The Words Are Everything

No matter what the medium, the words you say are pretty important. Just like when people walk into your store. What you and your salespeople SAY ... determines what happens next.

It's why you have sales training. Why you bring in people like Shane Decker or Brad Huisken. Why you buy their courses. So that when words come out of your mouths, they're good words. Words that stop people. Welcome them. Make them feel good. Begin a conversation.

Imagine for a second if, when a customer walked in the door, your salespeople just stood there. Imagine that she simply picked up a piece of jewelry and pointed to it. Didn't say anything. Just pointed to the piece. Maybe picked up another. And another. Pointing to them. But not saying a word.

Odds are you would fire that person. Conversation is critical. It's the deal breaker.

Now we get to advertising. You put an ad in the paper ... and just show a piece. How effective is that? About as effective as the salesperson who shows, but doesn't say anything.

We should fire that kind of advertising. But we don't.

It's the kind of ads you see most of the time. Or hear.

Billboards are notorious for this kind of zero-message advertising.

A lot of print is. A lot of every medium is devoid of any message that has any chance of people actually paying attention to.

But nobody will fire it. And we lower our expectations of advertising. Just like you would lower your expectations of salespeople, if the only salespeople you ever saw, anywhere, were salespeople who never said anything. Who just stood there and pointed at the merchandise, but didn't say a word.

And eventually, you thought, well, this is what salespeople do. So when I hire salespeople, that's what I'll look for, too. That's what I need, too.

It's what's happened with a lot of advertising. It's just like everybody else's. Just piece, product, description, logo. Boring. But since that's what everybody else does, that must be good advertising. It's pretty, but pointless. Sometimes it's not even pretty.

But it's awful. But nobody knows what else to do. They don't realize you can do things way differently. Talk to people way differently. And different things happen.

The same principle -- what I call the rules of conversation; and there are other 'rules' that we generally abide by if we want people to listen to us, and want to talk with us again -- applies to all mediums.

Doesn't matter if it's online or 'traditional.' Wherever it is, you have this GROUP OF PEOPLE -- that's all a medium is. And you pay for the right to have the opportunity / space / time to talk to them. Do you say anything? Is it worth listening to or reading? Would YOU listen to it or read it?

I sometimes say that advertising is as simple, and as complex, as humans. We're just talking to people, after all. Sometimes that's really simple. Sometimes it's really complex and confusing.

I'm not so much out to explain it to you, or to help YOU understand. As I write about it, think about it, create things ... I'm trying to figure it out for ME. Maybe there are parts of it, or there's lots of it, that makes sense to you, too. But mostly, I try to figure it out for me. That way, I can write stuff that works for you.

Years ago, I tried writing a book on advertising. I wrote hundreds of pages. And the more I wrote, the more I wrote. The more came to me. The more I saw. The more one thing led to another to another to another. And it was endless. And it was exhausting. And I finally gave up writing that book.

I realized that it's not important that I try to explain to you everything that I've figured out about advertising. And I've figured out a lot. What's important is that I create things for you that help you. That actually do work. Without your needing to understand why I wrote it, or why it works. Just that it works. Just that it helps you. And that's enough.

Yes, I'll keep trying to figure more stuff out. I'll write more about what I'm thinking. Share it in blogs sometimes. But mostly, just use the stuff. Give it a whirl. It's been working for almost 20 years now. Odds are it'll work for you, too.

Of course, how you use it is critical. We'll talk about that in the different sections.

So on to giving us a call, getting yourself a password for some different sections. And we'll talk more. On this site, in these messages, and in person.