Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Everybody's Favorite Radio Station

Back when I was a young, handsome, naive greenhorn in the wonderful world of sales I sat in a classroom with a bunch of noobs, know-it-alls, and seasoned vets. We were all there to become some of the most well trained sales people in the consumer electronics industry. In the weeks to follow I would learn The art of the conceptual sell, how to leverage F.A.B. statements, and how to become a chameleon. Interestingly, one of the the lessons that seemed the most profound to me was so simple that I couldn't believe I never thought of it myself. It was a simple acronym that held so much weight it changed my life.

Our instructor asked us what is the one radio station everybody loves. Know-it-all's raised their hands and started spouting various call signs only to be shot down repeatedly. Seasoned vets scoffed as if it were a joke and didn't take it seriously. Noobs sat there mouths slightly agape staring at our trainer like a puberty stricken teen stares at the girl of his dreams. I sat their confused, eagerly waiting to hear the answer thinking to myself "There just can't be a singular radio station that everyone likes. "

Once I heard the answer I felt like Tom Hanks in Castaway. I was lost, confused, alienated and really wished I had Wilson to help me through that moment. WIIFM?!!? I never heard of that station. What the heck is WIIFM and why did I not know that everybody but me had this listed as their favorite?

WIIFM, as I would later learn, wasn't a real radio station. It's short for Whats In It For Me; a key ingredient in the recipe of sales. Wiifm is a motivator. It's what helps us decide if the deal in front of us is enough to satisfy the urge to purchase. As I internalized it I came to the realization that humans as a species are inherently selfish. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all when we are offered a job don't we ask ourselves will this enhance my life, career or status? What about pay and benefits? What's in it for me?

As entrepreneurs we need to take a step back and look beyond our personal Wiifms. We need figure out what everyone else is going to get out of our product or service as well. We need to realize that our business has to cater to a lot more people than ourselves. While Wiifm is a great principle we should be mindful that everybody has their own personal Wiifms as well. We should strive to understand this concept and apply it to our business.

What's in it for the investors?

What's in it for your staff?

What's in it for the community?

What's in it for your family?

I'm not implying that we need to be concerned primarily with ourselves, but to understand that there are a lot of people we deal with in business that make important decisions. It is imperative that we understand their needs, wants, and desires and help them realize what's in it for them. That is the only way to properly use the Wiifm principle. Otherwise you may as well pack it up and go home.


  1. Great read, and the point is dead on! I think many small biz think more of the wiifm, instead of the service or people there trying to sell to.

  2. Thanks! Wiifm is an important aspect for sure but it needs to be used in the proper context in order for it to be effective.

  3. Having lived in Boca Raton for several years, listening to the 103.1 WIRK has become a daily ritual for me. I start my day with a cup of coffee and a side of the WIRK‘Morning Show’. WIRK is a stay at home mom’s best source for great entertainment. Tune in today or stream online at!