The Psychology of Buyers: Secret Words That Drive Sales

Are you Looking for a Powerful Headline for your ad…or a killer title for your book…so that sales can double or even triple?

IF yes…then try this Amazing Secret Source that the Master Copywriter Gary Halbert recommends to copywriters.

Look, you won’t believe what you’re about to discover. But if you take it seriously, you’ll see amazing results for yourself.

I know…

You’re probably expecting to find yet another compilation of the same old tired headlines of ads that sold well in the past. If so, I’m sorry to disappoint you.

Don’t also expect find a book by some copywriter about some supposed formulas for writing effective headlines.

So what’s this about?

“The First Hundred Million”

That’s the title of the book I want you to check out for yourself.

It’s a very special book…that Master Copywriter Gary Halbert himself recommended for marketers and copywriters before his death.

This book is about 80 years old, if not more. Mr. Julius Emmanuel Haldeman published it after intense “experimentation” with the reading public of America and other parts of the world. So this book contains the findings of a 9-year “experiment”.

It’s a book about what makes people buy…concluded from 9 years of testing.

So if you’re a copywriter looking for “ever-green” ideas and compelling headlines for your next blockbuster marketing campaign, then you should the take following advice to heart…

“Here’s a suggestion only the most dedicated (driven) among you will take to heart. Go read a copy of THE FIRST HUNDRED MILLION!…. It contains much more value than I can extract for you here… Nothing like it has ever been written. It is where I learned my magic words. The ones that make my copy sizzle and my headlines impossible to ignore…. I love this book!” – Gary Halbert (An American Marketing Genius)

But how can you get a copy of this book? You have three options. I’ll come to these options shortly. But let me first tell you something interesting.

You see, this book was published in the 1920s. a few years later the author passed away and his son took over the publishing business. But fire gutted the entire plant house where the books were produced. Unfortunately, the publishing business couldn’t survive this severe blow. And since then the book has been out of print. And because of that the book is now very rare to come by.

That said…here are the three ways you can get a copy of this book:

  • If you’re in the U.S.A, you may get a copy to read from the following libraries (according to Gary Halbert): the Library of Congress and the Metropolitan Library in Manhattan;
  • You can buy a used copy from Amazon for around $200. That was the price I saw a few weeks back.
  • And you can also obtain an ebook copy from me right here on this site.

So if you would like to see for yourself whether this book really has something meaningful to offer you as a writer…and you want this information right now…just click on the link below to get your ebook copy.

Click here: Get Your Ebook Now Without Risk Or Obligation.


Breakthrough Headline Formulas

If you often get stuck like me looking for a great headline for ad or a blog post, then you’ll find this list really helpful.

And where from this list?

I stole them from a master craftsman.

And who’s this craftsman?

He’s none other than the advertising genius Eugene M. Schwartz.

I’m reading his Breakthrough Advertising for the second time. The first time I didn’t finish it. But this time I’m determined to see the last page.

The book is quite instructive and revealing. It takes you through the planning stages of writing a winning ad. You get to know how to face any ad-writing challenge. How to start and how to finish your project. It teaches you how  to dig into your market to reveal what sells.

Right now, I wish to share with you thirty-eight headline formulas Eugene discussed in this book. Forget the excessive use of capital words and exclamation marks. Rather look for the gem of wisdom buried in each headline formula and see how you can use the lesson to write your next winner.

Here we go…

1. Measure the size of the claim:




2. Measure the speed of the claim:



3. Compare the claim:



4. Metaphorize the claim:



5. Sensitize the claim by making the prospect feel, smell, touch, see or hear it:



6. Demonstrate the claim by showing a prime example:



7. Dramatize the claim, or its results:



8. State the claim as a paradox:



9. Remove limitations from the claim:



10. Associate the claim with values or people with whom the prospect wishes to be identified:



11. Show how much work, in detail, the claim does:



12. State the claim as a question:



13. Offer information about how to accomplish the claim:



14. Tie authority into the claim:



15. Before-and-after the claim:



16. Stress the news of the claim:



17. Stress the exclusivity of the claim:



18. Turn the claim into a challenge for the reader:



19. State the claim as a case-history quotation:



20. Condense the claim – interchange your product and the product it replaces:



21. Symbolise the claim – replace the direct statement or measurement of the claim with a parallel reality:


22. Connect the mechanism to the claim in the headline:



23. Startle the reader by contradicting the way he thinks the mechanism should work:


24. Connect the need and the claim in the headline:


25. Offer information in the ad itself:



26. Turn the claim or the need into a case history:



 27. Give a name to the problem or need:


28. Warn the reader about possible pitfalls if he doesn’t use the product:


29. Emphasize the claim by its phraseology – by breaking it into two sentences, or repeating it, or a part of it:



30. Show how easy the claim is to accomplish by imposing a imiversally-overcome limitation:


31. State the difference in the headline:


32. Surprsie your reader into realizing that former limitations have now been overcome:


33. Address the people who can’t buy your product:


34. Address your prospect directly:


35. Dramatize how hard it was to produce the claim:


36. Accuse the claim of being too good:


37. Challenge the prospect present limiting beliefs:


38. Turn the claim into a question and answer:


Did you find anything you may use in writing your next killer ad or post? Share your thoughts.  I’d be combining two or three of these formulas to produce my winners. How about you?


Frustrations of a Writer

‘Am I fake?’

Dear Reader, have you ever stopped to ask yourself that question?

I’ve asked myself that question countless number of times.

Sometimes it feels like this whole enterprise of writing is a waste of time.

I have come a long way.

Back in 2011, I officially began my writing journey after dreaming about it for a while.

I began with a Comprehensive Writing Course with The Writers Bureau, Manchester, UK.

It happened like this..

I was browsing through the pages of one of the national dailies in my country, Ghana, when I saw an ad about

a freelance course offered at The Writers Bureau.

I gave them an email and got a reply.

It was then I realised  they offered a Comprehensive Writing Course for people who wanted

to have a taste of the different forms of writing that one could do to earn some money.

I wrote letters, articles, stories and others.

Their promise was that you qualify for first diploma once you’ve earned your fees back by selling your writing.

I had one huddle.

My biggest challenge was that I was living in a developing country. And market for freelance work was almost non-existent.

The few newspapers available didn’t accept freelance work. I couldn’t find magazines for my work either.

So I decided to try oversees.

And you know what?

I met some challenges there, too.

There’s one principle in freelance writing.

Here it is: Know your market before you pitch an idea to them.

Going by this rule, I had to study at least three consecutive issues of a magazine before pitching them an idea.

I scraped some money together and bought magazines from the UK.

Each time, I had to wait for about a month to receive my copies.

With time, I couldn’t sustain this practice. So decided to send ideas and finished articles to magazines

and newspapers on ‘spec’.

Some were gracious enough to give me a sorry-not-for-us-this-time reply slips.

My rejection pile grew huge – embarrassingly huge – despite countless praises from my writing tuitors.

Finally I got $26 from an article I wrote for a client on Elance.

Nothing again after that.

Then in 2012, one of my articles was accepted for publication in the US for a fee of $50.

I got six copies of the magazine without the $50. I was thrilled nonetheless.

And I crossed to the fiction side of my writing course.

My tuitor said my short stories improved after each assignment.

Again, I had to look beyond the shores of my country for market.

It was during this period I spent money in paying for short story competition fees.

I didn’t win any.

Then I stumbled into the American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI).

This was in 2012. They offered a test-drive of their popular copywritng course.

And I paid for the first month, but I couldn’t continue the subscription.

But the one month was enough to arouse my interest in copywriting.

So subscribed to various copywriting blogs and newsletters…including another one month with  Dan’s GKIC.

Meanwhile, I started saving various sales letters I laid hands on.

I followed the first advice to any student of copywriting: write good sales letters down by hand.

A new route of possibility was opening before my eyes.

I thought if I became a good copywriter I could easily write for businesses within Ghana.

This time no more newspapers and magazines.

My first ‘spec’ sales letter went to the marketing manager of a chiropractic centre.

He said he liked it. That was the end of it.

Further follow-ups by letters and phone proved futile.

I didn’t know where else to turn. So I continued to learn from scraps of information on copywriter.

At the same time, I continued to write my short stories.

After a while, my writing course with The Writers Bureau got challenging and challenging.

When I got to writing stories for radio, I lost all enthusiasm for the course.

I was left with four assignments to complete the course.

These included writing stage drama and TV scripts.

I didn’t see how I was going to surmount this challenge.

After trying other jobs for a while, I came to back to copywriting full time.

I gathered some small money and registered my business, Persuasive Advertising.

I then sold my fridge. I added that money to a little from my dad to run two

ads in two newspapers.

Today for Paper A and tomorrow for paper B; that was how it run.

I received about 10 calls from business owners.

They thought I was going to work some sales miracles for them.

But my concept was confusing to them.

Some wanted a meeting with me, but I was far from them. About 690km, 11 hours by bus.

They were in the capital, Accra, but I was in the farthest nortthern part of Ghana.

In addition to this, I had poor mobile phone reception.

The result?

Nothing happened. No business.

But I continued to send letters to the CEOs of companies in the capital.

The first call came from the CEO of a life insurance company.

I hopped onto a bus for Accra.

The meeting lasted for about 15 minutes. He promised to talk with his marketing team about me.

Upon follow-up, he said they had an agency that handled all their advertising.

Bottom line, they wouldn’t need my services.

Second call came from the CEO of a shoe manufacturing company.

He was thrilled. He’d get back to me ‘after discussions with his team’.

He never did.

Third call came from the CEO of the insurance man again.

He suggested I handle his wife’s costume jewellry business.

I was to be paid 15% of the amount sales I bring in. I was to handle collating the of calls and replies from

interested buyers. And I was to design my ad in exactly one week.

We had meetings and phone conversations back and forth. And I lost interest in the whole thing.

Now, my third call has come from one of the major foreign banks in Ghana.

They want me to write a sales email for their specialised MasterCard for them ‘to see.’

After a deep thought, I decided to advise them to use a sales letter instead.

The advertising market is still green. I doubt if 20 people even know what copywriting is all about.

And what’s more, the Ghanaians are yet to fully trust and embrace internet transactions.

We still have people who read their emails monthly. How can you market to such people using emails?

So I sent them a four-paged sales letter and advised we use the email as lead to the sales letter.

I posted the drift letter today. You imagine that. Why not email it?

Because it might never be read.

The story continues…



The Only Marketing Advice Gary Bencivenga Says He May Give on His Deathbed

“If I were on my deathbed about to wheeze my last breath,” says Gary, “and you asked me to

sum up in a single sentence the most important marketing secret I could bequeath to

you before I kick the bucket (or bedpan), here is what I would whisper in your ear,

hopefully without giving you anything contagious.

It’s a 9-word sentence I first read in the book Reality in Advertising by

copywriting genius Rosser Reeves. This one sentence made fortunes for Reeves’

clients, as well as my own, and for scores of other marketers wise enough to apply it


This was how Gary Bencivenga, one of the top-three copywriters still alive today, began his controversial blog post.

And then dropped the bombshell…

“A gifted product is mightier than a gifted pen.”

Many marketers argue the customer should be the preoccupation of the copywriter. But Gary says it’s the product that determines whether the ad will be a winner or not. The product must engage your attention as a copywriter.

And when you look deep enough, the wisdom of his statement begins to emerge.

Also, in Ghana there’s this saying that…

“A good product sells itself.”

It implies, once a product has its own inherent qualities that customers want, then the marketer’s job is easy. It’s merely researching and telling the whole truth about the excellent product, how it solves customers’ problems.

It’s the secret that propels journey of any copywriter into stardom. He doesn’t have to fake qualities which don’t exist; he merely tells the facts as they are – creating a smooth transition from one benefit to another.

Above all, the copywriter makes those benefits the product offers come alive.

Gary, master of metaphors, illustrated his point with an equestrian metaphor in this fashion…

“You are a jockey. If you want to win more races, by all

means hone your craft. But even more important, learn how to spot and get yourself

assigned to faster horses. That’s a big part of building your reputation and career


You want your name associated with winners, not losers! Cultivating a jockey’s

eye for winners and then campaigning to ride them is one of the most rewarding

skills you can develop…While you can’t carry a flawed product—or a slow horse—on your back to glory, great products, like champion race horses, will put you in the winner’s circle consistently.”

As marketers, our job is not to invent product qualities.

At best, we are to guide manufacturers into making great product, based on our understanding of the market; products that customers will crave for. Our main duty is to communicate the benefits of the product to customers…in plain and simple language.

Once you have selected your winning product, consider all angles of it. Saturate yourself with the product information.

If you can, strive to know the product more than its maker!

Gather at least three times more information than you need for creating your copy. The reserve material is a source of inspiration.

It will boost your confidence. It’ll ignite your creative powers.

But where should you start from?

Start by asking all possible questions about the product.

Here are 10 question Gary suggests copywriters should use to reveal all the benefits of a product.

These are the starting point of any assignment.

  1. Why is this product made the way it is?
  2. What consumer problems, desires, and needs is it designed for?
  3. What’s special about it—why does it fulfill a consumer’s needs better than the competition?
  1. Who says so besides you?
  2. What are your strongest proof elements to make your case believable?
  3. What are all the product’s best features and how does each translate into a consumer benefit?
  1. If you had unlimited funds, how would you improve this product?
  2. Who are its heavy users—the 20 percent who generate 80 percent of sales?
  3. What irresistible offers might trigger an explosion in sales?
  4. What premiums can be tossed into the mix to press your prospects’ hot


If you have a great  product to market, then you will find that you copy almost writes itself.

It flows.

It’s like running water. You only need to direct its course to the desired destination.

And it will get there.

Never invent features and benefits for any product when they don’t exit. That’s not your job as a copywriter.

Instead, identify a winning product and sing its praises.


Because when you do, you’ll realise your yoke is easy and your burden is light.




5-Step Selling Strategy That Can Make You a Top Sales Professional….Your Crash Course in Face-to-Face Selling

Selling is easy, if only you know how to do it.

Harry Browne proves it by his five-step strategy for selling anything at all. There are all sorts of fallacies about selling. These are the very things that make it look extremely difficult. To be successful as a sales professional, you need to banish those wrong ideas from your mind.

What are some these fallacies about selling?
1. Selling is warfare between the seller and the buyer. No, it is no such thing. It’s rather a barter trade between the seller and the buyer. The seller gives the best possible thing the buyer desires. And the buyer too gives what the seller wants — that is money. If you view selling as offering value in exchange for money, it will never be warfare between you and the buyer. And you would never resort to aggression when selling anything.

2. You must never take ‘NO’ from the buyer. That is not true all. If you truly believe you offer value, then you needn’t bother when the buyer rejects it. Perhaps he doesn’t value the same thing you consider valuable. But why worry yourself over one person who doesn’t value what you offer? There are more prospects you can sell to. Remember that, unless both you the seller and the buyer agree that your exchange is profitable, there will be no sale.

3. You can always make people buy what they don’t want. That is not entirely correct. You may succeed a few times to do that, but only a few times. There are obvious dangers to this kind of mindset. First, you can’t get repeat customers and referrals that way. Second, people will soon know of you and try to avoid you or frustrate your efforts. And for ethical reasons, you wouldn’t want to be treated that way, so why treat others that way?

4. You must be a great talker to sell well. Not true. In fact, a good sales professional only leads the prospects to do much of the talking about their own problems. That is the basis of the sale. What you should have as a salesperson is a listening ear. A salesperson is one who listens to people’s problems and provides them with solutions for a fee. So if you keep talking without listening, how would you hear and know the prospect’s problems?

Going by Harry Browne’s selling philosophy; you find that selling is a natural process. You don’t need to be who you are not. You don’t need to be aggressive, or lie, or be dishonest for you to be successful as sales professional. You are a solution-provider. You simply give people what they want for themselves and they reward you with money for doing them a favour. Period. You shouldn’t expect to be able solve everybody’s problems with what you offer. You will be able to give some people what they want – those are your prospects.

To begin with, this 5-step strategy that is based on these points….
One, all human beings do things and buy things because they want to meet a desire that will make them happy.

Two, every human being has unique desires (motivations) he wants to satisfy.

Three, a happy eager customer is one who has seen how his inner desire (motivation) can be satisfied through buying a certain product.

So where do you come in as a salesperson? Your duty is to identify what the inner motivation of the customer is and show how your product satisfies that desire. If you can do this, there’s no reason why the customer won’t buy what you offer.

So the simple principle of all types of selling is…
‘Find out what a person wants and give him exactly that — through your offer.
Or as Harry Browne puts it… ‘Find the prospect’s motivation and appeal to it.’ And the secret to finding a person’s motivation towards what you offer is the problem he faces in relation to your type of service or product. So if someone hates delays in the banking hall, then your offer should be tailored towards quicker banking transactions. If your prospect doesn’t like the noise from his bed, then you should offer a solid bed which doesn’t make noise when he rolls on it. If a person values knowledge, show him how your books make him more knowledgeable in a particular subject.

Haven’t you ever experienced any of these ‘strange’ things before?
Have you ever seen your friend buy something you consider too expensive and of little value, but this friend of yours was so excited about the thing beyond reason? Your friend’s inner desire was different from yours. And she found that buying that thing would satisfy her desire. Simple as that.
Again, you may not understand why a man goes to a certain shop to buy items which cost double of what he could have bought them elsewhere. For all you know, he likes the attention he gets from the salesperson, or he simply admires the girl at the counter! That’s his motivation.
You can’t fight a person’s motivation. You can only use it in your favour. Always aim to satisfy that motivation when you’re selling.

Now here is the 5-step strategy that Harry Browne has used to boost his sales career. See how easy it is to use. Let’s briefly look at the process below…

Harry Browne’s 5-Step Sales Interview:
Step 1 – identifying the prospect’s inner desire and motivation
Everybody has a motivation for undertaking any project, for engaging in any activity and for buying anything. Your success of selling to this prospect what you offer is largely dependent on his motivation. If you appeal to the right motivation, then you can get the sale. You can guess what that motivation is. And if you are right, you get the sale. But why guess when you have the opportunity to know what his true motivation is. The prospect is before you – ask him. Yes, that’s the only way you can be sure about it. But don’t take it literally. You need to ask the right questions to get the right answers. You can’t simply ask a prospect, ‘what’s your motivation concerning x item?’ If you do, you won’t get the right answer.

Here are some questions you can ask…
1. For Life Insurance, ‘What’s your greatest concern about your family’s wellbeing in the future?’ or ‘What would like to put in place to secure the future of family from the uncertainties of life?’ Such questions will trigger some wonderful answers. Just listen and take note of them. No answer is correct or wrong and none is too stupid. They set the basis for you to make the sale. So listen. And ask questions to know more.

2. For a car salesman, ‘What’s the most important feature of a car to you?’ or ‘What do expect from your dream car?’

3. For real estate, ‘What type of house do you consider a perfect home?’ ‘How should a house look like to suit your taste?’

4. For a career advancement programme, ‘What makes an ideal/perfect job to you?…and what obstacles must you remove to get it?’
Your introduction may be something like this…
‘My name is Cyril from Persuasive Advertising. And you are? I’d like us talk about how you can get the ideal job you want. Do you have some time for this? Okay, thank you. I’ll make it brief.
But before we begin, may I ask what you consider your perfect job? And what is standing between you and that job right now?’

Step 2 – Confirm What You Thought You Heard.

How easy it is for us human beings to misunderstand each other! As a salesperson, misunderstanding your prospect only frustrates your selling. So you must confirm what you thought the prospect said about his motivation…his inner desires. Mr. Browne says this where you summarise the terms of your sale. This is the step you confirm whether you can solve the prospect’s problem with your offer. If you realize from this stage that your solutions can’t meet his desires, then excuse yourself and move to the next prospect. But if you realize that what you have will solve his problem, then move to step 3.

For example…
In the case of a car, you may say, ‘From what you’ve told me so far, I gather you want a car that is sleek and has a terrific speed on the road. Is that right?’ If the prospect doesn’t agree with you, then you go back to Step 1. Probably you got his motivations wrong. Find out his motivations again. But if he agrees with you, then proceed to Step 3.

Step 3 – Introduce your product
This is where you now begin to talk about what you have to offer, because you know what solution the prospect is looking for. At this point, you must discuss only the benefits of your product/service that will meet the prospect’s desires. Present the product or service in terms of what the prospect values. Tell him the part of your product/service that will make him happy. Resist the temptation to talk about other irrelevant features. Instead concentrate on what matters to this prospect. Discuss all the angles of what the product / service can do for the prospect to make him happy. If your product offers twenty benefits, but your prospect cares about only three of them, then deal with those three important ones. Leave the rest out unless the prospect asks you about them. Don’t dilute an effective sales interview with so many benefits. Sometimes, many features/benefits reduce the credibility of the claims you make about a product.

How to do it in practice…
Still for the car, you may say, ‘I’d like you to have a look at this brand new Mercedes Benz. It has just what you expect from your dream car. Consider its sleek style. Isn’t it splendid? And it can accelerate to 250 miles per hour in one minute. No ordinary car comes close to this feat. Just what you said you wanted.’

Step 4 – Handle Objections and Concerns about Your Product/Service
An interested prospect may have a few concerns about your offer. Don’t panic when he questions about your product/service. Answer them as honestly as you can. Don’t lie about the ability of your product. Be honest and open. Don’t dismiss any question as irrelevant. If it was irrelevant, the prospect wouldn’t raise it.

Mr. Browne’s proven formula for handling such concerns is…

He says you must first of all listen to what the prospect is saying. Don’t judge his answer as stupid or unreasonable. Just listen and understand it. After you have listened and understood the answer, agree with the prospect. Tell him he has raised a valid point. When you agree with anybody, the person sees you as a friend and then he willing listens to you too. When you are sure you have his attention, suggest a way that concern can be handled. Use the opportunity to alley all fears about your product. Go out of your way to solve his concern. Show him that you genuinely care about his total satisfaction. You’re not just there to take his money. You want to solve his problem. When all the prospect’s concerns have been addressed, you move to the final step.

Step 5 – Ask for the Sale
You’ve gone through all this trouble for one thing — to get the sale. If you clearly showed your prospect how your product/service was going to solve his problem, then your closing of the sale will be easy. You don’t need to talk volumes, because the prospect himself wants what you’re offering him. Some prospects may just ask you how much your product costs, in a bit to hurry the process. But if your prospect doesn’t ask for the product at this stage, ask him to do it. Your question should be framed as a logical conclusion of your discussion.

Some questions for closing sales are:
‘From our discussion, I can conclude you would want to open a current account with our bank right now. Is that correct?’
‘From your responses, I gather you want to place an order for a new mattress right away. Should I then proceed with the order?’
‘Is it okay with you if I go ahead and process your order for the brand new Mercedes Benz car, black colour, four-wheel drive, and auto-steering, right now?’

Expect these peculiar situations occasionally
How do you handle a situation, where a prospect tells you to present what you have, without listening to you? Simply explain that your product can do a number of things, but you want to save time by dealing with what may be relevant to him. So now you’d like to first know what his current situation is. Could he take a few minutes to explain that to you? Then quickly start with Step 1 of the sales interview.
Sometimes, the prospect may be busy, or he may be in a hurry for a meeting. In that case, tell him you’d like to schedule another meeting with him at a more convenient time to explain things well. Ask him what time he’d like you to come back. Never be in a hurry to talk about your offer. Get to know the prospect’s motivation before you offer anything.

The mark of great salesmanship is not your swiftness at selling people oranges when they want bananas. It’s rather your ability to discover the wants of people and satisfy them through what you offer.

It’s time for you to discover wants and sell to those wants. Do just that and watch your sales figures explode.

Have a fulfilling sales career!

(Sorry for the rather long blog post. I didn’t have time to write a short one!)



How to Building Trust in Your Marketing Message

Trust is a central point  in marketing. Without trust in your message and your product, the whole exercise of marketing is fruitless. But the question is:

How do you build trust in marketing?

You can do that in so many ways. But for purposes of this article, let’s look at these areas:

*Use testimonials – yes, this is an old technique and yet it still works. These testimonials are praises from past satisfied customers. Your word against a customer’s word, who do you think people will trust? Of course, the past customer. After all, he is the one who has tried your product or service before. Nearly all human beings depend on the experience of other people to make their decisions. This includes their buying decisions. We all want to experience the good things other people have experienced and avoid the unpleasant ones. So there’s no doubt testimonials carry tons of persuasive weight in marketing. But is it all testimonials that will do? Of course not. Any testimonial that stinks of manipulation and hints of insincerity is counterproductive. Testimonials should come from the heart of the customer and be sincere. They should not leak traces of ulterior motive.

So how do you make testimonials really solid marketing pieces, ones that are credible? Here are a few things that will be helpful:

  1. Use full names of customers for testimonials – with their permission.
  2. Give location of customers and contact details, if possible. The chief aim of testimonials is to show proof that real human beings have benefited from your service or product. This why you should consider including some details so that past customers can be contacted to confirm their experience with your product or service.
  3. Provide their job descriptions and titles. Authority carries marketing weight. Titles such as Doctor, Engineer, Professor etc. all add a lot of weight to your claims. Don’t forget that.
  4. Use specific testimonials, but not general ones. A good testimonial should spell out clearly how your product or service helped the customer achieve a particular thing. Achievement must be shown in terms of real figures and percentages and within a particular time frame.

*Show measurement – tell customers how they can measure the effectiveness of your product/service. What instrument can they use and what’s the scale of measurement? How does it compare with the standard in the industry? Show, don’t tell.

* Get and display the endorsement of experts and authorities on your product/service. It’s needless to say that these people should be seen as people who have no ties with you – no family, social or business relations. Any hint of some relationship with you reduces the credibility of their claims.

*Throw a challenge – Invite customers to put your claims to the test. Tell them your integrity is on the line. If it fails your trust is lost. And you don’t want that to happen.

*Include a good guarantee policy. Tell the customer what you stand to lose if they’re not satisfied with your product/service. Absorb any risks from their side. Make it easy for them to trust you.

*Seal it with your name and signature, if possible. No one wants to be identified with an inferior thing. So by giving the product your name or embossing the label with your signature, you demonstrate your trust in it. You trust it so much to lend it your identity. You aren’t ashamed of it.

There you have them – some common ways you can build trust in your marketing efforts. On the pitch of  selling, trust is everything. Once you lose it, you can forget about great sales figures.



Sales Strategies You Can Easily Apply to Make Your Business Sell More


In business, as in other things, it’s the little things that matter. It’s these little things, which will either make or break your marketing efforts. Below is a checklist of eight little things that you can do to make your business sell more…

  • What name should you give to business or product? Your marketing efforts start from your choice of name. Business or product names that suggest some benefit to the customer are the ones that attract customers naturally. Take your time. Don’t rush into choosing a company or service name. Choose a name that best sells your business.
  •  How should your position your product or service? Usually a product or service has so many ways of looking at it. For example, while other restaurants may just be happy to sell food, you can choose to sell something unique – say a romantic experience between couple. This one idea can separate you from the masses, which sell identical things. Always ask this question, ‘What am I really selling?’ This one question forces you to look beyond the obvious to see your business in a new light.
  • What’s your Unique Selling Proposition (UPS)? On a certain school campus, there were a number of pizza sellers. Some claimed theirs was ‘the cheapest’ and others said theirs was ‘the most delicious.’ Someone offered something different – and more specific. He said, ‘fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or less.’ It caught the market hands down. ‘Fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or less’ was his USP. This one statement promised the customer something specific – fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or less. In other words, order a pizza, and you’ll get it fresh and hot in a time of 30 minutes, or even less. He made sure he delivered on his promise, and his customers loved him for that.
  • Let your marketing message be one. Don’t confuse your customers with multiple marketing messages. Your adverts and other forms of marketing material must sing one marketing message. This way, old and new customers will know what your business stands for. It builds trust. And trust brings sales.
  • Be brutally honest with your customers. You can’t cheat the customer forever. She isn’t a moron. She’ll soon detect your dishonest schemes and cease doing business with you. Find a way to tell your customer the unpleasant truth. The following story will illustrate my point. I heard it from an online marketer. Here it goes…

An advertising executive bought an apple orchard by a mountain side. He sold his apples by mail order. He sold them with the name, ‘Uncle Jim’s Mountain Grown Apples.’ He also gave an unconditional guarantee…

‘If, for any reason, you find the apples unacceptable, just let me know and I’ll return your money with no questions asked.’

One year, hail storm blemished the apples. Yet they were tastier. Uncle Jim had more orders that year ever before. What was he to do? Send the blemished apples and hope his customer wouldn’t find out, or decline to supply the orders? This was what he did…he dispatched the apples to his customers with a note that read,

‘Notice the hail marks on the apples. These are proof of their growth at a high mountain altitude where sudden chills from hail storms help stimulate the natural fruit flavours which give Uncle Jim’s apples their incomparable taste.’

He was honest and yet turned his adversity into an advantage. As a result, he had fewer money-back requests than ever. Subsequent orders came with the inscription, ‘Hail-marked apples, if available. Otherwise, the regular kind.’

  • Create ads that sell. We have discussed these sort of ads in a previous article. You need to craft your ads like David Ogilvy, Claude Hopkins, John Caples, Mel Martin and other best ad writers. Hire a good copywriter to write the ads for you, if can’t do it yourself.
  • Sell your business through direct mail. Send good sales letters to your prospective customers. Here again, you should consider hiring a copywriter to craft these letters for you. It’s their job to persuade people to take action, through written messages.
  • Ask your clients for feedback. Display those that speak well of your business at vantage points as testimonials. But first ask your clients for their permission to use them as testimonials. Include client’s full name and address in the testimonial. Show these testimonials on your complimentary cards, brochures, stickers, web pages and other marketing material. Testimonials give credibility to your business. And credibility brings more sales. Never forget to use them.

You’d agree that these eight little things are not burdensome. Consider them in the light of the 80/20 rule, which says 20 percent of the things you do are responsible for 80 percent of your success. Follow this checklist and you’ll live to give your testimony later.

Any thoughts? I invite you to share your thoughts about the blog post with millions out there.

What’s the Magic behind these 5 Adverts – Written by Advertising Legends – that Made them Sell So Well?

The best advice in any field has always been to learn from the best examples. In other words – copy the masters. When you copy their style, you develop your own. This applies to ad writing too.

The best ad writers know what makes an ad sell – and they always deliberately employ these things to great effect.

Let’s learn from some old ads, which really sold well. The writers knew their craft. It’s our turn to profit from their work.

Are you ready? Let’s zoom in now…

Advert one: An ad for distance learning – it appeared in 1919

The top of the ad had a picture of a man handing cash to a woman. Underneath this was the headline:

“Here’s an Extra $50, Grace – I’m making real money now!”

And the lead paragraph went like this: ‘“Yes, I’ve been keeping it a secret until pay day came. I’ve been promoted with an increase of $50 a month. And the first extra money is yours. Just a little reward for urging me to study at home. The boss says my spare time training has made a valuable man to the firm and there’s more money coming soon. We’re starting up easy street, Grace, thanks to you and the I.C.S.!”’

Now some brief lessons so far…

The picture grabs attention, and contributes to the story.

Both headline and lead sentences are testimonial based. Good testimonial always sell ads. The headline also uses the factor of curiosity to effect. It makes the reader ask questions. It prompts the reader to find those answers in the ad.

But there’s more…

The lead paragraph gives want-based benefits. The paragraph after it gives need-based benefits and exploits the emotions based on fear. Then comes another paragraph telling the reader it’s easy to do, since thousands of people have done it. Following this is the paragraph that makes the whole thing credible. Human being always doubt. So credibility helps to them to buy. And the last paragraph pushes the sales in this form:

‘You have the same chance they (referring to successful students) had. What are you going to do with it? Can you afford to let a single priceless hour pass without at least finding out what the I.C.S can do for you? Here is all we ask – without cost, without obligating yourself in any way, simply mark and mail this coupon.’

What a perfect way to push a sale? This ad was to get interested people to request more information. Such ads are called lead generation ads. The idea is, once they have these interested people, they will then target specific follow-up messages to them to seal the sale.

You can get a complete analysis of the ad by clicking this link.

Advert two: an ad for a bathing soap – used as a natural beauty treatment

It had editorial lay-out and three pictures. The first picture, located top right of the page, showed a woman washing her face. In the middle of the page was a larger picture of a woman observing herself in the mirror. And the third picture appeared far below the page. It contained the picture of the soap and its retail price.

The headline read, ‘Why Ordinary Beauty Treatments Fail – you must wash your face, too.’

And the lead paragraph also went like this:

‘The secret of a successful beauty treatment lies in protecting the natural loveliness underneath rouge and powder. Cosmetics can enhance beauty but they cannot create it. And many woman, unaware of the importance of washing for beauty, are unconsciously endangering complexion loveliness every day.’

The other paragraphs detailed how exactly women were endangering themselves with cosmetics. It gave washing of their faces with their soap as the solution to this danger. It concluded by inviting women to even go beyond washing their faces with the soap to using it for bathing, because it’s inexpensive.

Other smaller side bars contained instructions for both night and day treatments. And at the bottom border was the inscription, ‘KEEP THAT SCHOOLGIRL COMPLEXION.’

The main lesson is this…the ad is information packed about what constitutes beauty treatment. It’s also an easy and enjoyable read. It invites you to read further.

Advert three: ad for beer

Headline, ‘Perfection of 50 Years

The lead sentence read, ‘Back of each glass of Schlitz Beer there is an experience of fifty years.’

The next two paragraphs tell a story of how the brewing business started from its humbling beginnings in a hut. Human being love stories. So this strategy tempts the reader to read further. The ad goes ahead to detail all the work the brewery does to get the best for the consumer. From the selection of hops and barley to bottling and sterilization. The reader sees the work and feels that these people have her interest at heart. She must buy from them.

Now see the conclusion for yourself. See how the ad pushes the sale…

 ‘Ask for beer, and you get the beer that best suits your dealer. He may care more for his profits than for your health. Ask for Schlitz, you get the best beer that the world ever knew.’

Advert four: A 1959 ad for a car

Mr. David Ogilvy wrote this ad. It had editorial lay out as usual. Top of page had picture of the car being advertised. With a man in the driver’s seat..waiting for two ladies. Beneath this came the headline:

‘“At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”’

This is another testimonial based headline. Below the headline was another inscription, ‘What makes Rolls-Royce the best car in the world? “There is really no magic about it – it is merely patient attention to detail,” says an eminent Rolls-Royce engineer.’”

The writer proceeds to list all the features and benefits to this car. Over 12 of them. But he begins with a testimonial from Technical Editor of THE MOTOR. This gives credibility and promotes sales. The ad gives specific details about testing, brakes and things that matter to car owners.

How does Mr. Ogilvy push the sale? Check this out, ‘If you would like the rewarding experience of driving a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, write or telephone to one of the dealers listed on the opposite page.’

Advert five: An ad for men shirts

Another work of Mr. Ogilvy. So what do you expect? Editorial lay out and a picture, of course. The picture has man with an eye patch, wearing a long-sleeved shirt and tie – with people taking his measurements.

The headline exploits curiosity of the human being. It makes you think of a story.

It says, ‘The man in the Hathaway shirt’.

Now, take a look at the lead sentence: ‘AMERICAN MEN are beginning to realize that it is ridiculous to buy good suits and then spoil the effect by wearing an ordinary, mass-produced shirt. Hence the growing popularity of HATHAWAY shirts, which are in a class by themselves.’

The second paragraph gives want based benefits. The third paragraph details how fabric for shirts are got and how the shirts are made. The fourth paragraph tells the reader the people who make these shirts and how long the company has been doing it – one hundred and fifteen years. This gives credibility.

How does Mr.Ogilvy push the sale? He does it this way, ‘At better stores everywhere, or write C.F. HATHAWAY, Waterville, Maine, for the name of your nearest store. In New York, telephone MU 9-4157. Prices from $5.50 to $25.00.

Finally, you’re done. I hope you found a thing or two worth adding to your knowledge bank. You may contact me for full copies of the ads for study. Send a request through the contact page of this blog. Once you receive, take time to study them.  And see what happens.

Advertising Wisdom from Claude Hopkins – 27 lessons for grabs

The sole purpose of ads is to bring sales, says Claude Hopkins, in his book titled, ‘Scientific Advertising.’

For adverts to bring sales, they need to be based on established principles. They need to be based on the patterns of human behavior. Various tests have proved these principles true. And we could also model our adverts by them.

What are these principles? What brings sales and what drives it away? Let’s learn from the wisdom of Claude Hospkins. I thought it best to present these lessons in his own words. Memorise each lesson and apply them to your own adverts. And watch what the difference they make.

Listen to Claude Hospkins now as he teaches ageless advertising wisdom.

Lesson one: how you should view advertising

‘Advertising is salesmanship. Its principles are the principles of salesmanship….Thus every advertising question should be answered by the salesman’s standards.’

Lesson two: why do you advertise?

‘The only purpose of advertising is to make sales. It is profitable or unprofitable according to its actual sales. It is not for general effect. It is not to keep your name before people. It is not primarily to aid your other salesmen.’

 Lesson three: should your advert be long or short?

‘Some say “Be very brief. People read for little.’” And Mr. Hopkins replies, ‘The only readers we get are people our subject interests. No one reads ads for amusement, long or short. Consider them [readers] as prospects standing before you, seeking for information. Give them enough to get action.’

Lesson four: how should you type your advert?

‘Some advocate large type and big headlines. Yet they do not admire salesmen who talk in loud voices…. It only multiples your cost of advertising.’

Lesson five: how should you write your advert?

‘Ads are not written to entertain. When they do, those entertainment seekers are little likely to be the people whom you want. That is one of the greatest advertising faults. Ad writers abandon their parts. They forget they are salesmen and try to be performers. Instead of sales, they seek applause.’

Lesson six: how should you target your prospects?

‘Don’t think of people in the mass. That gives you a blurred view. Think of a typical individual, man or woman, who is likely to want what you sell. Don’t try to be amusing. Money spending is a serious matter. Don’t boast, for all people resent it. Don’t try to show off. Do just what you think a good salesman should do with a half-sold person before him.’

Lesson seven: do you make this mistake when writing your adverts?

‘Ads are planned and written with some utterly wrong conception. They are written to please the seller. The interests of the buyer are forgotten. One can never sell goods profitable, in person or in print, when that attitude exists….Remember the people you address are selfish, as we all are. They care nothing about your interests or your profit. They seek service for themselves. Ignoring this fact is a common mistake and a costly mistake in advertising. Ads say in effect, “Buy my brand. Give me the trade you give to others. Let me have the money.” That is not a popular appeal.’

Lesson eight: the best way to sell

‘The best ads ask no one to buy. That is useless. Often they do not quote a price. They do not say that dealers handle the product. The ads are based entirely on service. They offer wanted information. They site {sic} advantages to users. Perhaps they offer a sample, or to but the first package, or to send something on approval, so the customer may prove the claims without any cost or risks. Some of these ads seem altruistic. But they are based on the knowledge of human nature. The writers know how people are led to buy.’

Lesson nine: why you should include coupons as part of your adverts

‘Mail order advertising usually contains a coupon. That is there to cut out as a reminder of something the reader has decided to do. Mail order advertisers know that readers forget.’

Lesson ten: the advantage of long adverts

‘Mail order advertising tells a complete story if the purpose is to make an immediate sale. You see no limitations there on amount of copy. The motto there is, “The more you tell, the more you sell.” And it has never failed to prove out so in any test we know.’

Lesson eleven: why do you use headlines?

‘The purpose of headline is to pick out people you can interest. You wish to talk to someone in a crowd. So the first thing you say is, “Hey there, Bill Jones” to get the right person’s attention. So in an advertisement. What you have will interest certain people only, and for certain reasons. You care only for those people. Then create a headline which will hail those people only.’

Lesson twelve: how helpful are headlines?

‘Headlines on ads are like headlines on news items. Nobody reads a whole newspaper….We pick out what we wish to read by headlines, and we don’t want those headlines misleading.’

Lesson thirteen: why do you think people read adverts?

‘But people do not read ads for amusement. They don’t read ads which, at a glance, seem to offer nothing interesting. A double-page ad on a women’s dress will not gain a glance from a man.’

Lesson fourteen: the importance of psychology in advertising

‘The competent advertising man must understand psychology. The more he knows about it the better. He must learn that certain effects lead to certain reactions, and use that knowledge to increase results and avoid makes…Human nature is perpetual. In most respects it is the same toady as in the time of Caesar. So the principles of psychology are fixed and enduring. You will never need to unlearn what you learn about them.’

Lesson fifteen: two ways to apply psychology in advertising

‘We learn, for instance, that curiosity is one of the strongest human incentives. We employ it when we can.’

‘We learn that people judge largely by price. They are not experts. In the British National Gallery is a painting which announced in a catalog to have cost $750,000. Most people at first pass it by at a glance. Then later they get farther on in the catalog and learn what the painting cost. They return then and surround it.’

Lesson sixteen: why you should make your adverts more specific

‘Platitudes and generalities roll off the human understanding like water from a duck. They leave no impression whatever.  To say, “Best in the world,””Lowest price in existence,” etc. are at best simply claiming the expected. But superlatives of that sort are usually damaging. They suggest looseness of expression, a tendency to exaggerate, a careless truth. They lead readers to discount all the statements that you make.’

‘The weight of an argument may often be multiplied by making it specific. Say that a tungsten lamp give more light than a carbon and you leave some doubt. Say it gives three and one-third the light and people realize that you have made tests and comparisons. A dealer may say, “Our prices have been reduced” without creating any marked impression. But when he says, “Our prices have been reduced 25 per cent” he gets full value of his announcement.’

Lesson seventeen: why you need to make your advert detailed

‘Whatever claim you use to gain attention, the advertisement should tell a story reasonable complete….Bring all your good arguments to bear. Cover every phase of your subject. One fact appeals to some, one to another. Omit any one and a certain percentage will lose the fact which might convince.’

Lesson eighteen: the purpose of each repeated advert

‘In every ad consider only new customer. People using your product are not going to read your ads. They have already read and decided. You might advertise month after month to present users that the product they use is poison, and they would never know it. So never waste one line of your space to say something to present users, unless you can say it in your headlines. Bear in mind always that you can address an unconverted prospect.’

Lesson nineteen: when to use pictures in adverts

‘Pictures in advertising are very expensive….Pictures should not be used merely because they are interesting. Or to attract attention. Or to decorate an ad….Use pictures only to attract those who may profit you. Use them only when they form a better selling argument than the same amount of space set in type.’

Lesson twenty: what it takes to write an advert that sells

‘An ad-writer, to have a chance at success, must gain full information on his subject….A painstaking advertising man will often read for weeks on some problem which comes up…Perhaps in may volumes he will find few facts to use. But some one fact may be the keynote of success.’

‘The uninformed would be staggered to know the amount of work involved in a single ad. Weeks of work sometimes. The ad seems so simple, and it must be simple to appeal to simple people. But back of that ad may lie reams of data, volumes of information, months of research. So this is no lazy man’s field.’

Lesson twenty-one: the game of advertising

‘Advertising is much like war, minus the venom. Or much, if you prefer, like a game of chess. We are usually out to capture other’s citadels or garner others’ trade.’

‘We must have skill and knowledge. We must have training and experience, also right equipment….We dare not underestimate opponents.’

Lesson twenty-two: why use samples in advertising?

‘The product itself should be its own best salesman. Not the product alone, but the product plus a mental impression, and atmosphere, which you place around it. That being so, samples of prime importance. However expensive, they usually form the cheapest selling method. ‘

‘Samples serve numerous valuable purposes. They enable on to use the word “Free” in ads. That multiplies readers. Most people want to learn about an offered gift. Test often shows that sample pay for themselves – perhaps several times over – in multiplying the readers of your ads without additional cost of space.’

‘A sample gets action. The reader of your ad may not be convinced to the point of buying. But he ready to learn more about the product you offer. So he cuts out a coupon, lays it aside, and later mails it or presents it. Without that coupon, he would soon forget. Then you have the name and address of an interested prospect. You can start him using your product. You can give him fuller information. You can follow him up.’

Lesson twenty-three: the right people to give samples

‘Give samples to interested people only. Give them only to people who exhibit that interest by some effort. Give them only to people whom you have told your story. First create an atmosphere of respect, a desire, an expectation. When people are in that mood, your sample will usually confirm the qualities you claim.’

Lesson twenty-four: the importance of tests in advertising

‘Almost any questions can be answered, cheaply, quickly and finally, by a test campaign….Go to the court of last resort – the buyers of your product.’

‘Now we let the thousands decide what the millions will do. We make a small venture, and watch cost and result. When we learn what a thousand customers cost, we know almost exactly what a million will cost. When we learn what they buy, we know what a million will buy.’

‘Suppose a chemist would say in an arbitrary way that this compound was best, or that better. You would little respect his opinion. He makes tests – sometimes hundreds of tests – to actually know which is best. He will never state a supposition before he has proved it. How long before advertisers in general will apply that exactness to advertising?”

Lesson twenty-five: the need for a human touch to adverts

‘That’s why we have signed ads sometimes – to give them a personal authority. A man is talking – a man who takes pride in his accomplishments – not a “soulless corporation.” Whenever possible we introduce a personality into our ads. By making a man famous, we make his product famous. When we claim an improvement, naming the man who made it adds effect. Then we take care not to change an individuality which has proved appealing. Before a man writes a new ad on that line, he gets into the spirit adopted by the advertiser. He plays a part as an actor plays it.’

Lesson twenty-six: why adverts should have a constant tone

‘In successful advertising  great pains are taken to never change our tone. That which won so many is probably the best way to win others. Then people come to know us. We build on that acquaintance rather than introduce a stranger in strange guise. People do not know us by name alone, but by looks and mannerisms. Appearing different every time we meet never builds up confidence.’

Lesson twenty-seven: why you should avoid negative advertising

‘To attack a rival is never good advertising. Don’t point out others’ faults. It is not permitted in the best mediums. It is never good policy. The selfish purpose is apparent. It looks unfair, not sporty. ‘

‘Show a bright side, the happy and attractive side, not the dark and uninviting side of things. Show beauty, not homeliness; health, not sickness. Don’t show the wrinkles you propose to remove, but the face as it will appear. Your customers know all about the wrinkles.’

‘We are attracted by sunshine, beauty, happiness, health, success. Then point the way to them, not the way out of the opposite. Picture envied people, not the envious. Tell people what to do, not what to avoid. Make your every ad breath good cheer.’

‘Assume that people will do what you ask. Say, “Send now for this sample.” Don’t say, “Why do you neglect this offer?” That suggests that people are neglecting. Invite them to follow the crowd.’

‘Compare the results of two ads, one negative, one positive. One presenting the dark side. one the bright side. one warning, the other inviting. You will be surprised. You will find that the positive ad out pulls the other four to one, if you have our experience.’

Thanks for taking time to read the lessons. I hope you found one or two lessons helpful. Do you have anything to say about them? Feel free to share thoughts. We appreciate your contributions.

The earlier you admit this, the better for you

Love It. Hate it. Don’t just forget it – you’re a salesperson

It recently dawned on me that a good part of human existence depends on selling. Some are overt strategies. Others involve covert ones.

Any time you have to persuade someone to change their views and accept what you proclaim, remember that you’re selling. Whether you’re a job seeker planning to land your dream job, or a business owner trying to get more customers, or even a young man trying to woo the lady of your fantasies, you’ll have to employ selling strategies to get your way through. These days, religious leaders have even turned to more overt approaches to gain more members into their fold.

So to bring you bring you top-class selling strategies that have worked and still continue to work is what I want to turn my attention to. What new thing should you expect? A lot. See, I’ll review books that teach winning methods of selling. I’ll bring you blogs which speak and walk the craft of selling. When possible, I’ll interview people who have created indelible landmarks in the area of selling. And much, much more.

Let’s hit the ground running in this new direction. I’d like to give a gift to all the persons out there who’re convinced that they are salespeople. It’s a gift I received from a salesman and I intend want to pass it on to you. In fact, a series of posts on this blog for the coming weeks will be about this gift. It’s an ebook format of a gem of book titled, ‘Scientific Advertising,’ written by Claude Hopkins.  It’s about this book the late advertising legend David Ogilvy said:

‘Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times. It changed the course of my life.’

If you’re familiar with Mr. Ogilvy works in the area of crafting advertising promotions that sell far beyond all imagination, then you’d like to take this book seriously. Why? He’s said to be the brain behind modern advertising. And his company Ogilvy and Mather testifies to his achievements as a salesman. From a humble beginning of only two stuff and no clients, it now boasts of 450 offices in 169 cities. And a bulging list of top notch clients.

If you’re ready for more, let’s delve into this little book to find out what wisdom it has to give in the area of selling. Lets I forget. You may download the book here:  Scientific Advertising

Lessons for Day One

  1. Advertising is now a science. It is measurable. It has laws. There’s a right way and wrong way. It has long changed from what happened in the past, probably during the Pre-Hopkin’s days.
  2. It’s difficult to measure intricate details about humans. But things are closer now than before. Some things about human beings have changed with time. Others are as constant as the earth’s orbit around the sun.
  3. One thing is certain. Losses will come in advertising. But now there are established laws which will reduce the losses. Any loss should be added to the knowledge bank of things that don’t work.

These are just the stepping stones to a better understanding of the whole concept of selling. What else did you get from reading the first chapter of the advertiser’s bible? Share your findings with us.