Don’t you love going to a friend’s house just so they can whip out the latest family photos of fat ol’ uncle Ernie sitting in a beach chair, holding a warm beer and smiling like he just let out a fart. What joy!
And don’t you just salivate over the thought of going to a dinner party where you’ll be seated next to a sweet old lady who’s dying to tell you about how she’s been constipated since 1964. Can you just stand the thrill of it all?
And don’t you just love when businesses talk about how great they are, how they really care about their customers, how nobody can do a better job than they can, or provide better quality and service.
Or how they’ve been written up in the Podunk Herald for selling a billion Girl Scout cookies in one day, and they now sit on the board of the local mental health hospital, feed the homeless, and carry a pooper scooper when they walk their dog.
Are you getting my point? Okay, let me put it to you this way...Nobody gives a rat’s behind about you or you business – especially if they don’t know you – and you’re asking for their money!
So don’t talk about yourself or your business... when you’re trying to make a sale. Because your customer has only one thing on his mind when he reads your ad, sales letter, brochure or walks into your store or offices:
No, that’s not an FM radio station. They’re thinking What’s In It For Me.
So tell them! But before you can tell them – you’ve got to know who they are – and what they really want.
I can earn $10,000 every day of the week selling $1 hot dogs from a pushcart... if in front of my pushcart there’s a ten-block-long line of hungry hot dog lovers. So, in the unlikely event that you’re selling hot dogs – don’t waste your marketing efforts on people who aren’t hungry and don’t like hot dogs.
Pick the low hanging fruit! Okay, I’m mixing metaphors (in deference to those of you who might be vegetarians).
Back to Hot Hogs
Wondering how to get that line to form in front of your pushcart? Simple.
Figure out why these people are hungry... and why they love hot dogs!
It wouldn’t hurt to also find out where they live, work and play – and how best to communicate with them.
Regardless of what you’re selling – hot dogs, financial planning, vitamins, enterprise software solutions or nose hair trimmers - would you communicate with an engineer in the same way you would with a harried housewife?
An engineer wants to see hard facts and figures, he’s not impressed or persuaded by florid promises or touchy-feely we love you, respect you type of language. And he certainly doesn’t want to hear how great you think you, your product and company are.
The overburdened working wife and mom, on the other hand, wants to catch her breath. She’d love an hour-long massage, a dinner out – she wants to feel appreciated and understood.
So before you sell her – show and prove to her that you know what her every day is like and what will make her happy. This is called market research. Do it. It will make you rich and save you time and effort.
Then, sit down at the kitchen table with your customer (no, not for real – though it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you can swing it) and tell them how it came to be that you understand what they’re going thru and how – specifically – you’re able to help them.
Look... we all love to talk about ourselves. We are our most favorite subject, and the object of our most determined attention.
Haven’t you noticed that the degree to which someone values your friendship is directly proportional to the time you allow them to talk about themselves?
So turn that knowledge on its head when you’re marketing your product or service. Let your customer read about himself in your marketing material.
The Most Powerful Word in the World
Do you know what the most powerful word – in any language – in the world is? No, it’s not “Free” – though that probably comes in a close second. The one word – the most powerful word – for you to use in your marketing material – regardless of what you’re selling...
...The one word above all others that will immediately get your customer’s attention and help persuade them to do your bidding is, are you ready for it? Here it is... your customer’s name.
Try getting someone’s attention, or impressing them with your devotion to their needs by saying, “Hey, you, buddy, you with the hair on your head, I’m over here, give me your money...”
Now of course you can’t always use a person’s name in your marketing material – but you can still “personalize” your marketing message.
You’ll sell more, and sell quicker when, in all your marketing material, you talk more about your customer... than about you or your company.
Returning now, and for the last time, to hot dogs...
Since it’s highly unlikely that you’re the only hot dog vendor in town... you’ve also got to figure out why your customer should buy your hot dogs... and not your competitor’s.
So... maybe we’ll talk about that the next time...
About the Author
Barry A. Densa is a freelance direct response copywriter. Visit WritingWithPersonality.com to see how Barry will persuade your prospective customers to either buy, inquire or subscribe by employing “salesmanship in print”.
© 2007 Barry A. Densa