Claude Hopkins – Salesmanship in Advertising (part 1)

To properly understand advertising or to learn even its rudiments one must start with the right conception. Advertising is salesmanship. Its principles are the principles of salesmanship. Successes and failures in both lines are due to like causes. Thus every advertising question should be answered by salesman’s standards.

Let us emphasize that point. The only purpose of advertising is to make sales. It is profitable or unprofitable according to its actual sales.

It is not for general effect. It is not to keep your name before the people. It is not primarily to aid your other salesmen.

Treat it like a salesman. Force it to justify itself. Compare it to other salesman. Figure its cost and result. Accept no excuses which good salesmen do not make. Then you will not go far wrong.

The difference is only in degree. Advertising is multiplied salesmanship. It may appeal to thousands while the salesman talks to one. It involves a corresponding cost. Some people spend $10 per word on an average advertisement. Therefore every ad should be a super – salesman.

A salesman’s mistake may cost little. An advertisers mistake may cost a thousand times that much. Be more cautious, more exacting, therefore.

A mediocre salesman may affect a small part of your trade. Mediocre advertising affects all of your trade.

Many think of advertising as ad-writing. Literary qualifications have no more to do with it than oratory has with salesmanship.

One must be able to express himself briefly, clearly and convincingly, just as a salesman must. But fine writing is a distinct disadvantage. So is unique literary style. They take attention from the subject. They reveal the hook. Any studied attempt to sell, if apparent, creates corresponding resistance.

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