I’ve got some bad news

Let’s say someone you know walks over to you sombrely and says:

“I’ve got some bad news”

No doubt you’ll get a sudden knot in your stomach and a hankering to know just what the news could be.

What’s the cause of that sudden anxiety?

Well, lets face it…

Your first thought is naturally; “how will this affect me?”

Can’t help it. Can’t fight it. It’s human nature. Even if the news will only affect you by proxy that’s the first question your mind and body asks.

That’s why WIIFM is so important when trying to sell something.

‘What’s in it for me?’. WIIFM.

That’s the most important question to answer – way before anything else, way before you even try to engage in a sale.

If you haven’t answered that in your sales call/article/advert/email then any conversions will be due to blind luck.

Ashley Brown

(image credit: The Telegraph)

Why entrepreneurial spirit will never die

I didn’t go on holiday to a hot country until I was about 24.

There were a few things that I didn’t realise.

I wondered why anyone bothered wearing flip-flops. They looked silly.

I imagined myself walking over the sand and the pavements bare foot. No problem.

Of course when I arrived I soon realised that I was wrong.

The sand and the pavements were hot, hot, hot.

Which, in hindsight, seems kind of obvious.

So, with my friend in tow, I went to go buy some flip-flops.

We eventually found one of those gift shops that stock everything from football shirts to promiscuous fridge magnets.

But I couldn’t see any flip-flops.

I asked the shopkeeper who, after a moment’s consideration, retreated into the furthest corner of the shop.

He returned with a pair of flip-flops. They looked okay, although a tiny bit faded and dusty – but for the equivalent of a fiver I wasn’t complaining.

We emerged into the day and, once we got further up the beach, I noticed my friend was laughing.

“What?” I asked, perplexed.

“He didn’t have any flip-flops in the store” he said.

“Yes he did! He went in the back and got some…”

“No! Those were the ones he was wearing…”

No wonder they were faded and dusty.

And that, readers, is why entrepreneurial spirit will never die.

There’s always a way to make that sale.

(I still keep those flip-flops as a reminder that there’s always opportunity somewhere)

“The Theory and Practice of Selling the AGA cooker”

David Ogilvy (1911 – 1999) is one of the biggest legends in the advertising business.

Known as ‘the father of advertising’ Ogilvy worked for advertising agencies in both London and New York – he was equally successful in both countries.

During the second world war he even helped the British Intelligence Service with their communication strategies. Which is one of the things that I find most fascinating.

Who knew that national security and marketing could mix together when a country is in peril?

One of the other things that fascinates me about Ogilvy is his early life. His first real adult job was as a door to door salesman.

Can you imagine the advertising executives of today doing that? Not a desirable role at all, and one that many couldn’t do.

(My copy of Ogilvy on Advertising – a fantastic & engaging read)

But, yeah – Ogilvy learnt how to sell by going door-to-door. He learnt about real people. What they liked, what they responded to and what worked when it came to closing the deal.

And, for those of us who want to use our creativity to sell things, it’s an important lesson to learn.

As creatives and arty types we won’t always have as much in common with the average joe.

So it’s important for us to keep ourselves grounded and to keep ourselves in touch with the public.

Something that catches our interest might not bother Jim next-door. And vice-versa.

When he was young Ogilvy sold cookers. He was phenomenally successful at it. In fact he was so successful that the first book he ever published was a manual on selling cookers.

I found it online and I’ll include a link to it below – it’s a fascinating read. Although, unfortunately, in terms of the language used, it’s a bit of a product of its time.

“The good salesman combines the tenacity of a
bulldog with the manners of a spaniel. If you have
any charm, ooze it.” – David Ogilvy

The Theory and Practice of Selling the AGA cooker”