Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How to Advertise Yourself

Maxwell Sackheim’s How to Advertise Yourself is a compact gem of a book. I picked it up a few years ago at a garage sale here in Cottage Country and have dipped into it again and again.

Published in 1978, it distills the man’s life lessons from 70 years of writing ads on Madison Avenue. He believed the secret of success is being able to sell your ideas to the rest of the world – and what entrepreneur could disagree?

Here are Sackheim’s five steps to help you sell yourself, your appearance, your thoughts, words and experiences to any individual or group:

1. Know your merchandise (analyze yourself as a product)
2. Attract favorable attention (your dress, your voice and your greetings are your “headlines,” which attract or repel)
3. Keep ’em interested (half an argument seldom completes a sale)
4. Be convincing (every statement you make must be above suspicion)
5. Get action (the enemies of action are Indifference and Inertia)

Here’s my favorite part of the book (from the chapter, “Be Convincing”):
To convince people, what you are offering must evolve around some basic human
want. There must be a good and sufficient reason why you think it is better than
what your competitor is offering….

Don't dwell on your reputation, your past achievements, your abilities. Your past accomplishments may be a comfort to you, but they cannot help your prospect unless they are translated into his needs.

Your prospect must be made to feel that he is the one who will benefit the most, get the best of the bargain, win all or most of the advantages. Make him feel that what you are getting out of the transaction is small compared to his gain. Keep suggesting that the whole proposition was designed to benefit him and that what YOU get out of it is a byproduct of what he wants and needs most.
Sackheim was a pioneer in advertising and direct marketing. He helped launch the American Express credit card. His direct-mail ad, “Do You Make These Mistakes in English?” ran for 40 years. He was elected to the Advertising Copywriters Hall of Fame in 1975.
He knew his stuff.

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