An effective ad contains specific ingredients designed to grab attention, tell a story, present an offer, create a sense of urgency, issue a call to action, and identify the advertiser in the prospect’s mind. Crafting an effective sales presentation follows a surprisingly similar path.
1. Header/Opening. A strong, attention-getting header in an ad, like the opening in a sales encounter, should tell prospective customers how the product or service will benefit them. It should make a promise to solve their problem, or give them information they need.
2. Body Copy. Here is where you tell prospects more about your product or service, explaining clearly and persuasively how you can help them achieve their goals. In a sales situation, this is the actual presentation part of the process. Should this portion or body copy in an ad be short or long? That’s a trick question. If the product or service is complex, and your audience needs details, a long explanation may be appropriate. If fewer words will do, keep it short, sweet and focused on appealing to their interests.
3. Illustration/Explanation. In an ad, an illustration or photo is a necessary ingredient. This can be a picture of the product, but it is usually better to illustrate the benefits of using the product. For example, an ad for an air conditioning and heating company would show someone enjoying their comfortable surroundings, rather than just showing a piece of equipment. When selling direct, it is the duty of the sales person to illustrate a product’s or service’s benefits with words. Charts, diagrams and bulleted messages can also be used to demonstrate key selling points.
4. Offer. A well-crafted ad or sales discussion often contains some special offer. It can be even more effective if this offer is good for a limited time only, with the expiration date clearly defined. You want to give your customer a compelling reason to buy, and to buy now.
5. Call To Action. Any good sales person knows you have to ask for the order. Likewise, a good ad should ask for a specific action. “Call today,” “Visit our website,” or “Stop by any of our convenient locations” are good calls to action in an ad.
6. Corporate Identification. In an ad, corporate identification is as simple as including your company logo, telephone number, etc. Sound obvious? Take a look in your local newspaper or a magazine, and you’ll see how many companies neglect to put that basic information in plain sight. In sales, you want to make sure that when it’s all over, the customer will remember you and your company. Without strong corporate identification, an otherwise great pitch can do more harm than good, by possibly confusing your company with someone else’s in the customer’s mind.
Include these six necessary ingredients in your next ad or presentation, and enjoy the three-part reward of a story well told: Attention earned. Message received. Sale made.