The lead: Sinking the hook into your prospect

You only have an instant to capture your prospect’s attention. No matter the medium – a sales letter, print ad, or commercial – she’s going to make an almost instantaneous decision about whether you are worth her time or not. So you’d better start off with a bang.

Hopefully, you already have a good headline. The words that come after it are your lead, and it’s their job to sink the hook into your prospect and keep her reading or listening until you can convince her that you are the answer to her prayers.

Here you introduce your Big Promise. Not just another benefit, but the Granddaddy of all benefits. The One that will reach down into her heart and stimulate some emotion. The One that taps into her core desires.

But you don’t just tell her how your widget will change her life. And you absolutely, positively, never talk about yourself or your company here. Here, you show her what it will be like when she’s experiencing that Big Benefit.

Help her to see herself lying on the beach, sipping a Pina Colada because she took your correspondence course. Show her lying in the grass, looking at the clouds with her five-year-old because your widget saved her so much time.

You have to see beyond your actual product or service and get to the big promise you can make to your prospect. And, you have to make sure that promise connects with her core beliefs, feelings, and desires in all their complexities.

By the time she’s finished with your lead, you’ve sunk a big hook into your prospect. Spend the rest of your conversation reeling her in. Show her why your product delivers on that big promise. If you have room (in a longer sales letter, for example) you can pepper in some more benefits, but always come back to the Big One. Let it be like a golden thread woven throughout the conversation.

You catch more flies with honey, or so the old saying goes. And you catch more prospects with a big, vivid promise in your lead.

About the author
Lisa Packer, author of “How To Dramatically Increase Your Business… Without A Blockbuster Budget” and “7 Ways To Get A Pay Raise From Your Web Site” is an independent Copywriter and Marketing Consultant. Find out how to get these two reports, plus more helpful articles like the one you just read at Dramatic Copy: Copywriting That Dramatically Increases Your Business.