Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

The Pickup

How to make sales using pick-up techniques
Including areas where clients can improve juxtaposed with their successes is a surefire way to show that you are informed

The art of “picking up” is a strategy for luring a potential fling that balances aloof comments with kind ones. While the pickup is a sales strategy in itself — the artist is selling himself in order to establish his value to another person — professional sales people rarely use these strategies to establish their or their product’s value to their customers. The art of picking up may be described as a little sleazy, and establishing value with another human being is generally thought to be most effectively done honestly and over time, you can’t deny that the pickup artist gets results with his own brand of sales techniques.

These techniques mostly take advantage of inherent insecurities to establish value and banter. While you don’t want to tell your clients they are doing a bad job, including areas where they can improve juxtaposed with their successes is a surefire way to show that you are informed.

The first of these techniques, called The Compliment Sandwich, is just as it sounds. You begin with a compliment, followed by a criticism and end with a compliment. For example, one of your clients owns a dog grooming company. They are swamped and hardly have the time to get back to you, and you’ve heard from other locals that they have a history of bad customer service. Now, you can’t just tell him that his customer service is poor; you can say, “It’s amazing that you are so busy, but you will want to make sure to return calls so that you stay that way.” You have begun by giving a compliment and then followed up with a criticism that could over time affect the feasibility of his business. Follow this with, “A friend of mine gets her dog groomed here, and you do such an excellent job.” This final compliment rounds out the compliment sandwich. By doing this you are able to establish your value as someone who can help his business in a way that is ultimately positive.

The second of these techniques is The Check Mark. The Check Mark balances the inherent quality of a business with things that are superficial or cosmetic. An example of when to use this is when talking to a business owner that truly has a good product, but might have an issue with presentation. You begin with a criticism that is based in something that a company has total control over, like their color palette or lobby couches, and finish with a compliment that notices something they can’t control, like the actual inherent value of their product. Say, you are dealing with a clothing store and their ads reflect a very small portion of the clothing they have to offer. Perhaps you could say, “Your ads seem a little over edited because you have such a great selection, which is something you should brag about!” By saying this, your client will hear something that he can change; while immediately being reassured that something integral to his business is successful.

The last of these techniques is The Pickup Line. While the pick-up line for your clients should never be as cheesy, or inappropriate — as they are when used to flirt — they should still reflect that you are fun-loving and don’t take yourself too seriously. In effect, self-deprecation is a very successful strategy in likability, and although you want to convince your clients that you are of invaluable, reminding them that you are human and you have a sense of humor will help build a bond with them that stuffiness never would.