How To Write Words That Sell

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When you think about it, the skill of copywriting (salesmanship in print), is a little like magic…

You can take the thoughts in your head, and you can share them around the world via email, websites, video, etc. And those carefully written words can inspire other people by the thousands, or even the millions, to pull out their wallet and purchase your product, or vote for a specific person, or even make a case peace or a case for war.

It is the ability to persuade people at scale, which makes it one of the most powerful, and valuable skills you can acquire.

In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote down and delivered a 6-page script that changed history. 

Words can move the world.

And the best part, is that it’s a skill anyone, (including you), can learn.

So how is it actually done?

Well the first step to mastering online sales is to truly understand what it is that you’re selling.

Most people think they’re selling their actual product. They’re not. 

For example, you might think that a real estate agent sells houses.

You might think that Home Depot sells tools.

Or that your gym sells memberships.

When in fact, none of those things are true.

Here’s an analogy that changed my life 15 years ago…

“No one buys a drill because they want a drill. They buy a drill because they want a hole. Therefore, if you want to sell drills, you should advertise information about making holes – not information about drills.”

You’re not buying a house because you need shelter. You’re buying that house because it feels like home. It’s where you want to make memories and create your future.

Home Depot isn’t selling tools. They sell creation. They sell improvement. They sell satisfaction of a job well done.

No one buys a gym membership because they want to go to the gym. They buy a gym membership because they want to feel good about themselves when they look in the mirror.

And no one buys a course on marketing because you want to read a course. You buy a course on marketing because you want to make more money.

So make sure that you realize that your customer is NEVER actually buying the product or service itself. They’re buying the benefit or result it will give them, and that’s what you want to focus on.

Once you understand what you customers are actually buying, we can move on to writing the script for your sales presentation.

As I mentioned yesterday, writing copy that sells requires a formula based on human psychology.

If we were to sum up this process in a single sentence, it might sound something like this…

“Making a purchase is an emotional decision, justified by logic.”

The foundation of every purchase we make is rooted in an emotional desire to either attain pleasure, or avoid pain.

That’s it. That’s our entire species in a nutshell.

But our brains have also evolved a safety mechanism that brings some discipline to our impulses.

It’s the side of you that makes a cost/benefit analysis of each decision. “Yes, I really want to buy and eat that carton of ice-cream, but I want to stay healthy more”.

Well this is where the “logic” portion of the process comes into play.

Logic is the key that we use to override our safety mechanism.

If we can provide our brain with a logical reason to follow through with that decision, we usually will.

“Yes, I really want to buy and eat that carton of ice-cream, but I want to stay healthy more. Oh look, here’s a non-fat, low-calorie ice cream which means I can have what I want, without getting fat”.

Or, “I know I really shouldn’t buy that new truck, but it’s on sale and I can get a tax write-off…”

So as marketers, we need to create an emotional reason for our customers to buy, and then give them a logical reason to justify that purchase.

The amount of time and effort it will take you to lead someone through this process in your marketing can take a single instant, or several hours depending upon their existing level of familiarity, trust, and understanding of your product or service, along with the amount of risk that’s attached in the form of price.

For example, it might take you five minutes to sell a $49 weight-loss supplement to a first-time customer.

Or in the case of my $1,500 list-building course, it will take me about 1.5 hours to successfully take someone who’s a complete stranger, and turn them into a new customer.

No matter what you’re selling or to whom, the formula is largely the same.

There are may variations that exist…

Some of them have four or five steps. Some have 12. The formula I use in my presentations which have made over $50MM has 25 steps.

But all of them can be condensed into this…


Attention. Interest. Desire. Action.

In order to sell your product or service, you must first get the Attention of your target audience. This is the specific group of people who have a problem your product can solve, or a desire it can fulfill.

In order to demonstrate what this formula might look like in action, I’ve put together a short, exaggerated example below for each step…

Here’s the example for Attention:

“Are you looking to lose weight quickly, but nothing’s ever worked?”

Once you have this group’s attention, you need to create Interest in your product. This is usually done by pointing out what is unique or different about your product than everything else.

Example: “That’s because your body has probably developed, “Leptin resistance”. Leptin is the hormone in your body that’s responsible for burning fat, and if you’ve had trouble losing those extra pounds no matter what you’ve tried, then you’ve probably become Leptin resistant.

How do you develop Leptin resistance, and how can you fix it so you can finally shed those extra pounds? Keep reading and I’ll tell you…”

Once you have their interest, we want to create Desire.

Desire is based on emotions and feels, so at this point in the process, we want to really focus on generating feelings of pain they’d experience if they continued down the same path. Then we want to focus on the feelings of pleasure they’ll experience as a result of using your product.

Example: “It’s okay if you’re angry. I was too when I found this out. Every single day you’ve woken up and been disappointed when you looked in the mirror, as you wonder what happened to that rocking body you used to have. You’ve tried diet after diet, only to experience disappointment after disappointed. But the worst part, is that you had no idea that you were fighting an invisible enemy the entire time. It wasn’t your lack of discipline or effort. It was a hormone in your body that was out of whack, and preventing you from losing weight.

Well today we can fix that problem thanks to WonderPill 2000… A revolutionary breakthrough in hormone science that brings your leptin levels back into balance, so your body can lose weight quickly and naturally.

In fact, take a look at these results from the men and women who were in the same spot you are just a few months ago, and what they look like today after taking WonderPill 2000…“

Once you’ve used emotions to create desire, we want to call them to take a specific Action.

That action could be to fill out an email form, to call a phone number, or in our case, to purchase the product.

This is also where we want to provide them with the logic they need to justify their purchase.

Example: “Click here to purchase your first bottle of WonderPill 2000 so you can repair your leptin levels, and start your weight-loss transformation today.

If you’re skeptical, that’s okay… We know that you’ll love the results you get with WonderPill 2000 when you try it, so every bottle comes with an unconditional 30 day money back guarantee. Either you get the weight-loss results you’ve always wanted, or you get your money back.”

So in this example, the logic we’ve used is, “I have nothing to lose with their guarantee, so there’s no reason not to try the product.”

Once again, this Attention, Interest, Desire, Action formula is most basic and broad representation of an effective sales formula that’s been around for decades.

Now that you have a basic understanding of this formula and how we’ll use it to write our script, we need to move onto the next step in the process, which is the creation of our actual sales presentation.

There are three formats you can put your presentation into…

First, it can be delivered as a long-form sales letter like the one I wrote for my book 10 years ago.

I don’t really bother with text-based sales presentations any more because videos work so much better, so let’s move on to that…

And why do videos work better by the way?

Because videos engage more of your senses.

While a written letter is visual only, a video sales letter, or “VSL” for short, involves the eyes, and the ears, and both of those allow you to convey emotion in a much stronger way than writing alone.

Your VSL can be live action with you on camera, or you can do what I typically do, which is to simply record the audio for the sales presentation, and combine it with images and slides into a video.

And finally, there’s a long-format version of a VSL, which is the webinar.

Tomorrow we’ll dive into both of these formats in detail, and I’m going to walk you through a few of my most success VSL and webinar case studies…

I wrote the simple scripts for these presentations and recorded them at home on my laptop over the past few years, and as a result, they’ve made over $50,000,000 in sales.

In other words, they work, and this skill-set can change dramatically your life.

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