Six Words to Sell Absolutely Anything
Everybody sells. Kids sell parents on the toys they want, what to eat for dinner and the games they want to play. Wives sell husbands on chores that need to get done. Husbands sell wives on doing chores later. Nonprofits sell donors on the good they are doing in the world. Companies sell products and services. Everyone sells. The common denominator to selling is words. Here's a rule of thumb:
Get to the point
The first words you use to sell anything are the most important you will speak, write or record. You already know why. If people don't make it past the the first salvo of your message the rest is rendered null and void. This goes for headlines, tag lines Blog titles, speeches, videos and so much more.
Experienced communicators are familiar with the mistake of "burying the headline." This is when the point of the message emerges one to three quarters of the way through a piece of communication. Oops. This is common is because it makes logical sense to provide context for what you have to say.
Getting to the point is an even better operational plan, especially in marketing and selling.
Let me take you off the hook: there is no correct number of words you should start off with when you create your marketing message. A six word headline is a great number.to shoot for but depending on variables such as: audience perspective, the product or service being sold, recent events etc., you may be best served with three times that number. Here's an example.
Rolls-Royce created one of the great ads of all time with an 18 word headline. Underneath the picture of their product the following 18 words were etched into advertising history: "At 60 miles per hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock."
Without using words that overtly claim "superior quality" the reader gets the sense that this is indeed the case. This headline shouts "quality" much more powerfully than if it said "our product has superior quality." Just as important; this piece of marketing communication invites the reader to imagine what it would be like to ride in this car while hearing only the clock.
Let's look at another example from my personal files.
Cathy Maley owns a company called S10 ProClean. This is a product designed to clean high-end lenses for movie cameras involved in big-time movie making such as Star Wars. In this context a dirty camera lens is a big no-no.
On one of our calls were were talking about the tag line she wanted to develop for her brand. I asked what was exciting to her about her work and she spoke at length about two nonprofit projects she was involved with as a videographer. It was clear she was passionate about these concerns.
One of them was for girls in the Bay Area who had fallen into the sex slave trade (a bigger issue than I knew existed) and another for African artisans to sell there works through a website so they could simply make a living. Cathy went into detail about the plight of each of these populations and the good that was being done with her help.
We spent about 15 minutes talking about these two worthy causes. When we finally got around to talking about the tag line she wanted to develop for her company it took about three minutes for me to blurt out: "Cathy, I know your tag line."
She said, "Yeah, what?"
I said "With S10 ProClean You make the world clearer."
Cathy reported she almost fell off her chair. She had been looking for that tag line for years. She'd spent countless hours and reams of paper trying to get it right. She was practically in tears, as was I.
This is the power of words that have real emotion, purpose and intention behind them. Had we not talked about what really made her light up I would have never put it together. Now, before Cathy goes to the expense of redoing her graphics the choice she has to make is:
S10 ProClean - Makes the world clearer
S10 ProClean - We make the world clearer
S10 ProClean - Making your world clearer
There are a lot of possibilities. In a case like this it is best to talk with clients and get different perspectives before arriving at a final choice. Cathy Maley has a good lead on the words she will use to communicate so much more than - "my product is made really well so go ahead and buy it!"
Not only has Cathy differentiated her product, she's done it with the distinction of being connected with a heartfelt path to change the world for the better. This is what i look for in marketing communication: heart-felt energy in a very concise amount of words. This sells!
Six Words to Sell Absolutely Anything is a seminar I do to help business people match their words with the depth of what they here to bring to the world — whether that takes the shape of a lens cleaner, solar electricity, coaching, consulting or growing medicine or food.
Selling starts with words you use.
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