Archive for the ‘selling’ Category

I mean even the worst writers.  “Black hat” writers, in google-speak.  Congress has passed laws against spam.  But they can’t pass laws against hiring rapists and murderers without drivers licenses or against exploiting teens to sell magazines door to door.

…for tough questions, Buckley refers reporters to the NFSA’s Washington, D.C., attorney, Dan Smith. Smith has lobbied for the group, most notably in 2000, when legislators proposed the federal Traveling Sales Crew Protection Act. The bill was a response to a 1999 wreck in Wisconsin that killed seven agents and paralyzed another. It occurred when the 20-year-old driver of the van — whose Iowa license had expired and who previously had his Wisconsin driving privileges suspended — saw a police car and panicked. Not wanting to get busted again, he tried to change seats with a passenger while driving 80 miles per hour. The coordination was a bitch. Twelve passengers were ejected. The owner of the company the crew worked for never skipped a beat — she just hired a bunch of new kids and started up under a new name. Smith was the guy who handled the lobbying against the proposed safety act — lobbying that worked.

The bill called for making sure crews stayed in hotels that met certain safety guidelines, and making the companies keep an itinerary of where their crews were at any given time. Such a schedule would have helped when, in Houston in 2005, a sales agent raped a 17-year-old mentally retarded girl who answered the door of the apartment she shared with her mother. To gain her confidence, that agent acted as if he had a disability as well. If the Traveling Sales Crew Protection Act had passed intact, there’s a very good chance authorities would be able to find out which crews were operating in Houston on June 5, 2005. As it is, the case remains unsolved.

There is a national will to criminalize behavior that annoys your inbox but when it comes to small stuff like killing, raping, looting, and fraud–hey, we can’t legislate everyone’s private business.  By the way, I’m not in favor of spam.  But I think the rhetoric against direct mail (“intrusion marketing”) of often overblown, especially in light of the alternatives.

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Writing to persuade readers to act is not pure logic. Sometimes this raises suspicions. What are those manipulative writers up to? Why not just make the case and be done without all that emotional rhetoric and red type? (I’m just being hypothetical without implying anything good or bad about red type.)

So here is a true story. I know a man who had a job interview involving a weekend trip to meet his potential supervisor and get acquainted with the workplace. He had a great time and, after he returned, he quickly sent a thank you note to the boss. The boss responded to him that he seemed like a great candidate and had performed well in the interview. Nevertheless, since the candidate had signed the note, he took it upon himself to do some lay handwriting analysis. And he decided on that basis that the candidate was completely unfit for the job.

This is an extreme example, but it is an example of something that happens all the time.

I suppose in some sort of strange society where everyone was trained to only respect strict syllogisms, sales writing might be able to restrict itself to a logical argument with nothing else. But in the actual world, you can’t escape the presence of factors that our outside of logic. The “irrational” is always there to subvert your logic and bypass your arguments.

No writer can afford to ignore this fact–not when he or she is writing for human readers.

www.markhorne.com

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If you read the literature in books or on the net, you know that people claim there are all sorts of tricks to sales writing.

But a recent visit to Branson, MO on the part of some friends of mine reminded me that it depends on how you define “trick.”

When you are a writer, you have great limitations. You can’t keep people in your presence for three hours, when you promised they would only have to listen to a two-hour presentation. You can’t watch a couple and find the weaker “link” in the chain of resistance and work on that person. You can’t develop strategies of deception so that, when a couple seems resistant to your initial offers, your partner suddenly comes into the room claiming that some new properties have unexpectedly opened up and, even though it is their normal practice to only offer these to members, they’ve decided to give the prospects an opportunity to buy in.

Writers don’t have tricks–not like those possessed by salesmen with a captive audience in a resort sales presentation. They share techniques in order to be as persuasive as possible. But they have nothing compared to salesmen with real tricks.

Writers never have a captive audience. Even the guy writing copy for the placard over the urinal knows that anyone using it can simply space out and not read the words in front of him. He can’t force the urinating man to stand there until he reads it. There is no way to obstruct his exit from the restroom in order to make a second offer “that just became available.”

Writers don’t have tricks. They either persuade you first to read and then to make a decision, or else they don’t do one or the other.

Writers leave their prospect free to choose. No tricks. Just persuasion.

www.markhorne.com
www.scrollquill.com