Last post, I talked about an adventure I had trying to take advantage of the Print Madness program that UPS has for business cards.
Today, I’ll be talking about the second part of that, and what lessons it holds for fiction writers and copywriters.
After the email from my local store saying they basically couldn’t help, I decided to call the other store with the in-house printing equipment (mostly to see if I imagined the whole thing about them being able to help me, after all).
I explained everything about the website to the girl on the phone, and she asked a question that made me freeze a little. After I told her I talked to a designer, she asked,
“Who did you talk to?”
I’d forgotten to get a name the last time I called in. But she transferred me over, anyway. Which was good.
I explained everything to the designer girl. She said I could send over a mockup in a Word document, and she’d have a proof ready for me to look at by the end of the day today, or tomorrow. She said after the card looked the way I wanted it to, they’d follow up over the phone to ask for payment details.
That was that. Hours of messing around with an online interface versus about 45 minutes or so on the phone.
Proof positive the world will never be overrun by machines (unless computers, TVs, and gaming consoles count–but I mean machines as reasoning beings).
To be clear, I’m not mad at UPS here. I just don’t understand why one store helped me, and not another–unless it was because Store B had equipment and know-how that Store A didn’t.
Anyway, I learned a lot of things I didn’t expect to, by having to repeat this process of calling and explaining.
Review is good. By going over the events of the previous days more than once, it helped crystallize things in my own head, while helping me explain it (having a patient ear on the other end of the phone didn’t hurt that at all, either).
Specifics are great, too. A message to myself here would be “Always get the name of the guy or gal you’re talking to.” It might have saved me some time with the re-explaining.
The operator could’ve put down the phone, and said, “Hey, some guy called yesterday about the interface for Print Madness?” and the designer would’ve said, “Oh, right. I’ll take care of it.”
I should’ve gotten a name, even if I thought I wouldn’t call the UPS Store again.
Specifics work wonders for storytelling if you’re a copywriter, and for character sketches and plot if you’re a fiction writer (although depending on the length of your story, you’ll only be able to include so much at once).
This is also why some copywriters use questionnaires when they talk to clients over the phone for the first time, or to help get their juices flowing when they’re writing a web page, email, script, or what-have-ya.
So the next time you’re a bit stuck on something, try to pull out more specifics. Write a list of questions down about why your prospect or character wants something. Or some questions about what you’d like to know to target your intended audience better.
Going over the same material works well for writers, and so does getting new material.
Just like talking over the phone to the folks at UPS.
Until next time,