Repetition and Connections
By Michael Dalton Johnson


Tell Them Three Times

Repetition makes reputation and reputation makes customers. —Elizabeth Arden

Effective advertising and prospecting letters rely on repetition. The use of repetition to get an idea across may be why we watch the same commercial on TV over and over.

I have a close friend who is a brilliant copywriter. He has worked for many national advertisers. His clients keep coming back for more. He tells me that his secret lies in repetition. I can understand the rationale for repeating an ad many times on TV, but in a prospecting letter? Sounds a bit strange, but he assures me that it works.

Here's his formula, which he may have adapted from Aristotle's advice on making speeches: First he gets buyers' interest with an attention- grabbing headline, which states or suggests a benefit. In a smaller sub headline he tells them what he's going to tell them. In the body of the copy he tells them. Then he closes by telling them what he has told them.

Of course, it takes real copywriting talent to pull this off in a way that flows and doesn't sound repetitious, despite the fact that it is repetitious.

Connect creatively.

Gifts seduce both men and Gods. —Ovid

I was working with a barter broker in New York who suddenly stopped returning my phone calls. We were working on a very sweet deal for my company, and I didn't want to lose it. I left several voice messages and sent a number of e-mail messages. Nothing.

Determined to get her attention, I sent her an expensive little plush teddy bear with a note that read, "Don't worry, I don't bite. We just need to talk."

A few days later, she called me. She was gushing, "Oh I just love it. What a sweet gift! Thank you, thank you, and thank you!"

She apologized profusely for not getting back with me and offered a laundry list of reasons why she hadn't.

She promised me that she would go to work and get the deal closed. It was closed within a week. Thank you, Teddy.

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Excerpted from Rules of the Hunt. Available at Amazon.

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