Use Magic Words to Improve your Sales

Use Magic Words to Improve your Sales

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The eighth of a series of 10 articles on advertising and marketing and how by studying the “classic” advertising and marketing books can give you a huge advantage. It not only covers how advertising and marketing originated but goes into the importance of copywriting and how you can make more sales. All top marketers steal their secrets from these early marketers – guys like Claude Hopkins, Walter Dill Scott, Elmer Wheeler and others.

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Copyright 2006 Peter Woodhead

This is the eigth article in a series of ten about advertising and marketing history.

1937 Another master wordsmith from yesteryear was Elmer Wheeler.

Elmer Wheeler was a marketer of pure genius and he knew that certain words produced vast increases in results over other, less effective wording.

In 1937 he wrote his: “Tested Sentences That Sell”. An almost forgotten classic but probably one of the best books ever written on the subject. And here is the story of how he did it.

Wheeler was an ad salesman for several newspapers and it all started big for him when he tried to convince retailers that an ad in his papers would drive people to their stores. This, the retailers didn’t doubt, but people just visiting their stores was not enough – they were not buying.

This still happens today. People visit stores; receive direct mail; and log on to internet sites. But very few of them actually buy anything.

Probably because in the majority of cases the prospects are not given any reason to buy.

In bricks and mortar businesses this could be due to poor salesmanship. In the case of direct mail and the internet it is more likely due to poor copy

After some careful analysis, Wheeler concluded that the reason people weren’t buying in their stores was because the salespeople were not saying the right words.

This led Wheeler to set up his famous “Word Laboratories”. You may have heard the expression: “Sell the sizzle not the steak.” Well, it was Wheeler who first coined that phrase and went on to write his first book: “Tested Sentences That Sell.”

During 10 years of research, Wheeler tested over 105,000 words and phrases on more than 19 million people. An incredible feat. The results of which you can profit from today.

This truly is an incredible resource that can be blamed for helping many people turn their business round. It belongs in anybody’s library.

Wheeler found that you need to ask a question that customers cannot say “no” to.

Wheeler also invented what he called: “Wheeler Points.” There are five of them. So offer your customers something or something. Not something or nothing.

All Wheeler’s principles and tested results are adaptable to any business.

1940 Clyde Bedell, as well as being a super salesman, was a university lecturer. He became so frustrated at not being able to find a suitable book on persuasive copy. So he decided to write his own.

“How to Write Advertising That Sells” became a best seller.

1940 James Webb Young published an entry every week in ‘Advertising Age’. He later crammed all of these into a book called: “The Diary of an Advertising Man.”

1945 The novel “The Hucksters” is released and is later turned into a movie. This attacked the advertising industry and had a damaging effect.

1949 Doyle Dane and Bernbach is launched

1955 Leo Burnett introduces his ‘Marlboro Man’ ad. The image of a cowboy changed the fortunes of this minor cigarette brand and made it into a big seller.

He is recognized as the man behind the most successful ad campaigns.

As well as the Marlboro Man he is famous for ‘The Jolly Green Giant’ ‘The Pillsbury Doughboy’ ‘Tony the Tiger’ and many more.

He was quoted as saying:

“Make it simple Make it memorable Make it inviting to look at Make it fun to read.”

Leo Burnett “invented” a marketing concept known as “inherent drama”. He reckoned that every product or service, no matter how boring, had an inherent quality. Somebody must keep on buying them, somebody must keep on making them, and it was this “inherent drama” that makes the product stand out.

Burnett believed that people are attracted to stories, they want to experience new characters; they want to read about mystery and romance and anything different.

Perhaps that’s why he took a lot of his characters from history and folklore. He knew what triggered his prospects’ minds.

1957 Vance Packard’s “The Hidden Persuaders” becomes a best seller. It is another seething attack on the advertising industry.

1960 Doyle Dane Bernbach’s “creative team” blends copywriting with art design (not normally common in the industry) and comes up with its “think small” campaign for Volkswagen. A concept still going today.

1960 Rupert, Koenig and Lois is launched and in 1962 becomes the first agency to go public.

1961 Rosser Reeves, chairman of Ted Bates and Co. advertising agency, published his book: “Reality of Advertising.”

In this book he revealed a revolutionary new concept. Almost as revolutionary as John E. Kennedy’s “Salesmanship-in-Print.”

He showed the world a new technique for which made him famous. He called it: “The Unique Selling Proposition” or USP.

Basically, your USP should clearly explain in simple language a single quality that your product, or service, has that makes it stand out against any competition.

Your USP needs to make it easier for your prospects to remember your advertising – because they only have to remember your one, strong claim.

1963 Clyde Bedell, due to popular demand wrote: “How to Convert White Space Into Advertising That Sells.”

1964 Ogilvy, Benson and Mather merge with London based Mather and Crowther to form Ogilvy and Mather.

1965 Rosser Reeves resigns from Ted Bates at the age of 55

1966 Wells, Reid and Green founded. Mary Wells becomes the first woman to be a director of a ad agency.

1970 Saatchi and Saatchi established in London

1986 Needham Harper, BBDO and Doyle Dane and Bernbach merge to create Omnicom Group and become the biggest agency in the world.

1987 Martin Sorrel’s WPP buys JWT in the very first hostile takeover

1988 WPP buys Ogilvy Group

1993 The Internet becomes commercially available and 5m users scramble to get online

1995 Saatchi and Saatchi is renamed Cordiant

1997 WPP merges JWT and O&M to form The Alliance to become the largest US media group with billings of $2 billion

1999 Advertising on the Internet reaches $2 billion

2003 An estimated $5 billion is spent on the Internet in advertising

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