In 1962, Time magazine called David Ogilvy (1911-1999) “the most sought-after wizard in today’s advertising industry.”
His advice for meeting clients and prospects isn’t just relevant for ad execs.
- At the meeting when you make your presentation, don’t sit the client’s team on one side of the table and your team opposite, like adversaries. Mix everybody up.
- Rehearse before the meeting, but never speak from a prepared text; it locks you into a position which may become irrelevant during the meeting.
- Above all, listen.
- Tell your prospective client what your weak points are, before they notice them. This will make you more credible when you boast about your strong points.
- Don’t get bogged down in case histories or research numbers. They put prospects to sleep.
- The day after a new business presentation, send the prospect a three-page letter summarising the reasons why they should pick your agency. This will help them make the right decision.
Excerpted from Ogilvy on Advertising (1985, Vintage Books).
Here’s a classic Ogilvy print ad from 1959 that doubled sales for Rolls-Royce.
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Rolls-Royce was mentioned with other clients in an interview on Letterman.
For another classic ad from the Mad Men era, look at this from Bill Bernbach.