Thank God For The Word, 'No'
May 12, 2015
Advertising savant Paul Arden described a tense window of time in a quest for bagging a huge account. Aside from being an air traffic controller at O'Hare, there are probably no more pressurized positions than that of an ad agency exec. If you've seen Mad Men, you have a working idea. These guys can make your coffee nervous.
Arden recalls pitching for a prestigious, massive account. They were competing against five other agencies. Paul says they worked on that account for three months. Then on a late Wednesday afternoon word leaked that they weren't on the short list of three. When approached, the client offered succinct reasons why.
At this point a lot of salespeople would say, "Well, that's it. We'll get the next one but not this time." Not Arden, who says he went to his CEO Paul Bainsfair, appealing to him to "call the client and tell him we have another campaign prepared. Tell him we'll be in his office tomorrow morning at 9a." Arden admits, "We didn't have another campaign."
"In a frenzied non-stop overnight session -- possibly the best we'd ever done -- by 8a the next morning we had a completely new campaign concept which addressed the points the client viewed as negative during our first pass. At 9a we presented it."
Arden remembers the call that came last thing the following Friday telling the agency they had the account. Say's Paul, "It was a very good weekend."
Whether your specialty is sales, programming, or promotions, a new idea can be either unfamiliar, silly, threatening, or all three. You can't allow a listener or a client to judge your concept singularly by description (words or phrases alone). You have to personify it! It's highly unlikely anyone will justify the cost of something they don't understand or emotionally attach-to.
Through time the very best sellers we've ever known are "Sustaining Resources" as described by Don Beveridge. It's not just a term, but a way of self-conduct, and infers a customer (or a listener) is even more eager to learn about your idea than you are to present it!
Reduced to its simplest rationale, the word "NO" is the only reason sales people exist. With creative persistence and relentless footwork you can make an excellent income and have a hell of a lot of fun. Said Churchill, "Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm."