"I Made Him an Offer He Couldn't Refuse"

In the Godfather Trilogy, someone asked Vito Corleone how he intended to change a person’s viewpoint. He responded, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

That answer is instructive, especially when it comes to copywriting. That’s our job, isn’t it? We make offers our readers can’t refuse. Of course, we mean something different than the Godfather did, but the principle still applies.

Have you ever heard or seen an offer that you couldn’t refuse? I have, and there’ve been many more that I have had great difficulty resisting. In almost every case, there’s been a common element running through each: a captivating story.

How would you like to communicate so well that your offer is almost irresistible?

You’re probably thinking that’s easier said than done. Consumers are barraged with tens of hundreds of emails, print ads, television commercials, and radio spots. There are thousands of products and services vying for their attention but few actually capture it. Add the busy-ness of life and most online marketing messages are deleted without being read, while the offline ones are sorted over the circular file (aka trash can!).

How can you make your copy so irresistible that it doesn’t get ignored? Tell a story.

Every story has some common elements that make it irresistible, ingredients that make people continue to read. They are covered in detail in my article “How to Use Story to Captivate and Connect with Any Audience.”

But for now, just remember that every story has to have a point to make, and you must know that point BEFORE you start to tell your story. It’s also important to provide the background or the reason why.

That context sets the stage for the next part of a good story, which is the complication phase. Complication is where you show just how bad things are or how bad they can get. Once the reader realizes that there is a major problem and that the problem could be their own, it’s time to reveal the turning point. That’s where you pave the way to the final element of story, which is the resolution.

Just imagine your copy being so irresistible that your readers can’t turn away. That is every writer’s dream. You can make it come true when you know how to tap into the power of story.

Have you ever seen an offer that you just couldn’t refuse? Tell me more about it here. What was it and why did you buy into it?

Meanwhile, watch out for tomorrow’s edition of The Writer’s Life when we look at being a great leader (well, sort of!).

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: June 13, 2012

1 Response to “"I Made Him an Offer He Couldn't Refuse"”

  1. Thanks.

    This article will doubtless add value to our work-lives.

    It helps to have an outline prior to writing your story.

    This works both in the field of creative writing and also commercial writing.

    Having an outline sets the stage for a methodical and step by step process that takes you to a logical conclusion.

    You can follow these guidelines so that you don't have to play it by ear or jump the gun or take leaps based on faith.

    All good writers know the value of a carefully crafted by-line.

    Archan MehtaJune 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm


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