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Best Ideas for Getting Your Marketing and Sales Materials out to the Public
Best Ideas for Getting Your Marketing and Sales Materials out to the Public

There are many other forms of advertising you can write. Optionally, you can take your initial efforts at sales writing and translate them into other mediums.

T-shirts: The now-famous No Fear line of clothing has done the impossible; it has successfully combined its own advertising with its own products. The company earns most of its revenue through T-shirts, which contain its logo, and some variation of a courageous slogan ("Does not play well with others. It seems that Others have a problem with Losing."). It should be noted that No Fear does not advertise in print, on radio, or television. The company merely sells its shirts, by the truckload, wherever shirts are sold. On the other side of the coin, a rent-to-own appliance company sought to market itself further by giving out free T-shirts that had their logo on the front, and big block letters reading, I LOVE REFRIGERATORS on the back. I thanked the company for their gift of the T-shirt, but tossed it into my car's trunk for use in emergencies. Does anyone truly love refrigerators? I, for one, appreciate refrigerators, but that's about it. In retrospect, this seemed like a creative rush-job in the marketing department.

When you come up with an awesome marketing statement or slogan, don't be shy about it. Put it on a T-shirt. (many online retailers will let you upload your images and words onto T-shirts, baseball caps, aprons, and what have you, because T-shirts are an ongoing form of advertising, as are baseball caps and aprons. People may very well wear T-shirts for months, or even years after using your product, simply because it's convenient. You'd have to come up with a destructive marketing phrase like, "I LOVE REFRIGERATORS" to make them wear other garments in public. Again, make sure your contact information is bold and legible (at least your website; add an 800 number if possible).

Stickers: Sticker are another fairly low-cost promotional item, and can be created quickly and inexpensively via www.stickerjunkie.com. However, like flyers, they may pose a slight problem if recklessly distributed (you wouldn't want anyone to put a sticker representing your business on the windshield of a police car, for instance).

Outdoor Advertising: Billboards, Transit Advertisements (posters or messages on buses, taxicabs, and within subway cars), and Space-For-Rent posters (shielded print bulletins at bus stops, pay phones, etc.) take your print advertisements and give them longevity (months at a time), legitimacy, and exposure to much more consumers via repetition. For example, a print ad in a newspaper should reach a good cross-section of consumers, but only for its readership, and possibly only for that particular day or week. That same print ad "recycled" and posted on a billboard, or on the side of a bus, will be noticed all month by a wide variety of consumers. Indeed, most commuters will want to read them just for some new visual stimulation, and billboards can lighten up what would be otherwise a long, uneventful journey.

If you or your client is a "traveler-specific" business, such as a service station or motel, outdoor advertising may be the only effective advertising method available to you. Radio ads will do little good if drivers are listening to their CD collection, but every driver should notice a billboard.THE RIGHT MOTEL IS COMING UP ON YOUR LEFT!

In general, what you write for outdoor advertisements must be CONCISE. You can expand a bit more information in Space-For-Rent advertising where most of your readers will be foot traffic and have the option of stopping to read your message in its entirety. With billboards, or transit advertising, readers have a narrow window of opportunity to read your message before they pass it by. You will want simple information, in BIG BLOCK LETTERS legible from as great a distance as possible. As always, a strong visual element is desirable.

Billboards are especially good for travel themes:




For a local business, transit advertising can literally "drive" your message home to area residents: (On a bus) My Favorite Stop is FRATELLI'S Restaurant. It'll be YOUR favorite, too!

These are both fairly concise messages, but to some outdoor advertisers, they'd actually be considered too "wordy." If you're part of an existing franchise with strong national brand recognition, you may be able to simply use your logo, your location, and one key benefit: "Kids Eat Free," "Pets Welcome," "Free Coffee With Fill-Up."

Telemarketing: Love it or hate it, telemarketing remains in existence because it works. Advertisers would not spend more than $50 billion a year if it didn't. Telemarketing can be "out-bound" (where sales representatives cold-call prospects), or "in-bound" (where prospects call in to a sales center and are invited to make a purchase). "In-bound" telemarketing is generally more effective, but must be supported by other media: a well-advertised 800 number and/or website. "Out-bound" telemarketing is more cost-effective; all that's needed is a thick-skinned sales representative (even if it's yourself), a telephone book, and a phone. In either case, you'll need to write a successful script first and foremost.
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For outbound calls, the FTC has a Prompt Oral Disclosure Rule: You must identify the seller (the corporation offering the sale, not necessarily the individual telemarketer), disclose that a sale is the purpose of the call (there are no mandatory words needed as long as it's established the corporation's call is intended to make a sale), and describe the goods or services offered. In the case of a prize promotion, you must also disclose that no purchase is necessary to win. You can offer both a prize promotion and a product or service for sale, but if a prospect asks, the representative must immediately instruct the prospect on how to claim the prize without having to make a purchase.

Consider the following when writing a telemarketing script (or "sales guide").

1. DO create a script that is friendly and enthusiastic. Hello, Mr. Schwartz, this is Andrea from Target Marketing, and I'm excited to tell you about a GREAT offer which is ONLY for homeowners like yourself! You do own your home, is that correct?
2. DO ensure that you get your prospect's name right. Hello, Mr. Kryznski -- did I pronounce that right? Hello? Hello? If a prospect has a surname that's too baffling, and the representative butchers it, they're automatically tagged as a telemarketer and will probably be hung up on.
3. DO write a script that offers immediate relief from their problems. Mr. Schwartz, I know a great many homeowners in your area have unfair mortgages, and if you don't feel you're one of them, then God bless you and you should feel free to hang up. But if you DO feel your Mortgage is unfair, let me tell you how my company can lower your mortgage rate by THOUSANDS of dollars.
4. DO write a script that creates a sense of immediacy, that this call is indeed the only opportunity to seize the benefits of your offer. We realize your time is valuable, but so is ours. Many people want us to "get back to them," but unfortunately, we can't, due to the number of people who are agreeing to this amazing opportunity. This is the only call we'll be making, so let me tell you what we have to offer...
5. DON'T write a script that focuses on your company or your product. Tackle the prospect's wants or needs instead.
6. DON'T write a script chock-full of questions such as, "Did you receive our recent mail offer?" Such scripts almost command the answer, "No, thank you, goodbye!"
7. DON'T get conversational when the order begins. The actual order is a process, not a conversation. Always say, "I can start your benefits right away. Would you like this on Visa or MasterCard?" (Note that it gives the prospect an option, albeit not an option not to bow out.)
8. DON'T write a script that's cast in stone and cannot be improved upon or improvised. Prospects will have 1001 questions, and no one script can handle them all. "Test" your script by trying it on a variety of friends and associates, and get their feedback.
9. DON'T leave any information out of your representative's reach, especially in an inbound situation. Callers will assume that your representatives can answer any and all of their questions, and if they can't, the sale is lost.
While many people feel that salesmen are perfect self-starters that can fearlessly sell ham to rabbis and refrigerators to Eskimos, it's simply not true. In order to function effectively, you and your sales staff need words.quantifiable facts, enticing offers, bonuses, and guarantees. Some sales professionals may very well be able to spin these out of nowhere, but most will need some form of written guidance.

When I was doing in-home sales of a water-purification unit, I had a script I was required to read, and not deviate from. The company literally left nothing to chance; there were opportunities to improvise, of course, but these were secondary to the information I was obliged to give the prospect. My sales script was written on a folding stand I could set up on a prospect's kitchen table. Every time I finished a page of my verbal presentation, I would flip it and the side that folded down in front of the prospect conveyed images and words of my product's benefits.

More importantly, on the top of each page that I was reading were the words:


The sales materials you write for your representatives, whatever form they might take, ought to do the same: continually enable them to think positive, and concentrate.

Sales materials that inform a representative that they have quota to meet if they're to remain employed (as in Glengarry Glen Ross) will, indeed, force them to concentrate on doing anything to close a sale, including cutting corners and fabricating -- but it hardly enables them to think positively. Your materials should reflect the benefits of what your product or service offers the customer (my company's water purification unit gave each customer substantially improved health, incredible savings on water-related cleaning products, and amazingly clean bodies, clothes, and living spaces), and what it offers your representatives: commissions, salary, bonuses, benefits, perks, and so on. You must immediately (and continually) promote and reinforce both of these benefits, because although, "Everything is (a form of) selling," as Zig Ziglar has said, selling is not easy. Resistance and rejection are omnipresent in sales, and a unique combination of charisma, courage, and perseverance is required to make many sales. Those who master salesmanship skills are worth huge sums of money -- and they know it. So they may not leap at the chance to join forces with smaller or beginning companies.

If you feel you can train sales representatives from the ground up -- and you very well might (or have to) -- your first writing for them will be the classified advertisement that recruits them.

There are generally two types of classified advertisements that will recruit salespeople. One is called a "blind" ad, in which a potentially lucrative position is mentioned with a salary range, but with no experience necessary and little if any information about the actual position itself. Here's one example of a blind ad:

Rock & Rollers Wanted!!!

ROCK to work, ROLL to the Bank!

No experience necessary!

You must be:

Over 18, with transportation

Wild & Crazy

Love to Party

Willing to make $500-$800+ per week

If you meet these requirements, please call

Mr. Andersen between 10 a.m. & 4 p.m.

at 1-800-555-9876

to schedule an interview.

Blind ads will bring in a good number of recruits seeking a dream job. However, you will need a great training program to retain them, and turn them into salespeople. Be advised, the majority of unskilled recruits that answer your ad for a "no experience necessary" sales position (especially a position that's commission-only) will probably resign within the first month, if not earlier. This will confirm the popular business maxim that 80 percent of a company's work is done by 20 percent of its people. Depending on your product or service, your commission rate and other factors, perhaps 20 percent of each class of recruits will remain with the company, to teach the next class. I should reiterate that there is nothing wrong with this practice, and hundreds of successful companies swear by it.

The other ad is a "targeted" ad, which specifically seeks to recruit savvy sales professionals. Here's an example:



PHARMACOPIA, INC. has immediate

Openings for seasoned representatives

Willing to go the "extra mile."

$75K-$150K per year potential, plus:

*401K plan *Full Medical/Dental Insurance

*Paid Vacations *Bonuses *Daycare *MORE!

Please email resumes to email@somwhere.com.

Targeted ads such as these will recruit only sales professionals, albeit in lesser numbers, since "closers" are fiercely competed for and jealously guarded within every industry. Fortunately, a few savvy and experienced closers can do the work of a battalion of newly-trained novices.

Whether your sales staff is new or experienced, you need to keep them thinking positive. Memos such as, "We need to reach $150,000 in revenue this month," are much less effective than, "Our revenue goal this month is $150,000, and when your top-drawer skills combine with our awesome product benefits, we're poised for success!"

One company I worked for offered a frequent customer bonus program that was continually marketed to customers for a small fee. One branch of the company created a "Survivor"-type program in which those who sold the least number of customers on the program were "voted off the island" (as in, fired). Another branch proclaimed: "Sell X amount of programs = a new TV! Sell X more = a vacation! Sell X more = a new car!

Which branch would you rather work for?

In order to keep sales reps thinking positive, what you write for them to say must constantly promote benefits -- generally savings in time, money, work, or some other bonus. Your representatives must believe it, in order for your prospects to believe it.

You must also eliminate "negatives" -- words that seem wholly innocent and proper, but actually raise red flags in the minds of prospects. Never use the words buy, sell, sign, or contract. These inspire thoughts of lost money or manipulation. Replace these with own, acquire, add, approve, agreement, or other terms that inspire ownership of new property.

Where concentration comes in, is to ensure you or your sales representatives concentrate on the steps of selling. While sales can and should be a friendly exchange, it is first and foremost a business transaction, so leaving out, or glossing over any of the steps of selling can sabotage your work. Selling anything that's not an impulse buy is a fairly simple linear process:

1. Locate and contact your prospects.

2. Ensure they're able to buy. ("Qualify" them.)

3. Demonstrate your product or service.

4. Make an initial sale attempt ("close").

5. Overcome objections and/or address concerns.

6. Make another close.

7. Ask for referrals, if applicable.

Depending on your product or service, you may be able to get prospects by simply going through the phone book, going door-to-door, or securing or renting a display area in the public view. Your contact should be a sincere, warm greeting and an offer. The common opening, "May I help you?" is slightly courteous, but has been used so much it almost invariably results in the reply, "No thanks".

To "qualify" a prospect, you simply ask basic questions that will ensure they are actually able to buy from you, and you're not wasting each other's time. Your Amazing New Pet Groomer will be useless to someone without pets, so you'd qualify a prospect with, "Hello! Do you have any pets? Great, I'd like to show you something wonderful."

To successfully demonstrate your product, your sales reps must know all about it.how it works (and how to operate it), what makes it valuable and/or superior to comparable products, what sizes or colors are available, the specific model or part number if it requires a back-order, how many are in inventory, how long it takes to deliver, and any warranty or guarantee information. They needn't bombard a prospect with every single product detail, but they should be able to answer any questions the prospect has. So a plainly written list of all of your product's details (known as a spec sheet) should be included with every representative's marketing kit.

After the demonstration, you will have hopefully garnered enough of the prospect's interest to make an initial "close" (invitation to purchase). As we've discussed, instead of using buy, sell, sign, or contract, use different wording:

Would you like to take one home with you today?

What color would you like: silver or sky blue?

We offer three levels of service to choose from; which one is right for you?

With your approval, I can expedite your order immediately.

How many can you use?

There are varieties of closing techniques and wording. If one seems to work for you, use it. If you have a sales staff, one of them might come up with a better close (at least for them). You might wish to give your staff a list of optional closing phrases from which to choose from; they may be more comfortable with one over another.

The initial sale attempt is the beginning of the actual sales process, because the majority of prospects will normally stall, voice an objection, haggle, or ask for more information. It's at this point you'll need to overcome the objection before attempting to close again. Many prospects will simply say, "I'd like to think it over." They might be persuaded by informing them that this could be their only opportunity to attain your product (in their area, or at a reduced price).

With a specific objection (such as "It's too big/small/complicated/etc.")

You'll want to provide a list of responses your representatives can use -- not to argue with your prospect, however.

"You know, a lot of people say that; I personally would like it to be smaller, too, but it's actually the size that enables it to contain all of those benefits I told you about.

If you can, imagine yourself in the place of the customer. Come up with every possible objection that a customer could possibly have, so that your representatives won't be knocked for a loop.

For example, "Well, I like it, but I don't have $5,000 right now." Your representative can say, "Sir, I don't contact people thinking they have $5000 sitting right in their wallets. The fact is, this unit is guaranteed for life, so it'll be cleaning your water forever and paying for itself the whole time. So in the first five years, it's going to cost you about two cents a day! I've got several extended plans for ownership that will enable you to start enjoying the benefits immediately."Your representative has answered the objection and returned to the close.

One of the best materials you can write for your sales staff is a THANK YOU and/or CONGRATULATIONS card. These ought to perform multiple duties by including the following:

  • A reiteration of your product's benefits ("We're excited that you made the decision to save money AND do the right thing for the environment!")
  • An invitation to contact you with a testimonial ("When you can, please e-mail me and let me know how you're liking our product.")
  • A method for them to refer their friends, possibly with an incentive ("Don't keep this technological marvel a secret! Tell your friends. For every one that ends up purchasing, you'll receive your choice of...")
  • Each sales representative's name and contact information, along with the company's address
    Beyond the possibilities of testimonials and referrals, these cards reinforce that you or your company is professional, loyal to the customers, and are proud of what you sell.
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