'Reason why' offers always work best when they're honest, straightforward

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Whenever you make an offer, potential buyers always wonder why. This is part of what makes the "reason why" offer so popular. The problem is that many of this kind of offer makes no sense. Labor Day sales, Christmas savings and Washington's birthday deals certainly work, and consumers look forward to them. But since they're so routine, they lack power. Miss one sale, and you know another will roll along soon enough.

Overstock sales, inventory reductions, and similar offers are a step up, but since they are overused or misused, they can backfire. One business I know had a "going out of business" sale that lasted for a year and a half.

The postcard shown here, however, shows a reason why offer done right. It's a "retirement sale," and the company is truly closing its doors. The husband and wife in the photo own an oriental rug store that has been in business for nearly 100 years. They are known for top-of-the-line rugs that are gorgeous, handmade and often quite expensive.

The copy and design are not creative, and don't have to be. My wife and I are customers and have purchased several rugs from them. The headline and photo convey the message simply and directly. The headline reads, "Once in a Century Retirement Sale 50% off Retail." The photo shows the couple with piles of rugs, which is just what the showroom looks like.

The back is equally simple, announcing that the retirement sale started on September 23 and providing two separate deals: "New rugs 50% off" and "Old & Antique Rugs 20% off." They also inform us that there is a $10 million inventory and all sales are final.

This isn't a routine sale, nor is it a ruse. This retirement announcement is real and honest, creating an urgency that is palpable. It's truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

This level of honesty creates a highly compelling reason why offer. Perhaps too compelling. My wife has threatened to buy several rugs because it's our last chance. I fear this may be an argument I can't win.

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