Charlie Cook's MArketing for Success Insider's Club

Author Archive

The Two Paragraph Rule For Direct Mail Copywriting Success

By Jeffrey Dobkin   |   March 7, 2011

If you owned a restaurant, you’d only be as good as your last meal.  If it wasn’t any good, your customer won’t be back.

If you owned a print shop, you’d only be as good as your last job. Deliver poor printing, or deliver late—you’re outta there.     In direct mail, you’re only as good as your… Read More »

7 Mistakes To Avoid In Your Advertising

By Jeffrey Dobkin   |   February 7, 2011

Years ago, a real estate broker hired me to help him sell more houses. We met for about 10 hours, reading over the real estate section of the paper and discussing his ads.  I then told him I was ready to help him sell more houses.

“Sir!” he said in startled disbelief. “Do you mean to tell me we can meet for 10 hours and you can tell me how to sell more houses?  I’ve been selling houses for 40 years.  I’ve forgotten more about selling houses than you will ever learn in your life.”It was true.   Read More »

The New Rules of Telemarketing Sales

By Jeffrey Dobkin   |   January 31, 2011

Telemarketing, like spam, sucks – but it can be effective. But… My God, man… the article was correct. Telemarketing guys don’t get blasted enough – especially from people in my own direct marketing industry. And damn it, they deserve it.

Sure, they call themselves direct marketers. And I usually have a lot of compassion for most other direct marketers: we send stuff to you in the mail, you don’t like it, you throw it away. Or you use it to fuel that wood burning stove.

Read More »

The Easy Way To Get Client Testimonials and Increase Sales

By Jeffrey Dobkin   |   December 24, 2010

How convincingly easy it is to close large accounts when you take out that a big book of recent testimonials and show them how great you are. What? You don’t have a big book of recent testimonials?
If you had one, when people asked you about your services, you’d bring out the huge testimonial tome, and tell them to call any of the many who signed off on their statements of your firm being the best thing since sliced bread or indoor plumbing. When confronted with 100 testimonials, most people won’t call any.
In your normal course of conversation with clients it’s easy to get someone to mention something flattering about you. Someone said something nice about me once. I’ll never forget it. It was in June of 88. Wednesday. We were about three or four gin and tonics in and… OK, no matter about the rest of the story. Man, I was all over them for a written testimonial like a cheap suit. Here’s how you can do it, too.
Even if it’s a simple statement, “Hey, thanks a lot. Nice speaking with you.” Or, “Thanks, I appreciate it.” You can make a testimonial out of it.
“That was a nice thing to say!” you exclaim! Inferring that it was nice of him to say it was nice talking to you, or that he appreciated something you did. Of course, people probably have said much nicer things than these simplistic statements about you, haven’t they? Oh well, me neither.
“Would you mind if I use that as a testimonial?” you continue, big smile on your face and catching them completely off guard.
“OK,” they’ll say without thinking.
Now that they’ve committed, casually ask, “Come to think of it, can you say a few more nice words about my firm (or myself) that I can use – I’ll write them down? Got my pencil ready!” Then smile – it makes a difference. “Keep it clean, though.” you joke. It’s good to sound fresh, like you’ve never asked anyone to do this before, or this is the first time for that joke. Ha!
They’ll say a few words, you smile and nod (which will look good in person, or will look less good over the phone but will sound like you’re smiling) and write down the gist of what they said.
Continue promptly, “Thanks. Thanks so much. Here’s what I’ll do so it’ll be as easy for you. I’ve written down what you’ve said and I’ll send it to you. You can just initial it and send it back – I’ll enclose two copies one for your files, and an envelope to send the other copy back to me. Hey, thanks for doing this.” Insinuating it’s a done deal.
Now that you have a nice approximation of what they’ve said, feel free to admonish it ever so slightly. Use a deft touch… like a great editor whose work is so subtle the author will go back and read his words and never know it was touched by anyone else. Now that’s the mark of a really great editor. You, on the other hand, don’t need to be quite that good. Just go ahead and make your testimonial sound great.
Since it was oral, your client most likely won’t remember what he said exactly – so you can take some liberties here. This is especially true if you’re at a bar and have been for the past 6 hours, you know, like when I got my first testimonial. Or was it 8 hours. I forget. But that’s not important – what’s important is I got this huge tattoo that night and who exactly is Janette. If anyone knows, please call.
If you’re friendly with this client, you can mention how great his new testimonial would look on his own letterhead, but “it certainly isn’t necessary.” Never hurts to drop a hint. Then send the testimonial that he “sort-of said” to him in a printed form.
You can also feel free to send it over to him by fax. It’s fast. If you send the testimonial that he “sort-of said” in a letter. it will take a few days to get to your client and here’s the benefit to this: Over the course of the day or two it takes to draft this statement and send it to the client in a letter, there’s no way they’ll remember what they said, and certainly they won’t remember their exact wording. Plus – if you received this testimonial after a few drinks, you can probably feel free to take great liberties writing what you thought you remembered and what he thought you both said. Or something like that.
Writing a testimonial for a client, unlike soliciting a client’s written testimonial, where most clients prove way beyond a shadow of a doubt they don’t use spell check, you can spell every word correctly. Send them their statement in a letter and as long as it doesn’t look to far out of range I promise you they’ll sign off on it. You’ll have a great, well written and signed testimonial.
For best results, collect a whole set, and don’t be afraid to show it off to new prospects. Tell them you’d be so proud if you had their personal testimonial in there while pushing a pen and paper their way. That’s called “The assumed close.” And that’s another article.

With a half dozen or more great testimonials, you have instant credibility and closing the sale is that much easier. What? You don’t have at least a half dozen  recent testimonials?

If you had them, when people asked you about your services, you’d point them to your testimonials, and tell them to call any of the many who signed off on their statements of your firm being the best thing since sliced bread or indoor plumbing. Read More »

The Secret To Making More Sales

By Jeffrey Dobkin   |   November 26, 2010

So I was driving to an appointment to sell some office furniture the other day and a cop pulls me over and says, “Have you been drinking because your eyes look a little red.”
Undaunted, I immediately shot back, “Have you been eating donuts because your eyes look a little glazed.”  We can learn two things from this.  1. Never shoot back at a police officer. 2. Police officers have very little sense of humor.
Before my wife disgruntledly bailed me out 6 hours later I had a good chance to think about the office products business.  And here is what I thought.  Business is good.  But enough regressing.  Isn’t it great that Rosie and Donald are feuding?  I really don’t like either of them, and to watch them make endless headlines by smearing each other’s noses in the dirt and trash talk is usually the highlight of my day.
I could never figure out why Rosie had a talk show and evidently neither could the American Public.  She certainly couldn’t act, a fact verified by the one movie she was in. And as far as Donald – the man with an ego larger than his comb over – I’ve never enjoyed being around people who used daddy’s money to buy and bully their way into power, who absolutely know they’re God.  I’m God.
Just kidding.  I’m not God.  I’m god.  You know the other god, the small “g” god.  One of the smaller gods the Greeks worshipped in ancient times.  One of the gods you can’t really get in trouble for being. I’m already in enough trouble with the police.
Yeah, so where was I?  Oh, yea… selling office products. I was selling office products while I was playing golf.  Yes, I shoot in the mid 80’s.  If it gets any colder than that, I don’t go out.  And my drives are always in the 200 to 300 yard range.  That’s 150 out, and 100 to 150 yards to either the right or the left.
But I sell a lot of office products on the course.  Well, I don’t really sell office products at all.  I’m glad if I know which end of the fax machine to put the paper in.  And thank god – of your choosing, we don’t have thermal fax machines anymore.  I mean, is it paper towels, TP, fax paper – I get so confused.  More than once I’ve left the bathroom in pain. Luckily, it seems I don’t have to know anything about office products to get firms to buy from me.
You see, in sales – and this is true for any industry –   people buy through relationships.  And I have relationships with most of the women that buy from me.  Wait a minute – that didn’t come out right.  Especially if my wives find out.
But it’s true.  Clients know they can count on me when they have a question, problem, or need something.  They have my cell phone number and I always answer it.  Product questions?  I may not know the answer but that doesn’t mean I can’t or won’t find out for them in a hurry.  My efficient staff makes it easy for me to be the slacker I appear to be.  Our product specialists send detailed information to people that need product specs.  And pricing is a blend of my feedback along with industry norms and competitors’ bids.  And I’m there before, during and after the sale.
For whatever reason, people trust me.  They know while I can be pretty funny, I’m always honest, 100% trustworthy and eager to please.  It’s fun being funny and having relationships and having everyone around you always smiling and laughing – isn’t that the way you’d like to do business?  So would your clients.
And that’s the way you sell a lot of office products.  Just be yourself and develop relationships.  When clients like you and trust you, they’ll buy from you.
Here’s the bottom line. Don’t get caught speeding and give lip to the cop: it costs $450 and the guys in the drunk tank all look like they’ve been on one too many episodes of cops.  Yeesh… you’d think if someone had only one good tooth they’d take better care of it.

So I was driving to an appointment to sell some office furniture the other day and a cop pulls me over and says, “Have you been drinking because your eyes look a little red.”

Undaunted, I immediately shot back…

Read More »

7 Ways To Fix Your Lead Generation Strategy

By Jeffrey Dobkin   |   October 19, 2010

Wish you had more leads, more qualified prospects calling you? Everyone does – and particularly in a tough economy. Lead generation is critical to sales and building your profits.

So what can you do?

Here are 7 surefire ways you can generate more sales leads and make more money this year. Read More »

7 Easy Ways To Fix Your Lead Generation System and Attract Eager Buyers

By Jeffrey Dobkin   |   October 5, 2010

Everybody’s looking for sales leads.  And for sales.  Hey, they’re out there: there are people that need your products and services and want to do business with you.  Here’s how to generate leads and get more sales with a better sales lead generation system.  But first, let’s take a look at why your lead generation system is broken.

Here’s why you’re not getting customers. Read More »

3 Easy Ways to Reach B2B Customers With Direct Mail

By Jeffrey Dobkin   |   September 19, 2010

Marketing is selling to a defined audience. Sales are to anyone, but marketing is devoted to finding and selling to the group who is most likely to make a purchase.

Reaching business to business (B2B) customers

There are three ways to reach B2B customers and prospects: Magazines, Direct Mail, and Trade Shows. Of course, there’s salesmen, and then there’s the phone, but I hate making selling phone calls almost as much as salesmen “just stopping by” my office. Read More »

How to Write a Customer Satisfaction Survey

By Jeffrey Dobkin   |   September 5, 2010

Customer surveys are useful for gathering all kinds of marketing data, and when they’re completed they make great bird cage liners.

Oh, did you want your customer survey to provide you with useful data?  Forget it… that’s not what they’re good for.  Unless you mail a bajillion of them survey results are unreliable. What?  Hell yes! Bajillion is a number – ask my 6 year old daughter.

Most customer satisfaction surveys don’t work because Read More »

How to Buy Newspaper Advertising at a Huge Discount

By Jeffrey Dobkin   |   August 19, 2010

Why would you ever pay list price for newspaper advertising space when most newspaper advertising rates are negotiable?  Some are highly negotiable.  Here are 5 ways to get better discount newspaper advertising rates.

1. Newspaper classified advertising.
If you are running a statewide classified newspaper advertising campaign there are state newspaper associations that offer great rates on almost all the papers in your state.  Discount newspaper advertising rates may be 30% – 50% – 70% off list, if you buy classified advertising through your state newspaper association.  Yes, they’re that much cheaper. Read More »