In April 2004 I sat down in front of a blank screen to write the most important letter of my life.
Before I get there, a little background.
I've been writing since high school back in 1975. I am younger than I look.
I'd already built a 50 million Rand business in 1984 on the back of writing letters. And after business letters went obsolete I wrote faxes. And then emails.
This is how I'd paid my bills rather well since leaving medical school. Turns out I was a little too squeamish to inflict pain, no matter how necessary.
To cut a long story short, that April morning I sat in the Taste Coffee Shop in La Lucia near Durban. I was completing the manuscript for CrashProof your Business. I felt overwhelmed.
As I typed a shadow fell across the screen. I looked up to a vision passing by. This wasn't a woman strolling so much as an angel floating. I fell in love in an instant. Tiny problem. She didn't notice. She chatted to the restaurant owner before leaving.
On my way out a few minutes later I asked Rosemary (the proprietor) what the name was of my next wife. She burst out laughing.
"Her name is Caroline," she said.
"Is she married?" I asked.
"I think she's getting divorced," she said.
"Where does she work?" I asked.
Okay, so this looks like an interrogation. By now Rosemary knew me well. I had breakfasted at her place every day for a year. I gave great tips. I was a fixture.
"I think she owns a business in the building behind us," she said.
I walked across to the building and made a list of the businesses there. Then came back to ask which looked most likely.
The only way I know to approach a strange person is via the written word. I trip over my tongue otherwise.
Now, how to invite Aphrodite to coffee without looking weird or creepy? (I know her name was Caroline but she looked like I imagined the goddess Aphrodite might look.)
Flowers with a letter. But what the hell do you write to the most beautiful woman on earth who does not yet know you exist? And who must have no shortage of younger, better-looking, more muscular suitors than me.
And that's what I want to share with you during my new business writing course. The challenges I experienced right then are the same as those we bump into when we try to write to our prospects
This woman was so far out of my league my ego wasn't at risk. This effort would be what American NFL players call a "Hail Mary". It has zero chance of success, but if, by some miracle, it works, fame and fortune follow.
And so I drafted a letter. The most important letter I ever wrote. I wrote about people passing without seeing each other, like ships passing in the night. I wrote of how when something happens to us we are too scared to follow it in case we get hurt.
I told her she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. And how just seeing her was enough. But wouldn't it be great to share some coffee and see if there might be something more?
I told her I would not try to reach her again because it would be stalking.
I gave the letter to a florist to deliver with some romantic flowers.
And then I let it go as I focused on finishing the damn book.
Most of us think we can't write. The writing we learnt at school doesn't work anyway. The people who might buy my training and coaching don't care much about my grammar.
Writing for real people is not taught at school or college. This is the writing to attract the kind of people you want as your clients, It's a skill you learn in the trenches. And you improve over time. Especially when you are hungry.
No matter how well you feel you can write or not, I guarantee we can take you up a bunch of notches real fast. I know this because if we don't I will give you your money back.
And, no, we're not going to talk grammar. We don't need to worry about it anymore.
The Internet comes preloaded with all sorts of intelligence we can use to fill in the gaps.
- An app to fix your grammar and spelling without pain.
- An app to measure how effective your writing is, how readable.
- An app to remove the big mistakes.
- An approach to fill you with ideas.
- An approach to replace long boring words with short punchy words. (Short words and short sentences work much better than the stuff you let at university.)
These are apps I will show you during this course. Most are free.
What is the value to you and your future if you can wield words which convert more prospects into paying clients? And if you can wield those words over and over again?
Anyway, back to the story of my non-existent relationship with Caroline.
I say I let the letter go but I lie. I hoped something would happen. Nothing did.
At least, not for a week. And then she called. We met for coffee at Exclusive Books. Neutral ground. And if I was going to flame out, neutral seemed much better.
It was only much later, long after our wedding, when she told me of her first impression of me. Some "old" guy hunched over a PC. But worth meeting after a letter which had touched her so much.
I was at dinner last Friday when this story about Caroline came up. The men at the table looked at me with disgust. Their women smiled as they sighed at the romance of it all.
That's the kind of writing I'd like to share with you. You might not be looking for the partner of your dreams. But anybody prepared to pay you good money for the work that you offer is a jolly good fit as well. And they're worth the effort.
Please click here check out my new Business Writing Fast Track course. I cannot guarantee you'll get the woman of your dreams. But if you income does not shoot up ask for your money back.