How he sold 250,000 sweepers in three weeks

From My Life in Advertising…

“I conceived the idea of offering Bissell Carpet Sweepers in some interesting woods. If my previous ideas had excited ridicule, this excited pity. I asked them to build Bissell carpet sweepers in twelve distinguished woods, one in each wood to the dozen. I wanted them to run from the white of the bird’s-eye maple to the dark of the walnut, and to include all the colors in between.

“That aroused real opposition. All the directors of the company were ex-salesmen. One was the inventor of some new devices and was a power to be regarded. He said, “Why not talk broom action, patent dumping devices, cyco bearings, and the great things I have created?”

‘I am talking to women, ‘ I replied. ‘They are not mechanics. I want to talk the things which they will understand and appreciate.’

“They finally let me do that as a concession. They agreed to build 250,000 sweepers, twelve woods to the dozen, for me.”

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][He then told the dealers how to market the sweepers to the end users,] and “dealers responded in a way that sold our stock of 250,000 sweepers in three weeks…it gave to Bissell sweepers the practical monopoly which they maintain to this day.” My Life in Advertising, 1927. Claude Hopkins

Anyone have one of those Bissell sweepers in your closet, nearly 100 years later? I know I do.

So even back in the day – 1915 era – here’s someone who succeeded WAY beyond everyone else because he realized that scientific facts don’t sell. His success, he said, was “based on pleasing people.” Obviously, selling the science of the product was not “pleasing people.” The company had done that for years, and had very little market share.

Regular people then didn’t care about the science of a product. They don’t now, either. Do you every think about the science of the monitor that you’re looking at right now? Or the science of the organic spinach you eat? Or the science of the pain meds you take or your vitamins?

Yet many folks in our business keep on leading with the science of their products… Hmm.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

About the author

Kim Klaver

1 Comment

Leave a Comment