WOLFBITES - Issue 4

Ask and ye shall receive

One of the fundamentals of advertising and marketing is that you have to ask for the sale. Indeed, a wise – and very successful – sales person once told me that the secret to his success was that he always asked for the sale. Sounds pretty basic, but if you look over 10 advertisements, at least half will fail to ask for the sale, known in the ad trade as the “call to action.”

I bring this up because we continue to run into companies that believe it is not necessary to ask for business. Typically, these companies have done little or no advertising. They have no sales reps or staff with marketing responsibilities, and rely exclusively on “word of mouth” advertising. There is nothing wrong with “word of mouth” advertising. In fact, it is the best form of advertising. But it is highly dangerous to rely on it exclusively.

Here’s why. When you ask these non-advertisers about their existing customer base, you almost always hear this: “we have a few loyal customers who account for most of our business.” Dig a little deeper and you discover that they get very few inquiries – and most, if not all, of these inquiries are very low quality leads, meaning they are typically from bottom-feeders looking for a deal.

Now what happens when one of the big accounts goes away? It’s going to happen and it will usually be for reasons completely out of the control of the supplier (i.e. bankruptcy, merger). Since there is no existing stream of leads, there is no candidate to replace the account. Worse still, the elimination of the income from the prime account means there is also no money to start prospecting – and no time to go through the process of prospecting, qualifying the leads and, ultimately, winning the new business. A sad, but all too common, picture.

So what do you do? Start by looking at your existing budget and identifying those expenditures that are less important than advertising and marketing. It should be a pretty long list, particularly when you consider the real value of marketing and advertising and the critical role it plays in generating leads. Then make the decision to shift funds from some lower priority funds into advertising and marketing. Finally, call in some ad agencies and ask them for proposals on what they could do with your available budget. Pick whom you like and get started. It’s not that hard, really. And imagine how well you will sleep when you know that you are – at last – asking for and getting new business.

Next time: how to be a wise buyer of ad services.

Read Wolfgang's latest marketing blog.


Wolfgang Franke is President & Creative Director of Words at Work Advertising & Marketing, a full service communications company established in 1988. Our growing list of valued clients are found throughout our local market, Markham and the Greater Toronto area, across Canada in cities such as London, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta, and an expanding list of international locations ranging from The Big Apple in New York to Kanturk, Ireland.




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