No.10 / December 19, 2005

The Corporate Muse

Welcome to the last issue of The Corporate Muse for the year 2005!  We know you're busy this month so we've kept things short.  We'd love to hear your comments of what you've thought so far, or anything you'd like to see in the coming year:



   Give Your Clients What They Want

What does going to the doctor have in common with running a business? Well, if you're in a service business - a lot.


Let me explain. A while ago, it occurred to me that I hadn't been to the doctor in quite a while. Dumb, I know, especially considering I tend to be a "health nut" and pretty fanatical about getting exams. So what happened?


For one thing, I simply got out of the habit of going. Like any other good thing we do for ourselves, having regular checkups can become routine. If you change the practice, it can be hard to start it up again.


The second is more complex, but what I want to focus on here. I haven't found a doctor who makes me feel comfortable. After all, getting a complete physical is a pretty intimate experience and I want to connect in some way with the person conducting it. Clinical doesn't do it for me. Neither does too much familiarity. But a nice mix of knowledge and caring would fit the bill nicely.


Comfort is one of the major concerns for people seeking to do business with someone in the service fields. Contrary to popular belief, potential clients aren't drawn to expertise. It's important to know what you're doing and do it well, but even more essential is the feeling your customers leave with once they've completed the transaction.


As Harry Beckwith says in his book What Clients Love:

"...relatively few businesses - securities analysis, forensic science, a few others - are Expertise Businesses. The rest of us - from gynecologists and IT consultants to massage therapists and hair colorists - sell something else.


We sell satisfaction."


If you've ever walked out of a restaurant with a full belly and service that knocked your socks off, you know what I'm talking about. Your server exuded personality. Your coffee cup and water glass stayed full. Every condiment you could ever think to use was on the table before your dinner. Bread came with your salad. You requested substitutions and heard a cheerful, "We can do that!" The suggested wine perfectly complimented the meal. And dessert was ... divine.


You had an experience. One you will probably tell friends about. And because of it, you'll return - time and time again.


So what keys can we use to produce such an atmosphere in our own businesses? Again, from What Clients Love:


1.       Humility and Generosity- Don't blow your own horn or find fault with the competition. Neither raises your stature in the eyes of those keeping watch.

2.       Sacrifice - Be willing to give more than is asked. If you go out of your way to meet someone's need - they'll pay attention.

3.       Openness - It's okay to make mistakes and it's okay to admit them. Be willing to let others into your world even when it isn't pretty.

4.       Integrity - Always deliver on your promises. If your words and actions say the same thing, you'll earn trust and allegiance, and more than likely customers for life.


Perhaps it can be summed up in one simple phrase, "Do to others as you would have them do to you." If we treat others the way we like to be treated, they'll walk away happy and we'll know we've done the best job possible. Strive to create comfort - it's the fastest way to loyalty, referrals and a reputation everyone will talk about. (SKC) 


       © QuickSilver Copywriters 2005 - Andy & Shawn Catsimanes;; mailto:; Sign up for The Corporate Muse:



You've heard it said, "It's better to give than to receive." It's a formula that works in marketing as well as in life. Active listening can be one of the greatest gifts you give your prospects and clients. Some people are naturally good listeners, but for most of us, it takes practice.

Steps you can use to increase your active listening skills:

1.       Put everything else out of your mind, except the person speaking. Concentrate on the words. Don't think about what you want to say next, or mentally make out your grocery list. You can listen at a much higher rate than you can talk, so you'll have to work to not allow yourself to be distracted.

2.       Reflect on what you've just heard; don't be in a rush to respond. A pause in the conversation can be a blessing for both the speaker and the listener. It will help you know if he's ready to hear from you or if he still has more to say.

3.       Think on what you know about the other person. It will be a key to discovering exactly what she's trying to convey, especially if she's not a particularly effective communicator. 

4.       Reflect back. Rephrasing what you've heard or think you've heard can be a way of assuring you're receiving the other person's message loud and clear.

5.       Ask questions. Make sure you have complete understanding and don't let him stop talking until you do.


The energy you invest in your clients and prospects will return in new customers, new ideas, repeat trade and so much more. Make it a habit to actively listen whenever you get the chance.




Eight Clues To Better Writing


To Be Or Not To Be - Limiting use of forms of the verb to be instantly adds muscle to your copy.  Though not easy to accomplish, replacing is, was, were, would be, etc. with expressive action verbs transforms your text.  Which translates better?  "It was an exciting meeting." Or ...  "In the middle of the meeting on Thursday, Jim, our CEO, jumped up and shouted, 'Eureka, I think we've got it!'"


Pump Up The Volume - Whenever reading anything, write down all words that paint a picture or strike a cord.  Whether nouns or verbs, and occasionally adjectives and adverbs, these Power Words create emotional responses in readers.  Such a list is a resource no writer should be without.  A few examples: disembowel, passion, caterwaul, interlude, slump, drifter, flaunt, spy, divulge, Prima Donna, undulate, etc.    


You Can Say That Again - Two rules here:  1) When featuring a product, you want to frequently repeat its name.  Repetition fosters remembrance.  Exactly the point.  2) When it comes to the rest of the words in your content, try not to reuse them.  Invest in a good Thesaurus.  Keep it at your fingertips and make it your best friend.  You won't regret it.


Stay In The Now - Though not always appropriate, aim for the present tense.  Like aerobic exercise, the more you increase intensity and build momentum, the better it works (or in this case, reads). Utilize your powerhouse of acquired nouns and verbs to keep your writing fresh and active.  


You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth - Catch phrases and clichés permeate the airwaves.  They've developed into accepted patterns of speech.  But unless you're crafting dialogue, they don't belong in copywriting.  Spend time coming up with your own snappy slogan, and who knows, it might even turn into the next, "Where's the beef?"


Sprinkle Lightly - A well-inserted adjective or adverb can add just the right sparkle to a piece.  But overused, they tend to completely flatten, totally devaluate and absolutely wreck otherwise lovely prose.


Say It Like You Mean It - Write like you talk.  Speak directly to your audience.  When you provide simple language and a conversational tone, your readers will easily relate to you and what you hope to convey.  Though it sounds easy, finding your voice and writing with your particular bent takes time to polish.  Don't despair, the more you practice it, the easier it will become.


Murder Your Darlings - As a writer, it's easy to fall in love with your own words. You compose a sentence or paragraph so splendid it makes even you sit up and take notice.  But then you realize it doesn't correspond with your subject.  What do you do?  Trash it?  Yikes!  Yes.  Highlight it.  Cut it.  Paste it in a separate document (for later use or just to look at and admire on occasion).  No matter how great the words, if they don't fit, they don't fit.



Warm Wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Successful 2006.  See you next month!


Andy & Shawn Catsimanes

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"With Andy & Shawn's help, 'Snapshots from the Soul' became a reality. They demonstrated great sensitivity and compassion and we enjoyed working with them very much."

~Dennis E. Chapman, Associate Executive Director, City Union Mission, KC, MO


“Andy and Shawn are copywriters you can count on to understand your business and your customers. I couldn’t be more impressed with the copy they provided us. Their work is excellent. I look forward to working with them again soon.”

~Kevin Fryer


"A book would not be enough room to compliment Shawn on her work. Her professionalism comes first even if it means staying up late at night to answer all your question. She works tirelessly to get the best results possible. Her attitude, caring, and devotion are unique and I'm thankful I had the chance to work with her."

~ Olga O'Mara


"Andy is a no fluff wordsmith with high direct response, long copy talent. His work will lift interest in your website. His ability to get up to speed on your unique business model is impressive. He is persistent to completing projects and takes personal pride in the quality of his work. He is honest and knows what drives sales. If you are lucky enough to get him, you will get above average copy for a fair price. I'd use Andy anytime."

~ Christopher Hebard
Pruett Media