Salesman’s Letter Series #2

By Babatunde Alaran

Dear Prospect,

Would you like me to tell you that any product you buy is apparently not your decision? It is the decision of the salesman to let you buy the product. In a convincing way, that will bring forte your choice towards the product — and perhaps not that you will find it difficult, but, it will be effective to let you understand the benefit of the product. A salesman sells the benefit of the product but not the feature.

For instance, if I come to you, selling a Shampoo; that means I have discovered you as my target audience. Just because I notice your hair is not kinky enough. What I am supposed to do is to tell you why you need the Shampoo and its benefits to your hair. Then, I will come out straight. Like I had told you in the last series that advertising is not deceitful and direct marketing has presumed to be a process of communicating to your audience in a friendly way. Though, like a salesman who sells Shampoo, what I have to do is to make sure you, you believe in those benefits.

Not that as a salesman, I should then be presumptuous, towards the selling, but what I need to do for such customer whose hair is rough or not that kinky is that I will basically tell such customer that Shampoo is what she deserves to make her hair looks attractive. If she says: why? — Then, I will say just because she knows she is not conformable with dandruff.

So, like a salesman or a customer, you don’t need to have a premonition because the choice you make towards a product may affect or may not affect you when you buy or sell. But for a salesman, it is always part of the duty to let the customer has an interest in what you sell. You need to understand psychology and the way you approach such a customer with the language he/she understands. You just need to act like a piecemeal when you are with the customer.

The process of advertising means that your language needs to be simple. And perhaps, you need to find the customer’s interest and how your product will make him/her to not have a wrong doubt or bad impression about the product.

Be a jocular person because the customer wants to buy from someone that cracks a joke. Not necessary you become one of the best comedian or comedienne but you just have to know how to put liveliness in the customers’ face.

As you and I know that the market is competitive, and always be ready for a bargain in a constructive manner. Don’t rude. They are your benefactors; because without them you can’t pay your bills and without them, there won’t be enthusiasm to sell. Just make sure that you understand the marketing dynamic. To understand the marketing dynamic, firstly you need to understand the Strong Ps — which are inevitable, the three (Ps) People — Product — Place.

Indeed, these (Ps) are not stealthy. They are the components part of marketing and advertising. They determine who to buy and how to sell. I read the book of David Ogilvy who was the father of modern advertising and the founder of one of the biggest advertising agencies in 1960s; but now the WPP, which is established by Sir. Martin Sorrell has made an acquisition of Ogilvy. But, what fascinated me from that book: Confession of An Advertising Man. Is what he said: If we don’t sell, what else?

That means a salesman just have to sell. And for an example, if there is a new product on lottery, what the salesman needs to do is to know who the audiences are because they won’t be those who are senile but it would rather be those who enjoy gambling or those who enjoy sweepstake. However, this will give him the strategy to use to sell the new product. Therefore, the salesman needs to be creative. You don’t have to be redundant in language. Also, from a biography of David Ogilvy, he was a salesman who sold kitchen stove door to door for a living before the establishment of the agency. And what I discover from him is that a salesman needs to know how to captivate the attention of the buyer.

Albeit, when we watch a TV commercial, what always brews our attention is actually not the product. But what we do look out for in the message, if it is somewhat celebrity campaign or not. And if it is the kind of commercial we love, it will definitely captivate us to watch for as it is being aired. TV commercial ensures that we have insight into the product and what it will give us the application for the product and not the philosophy.

With this, it shows the real meaning of entertainment in the commercial, and it wouldn’t be inert to us because we get the importance of what we want. The commercial is not an absurdity. It brings the profundity of the product for us to perceive and receive in our own manner and choice. So, creativity is what makes us buy from the commercial.

Conversely, it means that a product can’t survive without creativity. The gigs for that are from the salesman who needs to have a nose of ideas. One idea is not enough to sell your product. One talk is not enough but just only one persuasion is enough to give the consumer what he/she wants from your product.

For instance, the process of communication is to know the theory to implement whenever you see a customer who doesn’t have the interest to buy. All you have to do is to use the product and tell him/her your experience before you sell to him/ her again. But if such customer stubbornly ignores your talk, never says that he/she won’t buy; but rather keep coming. And the communication theory you ought to use is selective perception. Try to know his/her perception towards that particular product and know why he/she refuses to buy — with this, you have become a journalist. You ask three questions which are: Why don’t you like the product? Is it that someone has lied to you concerning the product? Or is it that the product is not meeting you in a good economy?

When you have asked these questions in a friendly manner, try to give him/her a benefit of doubt, and if that customer is perhaps one of your audiences, and make sure you become his/her friend by visiting him/her repeatedly or talk to him/her on the importance of the product. Nevertheless, keep visiting. This is a process of repetition awareness. Awareness is communication to a salesman. For instance, when Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) was having a problem with a low shortage of chicken nationwide, what the multifaceted restaurant did was that they came up with a creative concept. So, that concept for such customer to buy from you is in your hand. That means Idea rule the world which is also the pillar for good salesmanship.

Lastly, everybody who buys or sells is a salesman. You need to have the mind that commerce is what you depend on; because if someone doesn’t buy from you or sell to you, you haven’t communicated to the public. Yet, your reputation is probably entwined to the wrong selection of business desire. So, keep, getting better by checking from your mistakes and never let those mistakes to be obvious to whom you are communicating with. Being a salesman or a copywriter means that you don’t need to run out of ideas, and you have to think and tick like a clock.


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