Most marketing sucks. I came to that exact realization one October morning in 1987. What followed was a decision that changed my life forever. After acknowledging that I didn’t REALLY know the first thing about marketing, I rushed to the local bookstore and bought all eight of their marketing books. The first was David Ogilvy’s classic, Ogilvy on Advertising. I was amazed to learn how changing a simple headline could produce a 500% increase in response. How adding a picture of scissors next to a coupon could increase redemption by up to 35%, how reverse type (white letters on black) sharply decreases readership, and so on.
Before I finished the second book, I ordered 20 other books! I was like a man possessed… highlighting, underlining, and taking notes for 30 straight days. All through the Christmas holiday I soaked up marketing information like a sponge. After taking it all in and completely changing my approach, I designed some new ads to run the second week of January. Bingo! The phone rang off the hook.
I signed up 30 new students in a single month, as opposed to the five I typically signed up! I was ecstatic, but realized there was still work to be done. If I could get such a massive increase in response just by studying the gurus of marketing, perhaps I could capitalize on these leads even more by improving my sales skills. I purchased tapes from the likes of Dale Carnegie, Tom Hopkins, Joe Girard, Zig Ziglar, and others. Suddenly, instead of closing two out of ten leads, I was closing eight out of ten and it didn’t cost me a dime more to do it!
Next, I turned my attention to techniques like customer retention, newsletters, thank-you cards, and follow up. I adopted the tactics I found in books like Carl Sewall’s Customers for Life. By the end of the year customers were staying an average of six months instead of three! Imagine what it could do for your business if customers bought twice as much or stayed twice as long!
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