After brief pre-flight introductions last December, the fellow in the middle seat says to me, "So in the radio advertising world you must really like December!" As a listener to radio, that would be a good assumption. But the truth for a business development professional is that December is the shortest month of the year.
Successful local radio business development professionals move on to the next month when there are fewer days remaining in the month than you've already covered in the month. With the Gregorian calendar, the busdevpro switches to grow her last-minute July bookings on June 15. That gives the busdevpro about 21 weekdays each month to work with prospects and sponsors and finalize their schedules when there is still enough time to impact the results of the booking month.
That rule works pretty good for nine months a year--leaving November, December and January as explosive exceptions.
November: Since many businesses and radio stations are closed for the two days around Thanksgiving, you have two fewer days in the month so you start finalizing your December bookings on November 14--a day earlier than usual. Not so bad, but a bit time-constrained.
December: The week before Christmas is a mine field for contacting business partners and the week after Christmas is just as big of a time-hazard. That's why busdevpros close out December a full week early--normally by December 8. Combined with the November work plan, December only has 3 weeks, less the two days for Thanksgiving, to make 13 days. Yikes! That's almost 40% less days to work and build December income!
January: Returning to the office after Christmas isn't so easy. Many of our business partners take a couple of days off for the New Year, plus three more days catching up from being out of the office so much. To get back on schedule, we begin finalizing February bookings on January 15, but it shortens January to only 14 business development days. That's one-third less month than normal!
We lose about 16 business development days in November, December and January--which explains one of the reasons why January is a tough month.
What to do?
First, focus on presenting annual schedules to your prospects. When they make a decision in July that keeps bookings going through the holidays without a decision-point, you both win!
A second--but far less preferred--is to book at least a quarter at a time, but try not to make it a calendar quarter, but move it one month back so that, in October, you book November, December and January all at the same time.
The least preferred method is to try to fill your January goal between December 8 and January 15.