Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dear Online Salespersons...

Get to the point, people. If you're selling something, tell me what it is. Tell me what it will do for me. And tell me what you want me to do: buy it, request more information, call for a demo -- just freakin' ASK ME, for God's sake. (In NVC, this would be the request component.)

I got this e-mail:

Hi, I'm J - award winning storyteller. Okay, J. You've introduced yourself... sort of. At least I know your name and job title.

J continues:

Picture this - At the close of a presentation an audience member pulls you aside to earnestly share a story of their own. You have touched them, inspired them. That connection is rewarding, but most often, momentary. They leave wishing they could somehow give their pressing story a voice. You know it's likely this moment will not lead them to perform. In fact, it's likely their impulse will fade as the days pass. I find that very sad. At least I did, until I found Cherish Bound!

So, thanks to Cherish Bound, J no longer feels sad in these situations. Now she feels... happy? indifferent? disgusted? joyful? What does she feel instead of sad?

Or has Cherish Bound given J the tools to encourage people to go for it! Take action! Acquire the knowledge and skills they need to pursue their dreams!

I'm guessing the latter, but from J's sentence, it's just not clear. And I'm wondering what Cherish Bound is. A person? A product? A book title? A program? I read on:

Cherish Bound has empowered me... I can leave behind tools... I can help... At the core of the Cherish Bound mission is the belief... I get to deepen...

More vague, confusing language. Finally, a link to a Web site! I can go there if I want to learn more. But wait! The e-mail continues! Hallelujah! Maybe I will get the information right here, right now, without having to go somewhere else, later.

Picture this... And there's another story about some person pulling you aside to tell you how much you've inspired them, and how, with Cherish Bound you can help them. Somehow.

By now, I know this is a sales letter, but I still don't know what they're selling! What is Cherish Bound?

It goes on and on like that. Picture this... says J, then tells a story about somebody who always had a dream but never did anything about it, but now with Cherish Bound, you can help them.

I grow more bored with each vignette. The characters don't evoke in me any sense of curiosity, interest, sympathy, warmth or identification. They describe people who have no gumption but have plenty of pipe dreams. I don't want to spend time with them. And if J doesn't make me care about the characters, I don't want to spend time with J, either!

All J had to do was ask, in the very first line of the e-mail, "Do you ever have this problem? Do you want to solve it? I think I can help. Here's the name of my product and here is what it can do for you." J would have had me in three sentences... instead of seven freakin' paragraphs that never did tell me what the product was and what it did!

If you want something, justforgodssakepleeeeeeease ASK. Make a request. Don't dance around with stories about wistful dreamers, rosy-faced children, lost kittens... ack! Just tell me what you want! (You could also give me some characters to care about. That includes yourself. Who are you? What are you passionate about? What do you struggle with? What's great about being you? If I care about you, I might care about what you are selling!)

So at the end of the e-mail, I'm still wondering, WHAT EXACTLY is Cherish Bound? I follow the Web link. It goes to J's customized, personal sales page, rather than the Cherish Bound home page. And (big surprise) J's Web site isn't any more helpful than the e-mail.

The site lists features (no benefits) and I still don't know whether Cherish Bound is the name of a company, an educational program, a product, or a service provider. I don't know what it does, besides promising to increase my "visibility, marketability, and profitability."

And even here there's no clear request! Register now for your free invitation to follow the path of a story through the Cherish Bound process. Huh? I'm being asked to register for an invitation? I thought the e-mail and Web site each constituted an invitation to learn more. But no, I have waded now through an e-mail and a Web site full of non-info to REGISTER to receive an INVITATION to learn more.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Power of Doubt

In a recent article on his Web site, Kevin Hogan wrote:

Doubt is the birthing place of careful, concerned and critical thinking.
  • You must doubt your plan.
  • You must doubt yourself.
  • You must doubt those around you.
  • You must doubt the vehicle you are taking to achieve.
  • You must doubt the entire process.
Then go through each piece…analyze and become crystal clear on what is going to happen when things go wrong.

Now, I purchased a copy of the movie, The Secret, the first week it came out, because I enjoy Joe Vitale's marketing and PR materials. If he was involved in the project, I was interested.

I am a big believer in focus and staying open to possibilities. But do I think that's all I need to do? That if I focus on something, the universe will come into alignment and my desired outcome will manifest? That if I let doubt and "negative" thinking in, that I'm dooming my chances of success? No way!

I once attended a planning meeting for an event. At one point, the group chose to devote several minutes to visualizing the event filled to overflowing.

I thought that time would have been spent better developing a printing schedule for flyers, developing a list of venues to post the flyers, assigning people to post them, building a calendar of complementary events to distribute flyers... you know: a PLAN. With assigned tasks.

So I got up and left. I went home to work on my plan for filling those seats.

I love The Secret because I need to be reminded that the more passionate and detailed my goals, the better my chances of achieving them. (In NLP, it's called having a "well formed outcome.") But do I think there's some unseen force at work that works to attract stuff to me?


I don't see anything in The Secret that isn't described in clearer, more measurable terms with NLP's concept of well-formed outcomes.