to sound stilted. And trust me—do NOT ask for a family member’s evaluation on this.

Do You Care About Fame?

do you want to be famous

Do you want to be recognized when you’re buying toilet paper at Costco? Put yourself on TV for long enough, and it WILL happen.

You’ll start getting stares in parking lots, whispers at dinner tables, and points from children. I’m not saying you’ll get the paparazzi chasing you around town or TMZ writing some trashy story about you… but you will get noticed and called out on the regular.

And remember: not everybody is going to like you. Some will think you’re cheesy or dopey or annoying. Are you ready to handle that?

Do You Want To Be Your Company’s Brand?

do you want to be your company's brand

When you’re the star of your commercials, YOU become your brand. People may catch your company’s name, but they’ll likely remember yours more.

This can be a good thing, especially if you’re a likable person. But if you’re planning to sell your business at some point, you could be hurting the value of your company by packaging its image so tightly with your personal image.

Bottom Line…

Starring in your own commercials can boost business big time. Plus, it can be a lot of fun. I recommend it for business owners with the right personality and who don’t plan to sell their company any time in the near future.

Just know what you’re getting into before the camera starts rolling.

P.S. If you need helping creating your television ads and buying media, we can help. Visit our Ad Writing and Media Buying pages for the nitty gritty.


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