Hobby Lobby, it’s June

Posted on June 17, 2011. Filed under: Business, Life, Marketing | Tags: , , , , , , |

My family and I were in Hobby Lobby today, and I was surprised to see they were putting Christmas decorations up for sale.

In June!!!!

It’s over six months until Christmas and Hobby Lobby was selling Christmas ornaments.  That’s just starting the season a tad too early in my opinion.  When I was a child, (yes, I understand we’re going back a couple of hundred years), but stores didn’t start the Christmas season until the day after Thanksgiving.  Then they started the Christmas push before Thanksgiving, and more recently the Christmas push starts in October before Halloween.

And now, it’s before the 4th of July.

At this rate it won’t be long before the Christmas selling season will start on January 1st . . . or maybe even December 26th.  Wouldn’t that be something, the day after Christmas and it’s time to start shopping for next years Christmas presents.

It’s time to slow down and be a bit more realistic.  We don’t need to start the Christmas season in July.  Come on Hobby Lobby, use some common sense.

That’s my 2 cents.

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Creating a Print Ad

Posted on July 11, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Business, Good Business, Marketing | Tags: , , , , |

I have spoken in other articles that your headline is of primary importance. 

While you should pay careful attention to every word in your ad, you have got to get the headline right.  If the headline doesn’t grab their attention then they aren’t going to read your ad, no matter how wonderful the copy is.

Size Matters

A large ad has a much better chance of being seen and read over a small ad.

The smallest print ad in a newspaper or magazine I would recommend is 1/4 page.  (Yellow page advertising is an entirely different subject.)

Those small business card size ads simply do no pull customers.  They do tend to create a number of salespeople calling you, trying to sell you something.  Not what you want an ad to do.

Graphics Can Help

An appropriate graphic can help draw a prospect into your ad.  However, sometimes a graphic can distract so much from your message that it actually hurts the effectiveness of the ad.

If the image provides information or helps to illustrate your message, that’s fine; but don’t put in a graphic just because it is “cute” or “funny”, those are the wrong reasons to have a graphic.

You wouldn’t put in words that diminish your message, so don’t utilize a graphic that diminishes your message.

Reverse Type

Some people in the ad business think reverse type is a real attention grabber.  It isn’t.

Reverse type is when you have a dark background with light-colored letters.  Most frequently a black background with white letters.  Generally, it is much more difficult to read reverse type than normal type, such as the words in this article.

Reading reverse type takes longer and requires more effort from the brain simply because you mind is not accustomed to reading reverse type.

There are times when reverse type can be useful in getting a prospects attention, such as:

The words are large and easy to see; there are just two words; and the red helps to attract our attention.  Using reverse to draw attention to a specific element is fine, but don’t make the entire ad in reverse


Color Can Help

Color can highlight important information, draw the readers eye to certain areas, and in general make the ad more visually appealing.

But sometimes less is better.  Just because you have the option of color doesn’t mean you need to utilize it.  I have seen some very powerful and effective ads that were simple black & white.

Not all colors work well together.  People can not focus on the colors red and blue at the same time.

While it may appear that you are seeing them at the same time, it is an illusion.  In reality, your mind is switching from red to blue and back again so quickly that it appears “normal” to you.

A final word about color. 

Red denotes action, use it to grab a readers attention, (Act Fast), or have your call to action in red, such as Call Now.

Blue elicits trust, so key words and phrases such as Trust Brock, or a headline in blue, (Brock Increases Your Sales), would give the reader an unconscious favorable impression.

Serif or San-Serif?

Some type fonts are simply easier to read.  Most, (but not all), books, newspapers, and magazines are printed with a serif font.

The font in this article has “feet”; while some fonts such as Aerial do not.  That’s the difference.

Generally, it is easier to read a serif font than it is to read a san-serif.  Why? Books have forever been printed in a serif font, and like black on white printing, it is what our minds are accustomed to.

By now you have no doubt noticed that I use a san-serif font.  To me it gives a cleaner appearance in electronic communications, and that’s why I use it.

Your Ad Copy

This is where you present the (hopefully) compelling information that will get consumers to pick up the phone and call, or rush to your business with wads of cash in their hands.

Make your points clear, concise, succinct, and simple.

I urge that not because the reader is mentally challenged, just the opposite. 

People don’t read what doesn’t interest them; so you need to get your points across as quickly and clearly as possible.

Make important points in large bold print, and then provide additional information and details in smaller “normal” size print.

You do not need to tell the prospect everything in one ad.  The purpose is to get their attention, “wet thei appetite”, and hopefully seek you out for complete information.

The Most Important Word

This one word in all of marketing  is the most important:  YOU

All of your material should focus on the customer and personalize it as much as possible.

It’s not “We help customers increase sales”, it’s “We help you increase sales”, or “What would increased sales mean to you?”, or “What would increased sales mean to your company?”

Personalize all of your marketing, not just the print ads, but radio, television, and especially when doing a face-to-face sales presentation. 

Make it personal and make it count.

 And that’s my 2 cents.

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Speak Up

Posted on May 17, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Business, Good Business, Life, Marketing, Public Relations, Sales, Self Promotion | Tags: , , , , |

I was talking to a friend of mine that owns a lawn service and the conversation came around to public speaking. 

He indicated that they were thinking about going to local groups and talking about lawn care and he asked if I thought that would be a good idea.


However, I cautioned him not to make it a ten minute commercial about his business, but to make it an educational talk.

Give them insight as to when is the best time to prune trees or shrubs.

How often to sharpen your lawn mower blades, and how to do it.

When’s the best time to seed your lawn, or fertilize, or spray week killer.

Present yourself as the expert in your field … because you are!

Then when they need your services your name will be the first to come to mind as the person to call.

Make your presentation interesting and informative, but never about you.

Groups are always looking for guest speakers, just start asking around.  There are garden clubs, church groups, Optimist clubs, Rotary clubs, networking groups, and a host of various civic groups that you can approach.

Make it clear that you aren’t giving a sales presentation, but are talking about your industry in general. 

It’s informational, nothing else.

Different groups will have different time constraints, but expect to be given five to ten minutes for your presentation, with a couple of minutes for questions afterward.

 That’s my 2 cents.

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What’s The Difference?

Posted on May 17, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Business, Good Business, Marketing | Tags: , , , , |

People, even experienced business and marketing professionals, are often confused in their understanding the differences between selling, advertising, and marketing.  And yes, there are significant differences.

Selling— This is the face-to-face meeting between a representative of the company and a prospect.

It should never be about pressure, arm twisting, or “getting one over” on the prospect. 

It is all about the salesperson solving the prospects problems or needs utilizing their companies products and services.

Advertising— Commercials.  Radio and television commercials; newspaper and magazine print ads; billboards; direct mail, web ads and e-mail ads.

Mass communication presenting your products to your target audience. 

Marketing— This certainly includes selling and advertising, but encompasses a lot of other elements as well.

Basically, anything that communicates a message about your company, its products, services, or image is marketing.

For example, Public Relations are used to enhance a companies image or stature within a community, and sometimes to repair damage caused by scandal or misdeeds of the company or its executives.

Trade shows are a staple for many businesses, and while not typically seen by the general public they are an essential part of a companies marketing effort. 

(If you haven’t already, you may want to download my White Paper on Effective Trade Show Marketing from my web site.)

Business cards, letterhead, envelopes, and brochures all convey a message about the identity and image of a company.

How individuals within the company treat customers, their tone of voice, friendliness, and general demeanor all convey an image to the customer. 

Promotional products that may be given out by salespeople to clients and prospects also say a lot about your company and its image.

All of these things — and lots more — fall under the broad heading of marketing.

If its got your name or logo on it, if it represents you in any way, shape, form or fashion, then its part of your marketing.

One last item that most don’t think of as marketing:  the quality of your product or service.

High quality says one thing about you and poor quality says the opposite.

Pay attention to all of your marketing images.

That’s my 2 cents.

 To get my Business & Marketing Newsletter simply click on the link below.

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The Rule of 5

Posted on March 8, 2010. Filed under: Business, Life, Marketing | Tags: , , , , , |

I’ve been reading Jack Canfield’s book, “The Success Principles”, and came across a very interesting and powerful concept.

I quote now from the book: 

“We sought the advice of Ron Scolastico, a wonderful teacher, who told us, “If you would go every day to a very large tree and take five swings at it with a very sharp ax, eventually, no matter how large the tree, it would have to come down.”  How very simple and how very true!  Out of that we developed what we have called the Rule of 5.  This simply means that every day, we do five specific things that will move our goal toward completion.”

What a wonderfully simple and effective principle.  Do five things every day that will move you towards your goal … whatever that is.

Persistence is powerful.

Want to grow your business?  Do 5 things towards growing it.

Want to write a book?  Do 5 things towards writing it and getting it published.

Want more sales?  Do 5 things towards getting those sales.

Do 5 things every day, not just once a week, or whenever you have time, but 5 things every single day.  Seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year.

You won’t get that tree chopped down unless you consistently and persistently take at least five whacks at it each and every day.

I don’t care how large the goal, if you follow the Rule of 5 your goals will be achieved.

Now … take five whacks at the tree.

 That’s my 2 cents.

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Some History about Me

Posted on February 25, 2010. Filed under: Advertising, Business, Marketing, Self Promotion | Tags: , , , |

My very first client was back in 1988; it was a record store in a very small hole-in-the-wall location by the name of Ear X-tacy.

Our first idea for them was a bumper sticker, and they gave one with every purchase.  The owner, (John Timmons), wasn’t too sure about the idea at first, but once he started seeing them on cars . . . well, he was excited.

The bumper stickers have garnered John a lot of local radio, television, and print publicity.  But beyond that, those bumper stickers have been sighted in practically every state in the Union.

But wait, there’s more.

The bumper sticker has made it on the cover of a rock album, and not a local group, but a nationally known group.

But wait, there’s still more.

Owner John Timmons, his store, and the bumper sticker have been a feature article in Billboard Magazine.

The business has long ago out-grown that small first location, to his current store that is over five times its size.

John attributes the growth of his business to that bumper sticker.  Now in colors other than just black and white, the bumper sticker is still a fundamental element of his marketing.

It all started with a simple idea, and grew.  That’s what I’m all about, providing you with marketing ideas that help you and your business.  Ideas that keep your name in front of the prospect.  Ideas that we hope become as well known for you as a black and white bumper sticker has been for Ear X-tacy.

Since then I have gone on to help businesses of various sizes all over the U.S., and in a variety of industries.

Most recently I have helped a number of technology firms, particularly Internet Service Providers, (ISP’s); the folks who connect you to the Internet.

This has included a number of seminars on marketing at ISPCon, the industry trade show for ISP’s.

Over the years I have gained a great deal of insight about exhibiting at trade shows, and have helped several firms improve their marketing at these events.

I have created a White Paper on trade shows entitled “Trade Show Success, More Visitors, More Leads, More Sales”, which is a downloadable PDF from my web site, www.bhenderson.com.

If you do large trade shows I know you’ll find this report helpful.

If you need additional assistance with your trade show, it would be my privilege to assist you.

 Get my free monthly Business & Marketing Newsletter by clicking on the link below.


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Don’t Quit

Posted on December 3, 2009. Filed under: Business, Good Business, Life, Marketing, Sales | Tags: , , , , , , , |

According to Herbert True, of Notre Dame University:

44% of all salespeople quit trying after the first sales call.

24% quit after the second sales call.

14% quit after the third sales call.

12% quit after the fourth sales call.

60% of all sales are made after the fourth call.

That means 94% of all salespeople are missing out on sales because they quit too soon.

Other research has shown that most sales are closed between the 5th and 7th sales call.

Are you one of the 94% that has given up?

I have said this before, and I say it again.

It is better to approach one prospect seven times, than to approach seven prospects one time.

Persistence counts so much more than you realize.  Keep at it.

 That’s my 2 cents

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Posted on November 30, 2009. Filed under: Business, Life, Sales, Self Promotion, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”  – Abraham Lincoln

You’ve heard the old adage “action speaks louder than words”; and it is action not words that leads to success.

I have known a number of various sales people in my life, and regardless of their industry, (Real Estate, Insurance, ad specialty, technology, investments, or whatever), it appears to me that they fall into two general categories.

The first, (and most successful), network at every opportunity and are active in multiple community and industry activities.  They rub elbows at every opportunity engaging potential buyers and actively seeking opportunities.

The second group come in the office and sit waiting for someone to call saying they wanted to buy.  They network little; they just sit waiting for someone to walk in and say “Here I am”. 

Obviously the significant difference between these two types is action.  The first goes out seeking opportunity, and the second simply waits for opportunity to come to them.

Success is out there, and it is all around, but it is up to each individual to go out and look for it.  It is up to you to search it out, and to seize it.

Your success is up to you.

 That’s my 2 cents

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Learn to Fail

Posted on September 18, 2009. Filed under: Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Life, Marketing, Sales, Self Promotion, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Failing is a fundamental part of sales, you simply will not close every sale.  It isn’t humanly possible.  So don’t let it get you down.

 You’ve given a wonderful presentation, but the prospect said “No”.  That isn’t saying you’re a lousy human being, it is simply saying that, as presented, they aren’t interested in your product or service.

 Don’t walk out dejected, (yes, I know that’s hard not to do), but review every inch of your presentation.  What did the prospect seem to react favorably to, and what did they react unfavorably to?  What questions did they ask?  Was there any one point where you seemed to lose them?  Did you ask the right qualifying questions?  Did you establish a need for your products or services?  Did you find out who they are currently utilizing and what they liked and didn’t like about them?  Did you research the company and their industry sufficiently to really understand what their problems and needs are?

 Identify every instance where you could have done something different and ask yourself what could I have done?  How might they have reacted if I had said this over that?

 Put yourself in the prospects shoes and try to see your questions from their perspective.  The better you can understand why people react the way they do, the better you will be in sales.

 “No” doesn’t always mean no, sometimes it means you didn’t do your job properly, and you didn’t solve the real issues perceived by the prospect.

 And sometimes, it simply means no.

 The critical element is that you review each sales presentation, both successful and unsuccessful, to identify what you did right and what you might have done wrong.

The important thing is that when you fail, you should learn from the experience.  You now have one more way not to do it.

Thats my 2 cents.

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Why Should I?

Posted on September 7, 2009. Filed under: Advertising, Business, Good Business, Guerilla Marketing, Life, Marketing, Networking, Newsletters, Public Relations, Sales, Self Promotion, Selling | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Why should I visit your web site?  Why should anyone visit your web site?  And once they have visited, why should any of us return?

So they come once and that’s it.

But you want people to come back multiple times; you want to keep your name and your products and services at the forefront of their mind.  To do that you must be doing things that entice people to return.

What’s so new, so hot, or so great that would entice anyone to return time and again to visit your web site?

Probably nothing.  In which case you need to fix it.

Jeffrey Gitomer has published five small books, (about $20 each), and throughout his books you are directed to his web site for an additional “Gitbit” of information.

The same for his weekly newsletter, there is always some morsel that directs you to his web site for further learning.

If you publish a newsletter or a blog it is an excellent way of driving customers and prospects to your site, and remind them of your expertise.  You are absolutely correct, I have been missing out on that very important marketing technique.

That’s going to change!

Starting immediately each monthly edition of my monthly Business & Marketing Newsletter will direct you to my web site for additional marketing, business, or motivational insights and information. 

It may be to finish an article, or it may an entire new article, but it will be a link to a special page on my web site. 

While this is just for subscribers of my newsletter, I’m letting you get a taste of what my bonus page offers.  Just click on the word “Bonus” below and you’ll see what kind of additional information I include.  And if you like what you see, then click on the banner and sign up for my FREE newsletters.


 That’s my 2 cents.


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