Add Zeros To Your Profit Potential : The Big Idea Checklist

BIG IDEA, PART 2 — Let’s just say you’ve come up with a Big Idea for a promotion. It’s so damn good you know you’ll make millions… billions… maybe even (cross fingers here) gazillions.

How do you know it’s as absolutely good as it needs to be?

The answer is simple. Just follow this five-point checklist. When you get a “yes” to every question, you’re on track to big sales and no looking back, with a record-breaking WINNER:

1. Is your Big Idea easy to understand without a whole lot of thinking?

Hey — I don’t mean is it easy for YOU to understand. Of course it is — you came up with the idea!

I mean, can your average target prospect, your “avatar,” get it? Can this person get it QUICKLY, when they’re distracted, tired, overworked, underloved, hungry, stressed… whatever? Make sure someone who’s never heard of what you’re offering can easily get your Big Idea right away. Even better, check to make sure several people can.

2. Is your Big Idea visual and/or emotional enough?

Many copywriters and entrepreneurs are conceptual, abstract, big-picture thinkers. That fuzzy, big-picture mode is often a great way to create… but a TERRIBLE way to communicate.

You may need to “translate” your big idea into “the language of the people.” If you have letters after your name (MBA, PhD, CPA, etc.), do yourself a favor and put them there letters on the shelf during this part of the review of your Big Idea.

Make sure your Big Idea is something someone can INSTANTLY create a clear, vivid image of in their mind… and have a strong emotional reaction to.

BAM! Right in the choppers!!

… see what I mean? :)

3. Does your Big Idea combine the familiar with the unusual?

Don’t say, “If you lived on Planet Zork, which has three suns, and you had to triangulate a rolling SPF average all day long to keep yourself clear of dermatological damage, then… “

Pfft. Too unusual. (And REALLY cheesy science fiction, too.) My head hurts, just reading what I wrote!

Instead, how about “What if you had a sunscreen that could automatically adjust to changing conditions, just like how your eyes adjust to bright sunlight one moment, and a dark room at another time?”

Well, you may have heard of a sunscreen like that, but I never have. So I’ll give that one an A-plus on familiar+unusual.

See the difference?

4. Can a reasonably smart 10-year-old get your Big Idea?

Don’t give me that tired old story: “Our customers are smart, we don’t want to talk down to them… “

I’ve had clients who were Rhodes Scholars, Harvard Law School grads, brainiacs from MIT, Stanford super-entrepreneurs, all-around smartest guys in the room — you name it, I’ve had a client like that. Wonderful people, too (most of them, anyway).

At the end of the day, however — and this is important — all these super-sophisticated world-beating geniuses look at the world just like little kids do. Like everyone else does. Maybe MORE SO than everyone else.

Because most people revert to a 10-year-old (or so) mindset when they are actually seriously considering BUYING something.

5. Does your Big Idea get your prospect’s blood running?

We’ll start with the assumption that the people you want to sell to actually HAVE a pulse.

(If you are selling to corpses, please read a different post.)

You need to INCREASE your prospect’s pulse if you want to get them to become your customer.

I believe it was the great David Ogilvy who said:

“You can’t BORE your prospect into buying.”

Well played, sir.

So, cut and paste this checklist and use it. And in your Nobel Prize speech (for curing cancer or whatever you end up using your bazillions for)… remember me.


And if you’d like a set of experienced eyes to go over your Big Idea with you, just arrange for a critique session with me.

David Garfinkel is a veteran coach of professional copywriters and business owners who are familiar and comfortable with direct response marketing.