The Writer's Touch

John C. Harrison

John C. Harrison

When people ask me--"What do you do?--I tell them that I find compelling ways to get people to read, remember, and act. I do it by solving problems through writing, whether it's through an ad, a brochure, a mailer, a script, a Powerpoint presentation, a web site, whatever. And I do it the old fashioned way--by doing my homework. Step by step. No short cuts.

Years ago, when I was a Fuller Brush man in the Twin Peaks section of San Francisco, I learned a thing or two about motivating people. When I rang the bell and the door opened, I had maybe 10 seconds to get the person's attention. If I couldn't say something meaningful to them in that time frame, I'd get a "thanks but no thanks" And the door would shut. (Ugh!)

I hated that feeling, so I learned early on that to keep that door open, there were certain things that had to quickly take place. I had to establish an instant relationship, the more personal the better. I had to say something meaningful. Then I had to listen--really listen--and find out who that person was and what they cared about. I had to keep that connection all through the sales pitch. Then I had to know my products well enough to match what the products did to what they needed. I had to sell benefits. Not product features. Benefits.

Selling Fuller brushes is good training for being a writer--whether you write advertising, web content, articles and newsletters, scripts, training material, or books. (And I write all of those things.) Because writing is all about selling ideas, whether those ideas show up as products, actions, or simply a new way of seeing things.

I still follow the same principles I learned from my days as a Fuller Brush salesman.

Which is why my writing gets results.