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Always be Closing: The DNA of Copywriting

Jul 25, 2008
In that great hymn to the desperate and driven men who hustle real estate on the borderline of ethics, Glengarry Glen Ross, (it was both a play and a movie by David Mamet) there is a short mantra the men live by: Always be closing.

While the lives of the salesmen are not exactly models for us to emulate, their mantra is.

Always be Closing means you never take your eye off the ball. You never ask a customer how they are and have the question be about how they are. You never gaze out the window while you drive them to that new housing development and think about high school. You focus, every moment, on your purpose. When you are in the selling module, every gesture you make, every word you speak, every action you take is an intentioned and necessary part of a sequence that leads to one end and one end only: the customer's name upon the dotted line.

Always be closing is a mantra equally as important to copywriters as it is to purveyors of real estate. In fact it is the DNA of copywriting, because copywriting is not ordinary writing. It is not a casual letter, an entry in a diary, an article in a newspaper or a report to class. Copywriting is a strange and unique form of writing in which every word counts and every syllable counts. Because every word and syllable of an ad, or sales letter, or website, or brochure, or presentation, is charged with a selling function. Each word plays a role of persuasion, and all words lead to an end, which is the ultimate persuasion: A sale, a change of attitude, or the building of a brand.

I see Always be closing as a consciousness, to use a big word. It is mental force field. When all your senses and all your thoughts are permeated with the urgent necessity of selling, your words will find their right place in the copy, like metal filings lining up in a magnetic field.

When I open the relationship with my target consumer in the beginning of my marketing communication, I will draw the reader in so they will continue the journey with me. They must feel intrigued and comfortable, or else they will be gone by the time they get to step 2. We are clear, concise and exact with our word choice, because confusion loses them. Blurred thinking confuses them.

From the opening that sets up the problem, to introduction of the product as solution to the problem, to the support, to the call to action, to the wrap up (readers are invited to view this "Body Copy Formula" in detail in my book Maximum Strength Copywriting) each word is chiseled. There are no unnecessary words. There are no thoughts that don't advance the argument.

Once the argument is made, get out of town. Say good night. Make the sale and give the customer space to reinforce the decision in himself.

There are many rules and secrets to great and effective copywriting. But it begins with an attitude, or, as I said, a consciousness.

Good luck. And always be closing.
About the Author
Paul Wolfe, who has written famous campaigns for dozens of world-class clients like Levi's, Volvo and BMW and was named Writer of the Year twice by Adweek magazine, has just penned the ultimate  copywriting book. Click here MaximumStrengthCopywriting.com and  transform your success and copywriting power instantly.
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