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As a small business consultant I spend a large portion of my time prospecting, going after new customers, selling.  I absolutely love the process of selling, especially being able to close on tough customers.  On a few occasions I took my kid to important sales meetings where my kid listened to the whole interaction, and after leaving the meeting I would hear: "Dad, I don't know how you do that; I could never have the patience..."

The reference was in reaction to a situation where a person unfamiliar with the sales process, listening and observing a sales call, hears the potential customer say something that appears at first blush to be a rejection or the dreaded "NO."  For those normal folks, then next natural step is to say thanks for the time, and say goodbye, and bolt towards the door, feeling rejected.

OMG, if the kid only knew!  That's just the warm up.  I love the whole interaction, the psychology of it, right there in the moment, turning a reluctant and sometimes seemingly hostile person into a happy and willing paying customer.

I won't go too deep into it, but the key things to be a successful salesperson are, first, you have to find a way (psychologically) to completely ignore the concept of rejection; meaning that regardless of what happens in that sales call (or process), your self-esteem and your confidence will remain intact, whether the customer decided to accept your offer (at that moment) or not.

Second, you have to truly believe and have total confidence (and knowledge) about the product or service you are selling; about it's usefulness and utility.  And third, you have to be passionate about it; a true believer.

One other very important aspect is that you have to understand that if potential customers get a little hostile, or hesitant, the reason almost always is that he or she is struggling with the decision of putting their hard-earned money on the table (or in your bank account), wanting to be absolutely sure they are making the right decision.  It is your job to dissipate those concerns.  Their "duress" is basically a cry for help: "Please assure me that I'm making the right decision here."

Needless to say, I'm a big fan of Mad Men's Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and of course, especially of Don Draper's character...

What I enjoy the most about the show is the psychology behind it; the character studies; the tough sales calls/presentations, and the personalities behind them.  Many of the situations ring true to me.  One of my favorite things to see is when Don Draper assesses a situation and decides that at that very moment is better to walk off the table, letting the prospective customer know that his time and knowledge are valuable.  You always have to be ready walk off the table...

But I digress... I'm sure there are a lot of hard-core fans of Mad Men out there, but the main reason I'm writing this is to share an idea about a very different type of ad agency.  I'll share the concept, and hopefully I'll get some feedback.

Here we go... In the U.S. advertising universe the main effect of it is to convince "consumers" to act in such a way that results in an increasingly larger transfer of wealth from the populace to the rich.

As a consequence there is a constant erosion not only on the level of wages and benefits for the average worker/consumer/citizen, but also of constitutional rights, which then fuels the speed of transfer of wealth to the rich, at the expense of the people.

In essence, the corporate conglomerate advertising model is able, through psychology, to turn reality upside down.

So that got me thinking: Imaging if someone was able to come up with a concept to set up an advertising, public relations, and marketing outfit that didn't have to turn reality upside down, but that instead was tasked with explaining the tangible benefits of understanding reality as it is.

For example, imagine if this agency was capable of convincing "consumers" that if they took certain market-related decisions, their wages/salaries could grow to an average of $95,000?

Imagine if this agency was very successful in communicating certain messages related to the allocation of knowledge, education, local resources, sustainability, in relation to their local communities?

Imagine if groups of people started trying different market concepts, like setting up employee-owned companies/corporations, or find ways to divest and defund oligopolies and conglomerates, slowly, little by little, thus transferring wealth and power back to the communities?

Imagine if people came to be aware of a much larger set of market and economic options, and it became relatively easy for them to make those decisions, and to see the benefits of those decisions?

A lot of this work is currently being done by an amalgamation of progressive and activist organizations around the country, but I argue that applying a standard (highly professional) mainstream consumerist-themed advertising and marketing nationwide campaign could maximize these efforts, tenfold!

And imagine the bewilderment from the established mainstream media conglomerates.  I would give anything to be able to call a local NBC station and talk to an ad executive and tell them about my advertising campaign: "Well, the overall objective is to take down the oligopolistic powers that now control much of the economy, but we want to do it step by step, with a very careful strategy and messaging.  We want to launch the campaign with this type of ad..."  How would they react?

Imagine you're watching Mad Men, and during the commercial break, you see a very professional ad about a new Benefit Corporation that's helping people setup very successful employee-owned businesses around the country?

Well you get the picture... Crazy?  Well, some of us hard-core salespeople have to be a little crazy to do what we do.  Either, way, just look at the title of the diary...

I'm forming a think tank to bounce off ideas: Please contact me here at Daily Kos, or

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh boy. Where to begin. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Says, kaliope, Ray Pensador, native

    I guess I'll start with the fact that I really enjoyed your analysis of what makes a good salesperson, and I think you're spot on here.

    But when you get into advertising, you lose me.  Let's start here:

    In the U.S. advertising universe the main effect of it is to convince "consumers" to act in such a way that results in an increasingly larger transfer of wealth from the populace to the rich.
    Advertising is as old as capitalism and it is a necessary cog in that wheel. No business grows or survives without advertising of some kind. Period.

    Furthermore, advertising agencies are not thinking about "transferring the wealth from the populace to the rich." They are thinking about how to sell their client's product. That is the job they are hired to do, and there is nothing inherently wrong about that...let alone your wild leap to the idea that advertising is responsible for everything from:

    a constant erosion not only on the level of wages and benefits for the average worker/consumer/citizen, but also of constitutional rights, which then fuels the speed of transfer of wealth to the rich, at the expense of the people.
    Then you seem to suggest that we should all imagine what could be if advertising agencies and experts realized how they could turn the world around, if only they wanted to.

    Hate to be the pin in your balloon, but someone has to pay for that. And in fact, some do. There is all kinds of advertising done for non profits and progressive causes, and some is even done pro bono. But you can't count on "advertising" per say, as the spark to change. For hundreds of reasons, not the least of which is that contrary to conventional wisdom, advertising is the REFLECTION OF, not the initiator of cultural wants and needs.

    I love your passion. And I agree, advertising people could do a great bit, with their skills, to help America. But they too need a pay check. In other words, you have the cart before the horse. Advertising is what happens AFTER the product is born.  

    And in this case, "the product" needs to be the refusal of the American people to swallow any more guff about the right of corporate America to get away with murder.  

    "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

    by StellaRay on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:29:37 PM PST

    •  I understand your point, but I think Ray is also (7+ / 0-)

      talking about "educating the public" about alternatives through advertising mechanisms.

      •  Precisely. (4+ / 0-)

        That's exactly what I thought Ray was talking about: Educating (selling) the public using tried and true marketing/advertising techniques. The right wing has essentially been doing this successfully for decades.

        Done right, with enough filthy lucre behind it, this could be a great idea.

        You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help. --Calvin & Hobbes

        by tigerdog on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:05:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The "filthy lucre" is exactly the problem... (3+ / 0-)

          and an organization with the will to do it.  Like I said, product first, then the money, then the advertising.

          We do see some of this in our culture. I think of Rachel's MSNBC ads which I think are excellent, but of course, short.

          And that's another problem. Today's broadcast media ads are 30 or 15 seconds. Which is why a good advertising person is needed---power and brevity are hard to achieve.

          I agree putting marketing and advertising techniques into educating/selling the public is a great idea, and don't mean to be a negative nellie. But it is a complex undertaking.

          "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

          by StellaRay on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:50:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's Monday morning here in the SF Area... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, native, ciganka

      For the rest of the day I'll be working on customers' projects, including advertising and marketing.  Do yo think I see myself as part of the evil machinery trying to enslave the population?  I'm just some guy working, trying to make sure I have enough to pay bills and live, and hopefully be successful at it...

      I think that probably applies to most people, as individuals.

      In your message down-thread you mention that this issue is complicated; yes it is.  If it was easy we would not be in the mess we are, as a society.

      Here's thing; you and I, and most everybody else are operating within a certain cognitive framework.... Like fish in a fishbowl.

      What I'm trying to do, cognitively, is to address the (intellectual and philosophical) forces behind the construction of that framework.  That, of course, is an almost impossible undertaken; and that's part of why I'm attracted to take on it.  It makes life more interesting; at least to me.

      The discussions, the general understandings about what is and what is not possible, the limitations, and possibilities, the way the market and the economy and society functions,   is all the result of a manufactured cognitive framework, paid for by the ruling elite.

      I'm wanting to take on the system at that level, and I'm trying to join others, and recruit others to do the same--peacefully, intelligently, and relentlessly.

      If people are able to do this, it will represent the most dangerous challenge to the ruling elite; most dangerous than an armed insurrection.

  •  Hey, Ray, I look forward to see some more of this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, Words In Action

    I cannot participate much, but I read and disseminate lots of useful info among a large number of people. That's probably the most useful thing I can do at this point.

  •  i believe you are talking about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, Words In Action

    "attraction not promotion"

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 09:15:04 AM PST

    •  I don't get you; could you elaborate? n/t (2+ / 0-)
      •  it is a phrase used in 12-step programs (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador

        you simply demonstrate what is good about what you have and people will naturally be drawn to it, because they see the benefits and want those benefits for themselves:  "explaining the tangible benefits of understanding reality as it is."

        as opposed to the dominant form of promotional advertising filled with (false) promises and manipulations, intended to persuade people into a purchase or decision they would otherwise not make because they want to avoid the negative consequences.    Promotion--making something appear better than it is, making something bad appear good--turns reality upside down.

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:04:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I like where you are going with this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, native

    But then I like most of your ideas and appreciate the fact that are willing and committed to slogging it with a community that is perhaps so burned out by traditional, familiar action in electoral politics and representative government that they are extremely skeptical and wary of direct action or other forms of political pressure.

    I continue to think about Occupy; parallel alternative economies and communities; affordable, sustainable housing; sustainability in general. All of these need to be brought together, and things like co-ops, such as your Benefit Corporation, could certainly be a part of it.

    I would like to see communities sprouting up within a 150 mile radius of D.C., some urban, some rural. I would like to see them using smaller housing footprints (and more sustainable building materials and methods), both single and multi-family, with perhaps each community having 500-1,000 people. Enough to get economies of scale from sharing certain facilities, equipment and supplies, both for economic and environmental reasons. Enough to have an internal economy, "economies of reciprocity", to enable those who would like to to sustain or at least partially sustain themselves simply by providing goods or services to others in the community.
    Ideally these groups would provide safe space for both anarchistic, consensus-decision-making types and those with more traditional approaches, perhaps with some sort of hybrid methodology, so long as everyone agrees to engage with the dialectic and the praxis. The reason for the location, of course, is so that these communities would be in striking distance of D.C. for political action there...

    I will respond to you invitation for contact as there are obviously areas where our interests, motivations and ideas overlap.

    The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

    by Words In Action on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:19:45 AM PST

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