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How to Write Invoices that Sell

Create growth-generating invoices with the 4-words-to-value rule

Invoice Marketing — Invoices that Sell. Winning Growth Systems
Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Take your invoicing to the next level by drafting invoices that sell your services because you want more customer referrals. Moreover, your customers are not the only people who will see your bills.

In this article, you will discover a solution to address both problems by writing invoice descriptions the way you write content headlines.

No, not using a headline analyzer tool but with tested persuasive writing techniques.

Get leads through invoice marketing.

To turn your invoices into lead generation tools, write persuasive line items using these three steps.

  1. Identify the value of the service provided.
  2. Write in complete thoughts.
  3. Follow MECLABS founder Flint McGlaughlin’s 4-words-to-value rule. (“#11 Effective Headlines: How to Write the First 4 Words for Maximum Conversion – FlintsNotes” n.d.)

Identify the value of your service to the customer.

In How to Draft Bills Clients Rush to Pay, Attorney Mark A. Robertson advises law firms to “project effort on paper.” (J Harris Morgan, Robertson, and American Bar Association. Law Practice Division 2018, Affiliate link)

That is because data shows that customers value effort and will be more likely to pay if they see it. In addition, they will be more likely to tell their friends.

However, even in law firms, customers value things more than effort. They want to find a solution to their problems or opportunities.

Moreover, “effort” focuses the attention on you, not on the customer. If we want to turn our invoices into lead generation tools, they need to be customer-focused. That is, the customer must be the object and the focus.

You should be able to identify the value of the service if you are billing for it. However, to get insight on why your customers value you, follow best-selling ghostwriter Joshua Lisec’s example. After you are hired, send your new customers an welcome email and ask “What is the #1 reason you decided to do business with us?” (“The Best Way to Market Research It: Find Your Golden Idea & Create What People Will Buy” n.d., Affiliate link.)

Store the answers to that question with your customers in your customer database.

Write in complete thoughts.

To be persuasive, you must be clear and understandable. That means writing in complete thoughts. You do not want your customers or prospects guessing at your meaning.

If I write “client letter” what does that mean to you? I read your letter? I wrote you a letter? In either case, why should I care?

When you ask someone to pay you, you need to be clear about what action you took on his behalf.

Consider these invoice line items:

  • Client letter regarding options.
  • Lawn mowing.
  • Upper-back massage.

The line items below mean the same thing. But notice how they feel different.

  • Draft letter to client regarding options.
  • Mow customer’s lawn.
  • Massage client’s upper back.

Follow the 4 words to value rule.

Remember the goals. You want your customers to pay you and refer you. In addition, you want people who see your invoices to become your customers.

Start by reading the following revised line items front-loaded with value. Mentally add “I will” to the beginning of each to see how value is communicated.

  • Explain best strategies in simple terms and give recommendation to client in writing for protecting assets.
  • Mow with special care for customer’s azaleas.
  • Relieve tension in client’s neck with an upper-body massage.

Do you want to pay a lawyer who drafts letters to clients? Or do you want to hire one who explains best strategies? What about a landscaper who mows with special care? Or a masseuse who relieves tension?

Every time you communicate your value, you reinforce it in people’s minds.

Warning: Of course, take care about disclosing confidential information.

How to get started.

First, send an email to everyone who has hired you in the last two to three weeks. After a short greeting ask, “Can you help me out by answering the question: What is the #1 reason you decided to hire my firm?”

Understanding what your customers find important helps you to communicate value. For example, if your customers value detailed answers, then “Detail best strategies” might communicate your value better than “Explain best strategies.”

Next, pull some old invoices and practice re-writing the line items. Or, have your billing person do it if you do not do your own invoicing. After a little practice it will become second nature.

Finally, consider creating lists of value words for your industry. They will help inspire you in case you get stuck while creating an invoice.

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REFERENCES:

  1. “#11 Effective Headlines: How to Write the First 4 Words for Maximum Conversion – FlintsNotes.” n.d. Accessed July 28, 2022. https://flintmcglaughlin.com/videos/11-effective-headlines-how-to-write-the-first-4-words-for-maximum-conversion/.
  2. J Harris Morgan, Mark A Robertson, and American Bar Association. Law Practice Division. 2018. How to Draft Bills Clients Rush to Pay. Chicago, Illinois: American Bar Association, Law Practice Division. (Affiliate link.)
  3. Park, Preston. 2021. “The Ultimate Copywriting Crash Course for Overworked Business Owners.” Winning Growth Systems. July 2, 2021. https://winninggrowthsystems.com/blog/the-ultimate-copywriting-crash-course-for-overworked-business-owners/.
  4. “The Best Way to Market Research It: Find Your Golden Idea & Create What People Will Buy.” n.d. Gumroad. Accessed July 28, 2022. https://gumroad.com/a/753013875/OeoOW. (Affiliate link.)

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