You may have heard about Volkswagen’s initial ad campaign. At a time when big gas guzzlers were the norm on the roads, a European carmaker had the seemingly impossible job of convincing North American consumers to buy smaller cars. With direction from the Doyle Dane Bernbach ad agency, one of their first print ads featured a small photo of the VW Beetle, surrounded by a sea of blank space. The headline read, “Think small,” and the text explained the benefits of a car with easy maintenance and good gas mileage. Sales sky-rocketed and VW became a marketing sensation. Years later, Advertising Age magazine named it the best ad of all time.

Click on the headline to read more. Published June 9, 2020.

A New Look at an Old Sales Technique

Carla has been selling advertising for many years. She has researched and tried a variety of techniques to answer objections. “Just about everybody knows the Feel-Felt-Found formula,” she said. “When a prospect makes an objection – about price, for example – the response is, ‘I understand how you feel. Many others have felt the same way. Then they found that our paper offers good value for their investment.’

Click on the headline to read more. Published May 4, 2020.

A Sales Principle That Bears Repeating

Carl is a marketing manager who has been on the receiving end of hundreds of media presentations. He knows a thing or two about effective sales techniques. “Most of the time, I’m the point person to gather information about advertising options,” he said. “I frequently need to pass information along to others in the company. Usually there’s a written proposal, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Click on the headline to read more. Published April 2, 2020.

See the Other Person’s Point of View

A friend told me about the time his mom took him to the shopping mall to help her pick out a birthday present for his father. He was about six years old at the time, and it was no surprise when he headed straight for the toy store. That gave her a chance to have a little talk with him about the gift selection process: we look for something the other person would like, which is not necessarily what we would like for ourselves. She then guided him to another store, where they picked out a more appropriate gift. All these years later, he still remembers that important lesson.

Click on the headline to read more. Published March 2, 2020.

One Way to Avoid the Accidental Sales Jibe

Selling and sailing have a lot in common. Consider the jibe.

Click on the headline to read more. Published February 3, 2020.

Putting the Boss in an Ad

Sometimes it’s a good idea to feature a boss in an ad. Sometimes it’s not.

Click on the headline to read more. Published January 2, 2020.

A Formula for Testimonial Quotes

Testimonials can be convincing elements in advertising campaigns. Will Rogers once said, “Get someone else to blow your horn and the sound will carry twice as far.” It’s true that happy customers’ statements can be more credible than many of the things advertisers say about themselves.

Click on the headline to read more. Published December 9, 2019.

Don’t Let Your Presentation Sputter at the End

Alex is an ad manager who wants his sales team to be professional from start to finish. “Some salespeople talk too much, especially at the end of a sales conversation,” hesaid. “It’s like a car that diesels when you turn off the ignition. The engine just keeps on going.”

Click on the headline to read more. Published October 1, 2019.

What Golf Teaches Us About Advertising

I love golf, but I’m a terrible golfer. I’m the only golfer I know who has lost someone else’s golf ball. On a best-ball round, I mistakenly hit the wrong ball – directly into a lake.

Click on the headline to read more. Published September 1, 2019.

How to Make a Good Second Impression

Don, who manages his newspaper’s sales department, is always looking for ways to strengthen customer relations. “We understand the importance of first impressions,” he told me. “Know something about the prospect’s business before calling. Show up for the first appointment with a big smile and a firm handshake. Ask questions to learn about their overall situation and their marketing goals.

Click on the headline to read more. Published August 1, 2019.

Disadvantages Have Their Advantages

Jared told me about a technique his sales team uses. “I learned it in a seminar years ago, and I’ve seen it used in different industries. It’s based on presenting both sides of the story,” he said. “It’s natural for salespeople to focus on positives, but prospects think about negatives. So we package our presentations to show disadvantages along with advantages. It creates an atmosphere for open, realistic conversations.

Click on the headline to read more. Published July 1, 2019.

Expectations are Like Icebergs

Saundra’s experience as a sales manager has given her a unique perspective on client relationships. “Most sales people in the advertising business are taught to discover problems and prescribe solutions to those problems,” she said. “Too often, a sales person hears about a problem and says, ‘We can fix that. Just advertise with us, and everything will be fine. It’ll be fantastic.’ I think that’s a flawed approach, because it sets unrealistic expectations.

Click on the headline to read more. Published June 1, 2019.

The power of repetition. The power of repetition. The power of …

Catherine climbed the ranks from sales person to sales manager at her paper. “Although I’ve been in the business for a long time,” she told me, “there’s always a new way to look at advertising.”

Click on the headline to read more. Published May 9, 2019.

Keep ’em Talking and Learn More

Lori told me about some simple techniques she uses in advertising presentations. “Once the other person mentions a problem,” she said, “it’s important to slow down and show some restraint. A lot of sales people are conditioned to pounce on the slightest opening and shift the conversation. They can’t wait to talk about the ways their products can solve the problem.”

Click on the headline to read more. Published March 14, 2019.

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