AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerWhat if You Charged for Sales Calls?

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What if You Charged for Sales Calls?

The marketing and advertising business is about sales. If you don’t like sales, stay away. Organizations that invest in marketing expect a return. We’ve even embraced a branding (tag) line that speaks to what our clients want: “Move the Needle.”

Portrait of confident businessman looking at camera

I also have a large group of people trying to sell to me. It’s a dance we all do, and in the United States, we do this dance well. It is getting harder and harder, though, to say yes to the initial introductory meetings — on both sides of the sales equation.

So what if we all charged for that initial meeting? Let’s say $382. Sure, come on over and tell me about your business or organization, but please bring $382 in cash (preferably in small bills) for the hourlong meeting.

How would paying that money change the dynamic? If you had to pay $382 per sales call, would you be better prepared? Would you research the prospect more carefully? Would you practice your presentation? Would you be more focused? Would you be more selective in who you present to?

The average CEO in the U.S. earns $382 per hour, according to Giving up that hour to hear your sales presentation will cost the company $382 in down time. So someone is paying that cost per hour; it’s just not your organization.

I heard of a salesman that sends CEOs a $100 bill in the mail as an incentive to listen to a one-hour presentation. It lets all the CEOs know he was serious, and he had something important to say. He had a high rate of conversion.



Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.