Is Your Business Suffering From Narcissistic Thinking?
Sep 04, 2019
I'm starting a new copy job today.
The older I get the bigger the retainer and the more massive and exciting the potential paydays.
Coming with bigger money, of course, is typically (but not always) a longer "wind-up."
(Wind up is what I call the romance period, defined as: from first meeting to the day I get a deposit.)
During Monday's call, this prospect was relating a rather wonderful and nostalgic tale...
The story came on the heels of me doing what I do to woo clients. And, before you read this absurd list, please don't try this at home:
1. Tell them I don't know everything
2. Tell them I can be quite disagreeable
3. Tell them writing in their "voice" isn't as valuable as they think
Upon reaching the third point, is when this fellow jumped into a story about his first copywriter.
He said, "the guy wore me down with daily interviews, incessant questions and phone calls, like, every day, over two weeks."
Me: "I bet that was helpful?"
Him: "It SUCKED. I was really getting pissed off toward the end and wondering if I'd make a huge mistake."
Me: "So how did it turn out?"
Him: "Amazing. When the fucker eventually wrote something, it was as if it came out of my own mouth. It was, literally, exactly what I would have said if I was a direct response copywriter!"
This story makes me smile. And think back...
Once upon a time, I used to do this. I was taught to. And it seemed to make sense, way back then.
The truth as I see it today, is a little different...
When a copywriter seeks to write IN YOUR VOICE, it's often a fear-based move.
(CAVEAT: If this is you, don't feel badly, it took me a good 5-6 in the biz to cure myself of the practice, which isn't entirely bad especially if you NEED the owner for research or you've set his expectations better than the copywriter in this story likely did.)
Why don't I do this any longer?
Here's why: for the most part, spending THAT much time getting a client's VOICE down perfectly does little more than endear me to my client.
....And that's just about fear of not making money.
Rather than having an incredible laser-focus on writing the words that will bring your client the absolute most money possible from your efforts, should you worry about the client's feelings?
Maybe if the audience knows the client THAT well. But in 99.9% of cases, playing to an owner's narcissism is detrimental to the bottom line.
His, not yours.
I know, because I've done it. I knew this practice endeared me to the owner. It reduced my fear, and strengthened my paycheck.
The most incredible part is how susceptible owners are to this form of masturbation.
Before I realized the lure of this BS, I'd hear lines like, "wow, it sounds just like me... here's your payment for this project, and for three more!"
That was hard to walk away from.
Once I did, and became more willing to tell clients: "your voice sucks, 'cause if it didn't, you and I wouldn't even be talking about boosting sales," the cream tended to rise to the top.
Honesty prevails... At least where I've been able to summon a tolerable amount of decorum and tact (another issue I struggle with)....
Clients, and fees have been steadily rising ever since.
I'll close with two thoughts:
First, if we ever chance to work together, I will be in touch because I want to know you as an individual. If you don't hear from me, it's because I'm using other resources to find the words that will make you the most money possible.
Second, if this type of narcissism is present (whether latent or active) in a majority of prospects I speak to, and we can agree that it could quite likely be detrimental to your bottom line, where else is narcissism having a negative pull on your revenue?
Food for thought.