To me, salespeople are sorcerers who can walk into a room and magically turn No into Yes and skinflints into big spenders. It’s awe inspiring.

That’s why when a great salesperson shows me a great idea for a big ticket sale on a clunky slide presentation, it breaks my heart. I’ve got to do what I can to help show it off for the genius it is.

Big Ticket Sales Support, photo by Scott Liddell

Big Ticket

BJ Jones showed me what I thought was a brilliant idea, and together we grew the product (a multi-faceted ad concept) from a $6,500 value to a proven $30-40,000 value in the space of a year.

The feat was the result of a few things:

  1. We had a solid product.
  2. BJ has a great team and knows how to close a big ticket sale.
  3. We created a high value sales kit that looked impressive and successfully explained an unusual, complex idea.
  4. We created customized mockups that captured the buyer’s imagination.
  5. With each live campaign, we closely tracked user activity and applied our insights to the next one.

Big Idea

For the sales kit, I took BJ’s slide deck and set up a basic template so he’d have something to adapt from meeting to meeting. Then I put together the story: a plain-spoken breakdown of the product, how it worked and its exciting potential for the buyer.

BJ booked his first sales meeting and handed me a rough mockup of how the prospective buyer’s brand would wear our concept. I cleaned it up and suggested alternatives. We decided on the most promising ideas, he took the revised final to the meeting and the rest, as far as I’m concerned, was sales voodoo. Our buyer signed on the dotted line and we raced to make the concept happen.

Because it was a new idea we were hoping to repeat often, I took a templating/modular approach. This meant a tougher slog now to create reusable, but flexible, layouts for the future. With feedback, compromises and a few complaints from the development team (but not too many), we pulled it all together. Dev embedded the tracking code, we launched, and we watched.

Just how big is that ticket?

At the beginning, I wasn’t sure exactly what kinds of results we could expect. The concept was untried. Would the cost (even at the lower first price) be justified?

Our first lesson: we needed more tracking code! We could see some behavior—we were definitely getting clicks, but to really discover value, we needed to break it down. What was most popular? What was attracting return users? And most important: because every buyer and campaign would have different goals (i.e. varying balances of brand recognition, simple click-throughs, newsletter sign-ups, sales), what kinds of data should we collect to demonstrate value to future buyers?

We opted to track everything we could think of and it paid off. We now knew what types of content were most effective, what we could promise, what we could repeat and what to drop. I learned how to extract marketing assets from our buyers by hook or by crook (yes, even for big ticket sales: maybe I’ll save that for another post), and more ways to interpret visual identity guidelines for maximum impact.

Fast forward one year and we now had a new campaign every 45 to 60 days. They were selling (and are still selling) at $30-$40K a pop. We had results to show, we knew how to engage site visitors and the sales kit was no longer really necessary: BJ could just show off a live campaign.

It’s incredibly fun to work with someone who isn’t afraid to try something new, and so satisfying to watch an idea take off. There’s always some risk, so I’m especially grateful we had the resources and the available talent to give it everything we had.

Get a deeper look at co-branded and other collaborative marketing, as well as some practical tips, in my more recent post, Online advertising trends: all kinds of collaborative.

Beautiful tux photo by Scott Liddell.

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