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I heard that in a sales pitch you should always include a call to action at the end. The reason for this is that a call to action can significantly increase the likelihood of converting a prospect into a paying customer. So I was wondering if there was a different take on this and if there are situations where it can backfire, because I remember that not every sales pitch includes a call to action.

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There is not really a choice. But, like in a car ad, the "call to action" can just be price and availability in a panel at the end.

Ads you see without any call to action are generally Public Relations ads, trying to buff up a public image of a company getting a bad public reputation (which costs sales); they aren't trying to sell specific goods, but to counter negative press.

In that case, those ads end with some feel-good message. Oil companies pretending they are doing research into cleaner fuel, or green solutions, because they invested a million dollars into some green research (and spent twenty million dollars on TV ads bragging about it). Then there is no "call to action", just some tag line at the end telling you how to think of them (favorably). "Shady Oil: Sincerely Striving to Minimize Our Body Count."

The only way to avoid the call to action is if the company is already so well known and their products are well known (and largely commodities, or undifferentiated, like a grocery store) that you are just reminding them you exist, selling the store instead of any specific product. This includes places where service is the most important aspect of sales, not price or selection.

A given product can compete on four key factors: Price, Quality or Cachet, Service, and Guarantee or Warranty. For a place selling many products there can be a fifth, "Selection".

If Price, Quality and Selection are pretty much the same, then companies differentiate on what they can add; Service, Guarantee, Cachet, or Selection.

So you may not recognize the "call to action", it depends on which factor they are emphasizing. but in general if want to make sales, you end with a call to action.

This can also be subtle in tv ads; where the call to action is more visual: people enjoying the product. A visual "This could be you" pitch. Recently (2023) there are ads about a tax preparation company, people doing random fun stuff and NOT doing their taxes.

The call to action can even just be a phone number to call.

The next most important rule for writing ads is to make every single line customer focused: The ad is never directly about you or your "vision" or philosophy or why you got into the business.

Every single line of the ad should be customer directed, why they care, what they get out of it. When I trained to write ads (under a successful professional) I was taught to write every line with a "you" or "your" in it: Prospects don't care about you or why you are business, they don't need to be introduced to you, they only care about themselves. From the first line to the last, every line should be about the reader/watcher, never ever about the writer, the company and its goals.

Everything else is a waste of time. Consider your reader incredibly self-centered; they lose interest the second the ad stops being about them and starts being about the seller.

Later, you might be able to take out some of the you and keep the customer focused lines, but don't write a line that is not directly focused on what the customer wants.

And it is okay if 98% of readers do not identify with your product, that's typical. You want the 2% to keep reading and the secret of that is to write to that 2% directly.

"When you want ribs, we've got your back, baby! barbecued slow and low for six hours, just the way you like 'em, with three choices of sauce on your table."

It's fine if the vegetarians and fine dining crowd put down your ad when they read "When you want ribs", you only want to capture the 2% that DO want ribs. Write to the vegetarians tomorrow! If you try to sell everything at once, you sell nothing.

Likewise, if you emphasize everything, you have emphasized nothing, just made your ad harder to read.

As for the original question: Yes, if you are actually trying to sell a product or service (as opposed to public image or PR ads) then you need a call to action, or you are wasting your money. You need something for the few percent of readers that actually read, listened or watched your whole ad to do next: Visit your website, call your number, come to your store, whatever.

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