Posted on: 16 July, 2002

Author: Bob McElwain

Avis said, "We're second. So we try harder." The ... was ... true. They were second to Hertz inthe car rental ... and ... knew it. This ... to the second se Avis said, "We're second. So we try harder." The firstsentence was indisputably true. They were second to Hertz inthe car rental business, and everybody knew it. This lentcredibility to the second sentence. When heard or read, these two sentences were "converted" inthe minds of potential car renters to, "Since they must tryharder, they'll make life easier for me." Then they rented fromAvis, rather than Hertz. Business boomed with this slogan asthe underlying position in all sales messages.How "Best" Works Now suppose Avis had said, "We're the best!" "Who says?" would be the kindest retort, as the reader orlistener turned quickly away to rent from Hertz.Avis And Your Website "We're the best!" won't work in your advertising, on yourwebsite, or in your newsletter. Not one bit better than itwould have worked for Avis. Surely we all know this. Why thendo we see so many ads, newsletters, and sites that tell usthey're the best? Then go on to tell us what to do or think? There are two reasons that come to mind right quick. First,some really do not understand that unsubstantiated claims willbe ignored, or even turned against you. Second, it's easier andquicker to tell, rather than to demonstrate.Good Books And Films In quality stories, printed or filmed, you are never toldthat Duke is a really bad dude. You see him doing really badthings, then draw your own conclusions. Good teachers don't tell; they provide their studentswhatever is needed to demonstrate the point. Non-fictionwriters do the same. They seek to convince you of the pointthey want to make by providing examples and references. And theviews of other authorities. All of which can be checked out.Now Listen Up! "Show, don't tell." Do you believe this is true? Not unless you already do. You'd need a whole lot of faithin me to accept this as truth on my word alone. In fact somewould call you foolish if you did so. Beyond providing answers to simple questions, such as how toget from here to there, telling folks fails. For one thing,people flat don't like to be told anything. For another, theyalways question the authority of the speaker. And many feelthey know all that's needed, so don't want more from you oranybody else. Further, the world is awash in, "My opinion is asgood as yours."Some Do Get Away With Telling The media, politicians, and "famous" people are telling usall what to think. Unfortunately many are listening to thesesound-bites, and assuming what they hear is "truth." But theyare not listening to me in this unqualified manner. Nor willthey listen in this way to you. You must seek to persuade people of your point. Provideinformation the reader can accept or reject. If collectivelyyou sufficiently support your point, you have at least a shot atbeing believed.How This Applies To Selling Anything The rules of selling are changing rapidly. It's true thehard-sell, loaded with hype, con, and even lies, continues towork for some. And even the junkiest spam brings profits to afew. But permission selling is now the mode, particularly on theWeb. A visitor is invited to freely consider a possiblesolution to a problem or information that may help. Withinthese notes, there are invitations to explore a product orservice that goes specifically to the point. If your visitor accepts a second invitation, then sell. Buthonestly. Gently. With benefits to the potential customer.This is a kinder way of doing business. One with which both theseller and customer are comfortable.Don't Screw It Up In this way of selling, there is no room at all for tellinganybody anything. All is persuasion. We seek to convince ourpotential customer, one point at a time, that our product orservice is exactly what they need. Slip in a "known fact" or"best ever" and you'll blow the deal. If you have the power, you may be able to tell people whatto do and make it happen. But you are wasting time trying totell anybody what to believe without backing it up withverifiable information. Source: Free Articles from