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The Bookworm – Part IV
A couple of issues ago, I talked about the importance of sales skills for a business coach aspiring to reach the status of a Six-Figure Business Coach. The books I recommended focused on the sales process itself and the mindset to accomplish it successfully. What I didn’t touch on was the importance of mastering the power of the written word in sales.
Today, there are many people that you will only reach if you can entice them with a letter, email or other written piece. Many people with the power to buy your services hide behind email addresses, notorious gatekeepers and voicemail.
To be fair, in my other life, I’m one of those people. I’m the COO of a group of optometry offices (my wife’s profession), and people are trying to sell me stuff all the time. I don’t have enough work to employ a gatekeeper so you reach me via email or voicemail. Make your pitch compelling, and I’ll get back to you… fail to capture my attention and I won’t. It’s really as simple as that.
Sorry to be a little crass here, but this is the summation of most of the emails and voicemails I get: “My name is Bob, I represent XYZ and I’ve got some junk I’d like you to buy. Please get back to me soon.” If the sales rep is motivated to follow up, it usually looks like this. “Hey, it’s Bob from XYZ, I sent you a message the other day but I haven’t heard back from you, please call me soon.”
I’m not kidding you. I’d love to know who trains these guys because they should be tarred, feathered and run out of town. There’s a better way. Learn to write well and you’ll speak better, present better and sell better. Here are a few of my top picks for mastering the art of writing and sales in print:
The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan S. Kennedy…
It seems unlikely that anybody in the coaching and consulting field has not heard of Dan Kennedy. He’s one of the best-known and most prolific of all copywriters and marketers on the planet. Personally, I have bought nearly every book and information product he has ever written.
With that said, if your goal is to improve your copywriting and ability to persuade people, this is the place to start. This book is in at least its 4th edition and not only tells you why some sales letters work well, but it also gives examples of those that don’t with reasons why.
It’s said that a marketing campaign written by Dan Kennedy will set you back $100,000. If that’s the case, he just might have something to teach you! Start here and improve your writing. This is the first step in improving all your marketing efforts.
The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert and Bond Halbert
The late, great Gary Halbert may well be the greatest copywriter ever to live. Some years ago I heard Dan Kennedy say something to the effect that Gary Halbert was better than him on a bad day. This is pretty high praise coming from one of the highest paid marketers on the planet.
The Boron Letters were written by Halbert when he was in prison. They were designed to teach his son Bond what he knew about marketing. These letters were whispered about and coveted for years, and originally only available through Halbert’s paid subscription newsletter.
He eventually made them available for free on his website a few years before his death. Now, Bond has made them available in book format with his own recollections and annotations. Anyone serious about learning the craft of a wordsmith should have this book in their collection.
Words that Sell & More Words that Sell by Richard Bayan
Let’s face it; some words are better than others. Would you rather buy a “hot, tasty burger” or a “delicious, juicy burger?” These books are thesauruses for writers. They present better options for ways to say essentially the same thing.
Buy them, keep them next to your desk, refer to them and profit from them. Enough said?
The Robert Collier Letter by Robert Collier
This is another classic. When I first found a copy of it several years ago, I shelled out over $100 for it. It’s one of the greatest cult classics of effective copywriting and its available far cheaper today (although, if the reviews are to be believed, you might want to avoid the Kindle version).
This isn’t really a teaching book; it’s a collection of letters that were very effective in persuading people to do what the author wanted. The more of this sort of thing you read, the more it will enter your sub-conscious and affect the way you write and think. The more you think like a marketer, the more you’ll act like one.
Advertising Secrets of the Written Word by Joseph Sugarman
I put this book last not because I think it’s the least valuable but because it appears to be the hardest to find. I acquired a physical copy of it around 15 years ago but it appears that only used copies are available now.
Sugarman is a marketing genius who is responsible for selling hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars worth of products through direct mail and infomercials, with the most famous being his Blue Blocker Sunglasses. He’s forgotten more about marketing than most marketing experts will ever know.
Try to track down a copy of this great book and grab it for yourself before somebody else gets to it first; it’s well worth the investment. If not, it does appear to be available on Amazon’s Kindle, and that’s better than nothing!
In the next issue, I’ll be taking a deep dive into a great book on building business systems. It’s a book called “Systematize It Now!” by Ben J. Pritchett.
Yes, that’s me. For years I’ve seen author after author tell entrepreneurs that they needed great systems in their business, but nobody was telling them how best to do it, so I consulted with several of my mentors and wrote a book about it! See you then.
About Ben J. Pritchett
Ben Pritchett started his first business at the age of 15, and began his own consulting practice in 1991. For over 25 years he has worked with clients in many industries including restaurants, direct sales, software development, tourism, dimension stone (granite quarrying and manufacturing), aviation, and optometry, just to name a few. Companies coached by Ben have nearly doubled and tripled their revenues in a single year.
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