The Power of Gathering Intelligence

The problem with a lot of salespeople is they talk a lot more than they listen. Asking the right questions and then listening to the answers is crucial to understanding your prospects’ needs. This asking the right questions is what I call gathering intelligence. You probably call it qualifying. Same thing.

The reason you gather intelligence is so you can build both an airtight logical and an airtight emotional case for why someone should buy now. Without these two things you have no sale.

The man you’re about to meet believed the sole purpose of advertising is to sell stuff. I teach goal oriented selling. What this means is that from the second you begin a conversation with your prospect you have one goal in mind and that is to close the sale. Every word is deliberate, every tonality is deliberate, every gesture is deliberate so that every step you take brings you a little closer to the close.

giphy The Power of Gathering Intelligence

An intelligence gathering story

Okay, so let me tell you a story and this is a classic of Madison Avenue advertising. Anyone in the business worth his salt knows this one well. There’s this ad man working in Racine, Wisconsin for a company called the J. L. Stack Advertising Agency. His name is Claude Hopkins and he’s just picked up a new account in Milwaukee called the Schlitz Brewing Company.

At the time there were some large breweries in the United States and in their advertising they all pretty much made the same claim—that their beer was “pure.” Some took their advertising to extremes buying two-page spreads in local newspapers so they could make their PURE extra-large.

Hopkins began gathering his intelligence by going to brewing school where he could learn the science of brewing, but he says it didn’t help at all. So then he went to the Schlitz brewery. There he saw plateglass rooms where beer was dripping over pipes. So Hopkins asked, “Why?” He was told the rooms are filled with filtered air, so the beer could be cooled in purity. He also saw beer being filtered through white wood pulp. To avoid contamination every pump and pipe was thoroughly cleaned twice a day. Every bottle was cleaned too—four times before beer was ever put into it. To get the purest water Schlitz had an artesian well that went down 4,000 feet. The water of Lake Michigan, probably pretty clean at time, wasn’t clean enough for Schlitz. The final beer product was aged for six months before being bottled and shipped.

Next, Hopkins went to the Schlitz laboratory where he saw the original mother yeast cell. It took 1,200 separate experiments to get that one cell—all so Schlitz would have the most robust flavor. All the yeast used in making Schlitz beer has come from that one mother cell. Hopkins also learned that a Schlitz family member selects the choicest barley and the brewmeister travels to the old country to gather the best hops.

Turning intelligence into dollars

So with all that gathered intelligence, what does Hopkins do? He sits down and crafts a print ad campaign. He talks about purity, but he doesn’t scream it. Instead he weaves it into stories that balance the 50 years of Schlitz brewing experience that have brought about perfection with these new brewing methods that produce the purest beer ever.

Was gathering intelligence in order to sell beer a lot of work? As Hopkins says, “The uninformed would be staggered to know the amount of work involved in a single ad. Weeks of work sometimes. The ad seems so simple, and it must be simple to appeal to simple people. But behind that ad lie reams of data, volumes of information and months of research. This is no lazy man’s field.”

Did all that work pay off for Schlitz? Within a few months, Schlitz jumped from the #5 brewery in the country to #1 and held on to that position for many years to come.

Did all that work pay off for Hopkins? We don’t know what his salary at the J. L. Stack Advertising Agency was, but he soon moved on to the prestigious Lord & Thomas Agency in Chicago, where its legendary boss, Albert Lasker, paid Claude Hopkins an annual salary of $185,000 to start. That was in 1907. The equivalent today would be around $4.6 million. And by the time Hopkins retired in 1923 he had been both the company’s president and chairman. Good intelligence gathering and hard work paid off handsomely.

If you’d like to learn how to gather intelligence the right way and you’re willing to put in some hard work I can show you the way to making 7 figures too. See my note at the end.

Some final thoughts

What the Schlitz Brewing Company did was nothing extraordinary. Every brewery produced beer in the exact same way. All Claude Hopkins did was tell people why Schlitz beer was pure. In so doing he gave them the reason why they should choose Schlitz over other beers.

Many believe Claude Hopkins is the father of modern advertising. He introduced us to the free sample, coupons, premiums, split testing and mail order.

All the best,


About my offer: I never met Claude Hopkins. Totally different generation. But I’ve trained thousands of men and women like him. People who weren’t satisfied with an average lifestyle and who were willing to roll up their sleeves and learn how to be the best closers in their industry. If you’re not afraid of a little hard work and you cherish the thought of earning massive wealth, then click here and let me help you get there.