top of page

Rent-A-Rep FAQ


"Who in the world put this idea into your head?"


I spend a lot of time with general managers, development directors and sales managers. 


When I'm on-site with them, the conversation almost always turns to how difficult it is to find good sales reps.  Several clients have said, "I wish you could just come in for a week or two and meet with some of the major prospects that I would really like to close." 


After I heard that for the umpteenth time, I decided that maybe there's a need for this.


"How many Rent-A-Rep clients can you handle?"


Not many.  Three or four if everyone chooses the Gold Level; perhaps a dozen if everyone chooses the Bronze Level.



"Why should I rent you instead of hiring a full-time rep?"


  1. To save money:  Rent-A-Rep costs a fraction of what a full-time rep costs.  Take a minute to add up all of the expenses of a full-time rep: salary, benefits, mileage reimbursement, training, travel to conferences, etc.  It gets pricey in a hurry.

  2. Experience:  I have 15 years experience selling public broadcasting.  I've sold PBS, NPR and classical in every market size. 

  3. Guaranteed Performance:  If I don't generate enough revenue to cover the retainer, you get the difference back in cash. 

  4. Longevity:  How many reps have you churned through in the past five years? 

  5. Peace of mind:  Rest easy knowing that you have a proven rep locked in to a long-term contract. 

  6. You have better things to do than manage sales reps:  Need I say more? :)


"Why did you choose a retainer + commission pricing structure?"


It's a question of commitment. 


I'm committing valuable time to every station that signs up: weeks of travel and additional weeks in the office preparing.  I want to be sure that every station I serve is fully committed.  In my experience, nothing focuses attention quite so well as writing checks.


The money back guarantee ensures that the station can't lose money; the commission provides escalating upside incentive for both sides.  I think it's the best compensation system for this particular situation.

"Would you consider taking commissions on some accounts that we already have in lieu of a guaranteed retainer?"


I'm open to the idea, but it depends on the specifics.  Call me or shoot me an email with details.


"Which kinds of stations do you think you can help?"


A variety of them.


  1. Small stations.  Many small stations have a development director who wears all of the revenue hats.  They're so busy doing pledge drives, membership mailings, major donor meetings, etc. that underwriting tends to receive less attention than it should.  They know there is more underwriting revenue to be had; they just don't have time to go after it.

  2. Stations that already have a good rep and good market potential, but can't hire another full-time rep for whatever reason

    • A number of stations have one good full-time rep, but don't have enough revenue to bring a second rep on board. 

    • Some stations are bound by a hiring freeze. 

    • Some stations have a good primary rep, but have gone through second rep after second rep, never managing to find the right hire.  Whatever your specific circumstances, renting me can fill that void.

  3. Stations that can't justify a full-time rep.  A number of stations have difficulty justifying a full-time sales rep, even in larger markets.  The economics simply aren't there.  I can come in for a fraction of what a full-time rep costs.  Because I cost less than a full-time rep, and because I have a track record of turning around struggling underwriting programs, Rent-A-Rep makes economic sense where hiring a full-time rep doesn't.

  4. Far-flung stations:  Some systems have multiple stations in a state or region.  Because public stations are perpetually short-staffed, full-time reps tend to sell almost exclusively in the primary market.  With Rent-A-Rep, it makes sense to send me into some of those smaller markets for a handful of weeks per year.  The smaller markets can't support a full-time rep on their own, but with Rent-A-Rep, the economics make sense.

  5. Stations that need a part-time sales manager.  Many stations have development directors who came up through the membership side and aren't really comfortable managing a sales staff. In that case, I can do what sales managers do: run the sales operation.



"I already have a rep.  How does that work?"


This happens all the time in sales.  A good rep can only handle so many clients.  While your current rep cares for her list of clients, I'll go to work on the prospects that she can't get to.


Or, perhaps you have a rep with good potential who just needs some training.  I can help to create winning sales packages and presentations.  Then, I can visit prospects with your rep to help close some deals.


"This is going to make my current rep nervous."


I don't think there is any need to be nervous.


Any rep who is generating a decent return on their salary has no need to fear.  Reps like that are too valuable to let go.


"What about travel expenses?"


The station will need to reimburse my travel.  It typically costs about $1,000 - $1,500 for a week of travel: airfare, hotel, rental car, per diem, etc.


Many stations have trade agreements with local hotels or bed & breakfasts.  If you're one of them, I'm happy to stay where it's free - as long as there are no rats, cockroaches or dead bodies.


"Does renting you mean that I have to do an Underwriting Wave?"


Not necessarily.


Underwriting Waves are a great way to raise big money - just look at the "Success Stories" page.  But, I'm the first to admit that Underwriting Waves aren't for everybody.  They are one tool in a tool box.  A great tool - but just one tool.


I will certainly take a hard look at your packaging and pricing.  Once I know your particular circumstances, I'll probably suggest some modifications.  After all, that's what good reps do: size up the current sales situation and figure out ways to improve it.

"Why don't you offer a guarantee on one year contracts?"


It's because I'm looking for marriage, not just a date. 


I'm confident that I can generate enough sales in year 1 to make economic sense, but I expect that the real benefits - for both of us - will come in subsequent years.  There is a snowball effect in sales.  I prefer to be around long enough reap the benefits of three to five years of effort, not just one.

bottom of page