cfead4e1-796c-4058-af2f-0d34d5030663Whether you’re crafting a strong headline or asking for referrals, it pays to be specific.

Lead generation is personal … very personal.

Imagine you’re looking for a long-term romantic relationship. You don’t just want anyone “single and good-looking.” You want someone who is smart, hardworking, honest, and loves theater and concerts. Or perhaps someone who loves sports and outdoor adventure. The point is that you know the specific qualities you want in a partner. So, you take the time to make a profile of your ideal mate.

Sales teams also know exactly what they want in their ideal clients, but they rarely get this specific. It feels counter-intuitive, like leaving good business on the table. However, when you’re asking for referrals or writing copy for lead generation materials, the more specific your description, the more likely you’ll attract only the right customers.

Ivan Levison, who penned my guest post for this month, knows a thing or two about how the words we use can move a sales process forward or derail it.

Great copywriters are hard to find—especially those with years of experience who have proof that their writing sells. Ivan was the go-to person when I was stumped for the subtitle of my book: Pick Up the Damn Phone! I sent him a few ideas, which he promptly trashed. (I’m grateful for that.) It took Ivan only a few minutes to give me the winning words: “How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal.”

If you’re looking for the right words to improve your writing and lead generation, I highly encourage you to connect with Ivan. In the meantime, check out his proven teachings about how specificity matters in sales in this month’s No More Cold Calling guest post, “When It Comes to Selling, It Pays to be Specific”:

“I got my first copywriting job back in the late 70s at a terrific agency in San Francisco called Botsford Ketchum.

One of the first accounts I ever worked on was Mother’s Cookies. My boss started me off by having me work on a little ad.

I went to my cubicle, wrote the piece, and took it to him for his comments.

He looked it over and said, ‘I see you wrote more chocolate chips in every cookie. That’s O.K., but it would be better if you had said something like two tablespoons of rich chocolate chips in every single cookie. It’s always better to be specific. It adds credibility.’

He was absolutely right, and I’ve never forgotten the lesson. When your writing is filled with specific details, it has a lot more impact.

Let’s take a closer look at how much more powerful headlines become when they are specific. I’ll crank out a few for us to look at:

GENERAL: Mistakes database marketers make
SPECIFIC: The seven biggest mistakes database marketers make—and how to avoid them!

GENERAL: Important tips for software marketers
SPECIFIC: Three tips for software marketers that can increase revenues by 25% or more!

Let’s take a look at another way to give energy to a flat sentence:

EXAMPLE: Our software can help users find files fast.

Wouldn’t it be better to liven things up a bit? You could flip the sentence this way:

‘Want to find any file in less than three seconds? Our breakthrough software is just what you’re looking for!’

Here are two other examples of how just a few extra words can spice up your copy:

WRONG: DazzlePainter lets you choose from a number of colors!
RIGHT: Only DazzlePainter lets you choose from a gorgeous array of more than 256 brilliant colors!

WRONG: InstaWill was written by a team of practicing attorneys.
RIGHT: InstaWill was created by a celebrated team of highly respected attorneys—each a leading authority on the subject of wills, living trusts, and estate planning.

You see? It’s not so hard to add punch to your writing if you put in a little effort.”

About the Author

Photo of Ivan LevisonIvan Levison is an award-winning freelance copywriter who has spent more than 25 years writing copy for direct mail and email, Web, and advertising for industry leaders like Microsoft, Intel, Fireman’s Fund, Intuit, Bank of America and Hewlett-Packard. And for a bunch of great small companies too. Click here to subscribe to his monthly marketing enewsletter, “The Levison Letter,” and download his FREE report, “101 Ways to Double Your Response Rates!”