From the June 2006 issue of Startups

When we ask Mark Joyner why businesses have only three seconds to make a sale, the author of The Irresistible Offer: How to Sell Your Product or Service in 3 Seconds or Less points to two reasons: the exponentially expanding volume of information and the limited time consumers have to evaluate marketing messages. He launches quickly into why you need to keep it short.

Entrepreneur: How do you make an offer irresistible?

Mark Joyner: The irresistible offer has three elements: high ROI, a touchstone and believability. Each of these is extremely important, but at the core, what you offer must have a high return on the consumers' investment. Touchstone is that three-second-or-less tag line that sums up your offer and answers as many of the big four questions as possible: What are you selling me, What is the cost, Why should I believe you, and What's in it for me? This represents the inner dialogue that goes on before making a purchase. If you attempt to sell without assuaging that inner dialogue, you don't start out with a healthy relationship. [As for] believability, you can present someone with a very powerful offer, but if they don't believe you, it's all for naught.

Entrepreneur: Name a company that has succeeded with a three-second offer.

Joyner: Domino's Pizza. [It] had the touchstone of "30 minutes or less... or it's free." That became a brand-identifying element. You couldn't think of Domino's without thinking of [this offer]. It answered three of those big four questions: What am I being offered? Pizza. What's in it for me? I get it in 30 minutes or less. And why should I believe you? Because if you don't [keep your promise], I don't have to pay.