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dondraper“I sell products, I don’t sell advertising.”  So says Don Draper to Duc (Duck?) Phillips as they discuss the direction of the ad agency on Mad Men.  I agree with Don.  And yes, I know it’s not real, it’s a TV show.  That still doesn’t stop me from wanting a martini and Lucky Strike (unfiltered!) as I re-watch season one and two.

Don’s right, and it’s a real problem in many larger agencies: they see their job as selling advertising to clients, not selling their clients’ products.  I’m a marketing consultant, not an agency.  We use freelance graphic designers from time to time so I am open to meeting new ones.  I inevitably hear “What do you want to sell the client?” when I go into a brainstorming session with a designer who’s worked for a large ad agency.  Shame on them!

As soon as a person in my position, a person the client is counting on to have their best interests at heart, starts to focus on selling their services to their clients, the relationship is doomed.  I’m not playing holier than thou, either.   Isn’t it easier to keep a client and do more for a client (read: make more money) by focusing on getting results for the client?

Then why don’t more people like me take the focusing-on-getting-results-for-the-client path?  It’s harder.  Setting out to do an email campaign that gets results is, well, harder than doing an email campaign that looks good.  Although, taking a slight longer view, that’s not true.  It’s easier to keep a client longer, to make more money with a client, by setting out to get results on every project.  You’ll keep the relationship longer and have to spend less time and money looking for new clients.

So, what about you and your customer relationships?  It’s certainly easier to sell what you sell without concern for how successfully it’s used, right?  To put what Don said in context for your situation: Do you sell results, or do you just sell your product or service?

If you’re the latter and not the former, that’s just a bunch of bullshit.  Where’s your passion, your curiosity, your pride?!  That fact is it’s way, way, way more satisfying and fun (yes, fun!) totally committing yourself to your customers’ success.

How do you do that?  I don’t know, I don’t know you or what you sell.  But you can answer that question.  You know the answer.  Yeah, it’s what you just flashed on.  That picture of you doing things differently.  Surprising the customer.  Spending more time and energy, and maybe more money, after the sale.

Now excuse me (lights another Lucky), I gotta freshen this martini.