How to write a “capability” document

What do you send when a prospect says, “Send me something about you”?

I’ve been reviewing a number of capability documents recently.  Documents which purport to explain to a prospect what it is you do and the results you achieve for your clients.

More often than not, the focus on their own organisation and is all about them.  What they’re great at.  It’s all about me, me, me.

But your prospects actually don’t care.  They don’t care about you or for that matter your solution.  They only care about solving their issues.

So focus on them first.  Their pain.  What they hope to gain.  Only then, talk about your solution and the results you can achieve.  If I were to put a ratio on it, 80% about them and 20% about you.

This is a format I recommend.

Answer these four fundamental questions.

  •    Why should I listen to you now?
  •    What will your product do for me?
  •    How will your product or service work?
  •    What possibilities will open up for me if I go down this route?

There are a lot of different formulas for writing good advertising copy.

We advocate a formula derived from adult education.

The Why, What, How, What if and a Call to Action.

But first, some human psychology. Bear with me – it’s important.

We all move towards things we want or away from what we don’t want. Think of the carrot and the stick. If someone has a greater TOWARDS orientation, you can motivate them with rewards. A more AWAY FROM orientation will be more motivated by the stick or what they don’t want to happen.

Punishment/Pain (Away From) <——————————–> Rewards/Pleasure (Towards)

Everyone falls somewhere on the continuum.

There are those (approximately 50%) who are more motivated by moving away from what they don’t want – (I don’t want this problem so I’ll solve it), to the rest who are aspirational and motivated by moving towards things they want.

The one thing you have to do above all is grab and hold your prospect’s attention by answering the question “Why?”

Why should I listen to you? And why now?

This is where you talk about your prospect’s situation. What issues they’re facing. Their most pressing initiatives. What they’d like instead.

Then move into what your product does to solve these.

What capability does your solution provide? How does it provide an outcome your clients want?

How does it help them to solve the day-to-day challenges that presently prevent them from achieving the results they want now? How does it help them to produce the future result they need?

What benefits your clients get.

Notice I didn’t say features.

Features are what something does. Benefits are what you get.

And the ultimate benefit must be an emotional one. Why? Because we’re all emotional beings. Emotions drive us. They make us take action. We buy on emotion and justify our decisions with logic.

So put yourself in your client’s shoes. What benefits do they really want? If in doubt, ask them!

Now give them a bit of detail on how the product will be delivered.

If it’s a physical item you ship, when they can expect to receive it. Where they can collect it from etc.

If you’re offering a program, tell your audience what they can expect and when. How it will be delivered. Workshops, individual sessions, membership site, webinars etc.

Talk about possibilities – the What If.

You want them to vividly imagine owning your product or benefiting from your service.

What will their lives be like once they’ve used your product. Will they avoid something they don’t want or get something they do?

Paint a full picture using descriptive, emotive language.

Include a call to action.

Tell your prospects what action you want them to take. i.e. Download some information from your website, pick up the phone and order.

Inject a sense of urgency. Is there a special they can only take advantage of for a limited time. What will they miss out on if they don’t take action. What could they gain if they do?

All good marketing copy must include every component above. Miss out any and you’ll lose effectiveness and sales.

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By |2020-02-04T09:20:33+11:00February 4th, 2020|Marketing, Practical Tips|0 Comments

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