AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerTomorrow Is National Salesperson Day

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The Traits That B2B Buyers Value in Salespeople Chart

Tomorrow Is National Salesperson Day

One of the questions I ask people in interviews about working in an advertising, public relations, marketing and fundraising agency is: Do you like sales? If you don’t, then look in another field.

Our work is about getting people to do things — donate, sign up, take out a loan, convince an editor, select a physician. It is all sales. Every ad, every brochure, every website should do something. It’s not art. It is sales.

The Traits That B2B Buyers Value in Salespeople Chart

Empathetic Listening

So if you are hiring all “salespeople,” what are the best traits for a writer, designer, PR professional or fundraising consultant? The same as a salesperson for business to business or in a retail store or in a bank or in a car dealership. LinkedIn calls it “active listening.” I call it empathetic listening.  

In our business, if you can’t put yourself into other people’s shoes, you’ll never be successful. You must be able to understand and share the feelings of another — not just be actively listening (as in, put down your phone while another person is talking).

You have to become that person. The closest profession to marketing is acting. In acting, the actor must get inside the character’s head. In marketing and fundraising, you must do the same.

Happy National Salesperson Day.  #SalespersonDay

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

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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.