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Keith Reynolds Two weeks ago, I was able to hop on a call with my friend Joseph McElroy, Founder and CEO at Galileo Tech Media. We have been pushing content for a long time, but now we know how to do it at scale and with wisdom for both large companies and small. In fact, he has coined the phrase “Wise Content” in his work with clients. Here are some interesting nuggets from our conversation.

Joseph: How do you go about making excellent sales letters? 

Keith: I follow a model of ‘Opportunity-Response-Value-Next Step’. 

What is the opportunity or the problem that your customer faces? If you can capture that, then you have an on-ramp to start a conversation with a customer. You will want to start with what is connecting for your customer. 

Some people want to sell an opportunity and others want to sell the solution to a problem. 

Steve jobs was wonderful at this. What if you had a phone that could play your music? He introduced the iPhone. This is a case of ‘opportunity to response’. 

The value is what the customer gets from the experience. The value is always presented from the customers’ perspective. What does that iPhone represent to them? And this value is a great way to present information in many forms because people understand things differently. Some are more intellectual, while others are empotional in how they arrive at conclusions. You can use graphics, storytelling, metaphors and even data appropriately if you understand your audience. 

How you present proof or evidence that your response to THEIR opportunity or problem in a way has utility to them – it’s not about you. 

Some people want to see pictures while others want rows and columns. So in your sales letter, you will want to use a variety of ways to present the value proposition: ‘The iPhone allows you to have one device, listen to your music and take phone calls, watch movies… so you experience more fulfilled life’

Joseph: How to get to the next step 

We always want to carry somebody on to the next step. 

If we have decided that this is a good idea, and the customer see the value, the next steps can be one of these: give us a call; answer an email; go to the website; download my book. 

I have written websites this way. I have written sales letters this way. I have been using this method for 30 years. And now I have just let the secret out.

The four things were obstacles, opportunities, problems, and a response.

  • What are you?
  • What will you get from it? 
  • What is your value proposition? 

“It is not about me. It’s about you. You can have a format for structuring a relationship with content.”

A process for actually getting people to make a decision that involves getting people to:

  • get their attention
  • overcome rejection and indifference
  • overcome skepticism, procrastination
  • make a decision 

“Almost immediately, when you start pitching to somebody they are rejecting you. You have to get them to like you.”

The keys to the kingdom

Joseph: Have you seen any ways that help you implement these out in the world? Are there tools, resources that you can call upon to, make these easier for anybody to implement? 

Keith:

1. Building in training for your sales team.

You want your sales and your customer-facing team members to learn this model so that they personalize it. If they know where their customer is in and they’re having a conversation and they want to communicate with somebody, if they understand this opportunity, response value, next steps, they can write personalized sales letters and customize their approach. 

As far as the tool goes, you can load up templates in a CRM for them to draw upon so they can reach into a library and they can share their content together. 

Sales is a team effort. A good CRM set up is good for that.” 

2. Understanding people through app algorithms

An ability to analyze a person based upon their profile gives you ideas about how to structure the language. For those of us who are not particularly, psychologists or behavioral scientists, tools like that could help. Imagine if you really knew, understood and used that four-step model and then structured that story, using the information you have in your hands. 

This person might see a problem and that person might see an opportunity, or you need to emphasize this versus that when you’re presenting a value proposition. Think of it like a story that follows a template where the storyteller looks for details or information in order to present an opportunity or in order to overcome indifference. 

Joseph: For example, looking at what Google says. People ask questions around the topic. You could go into Google and type in a search and they’ll bring up a lot of questions. Then there are tools like Bright Edge, Ahref, SEMRush, etc.

Tools like Surfer SEO uses machine intelligence, finds the top 50 to 150 topics that Google and people think are important for this keywords. It creates a big topical cluster with all sorts of keywords and questions that people ask. 

Keith: It is amazing how far things have advanced, because when we worked together, we were at the beginning of this and we were hacking it and now you’ve got software that does this for you.

3. From a germ of an idea to a Northstar Idea

Joseph: When you started out, you basically had a germ of an idea for a process for doing inbound journalism, and now it has become ‘content hubs’ and ‘topical clusters’ and ‘brand publishing’. 

Keith: The process is still an important part of it. It is not really automated other than what you do, in your own template development and your marketing automation,

What I love about what we do is that we do the research and we understand how to take advantage of the information we discover, and we can literally show people how to do it.  The advisory and training service that we provide tells people what to do and even how to turn their “germ of an idea” into their North Star. They are still going to need assistance to get things up and running and produce sustainable results for the long-term. That’s the value of having content strategy and marketing plan.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • Start a conversation with a customer using content (a sales letter, a website).
  • Share how the customer is going to get value from what you offer.
  • Set specific calls-to-action.
  • Build in training for your sales team.
  • Sales should understand the opportunity, response value and the next steps.
  • Sales can personalize their conversations and communication with customers.