How to Write Killer Copy that Sells!

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Stop writing to, at, for, under, and


over customers. Write WITH them!


     I read an e-zine article published today by an “author/trainer and full time radio host” (we’ll call her FP), entitled “How to write a GREAT direct response letter” that made me wonder what indeed Ms. FP is authoring, training, and radio-hosting about. Surely it can’t be the direct response letter writing skills her article would appear to lay claim to.

     As if it were “BREAKING NEWS…” chugging across the screen, she wraps her snappy little  lecturette around a paralyzingly old acronym: AIDA (for Attract ATTENTION; Create INTEREST; Stimulate DESIRE and Bring About ACTION). Sounds okay, huh? But it’s not!

     This formula, first of all, was updated almost 30 years ago to add a final “S” to the AIDA guideline (Note, btw, a “guideline” NOT a “how to”) making it: AIDAS. The last “S” is for Ensure SATISFACTION. Without the last “S,” Ms. FP, you have a big “NO SALE” and your magical “how to” approach flushes away with one flick of the handle.

There is only one way to write killer copy that sells, and it is the same way to give killer sales presentations that sell — from the heart, and from the mindset of being on the same side of the table as the customer, helping the customer solve the customer’s problem.”

      This means (Ms. FP does manage to get this right, but doesn’t take it far enough) the focus needs to be on addressing the benefits, not the features. Features do make engineers, manufacturers and designers happy. But customers only use features to justify their purchase decisions to bosses, stockholders, spouses, etc.

     Answering the question, “What’s in it for me?” is the only question a customer really cares about. Isn’t it what YOU think about when you’re being a customer?

     Triggering an emotional buying motive (which is the deciding factor in every purchase, even those you might think are completely rational, analytical, and unemotional) requires a true talent for persuasive writing and one-on-one selling that probably 50% of the world’s population have, but that probably fewer than 1% know how to use.

     Lots of people THINK they can write words that sell, and many THINK they can speak words that sell, but reality overwhelmingly suggests that those thoughts almost never translate to big-time performance.

     Lack of self-esteem, authenticity, empathy, product knowledge, marketing experience — and realization that choice and resolve can make the difference — are ordinarily the culprits.

     When you have doubts about your ability to write or speak the best sets of words to sell your products and services, find a proven professional wordsmith. How? Look for great writing, then find the writer. You only get one chance at a first impression.

Note: $1 billion in client sales have been attributed to Hal’s award-winning creations.

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