Number 2 back in the house. Been buried in a clients project. A financial investment product.
I sent him a creative overview which asked all the questions meant to pry out all the details about what we’re selling. But while reading through the answers I kept stubbing my tongue on “corporate speak.”
You know, stuff like this blurb I just pulled off of Forbes.com…“General Motors moves higher as its finance arm gains bank status and eligibility for TARP funds.”
As elementary as this may sound to somebody in the finance field, it’s over my head. I know if I really had to know all the jargon terms used here I could google them and find out their meanings in no time.
But if I’m busy, I might not even finish reading a sentence like this.
While continuing to slog through all the documents this client sent me, the very first and only salesletter he had written emerged. I think he used Dan Kennedy’s “The Ultimate Salesletter” as a guide.
To my surprise, I read every single word of the ad.
Not out of obligation to the research but out of pure interest. The ad has tons of opportunities for improvement but this man did an absolutely fine job of keeping the tone intriguing, conversational and jargon free without sounding dumbed down.
And he did this while talking about an investment which gives 20 lucky investors the privilege of ponying up $400,000 to be included in this fund.
Immediately after reading this letter I zipped him an email commending him for his effort and telling him that this may have been the most important document he sent me.
Do you lace your copy with sentences chock full of important sounding gobbeldy guuk?
The GM sentence above was an oh-so-sophisticated way to talk money and now I want to show you an example of a master making the complicated, easy.
This copy comes out of Gary Bencivenga’s famous “Simplify and Grow Rich” promotion he did for Tom Phillips years ago.
Look at this copy at the front of the magalog…
“Here, at long last, is a remarkably easy and effective wealth-building program for those of us who DON’T want to spend three hours a day following the markets, competing with professionals, and worrying about our money.”
Now if you don’t believe this Andy Griffith simple idea would appeal to rich people, look no further than Bernie Madoff. He’s the guy behind the latest multi-million dollar investment swindle.
Investors who lost money in this deal loved the idea of putting their money in the hands of someone besides themselves; a wizard who would spin their investment into gold while they watched movies on the couch.
From what I hear the majority of the investors were all part of the same country club. Word traveled quick and next thing you know this guy’s managing 100’s of millions of dollars; most coming from referrals from club members.
There’s a secret fundamental you want to remember about people handing over their money to someone else to manage. When you shift the responsibility for your wealth over to someone else — there’s two beliefs people might adopt.
One is the belief you’re a genius or you’re special because you know a guy with the Midas touch and you’re the one who found and picked him to grow your nest egg. This belief usually thrives when returns are coming in fast and furious.
The other belief is one that let’s you off the hook when you get snockered and lose all or most of your money. “My money managers an idiot. That’s why I’m broke. It’s his fault.”
People love the idea effortless wealth and blaming others for their problems.
So here’s this genius Gary who rides on this understanding by appealing to the idea that we don’t want to complicate our lives. We want the exact opposite.
Look at this bullet of contents. Oh yeah, I said bullet. Gary is expert at making his table of contents sell by making them core-of-sun hot bullets.
You know who else does an amazing job of this? Cosmopolitan magazine. The bullets on the front cover are money but their table of contents are the cracker jack surprise buried within.
The editor knows a person standing in line at the grocery store only has a couple of precious moments to burn while waiting to checkout. In this time most people can’t read any articles so the next best thing to do is go straight to the table of contents, breeze through and see if this issue has enough juicy topics to force them into tossing it on the conveyor belt.
Here’s one of Gary’s bullets designed to get someone to dive into his ad:
Safest stock you can own – and yields 8.3%…………………………………………………Page 19
Simple, yet titillating. Secure yet productive. Tell me more.
Look at what you get when you go to page 19…
The Safest Type of Stock
You Can Own
Do you know the safest type of
stock you can own? It’s preferred
stock. Since the great majority of
stock is common stock, not many
people know much about the
That’s a pity, because properly
chosen preferreds can be one of the
most powerful weapons in your
Simplify and Grow Rich arsenal.
In fact, they can give you the most
attractive features of BOTH stocks
For example, in your free report,
I’ll tell you about the preferred stock
of one of America’s ultra-blue-chip
corporations, a world famous leader
in it’s field…and a financial Rock
Just look at the unmatched
combination of advantages you
gain with its preferred stock:
You enjoy a delightful 8.3%
yield no matter what happens to the
stock market or the price of this
company’s common stock.
To put that assured 8.3% yield in
perspective, it’s currently about four
full percentage points higher than
money markets yield, giving you in
effect a 90% higher return
on every dollar you invest. As we
saw earlier, if you want every dollar
to multiply into many future
generations of dollars for the rest
of your life, you just can’t afford to
pass up a safe 90% difference in the
amount of interest you can earn with
a portion of your money.
You gain complete protection
against all the usual volatility and
threats that affect common stock.
Yet you can still participate in
significant capital gains if interest
rates fall (boosting the value of your
guaranteed yield). This is important
at this time, since lower interest rates
are virtually guaranteed.
Does “Financial Speak” usually bore the hell out of you? It does me.
I used to like reading Investors Business Daily for one section. The Leaders & Success article. As soon as I finished this I’d put the paper down. On occasion I’d scan for other articles but the jargon jungle was too thick to keep my attention.
The copy Gary wrote above gives even a rank beginner an easy to understand reason why you might wanna check out preferred stock. How many daunting words or terms did he wedge into what could easily be considered a “high brow” topic? None.
Even this “Finance Speak” phobic effortlessly read every sentence of this section.
Your beliefs may hypnotize you into thinking you need to “sound professional and savvy.” You do, but when you over do the “important sounding words and insider language” your copy sounds hoity toity, boring and try hard.
When this happens you run the risk of blowing the circuits of peoples “microwave” mindset.
I want to be like Gary. For this promotion I’m working on I’ll be asking him for help via his finance letters. Without a treasure trove of sales letters I might’ve thought my ad had to sound like the Wall Street Journal to be taken seriously. Now I know better.
This yet another unique way your swipe file can come to your rescue. All the masters are great at transforming boring topics into entertaining ones and brain surgery into brain dead simple.
If what you’re selling is complicated please do your readers a favor and don’t ask them to work to give you money. Even the geekiest of us know how to explain something so anyone can “get it.” Make it easy for people to understand how you can help them and they’ll reward you for it.
Wishing you speedy and spectacular success,
Note Taking Nerd #2