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.



Carol Rice said...

Thank you for your feedback. I agree, the letter you received could have been more clear about what our company does. Cherish Bound is a company that assists people in capturing and publishing the stories of their lives into hard and soft bound books. We also have a line of Story Starters that help people develop and write their stories.

We believe Storytelling is an art form whether it's on the stage or at the foot of a child's bed. Stories should not just be told but preserved and shared.

You could even make your blog into a book with our online templates. Because most people need guidance through the process, we are a party plan business. Everyone who wants to publish a book works one-on-one with one of our consultants.

Perhaps Storyteller Sean Buvala's approach will be more to your liking.

I hope this helps.

Carol Rice, President
Cherish Bound

Michelle De Lude said...

Thanks, Carol -- I do prefer Sean's first few paragraphs, because they described the program model. But the Cherish Bound site helped me most of all, because it actually showed photos of the products and described the processes.