Perfect Pitch

Keep It Simple

A message often creates the strongest impact if the language is very simple. Elegant techniques often get in the way of what I call the "selling message." My husband, Mike, and I have created all the advertising and marketing promotions at each company we owned. We have won awards for some of these pieces. I believe our work was singled out because we followed our instincts and kept the message uniform and simple.

Simplicity applies to your theme as well as your words. The same theme should be carried through all your marketing materials. When I opened my first company, I wanted to communicate the importance of repeat business and quality service. One of the messages I found myself repeating to customers was "Remember me." I decided to use that theme in all our printed material.

We had a graphic artist design a simple forget-me-not flower. The local newspaper ads announcing our opening had charcoal-gray sketches of each member of our management team, with the flower and the words "forget-me-not" under each sketch.

We kept to that theme by passing out forget-me-not seeds to our prospects and reminding potential customers that if they gave us a chance to do business with them, we would deliver "forget-me-not" service.

At that time, our competitors advertised using photos of their top salespeople, with an emphasis on how many millions of dollars each salesperson had produced each month. I wanted to play down the sales figures and sales personalities and play up customer service and reliability. We used quotes and letters from satisfied customers to back our claims.

The response was overwhelming, and we continually heard comments such as, "Your emphasis on customer satisfaction instead of sales stats and egos was refreshing." Sticking with one strong theme paid off big time.

Like those bestselling authors whose words jump off the page, grab you by the collar and refuse to let you go until the story is over, entrepreneurs who want to be "best sellers" must learn to maximize the power of the pen to persuade and convert customers for life.

Danielle Kennedy presents sales and marketing seminars and keynote address worldwide. She is the author of five sales books as well as audio and video sales training programs. Write to her in care of Entrepreneur, 2392 Morse Ave., Irvine, CA 92714.

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This article was originally published in the June 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Perfect Pitch.

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