Stop Playing Violins For Buffalos

When I was growing up, we traveled around a bit. And between the ages of about 8 and 12 I lived in a little area called Nhullunbuy or Gove. It was on the coast, near Darwin. Probably about an hour or so flight from memory.

Anyway, Gove was crocodile, buffalo and box jellyfish territory.

About 4,000 people lived there. And the town was basically based around mining bauxite.

One of the funny things I remember about this town was the buffaloes.

It wasn't unusual for these buffaloes to be sitting out there on the school grounds while us kids were playing at school.

Or watching my mum and dad play touch footy at night.

They were around everywhere - you occasionally even saw them walking down the main street. I remember this one day, there was a busker on the streets who was playing beautiful music on his violin. And that buffalo walked right past him without paying a smidgen of attention.

He couldn't care less about the quality of the music. He could just have well had a terrible, awful, screeching voice and singing at the top of his lungs - and the buffalo wouldn't have noticed the difference in any case. You see, buffaloes don't appreciate beautiful music. They simply don't get it.

And you wouldn't take offense to that fact. Nor would you ever try to conduct a concert with buffaloes as your guests. But business owners waste hours of their time every day playing their best music to buffalo prospects.

I know I did this for years.

I would talk to people who were half interested in what I had to offer... give complimentary consultations... and walk away with nothing. The people I would be speaking to would be skeptical... uneducated... they really didn't understand marketing or the way it worked in any way, shape or form.

They were convinced their pretty ads would out-pull my ugly ads despite the proof I would put in front of them. Despite the testimonials... despite the opinions of great advertisers like David Ogilvy, John Caples and the like. Despite the fact that this stuff is scientific and when you compare a direct response ad versus a branding ad it out pulls it every single time.

I remember driving my car all over Sydney. From Hornsby to Penrith to Peakhurst I traveled. And I found a few Unicorns... great clients who actually got it. But I played my violin to a lot of buffaloes too. Nice people. But it didn't matter how hard I played they would not open their minds to grasping the power of direct response marketing.

Truth is, most business owners do the same.

They would prefer to play to Unicorns.

But because they don't know how to generate enough leads so they can sort the wheat from the chaff, and implement strict qualification criteria, they end up...telling wonderful stories demonstrating their beautiful products applying all their passion to get their message across... and despite all of this, walking away empty handed because the buffaloes don't appreciate what they have to offer.

Not that it is the buffaloes fault.

It is your job as a salesperson to qualify your customer so you only ever end up investing time with the unicorns.

Scott Bywater is a direct mail copywriter and the author of Cash-Flow Advertising. To get access to his highly prized complimentary copy of '7 Ways To Get More Customers" (valued at $29.95) and to join his controversial and insightful "Copywriting Selling Secrets" newsletter where you'll uncover the truth about why most ads and sales letters don't work (and how to make yours stand out from the rest) head on over to his web site at

Share Article

Related Articles