• Karl Eller’s 5 Tips for Selling Out of Home

    Karl Eller made a fortune twice in the out of home business: selling Combined Communications for $370 million in 1978; and selling Eller Media for $1.15 billion in 1997.   Here are five tips for selling out of home which Insider gleaned from Eller’s 2005 book Integrity is all you’ve got and 7 other lessons of the entrepreneurial life.

    Bring Ideas, Don’t Take Orders

    “my sales pitch is built around a strong idea – billboards put cash in your pocket…That’s one of my chief sales rules: always sell an idea, some fresh approach that captures the customer’s imagination as both dynamic and realistic.  This rule has a subtext: never talk to anyone about his or her business without knowing enough about it to offer a constructive idea…”

    Be Concrete

    “If you present only the general idea of buying, say, a billboard you miss the chance to plant something visual, exciting and desirable in the customer’s mind.  I’ve found that the more concrete I am in presenting a sales idea, the more likely I’ll get an early answer…The best way to sell anything is to show customers an accurate picture or model of exactly what they will own if they say yes.”

    Insider Comment – When was the last time you brought spec art or a TastyAds generated ad on a prospect call to show a potential client what they could get if they advertised with you?

    Think Big and Bold.

    “One day, the Hertz ad director called asking us to find a spectacular location for a Hertz billboard in San Francisco.  So we found him one.  He said “Mr Jacobs is going to San Francisco, and if you could get me a picture of this thing we will show it to him and see if he can check it out…” Instead of sending Hertz a picture of the sign we wanted to sell Hertz we found a huge billboard, visible from the Bay Bridge.  We had our people paint in big letters: “This is it, Mr Jacobs.”  He saw the sign while driving across the bridge with five other people…Jacobs was delighted…and sealed the deal.”

    Quit While You’re Ahead

    Get the order and leave.  While at Foster and Kleiser, Eller convinced Bob Naegele to let Foster and Kleiser rep the Naegele billboards for a commission of 5%.  Instead of leaving with a signed contract Eller went to lunch with Naegele to celebrate.  Over lunch Naegele reconsidered and asked Eller to lower the commission to 2%.  The transaction fell through.

    Mini Billboards by Billboards Etc

    On the Value of Mini Billboards

    “I never failed to present all of my customers with a miniature of each billboard I sold them, so they could put it on their desks and be reminded every day that their very own billboards were out there working for them.  At one point, I had miniature billboards about twelve inches long and four inches tall with my company logo on them, stationed on every desk in Chicago’s two major advertising agencies.”

    If you want to adopt the mini-billboard idea for your company, you can buy mini billboards from Billboards Etc for $25 apiece.  It’s a great way to say thank you and stay top of mind with your best customers.


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    1. Already bought this book. Can’t wait to read it! Thanks for sharing Dave
      Y’all need a new company of the day, Grey Outdoor!