It may be awkward to openly acknowledge it, but every sale is a kind of seduction. As marketers, we make introductions, pursue courtships, and hope for consummation—the sale.

And as in any love affair, we know that reason plays a subordinate role to emotion. Logical arguments are insufficient; to win a portion of our prospects' bank accounts, we must win their hearts first.

Obviously, "love" is too strong a word for what we pursue. But make no mistake—without that basic appeal to the prospect's inner harbor of feelings, whether it's in a consumer or business-to-business pitch—you will not make any progress toward the bottom line.

Here, then, are a few thoughts on how to use words—which may be applied to everything from direct mail to Web site content—to make a more compelling appeal to the heart (and via the heart, to the purse).

Show them that you care

Ever see a truly smooth operator in action? They almost always do two things at the initiation of their pursuits:

  1. They talk about a subject they know that the other person is interested in.

  2. They acknowledge the other person's feelings about it.

How does that apply to sales and marketing?

Suppose you offer financial planning services. The awkward suitor begins by talking about their services. But the smooth operator opens the conversation by talking about the future and makes the subject personal.

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Jonathan Kranz is the author of Writing Copy for Dummies and a copywriting veteran now in his 21st year of independent practice. A popular and provocative speaker, Jonathan offers in-house marketing writing training sessions to help organizations create more content, more effectively.

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Twitter: @jonkranz