Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Adventures in Advertising

Take a reality check to determine how clearly you understand what your prospects are thinking each time they look at your advertisement.
The owner of a small business takes a leap of faith and contracts to run a weekly ad in the local newspaper with a frequency of once a week for a full year. After five weeks, the results displease him so much that he cancels his contract.
Five ads in five weeks seems like a lot of frequency in marketing. Five exposures do, indeed, establish some momentum. But they don't even come close to create enough desire to motivate a sale. To truly comprehend how much frequency is enough to spark that sale, you've got to know just what your prospects think from each exposure.

Here is exactly what each one thinks as he or she looks at the ad you've run:
The first time a man looks at an advertisement, he does not see it.
The second time, he does not notice it.
The third time, he is conscious of its existence.
The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it before.
The fifth time, he reads it.
The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.
The seventh time, he reads it through and says, "Oh my God!"
The eighth time, he says, "Here's that bloody thing again!"
The ninth time, he wonders if it amounts to anything.
The tenth time, he asks his neighbour if he has tried it.
The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.
The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.
The thirteenth time, he thinks perhaps it might be worth something.
The fourteenth time, he remembers wanting such a thing a long time.
The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it some day.
The seventeenth time, he makes a note to buy it.
The eighteenth time, he swears at his lack of ready cash.
The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.
The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys what it is offering.

The list you've just read was written by Thomas Smith of London in l885.

The 21st Century Salesman who sells advertising must now ask how much of that list is valid right now, today? The answer is all of it.
Closers know that the single most important element of superb marketing is commitment to a focused plan. Do you think commitment is easy to maintain after an ad has run nineteen times and nobody is buying?
It's not easy.
But Closers have the coolness to hang in there because they know how to get into a PB's unconsciousness, where most purchase decisions are made.
They know it takes repetition. This knowledge fuels their commitment.
Anyhow, they never thought it was going to be easy.
Thank God it isn't easy...otherwise everyone will be selling it.
As real estate is location location location, Advertising, like selling, is frequency frequency frequency.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Lesson #5 Revenge is a dish best eaten cold.

My mentor, Hal Stamford, used to have this amazing ability to keep calm in a crisis. He kept his feelings, anger, frustration etc. below the surface. After a while, he taught me how to do it. It has become invaluable and more powerful than blowing your top or running around like a headless chicken. I have seen him in a meeting being verbally battered and beaten up. He has presented his case, increasing targets or increasing salary and reducing commissions etc and he has sat passively while the people he has presented to ranted and raved. One time he stood in front of a room or 120 salespeople and told them that targets had to increase. There was uproar. Shouting, abuse, insults, chairs being thrown people arguing and pushing each other and there, in the middle of it, was Hal sitting there looking at his nails and toying with a pen. He was totally oblivious of all of the tirades. When the arguing abated and a couple of people were saying, ‘you can’t increase targets’, and ‘you can’t do that you are asking for trouble’ he looked up. He put his pen in his pocket, stood up and looked at them.
“Right!” he said, quietly, and walked out of the room.
The arguing started again. This time though, they were arguing about the argument.
“You shouldn’t have said that”, “What do you think he will do?”
Just that calm and impassive temperament and the quietly spoken, “right” with a slight smile and a nod before walking out had instilled more fear and trepidation in that room than if the Terminator had walked in packing.

Lesson #5: Revenge is a dish best eaten cold.
The last thing you want to do is telegraph a punch. You know, one of those real haymakers. Your opponent can see that coming a mile off. You are almost handing a calling card over prior to launch. If you stomp and shout, rant and rave, BACK at people you are communicating to them two things.
First, that their argument has hit a nerve like a root canal job and has sent you 30,000ft and climbing.
Second, you could accidentally tell them what you will do next because your anger will be obvious and they will expect some form of retribution, from YOU.
If you are of the mind to either ‘up the ante’ or exact some revenge then it’s best not to let them know that you are going to do that.
Terrorism is the fear ‘of’ an act: and not the act itself.
You can create fear by saying and doing nothing. but making it clear, albeit in very ‘matter of fact’ terms, that you are going to do something.
When you finally decide ‘when’ to act your act will come out of the blue. If you had stood there and screamed ‘I am going to (fill in the blank)’ then you will be the first person they will accuse. You telegraphed it.
They will have lived in fear for a long while and they will have no idea it was you who had exacted revenge in the end.

Coming next, Lesson #6. A leopard never changes its spots; but it does disguise them.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Lesson # 4: It’s not personal; it’s business, what a lie that is!

Have you ever been turned down for a job? Had your proposal rejected?
Have you ever talked to a member of the opposite sex and attempted to get a phone number or a date only to be told to get lost, or worse?
Have you spent time calling a company to tell them about a fault in service, like your cable system being down, only to find that the person you are talking to has no brain or is being deliberately obstructive?
In life we are often presented with conflict and it can come from everyday situations.
In business we get the same thing on a more consistent basis. Salespeople get rejection. Part of selling is handling and dealing with rejection. In business we get rejection as well as acceptance.
“Life is a hard surface” Aristotle Onassis.
Sometimes a colleague that has worked for you for a long while, one that you see as being content and happy with his position, decides to leave. They move on.
Sometimes a company that you have presented a proposal to decides to ‘go with someone else’ through no fault of yours. They just make bad decisions.
Sometimes people do not do what you tell them to, they don’t take your advice. They go their own way, at cost.
It’s nothing personal…it’s just business, ok?

Lesson #4: It’s not personal; it’s business, what a lie that is!
It’s PERSONAL. Take it personally.
If someone doesn’t listen to you or ignores you; take it personally.
If someone decides to go with someone else instead of your product or service; take it personally.
If someone disrespects you in a meeting or some other consultation; take it personally.
The thing is - I read Mario Puzo's book ‘The Godfather’ once every couple of months and watch the movies more than that. I know that the phrase ‘It’s not personal; it’s business’ is always taken taken out of context.

This is what Michael Corleone actually said in the book:
"Tom, don't let anybody kid you. It's all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of shit every man has to eat every day of his life is personal. They call it business. OK. But it's personal as hell. You know where I learned that from? The Don. My old man. The Godfather. If a bolt of lightning hit a friend of his the old man would take it personal. He took my going into the Marines personal. That's what makes him great. The Great Don. He takes everything personal. Like God. He knows every feather that falls from the tail of a sparrow or however the hell it goes. Right? And you know something? Accidents don't happen to people who take accidents as a personal insult. So I came late, OK, but I'm coming all the way. Damn right, I take that broken jaw personal; damn right, I take Sollozzo trying to kill my father personal."

Business IS personal. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. And if someone lies to you; take it personally.

Coming next, Lesson # 5: Revenge is a dish best eaten cold.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Lesson #3: Kill The Monster Early

I have a friend who got a parking ticket. He stuck it in a drawer to deal with later. You know, later? When he had the time? Three days later he pulled the ticket out and saw that he was being fined £40. He had a week left to pay it. He put it on the hallway table and went to work. A week later it was still there. When he remembered to look at it he had one day left before it increased to £60. Should he reschedule his meeting so that he could go and pay the fine now? In his mind he did a quick calculation.
“It’s only another £20 for Christ’s sake!”
Is it?“I spend more than that on cigarettes each week!”Well, that’s that rationalized!Another week went by. And then another.
He forgot all about it.
He went on holiday.
When he got back his car had been lifted and impounded and to get it back he had to pay the costs on top of the original fine.
The fine, if he had dealt with it straight away, was only £40.
He paid out £480.00 that day to get his car back.
Lesson #3: Kill the monster early.In business we make choices every day. We decide what direction we are going to take, what strategy to use, who to send on a particular job. All those choices are pro-active. We have to react in the same positive way. When something happens we have to decide right away a course of action otherwise things change.
Some people tend to sweep things under the carpet.
Someone causes a problem or a challenge? Sweep it under the carpet.
Some people keep on doing that again and again until nobody can open the door because of a huge pile of crap under the carpet.
Problems (£40 fine?) can be brushed off or ignored for a while. They turn into concerns.
Concerns (£60 fine increase) cause a little consternation and can be time consuming but, some people deal with them by delaying action. The concerns turn into a crisis!
A crisis (car towed and £480 bill) is when and only when some people act. All that trouble and financial cost and yet, back in the days of the £40 it would have been so simple. Just deal with it at the time and get rid of it. Do it NOW!
In business, never ever let anything just sit and rot away. Always deal with things immediately if that can be done. Never, ever, put things off to another day. Do the tough stuff first and then do the easy stuff.

Here’s a case in point...

You must have seen the Alien films. They are great and I always get a kick out of watching them. Do you remember that scene in the first film when Cain has that alien burst out of his chest? The pic at the top is the scene.
I always think of how different it would have been if I had been on that spaceship. Just as the little alien runs across the table I would have twatted it with a sledge hammer and flattened it. Then, I would have said a line that would have been immortal:
“If we had let that out of the room it would have killed everyone!”
Roll credits!

Coming soon,
Lesson #4: "It’s not personal, it’s business". What a lie that is!

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Lesson #2 Keep Your Friends Close, But Your Enemies Closer!

I have been in companies where complete idiots have been working. I could never understand why they were still there or allowed to work there. In one company, a cable company I rose through the ranks in, there were a couple of people working there who made a few enemies of the management. They were always causing problems for the accounts department and for credit control because they were slipshod with their paperwork. The managers were always on their cases. They wrote a lot of business. One day, one of them left and three days later the other one followed. Three months later they were back. I wondered why the management would consider having these loose cannons back. A mentor of mine was a man called Hal Stamford. He had worked in FMCG for many years at sales management level. He worked for Coca Cola for a number of years before pitching up at Cable London. He told me why and he told me the saying that makes up lesson #2. But first…
There is a saying: better the devil you know. I had never understood that saying until I realized that it was another way of saying ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’. Basically, even if someone is acting an asshole, they are better than an unknown and unqualified asshole coming into your business and causing havoc. You may be able to control that asshole you know, but the new one: they could cause a heap of trouble.
Leaving a company for another one that makes wild and desirable promises is a case in point for both sayings. You think of leaving because the grass seems greener than where you are but maybe you are better off with the devil you know.
Running like a thread within all of that is …
Lesson #2 Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
An enemy can be anyone. The stereotype enemy is someone out to do you direct harm. Blofeld is an enemy of James Bond. The Joker/Riddler/Catwoman are enemies of Batman. In reality, an enemy is anyone who could damage your reputation, destroy your business, take business away from you, a person who feels hatred for, fosters harmful designs against, or engages in antagonistic activities against another; an adversary or opponent. Phew!
Well, if that’s the case, you should keep your enemies closer than your friends. That makes perfect sense. Do you really want them off where you can’t see them and have no control over what they are doing? No.
Also, if they do mess you up, or worse, they are so close not only can you see the problem growing, you can strike back easier because they are within range.
In many cases you will find that they think you don’t know they are an enemy and they drop their defences. That’s even better. At least, in a working environment, you are aware of what they are doing. Keeping them on a tight leash helps, leave no room for them to maneuver too much. In the short term it’s better to have them inside the tent peeing out than outside the tent peeing in but ultimately, when they mess up, or betray you, you need to strike fast and powerfully and the only way to do that is to have them under your wing.
Keep your friends close, because you can help them and look after them.
Keep your enemies closer, that way, if you need to, you can destroy them quickly.

Next Lesson #3: Kill The Monster Early

Friday, 2 March 2007

Coffee is for Closers Newsletter...

Coming next week....the Coffee is for Closers Newsletter.
This will contain expanded versions of the Business Lessons appearing on here.