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).
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.
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:
ONLY 200 MORE MILES TO LAS VEGAS!
AND IF YOU DROVE A TESLA, YOU'D GET THERE FOR 25 CENTS.
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."
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").
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:
THINK POSITIVE. CONCENTRATE.
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.
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@example.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 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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