Quitting the "No One Responds to My Offer" Club

06/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A conversation that has cropped up recently in our online community, The Business Oasis, is the perennial problem of: "I've got this fantastic offer, and no one is responding to it. No one is even asking about it!"

This is particularly painful in the current economy, when people are being very careful with how they spend. If you run a small business, you may be finding that offers that used to at least pull their weight aren't working any more.

You aren't alone. It seems that more than a few people were feeling like they were in that club. As a community, we all took a look at one person's offer and started to point out where we lost interest, got bored, or where it just didn't make sense.

Kinda nice, eh, to have that kind of feedback? Usually when you put an offer out there, it's just deafening silence. But because of the knowledgeable, open-heartedness of the Business Oasis members, she got lots of feedback.

What Is Boredom?

Boredom is lots of things, but one of those things may surprise you: Boredom is actually a symptom of overwhelm. But not the overwhelm of too many things to do.

Boredom often sets in when you are overwhelmed by too many things to feel, sometimes uncomfortable feelings, and because they are unconscious or not socially acceptable, you have no place to express them or get the underlying needs addressed.

Boredom actually expresses itself as a "cabin-fever" anxiety that can motivate people to go somewhere else. As in, away from your writing, your offer, and your business. But, when you give your reader space for these emotions and needs, they can stay put, and engaged with what you're writing.

So let's take a look at three places where you can get caught boring people in your marketing.

Boring Thing Number One: Talking to a Group

You tawkin' ta me? You tawkin' ta me? I hope so. Because if you ain't tawkin' to me, you ain't tawkin' to nobody.

It's surprisingly easy to not talk to someone. And it happens when you slowly slip into thinking you're talking to more than one person. That's all, just believe you're talking to two, or ten, or a thousand people instead of one, and suddenly your language becomes less focused, less intimate, less connected.

Why does this happen? Well, when it's just you and me, you might take risks with language that you might not take in a group. You might say to me: "Gawd! When your client did that, that must've felt like cr@p!"

Then you notice other people are listening. Important people. People who you want to like you. Maybe some of them have checkbooks and credit cards who might actually pay you (although you don't like thinking like that.)

You straighten yourself up, clear your throat, and suddenly you're saying: "That is . . . what I meant to say was . . . I offer my most sincere empathy to you dear colleague on that unfortunate incident with your client . . ." Snore.

Talk to your one reader. Just one reader, and give it to them straight.

Boring Thing Number Two: Talking About Yourself

It's a totally sane, reasonable assumption that if you are making an offer, you want to write about that offer. Unfortunately, what is sane and reasonable is also dead wrong and dead boring.

Pssst... just between you and me, I'll tell you a secret: I want to talk about myself. I want you to talk about me. It's not because I'm self-centered, it's because my heart is deeply longing for witnessing, to be seen and known.

If you talk about your offer first and in great detail, your reader can't hear you. "Boring" may not be exactly it, but they can't keep their attention on it, because they don't have listening space.

What you want to talk about is them -- who they are, what they like, what they are struggling with. Once you do that sufficiently, they'll be able to listen to your offer. Especially if your offer is relevant to helping solve whatever they are struggling with.

Quick story: I was sick. Really sick. I was canceling a training we were supposed to do for a holistic clinic here in Portland, and David, the owner of the clinic, said: "Wow, you sound really sick! What's wrong?" We talked about me being sick for a few minutes. He said, "You should come for an appointment." With who, I asked? He recommended one of his practitioners. I made an appointment.

I walked into her office without even knowing what she does. I mean, was she a naturopathic physician, acupuncturist, reiki master, what? All I knew was that David knew how sick I was and told me she could handle it. And she did.

Boring Thing Number Three: Losing the Thread of the Main Problem

I was reading some of the Alternet news articles the other day -- reading from article to article, one problem after another that I cared about -- global warming, the Iraq war, conflict in the Holy lands, poverty and homelessness...

Yup, overwhelm. I stopped reading. Not because I don't care, but because too many uncomfortable emotions were coming up, and I was feeling helpless. Overwhelmed. That stir-crazy-cabin-fever boredom-overwhelm that moved me along to something more pleasant.

Now, listen. I know that your offer can solve multiple problems. But in order not to overwhelm and bore people, pick the one biggest problem and focus on it as you write.

Yes, you can mention other problems the offer solves, but as additional bonus benefits. Keep the thread of just one problem, and people will follow the trail to the end.

Bored Readers Don't Buy.

You are wanting to help people -- sometimes with really serious issues! Receiving that help takes a great deal of trust on their part. Trust that is built when they think there is acceptance and understanding for who they are and what they are struggling with.

By not using these three elements: talking to more than one person, talking about yourself, and focusing on more than one problem -- you'll be inviting them in, connecting with them, and removing huge pieces of boredom from your offers.