Salesmen are one kind of salespeople. And salespeople are people. They are people who can help you sell products.
It can be said that people are salespeople. Selling is an integral part of life.
When done properly, selling is informative, it piques the imagination, it brings the right tools and benefits to anyone who needs it and has work to afford it.
When they get the job done you rarely doubt it's the result of careful preparation. That the results are as repeatable as highschool lab experiments. But when advertising through salespeople (or billboards or newspaper or the net) results in little sale a businessperson would wonder if it's all hocus pocus and if her money is doing anything at all. This is human nature.
So salespeople in general don't like being part of an unproven formula of selling. Selling takes effort. And if they can help it they'll go to school to make selling better. More proven.
There are schools for salespeople.
Schools have labs. Labs are the playground for scientists. Things get scientific. Science is cold hard facts. Is it effective? Can you prove it?
Scientists interested in the art of salesmanship have discovered a few things:
But there's something common about all people. Something orderly too. Perhaps these similarities are what makes us human.
Scientists and interested salespeople have found that with careful and scientific reassurances, sales formulas can be used over and over again.
Empowered salespeople, such as transnational ad agencies, (who bill billions of dollars yearly on advertising expenses) will pay scientists for these tests--per ad campaign. Agencies have libraries that store case studies just as law firms track past legal judgements.
So advertising has been a scientific process, from the most ancient times. At least when accepted by thinking businesspeople who paid for them. It's just seem a common sense to test a bit.
Not all businesspeople think advertising need be in anyway scientific. Thankfully, gut feelings has worked at times, just not consistently.
Just to keep life unpredictable, big ad campaigns do bomb at times.
- It's really complex.
- Yup, it's even more complex than that.
- It's complex because people are complex. It's rather chaotic all this complexity. But these properties makes us who we are.
A great deal of my understanding of the advertising process is provided by a simple set of books call Scientific Advertising and My Life in Advertising by a man born in the 1800s.
That man, Claude C. Hopkins, invented coupons. And a few advertising moguls do swear by (and swear at) his teachings. He had a few simple observations to shares, but trivial lessons are difficult to master. I don't know if he is relevent today, but it was fun to read a book from the early 1930s. Reminds me of The Element of Style.