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Copywriting for effective transfer

Updated on November 29, 2014
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K Richard Douglas is a freelance writer who has authored articles, web content, biographies and press releases for more than 10 years.

Reach into the prospect's pocket

One of my greatest sales mentors, years ago, spoke of an approach that would make most people uncomfortable. He stated that you needed to reach into your prospect's wallet or purse and transfer their money into your wallet or purse. Imagine what a brazen approach that is for a sales professional.

My mentor was consistently in the top five percent of all salespeople in our company nationwide out of hundreds of sales professionals.  He had been a successful business owner before entering the financial service business and becoming an account executive. He had a single-minded purpose when we made a presentation to a prospective client; to transfer their money to his pocket.

Transfer the money from their pocket to yours
While the mental picture this conjures up is more of a thief than a financial services professional, that perception may not be wholly accurate.  Indeed, this particular sales professional treated his clients very well and provided them with the best advice and counsel that he could. He just never lost sight of the fact that his job was also to sell his products and he would use every resource available to him to accomplish this end.

Great copywriting transfers successfully
There is an important lesson for copywriters in the approach my mentor took. His approach was not at all unscrupulous or haphazard, but relied on science and psychology.  Human behavior is important to understand for psychologists, but it is also essential to understand for sales professionals.  A great copywriter is a sales professional and understands what motivates prospects through words as much as a sales professional watches for visual cues and answers to questions.

The needs-benefits approach
The approach my colleague took found its origins in needs/benefits selling.  This approach capitalizes on the benefits that a service or product provides, while matching those benefits with a prospect's needs.  The clever sales professional knows how to uncover the prospect's needs through the careful art of asking open-end and closed-end questions.

The copywriter has a decided disadvantage in this respect.  They cannot ask a prospect a set of questions before writing copy and may never even meet a prospect in person. The art of great copywriting requires that they understand their target market and the needs of that market. The copywriter should then weave their words carefully to match the benefits of the product or service they are promoting with the needs of the target market.

The copywriter as an absent salesperson
My old mentor would listen carefully as his prospects answered his well-planned questions. He would then connect the benefits of our financial products with the needs expressed by the prospect. In most cases, he would close the sale and enlarge his bank account.

In the world of creating effective copy, the copywriter must enlarge the bank account of their client companies.  This is their mission and the best guarantee that they will be hired again if they are a freelancer. Just as my esteemed former colleague used to do, they must learn the art of transferring money from the prospect's purse or wallet to their employer's coiffures.


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