Sales Lessons From David Ogilvy

Learning Sales from the Godfather of Advertising

Happy Halloween! Sometimes it feels like Halloween every day the way our prospects keep ghosting us… 👻 

In today’s Follow Up:

  • Sales lessons from David Ogilvy ✍️

  • Fun business news w/ Morning Brew ☕️ 

  • A sales pitch tip 💡 

  • Sales across the internet 🖥️ 

  • 4 new remote sales jobs 🤑  

Sales Lessons From Ogilvy

David Ogilvy is widely known as the “Godfather of Advertising”.

He founded one of the largest advertising agencies in the world (Ogilvy), and is the mastermind behind famous ads from Rolls Royce, Mercedes, and many more.

Rolls Royce ad by David Ogilvy

Ogilvy started his career selling kitchen stoves door-to-door, which is where he dropped poetic bars like: “No sale = no commission. No commission = no eat”. 🎵 

*spoken like a true sales rep*

Throughout his career, Ogilvy’s ads were responsible for selling billions worth of products, yet most people don’t think of him as a salesperson.

But here at The Follow Up, we recognize David for what he was: an elite-level salesman with a deep understanding of why people buy.

So we spent our weekend diving into Ogilvy’s greatest sales lessons to find the 4 you need to know about.

Let’s take a look 👇

1. Know Your Buyer

Or in Ogilvy’s words…

The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything. She wants all the information you can give her.

David Ogilvy

Whether your target customer is a business or a consumer, the buyer is a human. They think like humans and make purchases like humans.

And different humans care about different things.

For example, an HR professional may care about decreasing employee complaints (like the new sales rep cooking fish in the microwave), while IT could care less about employee complaints.

Understanding the issues your customers face and how they make decisions will allow you to craft better messaging and pitch your prospects with the information they care about.

2. Do Your Research & Become a Product Expert

To be the best at selling your product, you should know everything about it.

This means continuous research to understand everything your product does and why someone would buy it (and not just the obvious reasons).

Before Ogilvy wrote an ad, he would spend weeks (if not months) researching the product. He’d interview the inventors that made them and the customers that used them. Ogilvy was on the hunt to find the reasons someone would buy the product, that no one else was thinking about.

For example, a Rolex customer might say they bought the watch because it’s high quality and will appreciate in value. Meanwhile, the real reason they bought was to show off to their country club friends.

People buy with emotion and justify with logic.

When you understand why your customers buy, selling to them becomes easier.

3. Use a Single CTA

Ogilvy wrote legendary ads.

And in those ads, he asked the reader to take action (aka, buy the product).

Even though most of us aren’t writing ads, we can use the same principles when writing cold emails.

Just like a good ad, a good cold email should grab the reader’s attention → peak their interest → and make them take action.

In most cases, the action is answering a question or booking a meeting.

Don’t ask them to answer 3 questions, and then book a call.

Make it easy for them to say yes.

4. Never Stop Testing

Just like direct response marketing, outbound sales is all about testing.

Testing your emails. Testing your cold call scripts. And testing your sales pitch.

Many strategies that worked 5 years ago don’t work today. And strategies that work today won’t work in the next 5 years.

Never stop testing, and double down on what’s working.

Bonus: Alcohol Makes You More Productive?

Ogilvy enjoyed a drink or two in his day and is quoted saying:

Many people – and I think I am one of them – are more productive when they’ve had a little to drink. I find if I drink two or three brandies, I’m far better able to write.

David Ogilvy

The Follow Up can neither confirm nor deny if this is true.

But he said what he said… 🍾 


What is your favorite sales tip from Ogilvy?

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Sales Tip of The Day 💡 

Are you pitching your product as a “time saver”?

Be more specific.

 Our product can help you save 5 hours of work.
 Our product will save you from manually updating your CRM after every call.

The more specific you can describe your prospect’s problem, the more they’ll understand how it can benefit them.

Sales in the News 🗞️ 

Cool Jobs at Cool Companies 🤑 

Sales Meme of the Day

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