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Why You Should Take A Tip From Zig Ziglar And Apply It
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In his seminars and tapes world-renowned motivational speaker Zig Ziglar always talks about the importance of having meaningful, specific goals. And, he'll drive home his point with the rhetorical question, "What would you rather be in life, a meaningful specific or a wandering generality?"
As marketers and business owners if we want our direct mail efforts to produce profitable results we would do well to heed Zig's advice. But too many sales letters are filled with platitudes, puffery and vague blather about quality and service. And then, not surprisingly, when a direct mail marketing professional approaches the company about doing a project the typical response is, "Direct mail? Nah, we tried that once, it doesn't work for us."
Nothing will hold the attention of your reader and advance your selling proposition as well as very specific and very relevant features and benefits. This is true in a face-to-face sales presentation and even more true when you're selling on paper.
So, if you're a commercial real estate broker with a large, national organization don't expect me to be in a big rush to respond to your letter because: a. You're with a big firm; b. Your company works with some prominent local companies.
Instead, give me specific, relevant and meaningful features and benefits. Because the fact that you're with a national organization who does business with some large local companies in and of itself is "ho-hum," "so-what?" information. But if you offer me meaningful, specific and relevant details that translate these facts into "reasons why" benefit-oriented copy...then your letter has a fighting chance of success. Then, I just may take your follow-up phone call.
Now, let's take a look at, among other things, how well the writer of the following letter uses the pulling power of meaningful specifics.
Key: Standard text = Original letter (Parentheses) = Ernest's critique and commentary [Brackets] = Ernest's suggested text NOTE: All personal and corporate names have been changed to preserve privacy.
Mr. Frank FarmerSoft
1389 NE Fourth St., Ste. 1600
Bellevue, WA 98004
Dear Mr. Farmer,
Few decisions are as important to your company's future success as where you choose to locate your company and under what parameters.
(A low-gear, generalized opening. Make sure you open your letter in high gear and grab the attention of your reader. Make it intriguing. Make it interesting. And quickly get to a benefit. For example, if you or I had written that letter, our opening might have looked something like this:) [Ouch! Negotiating your property lease in today's market can be a painful and costly experience. Can be -- but it doesn't have to be.] (In defense of the original opening the writer did start off with an immediate focus on the prospect with 2 "yours" and a "you" in the opening line. Good move.)
Fewer decisions still are as difficult to make and feel secure that you made the right choice. And yet few (try another word) business decisions you will make can be made (passive voice, seldom a good choice in a sales letter) with as much confidence as relocation with the help of BKP Commercial Tenant Advisory Services. That is because with BKP as your exclusive representative, you can be assured you are not only seeing all your options, you are entering into the most economically favorable transaction.
(All puffery. NOTHING in this paragraph explains -- specifically -- what it is that's supposed to give me such confidence in BKP. How can I...why can I be assured that I'm seeing all my options? Does your firm maintain a national up-to-the-minute database of available space that you can query and search by 187 different parameters? Then tell me. The broker should tell the prospect, specifically, how he does what he does and how the prospect benefits. Also, economically favorable transaction sounds like the words of an economist. The writer should use more conversational language and replace the phrase with something like,) [best possible deal.]
After salaries and wages, rent typically is your second largest cost of doing business. That is one reason why last year TCI West, Inc., Microsoft Corporation, Puget Power and many other Eastside companies turned to BKP Commercial Tenant Advisory Services as their exclusive representatives. (I'm pretty sure I know the point the writer is trying to make with these two sentences but he doesn't succeed. He needs to insert the following sentence between them in order to make it a logical, cohesive thought sequence that also clearly communicates a benefit.) [So it just makes good sense -- as well as dollars and cents -- to have savvy, experienced negotiators working on your behalf.] We not only negotiate to the bottom line, (Specifically what does negotiate to the bottom line mean?) we saved them time and helped them make good strategic decisions.
(What exactly does the writer mean by good strategic decisions. Give me an example, share a success story with me, insert a testimonial. Summary: This paragraph would benefit from tighter writing and a more logical flow and -- you guessed it -- specific details.)
We are proud of our track record as the Eastside's and the nation's number one commercial real estate brokerage firm.
(You are? Great. But what is the benefit -- to me -- of your pride and boasting? Tell me, what's in it for me? Remember, when your prospect is reading your letter he or she is tuned into WIIFM.)
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