Write to people, not ‘professionals’.
The unique benefit of the disarming Charm Offensive approach to copywriting – and the unique mechanism of action that makes it work.
One of the many benefits of the Charm Offensive approach to applying for jobs, cold pitching, and other outbound sales endeavours is how prospects respond.
This is most obvious when you see screenshots like the one I’ve attached.
You often get beaming praise.
You’re making the best first impression you can.
Your prospect will often tell their colleagues about you. This can include their superiors.
Or even better, they will post about it on social media, telling the world of your charming skills.
The act of getting someone’s attention in a creative and enjoyable way is persuasive in itself.
This is most obviously beneficial if you work in any of the creative promotional industries such as marketing, copywriting, PR or advertising.
However, this approach retains its persuasiveness no matter the industry you are in.
It uses a different primary mechanism of action than those used to great effect in direct response copywriting.
This is why I’ve termed the Charm Offensive style ‘disarming copywriting’ as it serves a different purpose and works for different reasons.
It talks to people, not pain points.
Pain points vary.
Markets often share little in common.
But people do.
The style can break a lot of conventional persuasive tenants but these losses are made up for because the approach is novel, which means it wins attention more reliably and makes your prospect smile.
If your opening gambit makes your prospect smile, you’ve made a great first impression.
You go into a ‘different’ box to all of your competitors.
I’ve often joked that while my competitors often had much bigger offices, giant budgets for ‘entertaining’ prospects with fancy meals and all the other advantages of scale, I wager that none of them have ever offered to take their prospects for tequila shots while wearing a top hat.
It is almost impossible to forget such an unorthodox approach, for good or ill.
Indeed, on more than one occasion, I had prospects reply to my email a year after I’d send it. I recently caught up with an old client through LinkedIn and she told me she “Still talks about THAT email” from 5 years ago! The approach gets remembered.
That isn’t the main benefit I’m talking about though.
The single biggest benefit of this approach is less obvious and something that isn’t possible to measure.
Prospects will reply to you using an informal tone.
That is, they will speak to you like a friend.
They will match your ‘familiar’ or ‘refreshingly honest’ tone and at times, even try to out humour you in their response.
That is, they will take off the costume of self-importance that their job title demands.
Everyone is a human first.
They are a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a friend.
They have friends who call them stupid nicknames and remind them of ‘that time when we got so drunk that you tried to climb into your own shoe?! Hahaha!” (Or similar shenanigans sans intoxication.)
They have their own ‘guilty pleasures’ like enjoying cheesy 80s music or feel good movies.
This the person you are writing to when you use the Charm Offensive approach.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that it is the only approach or the ‘best’ approach, merely one that is reliably efficacious.
There is a definite benefit in knowing about pain points and writing to alleviate those pains in the most persuasive way possible. Indeed, when writing a sales letter to generate sales, you must be able to do this.
However, for getting people to hit reply, the reason the disarming Charm Offensive style is universally effective across sectors, seniority and geography is that it speaks to the person behind the job title.
Most people are relieved to drop the ‘self-important’ veneer that their position demands.
Not everyone, of course. Some people enjoy the ‘self-important’ veneer for reasons I wouldn’t wish to diagnose in absentia.
These are the folks who reply with things like “You really should be more professional you know!!!” without a hint of parody!
Thankfully, most people behind that job title aren’t humourless, self-important jerks.
Most people are people first, professionals second.
And that’s who you are writing to when you use the Charm Offensive approach.
And thankfully, that’s the exact same person who will agree to a quick phone call with you, accept your proposal, and pay your invoices when they are due.