What I'm reading: Netherland by Joseph O'Neill
What's on the iPod: The Wild Hunt by The Tallest Man on Earth
As we talked yesterday, Anne and I came to the topic of sales pages. She and I have been looking at various website sales pages, and there seems to be two camps on how sales pages are better written. One camp believes long, detailed and rich in personality. The other camp believes short, to the point, and with an eye to the brand.
Depending on whatever guru you happen to listen to, you're going to hear their own version of what's the "right" way of doing things. Honestly, I know what I like personally and what I will never, ever click on. I know what it takes to get someone like me to part with cash. That's how I write my sales pitches-- from that perspective. Mine is a bullshit-free zone.
But which do I like?
Doesn't matter what I like. It's what you like that matters, especially if I'm selling to you. So if I want to sell to you, whose advice should I listen to?
Yours, of course.
That's where I part ways with many of the self-proclaimed experts on sales methods. If I follow their tried-and-true method, I'm sure to sell to you. Why? Because they say so? And how would they know what you, my customer, wants?
So if you're trying to sell to your client base, here are some things to keep in mind:
Be a learner, not a lemming. It's okay to mirror someone else's methods and try on different ways to sell. It's not okay to do it exactly like so-and-so because so-and-so says to. That's not reason enough to ignore your audience. Learn the basics, but don't forget to grow beyond them.
Put your clients' needs first. Always. I send out letters of introduction and queries my way, and while you can mimic that to get started, know that those letters are also sent out the way my client needs to see them. That means I tweak them to fit each client personally. So if I'm sending a letter to an insurance client, your letter to a consumer-facing retail client is probably not going to read the same.
Be yourself, not myself. For the very reason my LOIs and queries work for me they may not work for you. That's because they're not your personality. I may take more liberties (or fewer, depending) than you would, or I may wear my confidence closer to the vest (or all out) than you're comfortable doing. When you're writing any sales material at all, put it in your own voice and within your own boundaries.
Stand out from the rest. That goes along with not being a lemming. Suppose I learn how to write a brochure that gets attention. Great! Oh wait, not great. That same place I learned how to write that brochure has taught about 3,000 other people how to write it exactly the same way. So how is my brochure going to be different? If I don't go beyond the template approach taught to me, it won't be. Never be afraid to put your own spin on things or draw outside the lines.
Change when the clients demand it. That fantastic brochure you paid six consultants to teach you to make got you some great response rates. Then it started dropping off. Here you sit a year later and what? No one answers you? Your potential clients are sending you a clear message -- they want information in a different way. So why not listen?
How do you follow the beat of your own drum?