The ‘No More Mr. Nice-Guy’ Method of More Effective B2B Copywriting

When you promote a product on a Business-to-Business level, you succeed when your ad, brochure, email, and/or sales presentation employs strong, direct active verbs that drive prospects to take a desired action.

In other words, you’re more likely to get the sale when you ask for it.

Here’s a simple example –

Recently I had an energetic back-and-forth with a client on the phrasing of the performance promise they wanted to make in a new ad. The discussion revolved around the use of the helping verbs “will” and “shall” and which one worked better in the promise statement.

Paraphrasing, it went something like this:

“Steve, it needs to say, ‘Our solution shall work with your application…’ NOT ‘Our solution will work with your application…’ Change it.”

I opined that both phrasings actually kinda sucked. Neither made the ad stronger, or compel the prospect to take a specific action. For example, the performance promise is considerably more compelling this way:

“Your XYZ Company solution works with your application, guaranteed.”

No “will” or “shall” and nothing wishy-washy about it. In the mind of the reader it’s a simple promise that carries a lot of weight. It also generates the question, “Guaranteed how?” Which, of course, is immediately addressed in the “Call for Action.” For example:

“We’ll show you how. Contact us today for all the details.”  

The “Call for Action” always asks for something: “Buy Now,” “Call Today,” “Reserve your spot,” etc.

Long story short

The client avoided the weak “will” and “shall” helping verbs, but then he chopped his potential prospects off at the knees by removing from the ad all second and third person (e.g., you, your) references all together.

Then, he made a surgical strike replacing the “Call for Action” with his company’s slogan, which he explained, he liked better.

He had lost his focus. Suddenly, he wasn’t advertising the real benefits customers gain in doing business with his company. He was more concerned about advertising against his competition. Understandable, but it’s an all too common strategy that produces at best mediocre results.

In the end it’s the client who determines what is included, avoided and presented in any promotional message.

After all, every B2B marketer knows the “Golden Rule.”

If you’d like to know what the “Golden Rule” is, drop me an email at

Thanks for reading!