On the porch were two little waifs, not much more than three feet tall.
“Do you want to give us some money?” the smaller of them peeped.
“What for?” I asked.
“For our class,” said the other one, a pink-cheeked boy in a red checked scarf.
Isn’t that why I pay property taxes?
“So your class is raising money for something?” I ventured.
“Uh huh.” “Yeah.”
I looked around for the parents. Nowhere to be seen.
“Um…what is your class going to use the money for?”
They looked at each other. Clearly they had no idea.
Back in the kitchen, something sizzled on the stove. I didn’t have time for this.
“You can write a check,” suggested the smaller one. Little wisps of blonde hair floated angelically above her impossibly large, round eyes.
“To Franklin school,” added her brother helpfully.
Sigh. They had me.
“Wait here, ” I said.
I found my purse, made out a check for $10, and handed it to the boy.
“Thank you!” they chimed in unison, then tripped off to hit up the next door neighbors.
What just went on there??? I’d never seen these kids before in my life. Heck, they didn’t even have a good idea why they were there. Yet they got me to fork over a chunk of hard-earned dough.
It didn’t hurt that they were adorable. (Remember that. It’s OK to use your kids and your pets as marketing gimmicks. After all, they cost money to keep, they might as well help earn it.)
But I’ve turned away kids selling candy bars and such many a time. What did these kids do to get me to make out a check and hand it to them?
THEY ASKED FOR IT!
It’s so incredibly basic, a couple of snot-nosed elementary school kids did it without even thinking.
But it’s amazing how many times otherwise savvy salespeople and copywriters forget to ask for the sale. It’s so easy to do – after all, we’ve been trained to be polite, and asking for money just seems so… well… unsophisticated.
Unfortunately, sophisticated doesn’t put money in the bank.
Always, always, always ask for the sale. Don’t be shy. Give people directions and they’re WAY more likely to follow them. If you have a good product and you’ve qualified your prospect well, you’re doing them a favor.
When you’re writing a sales letter or any other piece of persuasive copy, tell them exactly what to do. Don’t leave anything to chance. “Call 123-4567 for your free estimate today.” “Go right now to www.whatadeal.com to download the seven super-secret money-making tips of the Trumps.” Or even, “Buy now.”
And if you need coaching, go down to your local elementary school and hang out with the kids at lunchtime.
By the way… can I have your cookie?
Anne Michelsen is a freelance writer specializing in helping Green and renewable energy companies enjoy increased attention and greater sales through dynamic sales copy and insightful content.