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Boost Your Business : An Expert's Tips

Michael Walsh. Twenty years business assessment and marketing counsellor for the Federation of Master Builders and Guild of Master Craftsmen (UK)

08 October 2011 @ 13:16

Like most blokes I am attracted to cars; not just shopping trolleys but the real head-turners. This week I read a review of a top carmaker’s latest marque. I wish I hadn’t bothered. The picture said it all but I anyway decided to read what was written about it. I have been a driver for over forty-years. I am literate in the English language but to be honest, by the time I reached the last paragraph, I realised I didn’t understand a damned word of what the reviewer was on about.

There was plenty on 380PS (280kW) and 332lb ft (450Nm) and I now know it can sprint to 62mph (I live in Europe) in 4.4 seconds. The rest of it was in similar vein. It is powered by a hybrid powertrain. You understand? Neither do I.  It was hi-tech gobbledygook. An exciting read I am sure for an F1 mechanic but for your average Joe it was incomprehensible.
One of the first things I learned in selling was K.I.S.S. Keep it Simple, Stupid. Time after time I have seen sales lost because the ‘salesman’ speaks in a language perplexing to the customer; that’s the guy with a glazed expression on his face.
When just ten-years of age, which is over fifty years ago, I recall a billboard advertisement for the same manufacturer’s car; a previous model of course.  It showed a picture of a Jaguar car with the words words: ‘Grace, Space, Pace.’  Those three simple words said it all; I still remember it all these decades on. That is what I call effective advertising.
I was a teenager when I opened up a copy of LIFE Magazine. For those old enough to remember, LIFE magazine was America’s most iconic periodical. A single page advertisement must have cost an arm and a leg.  I was puzzled for a page was completely empty.  I then spotted a sentence at the bottom of this blank page: ‘We were about to show you a picture of our millionth Volkswagen but we are sorry, we have just sold it.’ How many Volkswagens have been sold since?
On the other hand I see so many advertisements that have only one purpose; enriching the newspaper’s publishers. Don’t blame them; within the law they simply carry out their customers’ wishes but their advertising personnel will be happy to offer advice. They want your advertisements to work. However, they are newspapers; they are not sales and marketing schools.
It is down to you to give some thought to your advertisement’s USP. What are USPs? Am I talking gobbledegook now? A USP is an acronym for ‘Unique Selling Points.’ They are any selling point that separates your business from your competitors. It is no point in repeatedly saying yours is the best or the cheapest restaurant in town. Every restaurant claims that dubious accolade. It is a cliché, nothing more.
It is an insult to the intelligence to advertise ‘free estimates’ when the customer knows you are desperate for an opportunity to quote. Speak your customers’ language; keep it simple and honest. Outline the benefits engagingly and you will not have to sell on price. Remember; if people bought on price they would all be running around in Ladas.

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