“Grab ‘em by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow.”
President Lyndon Baines Johnson said that. I’ll bet you didn’t know he was such a marketing genius. Well, maybe he wasn’t, but that quote is very important marketing advice.
Let me tell you a quick story.
Back in either 1987 or ’88, I was selling just stun guns. I was running an ad in USA today — a four line classified ad looking for distributors to sell my stun guns.
It was a much simpler time. No one was asking me how to sell the products. I was doing straight wholesale. People selling at flea markets, gun shows, trade shows, etc, would contact me for information on the stun guns and the prices, buy what they needed and sell them; hopefully, contacting me again to reorder.
At the time I thought I was in the wholesale business. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered I was in the marketing business.
I didn’t have a catalog; didn’t have employees; didn’t have an office; didn’t even have an 800 number. My main obstacle was educating people about what a stun gun was. Not too many people knew back then. Not like today.
One day I got a phone call. The person calling said they saw my ad in USA Today and wanted to ask me a few questions about the stun guns. I told the person I was busy and couldn’t talk right then and hung up on him.
The person calling was David Letterman. Back then he had a show called Late Night. One of the things he did during the show was look at the newspapers, find something interesting and call the phone number given. That day he saw my ad in USA Today about stun guns; didn’t know what a stun gun was and called me live from the show.
When I answered the phone, he identified himself and wanted to know if I could answer some questions about stun guns. I told him I was busy. Totally froze up. I’ve been kicking myself for over 20 years for letting that opportunity to promote myself and my product slip away.
Now how does this relate to President Johnson’s statement?
It has to do with big, bold, unusual, sometimes ridiculous marketing. I was afraid that David Letterman was going to make fun of me and my product. I did not understand then how valuable it would be to be humiliated by David Letterman on national TV. I was too passive, too afraid, not bold at all, and quite frankly, a dumb ass. Man, it hurts every time I think about it.
The first thing you need to do with your marketing is get their attention. If people are scanning websites looking for products that you carry, you need something on your website to make them stop and take notice. Get their attention first then you will be able to “capture their hearts and minds” and win them over and make them a customer.
If you are selling at flea markets, the same principal applies. You have to get people to notice you and stop. Do whatever it takes to stand out from the crowd. I use to fire stun guns off constantly. People were attracted to the sound and came over to see what it was. Did other vendors complain? Yes! But, I took the ‘slings and arrows’ and did it anyway.
Fortune favors the bold. The person not afraid to stick his neck out; not afraid to make a fool of himself; not afraid that people won’t like him…that’s the person that will get the opportunity to sell.
And, that’s what this is all about. Getting the opportunity. Getting noticed. Getting people curious; wanting to find out more. Getting your foot in the door.
To do that, you have to grab their attention. You won’t grab it with passive marketing or wimpy presentation of your products.
So, put up a video of you stunning yourself with a stun gun with a lot of bleeps in the audio to cover the swear words or wear a chicken suit and cluck when you are selling at a flea market.
Grab ‘em by the balls and their hearts and minds AND wallets will follow!