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Wizard of Ads

A Time For Confidence


Most people who sell radio rely on data and statistics.

Data and statistics are boring. A client will say they want data when what they really want is confidence. They want to have confidence in your station, confidence in your schedule, confidence in the ad. They want to know this is going to work.

Its hard to give other people confidence when you dont have it yourself. Do you have it? If not, I beg you to find it. Your career will forever rise and fall with the level of your confidence.

Scientists are willing to change their beliefs when presented with data, facts, and figures. But very few of your prospective customers will be scientists. This is why you must accommodate their perspectives, reinforce their biases, anticipate their preferences, and leverage their stereotypes.

You may think youre winning the argument when you quote facts and figures, numbers and shares, quarter hours and cumes, qualitative data and underwear sizes, but Dale Carnegie was right: A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

Anyone who has ever attempted to use numbers to overcome an irrational belief knows that Carnegie was right. You may win the debate with facts and figures, but they will rarely win you the sale.

In the words of Andrew Lang, we generally use statistics as a drunken man uses a lamppost, for support rather than for illumination.

You must learn to provide illumination. Youve got to be able to turn on the light in your customers mind.

Data, facts, and figures are not the keys to the mind.

The keys to the mind are metaphors, connecting the unfamiliar to the familiar, the unknown to the known. According to Dr. Ricardo Gattass of the Institute of Biophysics, metaphors employ symbolic thought, the only type of thought that bridges the unconscious to the conscious, the right brain to the left, the category to the specific, the pattern to the purpose.

1. Verbal thought is the sound of words in the mind.

2. Analytical thought embraces data, facts, and logic. Both this and verbal thought are rooted primarily in the logical left brain.

3. Abstract thought embraces patterns of events and patterns of answers. Its a non-verbal, subjective reality built on personal preferences, prejudices, and stereotypes. Abstract thought is mostly right-brain thought.

4. Symbolic thought is a bridge that begins in the land of abstract thought and ends in the land of analytical thought. Success stories, parables, and metaphors are powerful expressions of symbolic thought. This makes them far more persuasive than numbers.

Youve heard it said that Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. Yet each of us routinely crafts our own facts from the fabric of personal experiences, preferences, and prejudices.

A stereotype is nothing more than a pattern weve observed. This pattern isnt always predictive, but it is a pattern nonetheless, and we trust it. We base our stereotypes in the misbegotten belief that we have correctly interpreted our past experiences and that our preferences and prejudices are, in fact, correct and reliable interpretations of objective reality.

Were a funny, funny species, arent we?

Were coaching a basketball game. Cedric makes four baskets in less than two minutes, so we conclude that Cedric has a hot hand, hes in the zone and has a feel for the basket, so we instruct the other players to feed Cedric the ball.

Does it surprise you to learn that all the data clearly indicates that a player who makes four consecutive baskets in less than two minutes of game time is no more likely to make his next shot than usual? But every coach, every player, and every fan of the sport will continue to feed Cedric the ball.

We dont trust data nearly so much as we trust our hearts. You need to keep this in mind when making your next presentation.

Win the heart, and the mind will follow.

Dont fill your messages with data. Because a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

Instead, use success stories, parables, and metaphors that will connect your idea to your customers inner world. When youve won the battle for your clients gut feelings, then all that remains is to provide them with whatever logic and data they require to justify what their heart has already decided.

Symbolic thought is the key that opens the heart and mind.

You must have confidence before you can transfer confidence to your customer. Most radio people are in desperate need of confidence.

Techniques dont mean much when you dont have confidence.

Have I helped you at all? I hope so.

Sell yourself first. The rest is easy.

Roy H. Williams is president of Wizard of Ads Inc. E-mail:

(5/5/2014 2:59:18 AM)
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(4/18/2014 9:06:03 AM)
I used to enjoy the recordings of a terrific, little indie-band, "The Courage Of Lassie".
Another swell name might be, "The Confidence Of Roy".

But, there's more to it than just a whizzy name. Roy (and his crew) enjoy the confidence that comes from writing and producing OUTSTANDING commercial messaging.

Without that, all that's left is "DATA" - which sucks as a sales tool.
("And now... another huge hit from 'Pistol Noon'.")
Thanks, RHW.

- Ronald

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