by David Tandet

The greatest sales letter is “I”- from a “you” perspective.

Thinking about a product’s benefits to consumers is a start. It simply doesn’t go far enough.

Say the corner bakery wants to compete in the convenience breakfast market selling donuts and coffee curbside. You’ve been hired to write the first ad. What points should you make?

You’re not a big donut eater. When you have’m, you love’em.

Raise the first caution flag. We’ll come back to this freeze-frame in a second.

Dr. Jerry Lynch is a Santa Cruz, California sports psychologist. His methods have been used by greats like golfer Annika Sorenstam and basketball legend Phil Jackson. Something to know about Jerry: he’s not only a world-renowned sports psychologist. He’s won his share of running trophies. One of Jerry’s principles? “Act as if.”

In his classic “Thinking Body, Dancing Mind” Jerry describes imagining stepping into another persona:

World-class runner Jon Sinclair, for example, exudes confidence and mental tenacity. He runs with the fluidity and grace of a tireless deer and never lets up. Jon’s an excellent model for me, as a runner, and I imagine, always, what it feels like to be him as I run. I imitate him in all respects as an athlete.

Back to the donuts. (No – I don’t think Jerry would recommend sugar and flour as a way for star athletes to begin each morning.) As a fat free high fiber health nut, could you apply “act as if” by thinking about what tastes best to a regular donut eater? Maybe.

But that would be a mistake. Because that would mean you’re not “acting as if” you’re part of a group that doesn’t have to be convinced how good donuts are. They’re already downing plenty of donuts, macporkies, and crash colas. To REALLY use your imagination, think something like this:

My race begins the second my alarm rings. Food on the go lets me set it later than I used to. Curbside donuts will let me snooze longer and still make my desk on time. If they happen to be the best tasting thing around, even better. How can I resist?

Stay a sales writer who doesn’t have to reach the office on time, and you’ll never really see the product’s benefits. Become the customer and you’ll be using the greatest sales letter ever.

Post filed under Marketing Communications, Sales Gold, Writing Tips.