The Best Marketing Campaigns in History

marketing campaignsI’m a big fan of the show Mad Men. Actually, that’s not strong enough, I’m a super fan. I love everything about that show from the costumes, to the dialogue, to the day drinking, to the peak behind the curtains of how advertising firms were run 40 years ago. It’s fascinating and I just can’t get enough.

In today’s post I thought I’d focus on some of my favorite marketing campaigns and what made them so successful. Maybe in a later post I’ll address some of the worst which can be just as fascinating. [Read more…]

The Fundamentals of Selling

how to sellWant to get a job selling used cars? Need to sell a new software package to a client? Want to make sure the family of four you’re waiting on all order dessert? While these sound like totally different scenarios they’re actually quite similar. The best salespeople understand that it doesn’t really matter what you’re trying to sell, the fundamentals are the same. Make the customer want what you have and make them think that buying it is their idea. Great, most people understand that but how do you actually make that work? [Read more…]

How to Sell Electric Cars

electric carsI think it’s safe to say we all understand electric cars are the future. While the public hasn’t totally bought into the idea yet they are on their way. They just need a little push to get there. People want electric cars, but concerns over price, safety, reliability, and how to charge them are holding them back. I came up with 5 ideas to get people off the fence and to start buying them. [Read more…]

The Tactical Backpack as Home Base

hardcore tactical backpackSelling takes perseverance, ambition, lots of patience, and a good bag. Yes, it’s true. All of these things are important to achieving success in the sales game.

When I was younger and just starting out, I was actually a traveling salesman. You don’t have too many of those anymore, what with the internet and Amazon.com and the convenience of shopping from home. But the original version of shopping from your living room was the traveling salesman. He’d come to your door, peddling his wares, often uninvited. Talk about cold calling. There it was at its most basic and appalling form. Strangers knocking on your door trying to get you to buy stuff. Usually it was vacuum cleaners or widgets of some kind. Most kids learn the value of a dollar and salesmanship by going around trying to sell knife sets. They’d give you a demonstration of the product, cut a penny in half, slice a cardboard something or other, and hope to God you put in an order for poorly made knives that were often overpriced.

But these days, the sales game is much different. You’re still cold calling to some extent but it’s also about attending conventions, conferences, weekend events where all the old guard and the new hungry generation get together, swap war stories, and try to out-sell the other guy.

You have to love it to be able to do it. Luckily, I love it, selling is in my blood. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, you need the right bag. You can bring anything and everything you need along to the hotel, the convention center, the bars and parties. If you have prototypes or samples of your product, you can have them with you at all times. Tactical backpacks are a great choice. They have tons of pockets and pouches and you can fit pretty much all of your gear inside. Not just samples, but order books, pamphlets, sales projections, business plans, like I said, anything you need along with you.

There’s even enough room to bring some snacks or lunch with you, since it’s likely you won’t be stopping to eat anytime soon. You may not know much about tactical backpacks, but go check out this site to learn more about them. I’m telling you, they’re the serious salesman’s best friend. Best thing about these types of packs, you have a lot of storage space for all of your stuff, but more importantly, you can find it all in a moment’s notice. They help keep you organized, which is imperative to being a good salesman. When you’ve got someone interested in your product, the last thing you want is to keep them waiting or worse, bored. You don’t want to be rifling around through your bag while a prospective buyer is ready to know more about what you’re selling.

 

 

 

How to Sell Manliness

shavingIf you’re looking to sell men’s products you need to remember one thing: men want to feel manly. I don’t care who the man is, whether they teach junior high English, are a doggy psychologist, or sous chef in a top of the line French restaurant. Deep down, guys want you to think that they could build a log cabin with their bare hands, beat up anyone making eyes at their lady, or that they shave every morning with a machete. Most guys won’t admit it, and even fewer could actually pull any of those things off, but they all want it.

So, that being said, the key to selling to guys is to remember that you need to appeal to their inner caveman subtly enough to not make them self conscious about any manly failings. For example, if you want to sell a guy a watch you can stress the fact that it has a good warranty, it looks nice, and it will go with his short sleeve polo shirt. Or, you could let him know that it’s the perfect watch to wear while stalking wolverines in the Montana wilderness.

If you want to sell a watch, sell a military watch, don’t sell a golf watch. Anyone looking for military watches knows to go here, and not to Target, because they know they’ll get something super manly that also looks great. Even though they could get the same watch at Target, that site understands how to sell to men.

My favorite example of finding manly ways to sell not-so-manly products is the whole shaving phenomena that’s taken the states by storm over the past 10 years or so. It used to be guys bought disposable razors, the cheapest shaving cream they could find and were find with it. No complaints. Now everyone wants a turbo 4 blade razor. And they use a pre-shave lotion, an aloe shave cream, and an after shave lotion. Shaving companies are so successful selling these products because they found a way to make something that doesn’t sound very tough, tough.

The guys you see in the ads look like lumberjacks. They’re big, burly men. The ads do a perfect job of making you feel like a man doing something no one would have been caught dead doing 20 years ago. It’s total genius!

There are a ton of other examples out there but those are my favorites. I’d love to hear what you’re favorite examples are in the comments.

Top 10 Resume Tips Everyone Can Use

create a resumeLooking for a new job? Then it’s time to dust off that resume and get ready for some serious updating. things have changed a lot in the past 10 years or so and if you haven’t been keeping track then you’ll be left behind. Long gone are the days when you simply list out the places you’ve worked with your job titles. These days you need to do a better job of selling yourself and convincing a potential employer why you’re the right person for the job. You need in depth information about your previous accomplishments and how they will transfer to your new position.

Here are my top 10 tips for updating your resume to get the job of your dreams:

  • Keep it Brief. Your resume should be 1 page MAX. Whatever you do, do not go over the 1 page. And don’t format it in landscape to make it all fit. And don’t shrink the font to give yourself more room. It should looking like a normal document, don’t get creative.
  • Expect that someone will only spend 10 seconds looking it over. That means the absolute most important info needs to be at the top where someone will be able to find it very quickly.
  • Make sure your experience includes info about how your accomplishments will benefit the new employer. Make it clear what you bring to the table.
  • Create a personal webpage or at the very least make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete. Put the address on your resume so potential employers will be able to get more info on you if they need it.
  • Pepper your resume with keywords important to each employer. Use words that they’ve included in the job announcement to make it look like you’re already part of the team.
  • Put your picture on it. I like this one because people remember faces better than they remember names. It will help you stand out against other generic resumes the potential employer receives.
  • Include ALL your contact information. That means more than just your phone number and email address but also your Facebook ID and Twitter handle if you have one. They’re going to look for this information anyhow so you might as well make it easy on them. And for god’s sake, make sure there isn’t anything too embarrassing on there.
  • Don’t include an objective or summary at the top like you were taught to do in college. Everyone knows what you want. It’s a new job, that’s why you’re sending out the resume.
  • If a title at a previous job is unclear then be specific about what you actually did there. What is a customer service representative? Did you sell sweaters or software packages?
  • Have someone else read it. I’m always amazed that people submit resumes with spelling mistakes and punctuation errors. Or, they put the wrong job they’re applying for at the top. Get someone you trust to look it over and give you some honest feedback.

And remember, the resume will help you get your foot in the door but it’s up to you to sell yourself during the interview.

How to Sell Yourself

build yourself upGet your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about building up your resume and accomplishments so others will want to hire you or buy whatever it is you’re selling. A lot of people make the mistake in thinking that you only have to list your accomplishments or work history to get people to notice you. The problem with this thinking is that you’re assuming that whoever is reading your resume immediately understands how your skills will translate into helping their company. Most of the time it doesn’t work that way. Recruiters are busy and don’t have time to think about all the ways your background in compiling financial statements will be useful. It’s up to you to tell them. The easier you make their job the more they’ll like you.

Here are some tips to help you better market yourself not just to recruiters but to customers and everyone else out there.

  • Don’t list features, concentrate on benefits. This tip works great for selling product and it translates over to people too. As mentioned above you need to do more than list your accomplishments to someone and expect them to connect the dots. Tell them how your accomplishments will help their business. For example, maybe you were in charge of documenting internal controls at your last job. Great, lots of people do that so what makes you so special? Maybe while documenting internal controls you helped uncover a fraud or found $50,000 that was placed in the wrong account. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn and build yourself up!
  • You really need to start networking. I touched on this issue in another post but it’s worth mentioning again. The more time you spend getting to know your peers and those who work in your industry the better your chances of landing your dream job. If talking to strangers really isn’t your thing then attend a few conferences where you’ll be forced to interact with other. Trade business cards and keep in touch with the people you met.
  • Be confident, even if you don’t feel confident. This one is tough, and it’s a fine line between projecting confidence and looking like a jerk. If you come off as proud of your accomplishments AND the accomplishments of your team people will respect that. If you give yourself all the credit all the time people will peg you for an egomaniac. Make sure others get the credit they deserve and you’ll come off as humble yet capable.
  • Practice your pitch. It doesn’t matter if you’re going in for a job interview, bank loan, or the biggest sale of your life, you need to practice. Put together some notes with the main points you want to get across and run them by a colleague, spouse, or friend. Ask for their honest feedback and tailor your message accordingly. Trust me, when you’re under pressure you’ll be very glad you practiced beforehand.

It would be great if our accomplishments alone were all we needed to sell ourselves but unfortunately that’s just not the case. It takes practice and determination and confidence in our abilities.

Negotiate Your Way to a Better Deal

buy a new carNegotiation is not something that comes naturally to most Americans. We’re brought up believing that sticker price is the price and that’s that. The only two exceptions are when buying a car and a new house. When we get to the point in our lives when we’re ready to buy either of those we’re usually unprepared which can lead to overpaying. We all think of car sales people as being sleazy but the truth of the matter is they’re just doing their job. They’re trying to get the most money possible for their car and you’re trying to pay the least. If you end up buying that car it’s because you met somewhere in the middle.

If you want to become a better negotiator you can use the five following tips to get started:

  1. Know your break even point. If you don’t know how much you want to spend then you’ve already lost. The salesperson will have you wrapped around their finger the moment the negotiation starts. You need to do your research beforehand to understand how much you can afford, what you think the product is realistically worth, and how much competitors are selling their products for. By preparing beforehand you can help level the playing field and ensure you get a deal you can afford and that’s fair.
  2. Take your time. Never feel like you have to rush into a decision. A salesperson will try to get you to make a decision today because they know that if you leave chances are you’re not coming back. This is leverage and you should use it. They’ll say things like the deal is only good for today, or they don’t have much inventory in stock, or anything else to make you feel like you have to act now. If the salesperson looks scared when you say you need some time to think it over and you’ll get back to them then you know you’ve got the upper hand.
  3. Be prepared to walk. If the negotiation isn’t going well and you’re not even getting close to your break even point then thank the salesperson for their time and leave. I would give them my phone number in case they change their mind but it’s a waste of both your time to sit and haggle over something that’s never going to happen.
  4. Don’t let them know your target amount. You’ve done your research and know what you want to pay. It’s important to never give that number out. Always start well below that amount and assume that you’ll be negotiating up. It’s important to give yourself some breathing room.
  5. Offer alternatives. Sometimes changing the payment method can dramatically affect your payment price. Vendors want to get their money sooner rather than later so offering to pay cash now should get their attention. Or you could offer an installment plan that would result in payment faster than traditional financing. Use your creativity to get the price you want at terms that are favorable to you.

Like everything else in life negotiation takes practice. Most people feel like it’s rude to offer a price other than what’s on the sticker but it’s common practice in most countries around the world. Good luck out there and don’t forget the salesperson needs you more than you need them.