This article is an expanded excerpt from my new eBook WordsThat Sell. If you like what you see here, you'll go bonkersfor the real thing.

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I've spent about 25 years writing marketing programs andapplying effective psychology to them. As I look back over thoseyears, I see an enormous hole in the business landscape - agents,advisors and their employers do not understand how to usepsychology in their language. Worse, most marketing managers andmarketing writers do not understand the psychology of language! Whyshould they? They probably did not study communicationpsychology.

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Because of all that, the language used in marketing (andselling) today is either ineffective or dull and dead. Bottom line- most marketing today has approximately zero ability to captureanyone's interest. Zero ability to inspire people to take action.Far too often, it's like reading a user manual written by someonein China. The words just don't carry the intended meaning.

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If you want to improve the responses to your marketing andselling efforts, you must improve the language you use. Thisarticle will take you a giant step into being more effective. I'mgoing to introduce you to psychological damage control. Followthese simple rules, and you'll see your results increase.

Simple mistakes - big blunders!

Nearly every person who sets out to make a sale makes a simplebut profound mistake. They approach the prospect or target marketas though everyone responds to the same logic. That's justknuckleheaded thinking. There are four personality types and sixtymental filters. Each person has a different combination of both.So, the odds of two people responding in exactly the same way arevirtually impossible.

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So, what can you do to improve your results? First - damagecontrol. Stop making stupid mistakes. Second, replace the flawedthinking with a smarter psychological strategy.

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In this piece, I'm going to expose language problems that nearlyevery human being suffers from. In other articles, I'll show youhow to overcome the problems by using psychological techniques thatvery few people (outside of neuro-linguistic and semanticspecialists) understand, and even fewer know how to apply.

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To begin our journey, let's look at what NOT to do:

What Mistakes to Avoid

In every aspect of business, there are guidelines for what youneed to do and other guidelines for what not to do. This next listshows you what not to do. Just review your marketing materials orselling scripts to eliminate these blunders.

1. Don't write long headlines.

Think of the human eye as a couch potato. When it sees a longheadline, it thinks, "Oh @$%&. You mean I have to read allthat? Waaaaah!" Actually the eye doesn't have to read it. Yourbrain is faster than your eye, and that's why the average time on awebsite continuing to decline. Long headlines on websites and papermarketing invite the reader to look away from your message.

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What about face-to-face? At the beginning of a presentation, youwould also deliver a headline. That would be the tantalizingstatement designed to capture the audience's curiosity. Short andsensory will pay off for you. But as the headline gets longer,tantalizing turns into torture.

2. Don't try to be funny.

In an earlier life, I was a comic, comedy actor and comedywriter. I learned this lesson over and over. What one person thinksas funny is offensive to other people. Too many people are offendedby any light-heartedness aimed at serious topics. And, too manypeople are offended at the lack of lightheartedness. It's a no-winsituation. So, don't try to be clever or humorous. If youabsolutely must step in that direction, seek to make people smile,rather than laugh. Get them on your side before you attempt thehumor. How can you do that? With pictures or references to babiesor puppies.

3. Don't set your headlines in ALL CAPITALS.

I say this for two reasons: 1) it's hard to read, and 2) readersperceive all caps as yelling. They feel like you are yelling atthem, and who likes that?

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There is another fascinating reason not to use all caps. Nexttime you're at the grocery or convenience store, look at a surgeongeneral's warning on a pack of cigarettes. The cigarette companydoesn't want people to look at it, certainly not read it. So, whatdo they do? They set the warning in all caps. That type treatmentis designed to be invisible. How well would that work for yourmarketing message? Their other trick is to print it in a gold coloron a white background - gain, invisible.

4. Don't be so quick to explain How.

There is a psychological order to the information you shouldgive. This goes for your marketing and selling, as well as yourkeynotes and seminars. First comes the Why. This addresses whyanyone would pay attention to you. Second comes the What. Just whatare you talking about? Only third comes the How, and that is wheremost financial people make their blunder. They nearly always startwith How. At the beginning of your paper or presentation, no onewants to know How anything. They want to know Why they should payattention to you.

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In marketing, the headline and first paragraphs are part of anannouncement, not an explanation. They tell the reader Why he orshe needs to pay attention and/or What you're so excited about.But, that's not where you tell your reader How anything is done.That comes later.

5. Don't be vague.

A recent trend in marketing is to write a headline that isnon-specific, like: "8 Ways to Boost Your Bottom Line!" Anyone whohas ever held a job knows that there are a zillion ways to boost abottom line. So, how would you improve on that vague head? "8 Waysto Delight Your Clients and Boost Your Bottom Line." Or 8 Ways FaceBook Can Boost Your Bottom Line." Give just a little moreinformation.

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This isn't just a "personal taste" difference. If your headlinelacks specificity, you show your lack of relevance. If you can'tprove that you are more relevant than other similar firms oroffers, why would anyone want to do business with you? When you'revague, you're saying, "I don't know much about this, but I need tomake a sale."

In Conclusion

Selling is nothing more than applied psychology. Marketing -ditto. Every time you open your mouth to speak, you're starting touse psychology. Obviously, the more you learn about the psychologyof communication, the better you'll do at marketing, selling,recruiting, reporting, building alliances, seminars and keynotes.The fundamental tool in all of those activities is words. Thebetter choices you make with your words, the more tantalizing yourbusiness language will become. Then, you'll not only captureattention, you'll also hold it and become more inspiring.

Your Reward

Many of you have already requested our report titled WordsThat Sell. That report started as a 2-page introduction. Overthe past two years, we've added new nuggets to it. Now, it is aneBook of 41 pages filled with intense wisdom and know-how, and it'savailable from my website. Next step - some real-life examples ofhow to use Words That Sell.

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Your reward for reading my articles and communicating with me isfree consulting. Send me your marketing letter, phone script orother marketing/selling piece. We'll select seven pieces tocritique. I'll explain in detail what's wrong with each and how tofix all the mistakes. I'll also include those critiques in futurearticles. Email your pieces to me at: [email protected]

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