The uninspired writer’s opener
I just received another sales letter that opened, “I know you’re busy, so I’ll get right to the point.”
Gosh, do I ever appreciate that!
Just kidding. Whether via email or snail mail, I have yet to receive one “I’ll get right to the point” sales letter that wouldn’t have been stronger had the writer skipped “I’ll get right to the point” and just gotten to the point.
Not that I’m recommending going right to the point. Quite the opposite. The opening line’s job is to make your reader eager to read on. If you’re not careful, going straight to the point can be a bit jarring. Like asking for a date with, “I want to have sex with you.”
One of the most successful openers I was ever lucky enough to pen is, “I’m a little embarrassed.” The opener that turned me into a loyal Free Inquiry magazine subscriber (and, later, columnist) was: “There’s something I like about you.” And there was no way I could quit reading after this opener from Netflix: “I messed up. I owe you an explanation.”
“I know you’re busy, so I’ll get right to the point” is the functional equivalent of “I don’t have a strong opener.” Get back to work and come up with one.