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Power Promoting

Doing something different to earn the customer's business

How many times has someone walked into your business, or called, and wanted to sell to you and your business some advertising? Do you look at them or listen to the sales pitch with a degree of skepticism? If so, you probably have felt this way because of poor results from some of your previous advertising efforts, or because it was evident that the advertising sales person considered their job completed when they had sold you the advertising.

Perhaps you have purchased some time or space, and then had the advertising sales person say, "So, what do you want to advertise?" The problem here, as with many aspects of selling, is the failure to recognize that the sale is not complete when a purchase order is signed, or when the cash register rings. The sale is really completed when the customer returns, for anyone can make a sale once.

It is the professional that knows how to service his customer so that the customer returns. Anyone can advertise, it takes a pro to promote.

You may spend hundreds of dollars each month on the advertising of your business, and for that expenditure you want and expect maximum results. Unfortunately, most of the advertising dollar is wasted. John Wannamaker of the Wannamaker Department Stores once said that, "Half of my advertising dollar is wasted. I just don't know which half it is."

There are many tweaks which can be implemented within your business and with your employees that will add a special punch to your advertising. This tweaking will deliver your message and bring the customer back.

Still not convinced? Let's look at two stores. The first one has an ad on the local radio station, promoting a new rifle. A prospective customer hears the ad, and stops at the store the next time he is in the neighborhood. Although the employee that first speaks to the customer is very polite, he explains he does not listen to the type of music played on that radio station.

This is the employee's way of saying, "I have no idea what this customer is asking for." Perhaps, the customer will ask for another person to help him, or then again, he may leave. Here is, an example of potentially lost sales, and a waste of advertising dollars.

Who is at fault? To begin with, the fault belongs with the person in the store that created the advertising. If there is also a person in charge of employee training, this person would also share in the responsibility. The responsibility can also be that of the sales representative of the manufacturer, for there is a good chance the radio spot was co-op advertising and he has missed the opportunity to help train the employees. And, we could also include the sales person from the radio station, for having missed an opportunity to further his own cause.

As we visit the second store, the advertising is the same. But, as we are approaching the store from the road, we can see a difference. There is a sign, readable from the road which proclaims, "YES! We have that new rifle. Come in and test fire it today.

There are many customers who have heard the commercial and thought they would look at the rifle the next time they were in the store. But now there is a road sign reminding them and undoubtedly there will be several customers that will now stop to check it out.

As we park our car, there are banners hanging from the parking lot light poles, and we can see a display in the front window that looks exciting. There is also music playing from a pair of speakers that are aimed towards the parking lot.

We are greeted by a person that is wearing a baseball cap and a large button attached to his shirt, each promoting the brand of rifle that is being advertised. He hands every customer a card which not only tells us about the new rifle but invites us to a free test firing.

Throughout the store there are banners hanging from the ceiling and flyers attached to every counter, all promoting the new rifle. The store is brightly decorated with crepe paper in colors that accent the advertising material that was provided by the manufacturer.

There are several poster displays and contest entry boxes supplied by the radio station placed around the store. The top of the poster proclaims, "We have what you heard on WWWW- FM radio. Come see. Register here to have your hunting license paid for by us for the next 3 years."

There is a display selling baseball caps and t-shirts promoting the rifle. The back of the t-shirts have a large bulls eye and an imprint of "We aim to please you!" along with the name, address, phone number and hours of operation of the gun shop.

Customers that are making purchases at the register find that there is a flyer detailing the new rifle being placed in every bag.

Obviously, with this second store, we do not have to ask about seeing the rifle. Even the customers, the ones that come to this store on a regular basis, are exposed to this blitz of advertising and entertainment. There is absolutely no way for any customer to miss out on knowing about the new rifle.

Customers that shop in this store know that this is the normal format of operation for this store. One customer, as he was leaving with a purchase, was heard to say, "Boy, these are the only guys I know that can get excited even when someone invents a new box of shells".

Excited? Absolutely, and that is what separates these two stores. How much did it cost the second store to do all of these things? The answer is very little, for the advertising cost was the same. The expenditures for the additional material can partially be covered by the manufacturer and the radio station. The additional expense by the store is what makes the advertising work, and now everyone profits.

These types of events work. This writer has seen too many of them bringing in the customers to think otherwise.

And, what if you say that your vendors or radio stations don't offer this type of help? Tear out this article, show it to them and tell them you want one of these successful events. (Notice that this is an event, not a sale.) And if you make a point to explain to them that your joint efforts will mean more customers making more purchases, thus allowing your business to make more purchases from them, you will most likely get their attention.

After all, anyone can sell you something once, anyone can advertise, but it takes a pro to promote.

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.

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PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179