Wooden by John Wooden

Categories Management & LeadershipPosted on

Youmust know who you are and be true to who you are if you are going to be who you can and should become.

Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.

The Five Big Ideas

  • You must know who you are and be true to who you are if you are going to be who you can and should become.
  • You cannot have a perfect day without helping others with no thought of getting something in return.
  • You have to apply yourself each day to become a little better.
  • If you sincerely try to do your best to make each day a masterpiece, angels can do no better.
  • Drink deeply from those great books of your own choosing and you will enrich yourself.

It took me a long time to understand that even a stubborn mule responds to gentleness.

Four things a man must learn to do if he wants to make his life true:

Think without confusion clearly

Love his fellow-man sincerely

Act from honest motives purely

Trust in God and Heaven securely.

Be true to yourself.

Help others.

Make each day your masterpiece.

Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.

Make friendship a fine art.

Build a shelter against a rainy day.

Pray for guidance and count and give thanks for your blessings every day.

You must know who you are and be true to who you are if you are going to be who you can and should become.

You cannot have a perfect day without helping others with no thought of getting something in return.

You have to apply yourself each day to become a little better.

If a player appeared to be taking it easy in practice, Wooden would tell him, “Don’t think you can make up for it by working twice as hard tomorrow. If you have it within your power to work twice as hard, why aren’t you doing it now?”

If you sincerely try to do your best to make each day a masterpiece, angels can do no better.

Drink deeply from those great books of your own choosing and you will enrich yourself.

Your faith, whatever it may be, is the greatest shelter of all.

So often we fail to acknowledge what we have because we’re so concerned about what we want.

It’s important to keep trying to do what you think is right no matter how hard it is or how often you fail. You never stop trying. I’m still trying.

Never believe you’re better than anybody else, but remember that you’re just as good as everybody else.

Very early we understood that there would be times when we disagreed but there would never be times when we had to be disagreeable.

Abraham Lincoln once said that the best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother.

The person you are is the person your child will become.

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Character is what you really are. Reputation is what people say you are.

Make the effort to do the best you are capable of doing—in marriage, at your job, in the community, for your country.

Perfection is what you are striving for, but perfection is an impossibility. However, striving for perfection is not an impossibility. Do the best you can under the conditions that exist. That is what counts.

“I tell people I definitely believe in God,” Wooden writes. “I just hope God believes in me.”

There’s nothing wrong with having faults so long as you work conscientiously to correct them.

People want to believe you are sincerely interested in them as persons, not just for what they can do for you.

True happiness comes from the things that cannot be taken away from you.

Wooden believe that things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.

You have little say over how big or how strong or how smart or rich someone else may be. You do have, at least you should have, control of yourself and the effort you give toward bringing out your best in whatever you’re doing. This effort must be total, and when it is, Wooden believes you have achieved personal success.

Try your hardest in all ways and you are a success. Period. Do less than that and you have failed to one degree or another.

Preparation is where success is truly found.

A successful journey becomes your destination and is where your real accomplishment lies.

Likewise, in Wooden’s coaching, he informed every player who came under his supervision that the outcome of a game was simply a by-product of the effort they made to prepare.

You never fail if you know in your heart that you did the best of which you are capable. I did my best. That is all I could do.

You always win when you make the full effort to do the best of which you’re capable.

You can make mistakes, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming others for those mistakes.

Do not become too concerned about what others may think of you. Be very concerned about what you think of yourself.

Goals should be difficult to achieve because those achieved with little effort are seldom appreciated, give little personal satisfaction, and are often not very worthwhile.

Mix idealism with realism and add hard work. This will often bring much more than you could ever hope for.

Understand there is a price to be paid for achieving anything of significance. You must be willing to pay the price.

The worthy opponent brings out the very best in you. This is thrilling.

Wooden told his athletes in basketball, “I don’t care if you are tall, but I do care if you play tall.” It’s just another way of saying that he judged them by the level of effort they gave to the team’s journey.

Perhaps you fret and think you can’t make a difference in the way things are. Wrong. You can make the biggest difference of all. You can change yourself. And when you do that you become a very powerful and important force—namely, a good role model.

Promise to give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

Don’t measure yourself by what you’ve accomplished, but rather by what you should have accomplished with your abilities.

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Leadership is the ability to get individuals to work together for the common good and the best possible results while at the same time letting them know they did it themselves.

Develop a love for details. They usually accompany success.

The four laws of learning are explanation, demonstration, imitation, and repetition.

People learn more effectively if given information in bite-size amounts rather than everything all at once.

There’s a difference between the journey and the inn.

Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.

Buy this bookhttps://amzn.to/2DRI0C6

Print | Kindle | Audiobook

The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy

Categories sellPosted on
  • Anyone can learn how to write copy that sells
  • Copywritingis a mechanical process rather than an art
  • Greatsales copy is indispensable in today’s ultra-competitive world

The Five Big Ideas

Determine your ideal buyer’s priorities

Never attempt to divert your reader’s attention from the object it is focused on.Rather, enter the conversation already occurring in their mind

Organize your product or service’s features and benefits in order of importance

Build credibility by admitting openly discussing the drawbacks to your offer

No one is sitting around hoping and praying that he or she will receive your sales letter

The Ultimate Sales Letter Summary

Step 1: Get “Into” the Customer

Step 2: Get “Into” the Offer

Step 3: Create a Damaging Admission and Address Flaws Openly

Step 4: Get Your Sales Letter Delivered

Step 5: Get Your Sales Letter Looked At

Step 6: Get Your Sales Letter Read

Step 7: Beat the Bugaboo

Step 8: Motivate Action

Step 9: Write the First Draft

Step 10: Rewrite for Strategy

Step 11: Rewrite for Style

Step 12: Answer Questions and Objections

Step 13: Spark Immediate Action

Step 14: The Creative PS

Step 15: Check the Checklists

Step 16: Use Graphic Enhancement

Step 17: Rewrite for Passion! Edit for Clarity!

Step 18: Compare Your Draft to Examples

Step 19: Pretest

Step 20: Bring Your Letter to Life

Step 21: Change Graphic Enhancements

Step 22: Edit Again

Step 23: Mail a Mockup

Step 24: The Cool-Off

Step 25: Get Second Opinions

Step 26: Give It the Final Review

Step 27: Go to Press

Step 28: Test

Step 29: Sometimes, Outsourcing

Writing copy that sells is not a creative act so much as it is a mechanical process, adhering to formulas, and assembling essential component parts within a reliable framework.

Before writing, you may find it useful to build reference lists or stacks of 3-by-5-inch cards—“What I Know about Our Customers … about Our Product … ” and so on.

Kennedy’s “10 Smart Market Diagnosis and Profiling Questions”

What keeps them awake at night, indigestion boiling up their esophagus, eyes open, staring at the ceiling?

What are they afraid of?

What are they angry about? Who are they angry at?

What are their top three daily frustrations?

What trends are occurring and will occur in their businesses or lives?

What do they secretly, ardently desire most?

Is there a built-in bias to the way they make decisions? (Example: engineers = exceptionally analytical)

Do they have their own language?

Who else is selling something similar to their product, and how?

Who else has tried selling them something similar, and how has that effort failed?

Once you’ve begun that process of identification, you’ll be in a good position to determine what the recipient of your letter wants. Write these items down in order of priority.

You must determine accurately, in advance, what your customers’ priorities are. And you must address their priorities, not yours.

The danger for the business owner writing copy for himself and for his own business is ingrained assumption—encouraging shortcutting or altogether neglecting this step.

“Always enter the conversation already occurring in the customer’s mind.” — Robert Collier (also known as “The Collier Principle”).

Ask yourself, “What will your customers be thinking about and talking about the day they receive or see your sales copy?”

Do not arrive as an interruption or disruption, attempting to divert your reader’s attention from the object it is focused on, fighting to interest him in something different from what he is already, at this moment, interested in.

Just as you try to crawl inside the letter recipient’s mind and heart, you want to crawl around in your product or service, too.

List every possible feature and benefit, then organize them by importance.

“People do not buy things for what they are; they buy things for what they do.”

By acknowledging the flaws, you force yourself to address your letter recipient’s questions, objections, and concerns. You also enhance your credibility.

By admitting and openly discussing the drawbacks to your offer, your “credibility stock” goes way up on most of your letter recipients’ charts. This is called “damaging admission copy.”

Look at the flaws and disadvantages of your product, service, business, or proposition as problems and obstacles as building blocks in a believable, interesting, and persuasive message.

Early in the process of putting together your sales letter, think about getting the finished letter into the hands of people who can respond.

Kennedy writes,

In case you had illusions to the contrary, no one is sitting around hoping and praying that he will receive your sales letter. When it arrives, it is most likely an unwelcome pest. How do you earn your welcome as a guest? By immediately saying something that is recognized by the recipient as important and valuable and beneficial.

Fill-In-the-Blank Headlines with Examples

They Didn’t Think I Could ________, but I Did.

Who Else Wants ________?

How ________ Made Me ________

Are You ________?

How I ________

How to ________

Secrets Of ________

Thousands (Hundreds, Millions) Now ________ Even Though They ________

Warning: ________

Give Me ________ and I’ll ________

________ ways to ________

One of the simplest ways to strengthen a headline is attaching a “flag.” The Flag is brief, as brief as a single word, stuck on the front of the headline, to reach out and grab the attention of certain specific prospects, by telegraphing that the message is specifically for them. This puts the “who is this for?” ahead of what is being advertised and sold (if you’re writing online, Brian Dean discusses doing this for on-page SEO, by “frontloading” your target keyword at the front of your headline).

Another form of flagging is to focus on the “ill to be cured” or “problem to be solved.” This is usually best done by posing a question, as in these examples

If we were writing a sales letter for an ordinary apple, instead of just saying that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” we might list every vitamin and mineral provided by the apple, then list every health benefit delivered by each of those vitamins and minerals. We might then show the huge bulk of other foods you’d have to consume to get those same nutrients and benefits—all to turn that little apple into a huge “bulk” of benefits and value.

Three Letter Formulas That Let You Transcend Price Questions

Formula #1: Problem Agitation Solution

Kennedy says it may be the most reliable sales formula ever invented.

When using problem, agitate, solution, first, define the customer’s problem in clear, straightforward terms (saying only enough to elicit agreement). Once the problem is established, clearly and factually, inject emotion and agitate the problem. Lastly, unveil the solution, the answer—your product or services and the accompanying benefits.

Kennedy’s sales trainer friend, the famous (late) Cavett Robert, said to sell life insurance or cemetery plots, you have to make your customer see the hearse backed up to the door.

Formula #2: Fortune-telling

We’re fascinated by those who can predict the future.

Formula #3: Winners and Losers

Your copy needs to polarize your audience. Kennedy refers to “The $2 billion dollar sales letter” from The Wall Street Journal as a good example of putting the reader in “either/or” camp.

All successful selling is by nature and necessity manipulative and must apply pressure to get decision and action.

How to Motivate Action

Technique #1: Intimidation

i. Limited Number Available

Also known as “Scarcity” (See Influence by Robert Cialdini)

ii. Most Will Buy

This technique relies on what is sometimes called the “bandwagon effect,” creating the idea that a huge trend has developed, everybody is getting involved, and anyone who passes it up is, quite simply, an idiot.

iii. You Will Buy Only If …

Challenge the reader’s ego and pride.

a. You Can Buy Only If …

Use an “application process” to make people qualify to buy.

b. Only Some Can Qualify …

This appeals to the person’s desire to be part of an elite group, for approval and recognition.

Show the prospect something interesting, appealing, or desirable, then snatch it away and have it play hard to get.

Technique #2: Demonstrate ROI—Sell Money at a Discount

In business-to-business sales letters, it’s very important to talk about, promise, and if possible, demonstrate ROI.

Demonstrating ROI puts you in the position of “selling money at a discount.”

ROI can be presented in terms of dollars to be made or in terms of dollars to be saved.

It sometimes pays to exaggerate our ROI promise, then bring the reader back down with copy like this: … and even if I’m only half right, you’ll still pocket over $ …

Technique #3: Ego Appeals

When a product, a service, an association with a certain company, or any offer is convincingly portrayed as a status symbol, you’ve got the basis of a good sales letter.

Technique #4: Strong Guarantee

i. Basic Money-Back Guarantee

This is the simple, basic approach: “If, for any reason, you are not fully satisfied with your purchase, return it for a full refund.”

You might say “delighted” or “thrilled” or even use fancier language, rather than “satisfied.”

ii. Refund and Keep the Premium

You can strengthen your guarantee by linking it with a premium (free bonus gift).

iii. Redundancy

Be deliberately redundant. Say the same thing twice or even three times! For example: “Receive a full 100 percent refund of every penny you paid.”

a. Free Trial Offer

You can give your guarantee a different twist by presenting it as a free trial offer.

b. Make the Guarantee the Primary Focus of the Offer

You can sometimes increase the effectiveness of your entire sales letter by making the guarantee the featured item.

Technique #5: Be a Storyteller

Study good fiction and fiction writers so you can write good stories and create good storylines for sales letters.

“Who’s going to read all your copy?” Those people most likely to respond.

Write for the buyer, not the non-buyer. Real prospects are hungry for information.

You can divide recipients into two personality extremes: the impulsive and the analytical.

In a sales letter, you can convey your basic sales message and promise:

In a straightforward statement

In an example

In a story, sometimes called a “slice of life”

In testimonials

In a quote from a customer, expert, or another spokesperson

In a numbered summary

How to Stimulate Immediate Response

Limited Availability



Multiple Premiums

Discounts for Fast Response, Penalties For Slow Response

Ease of Responding

By properly summarizing the offer/promise in your PS, you can inspire the recipient to dig in and read the entire letter, or simply add an extra incentive to respond.

Dan Kennedy’s Copywriting Checklist

This step is the way to be certain you incorporate as many successful strategies, formulas, and techniques as possible in your sales letter.

Did you answer all 10 Smart Questions about your prospect? (In Step 1)

How many of the ten were you able to use?

Which of the ten did you decide to emphasize?

Are you writing to your reader about what is most important to him/her (not you)?

Did you build a list of every separate Feature of your product/offer?

Did you translate the Features to Benefits?

Did you identify a Hidden Benefit to use?

Did you identify the disadvantages of your offer and flaws in your product?

Did you develop “damaging admission copy” about those flaws?

Did you make a list of reasons not to respond?

Did you raise and respond to the reasons not to respond?

Did you give careful thought to getting your letter delivered and/or through gatekeepers to its intended recipient?

Did you look at, compare, and consider different envelope faces?

Did you picture your piece in a stack of mail held by your recipient, sorting it over a wastebasket? … and take care to survive the sort and command attention and pique interest immediately upon being opened?

Did you craft the best possible headline for your letter?

Did you craft the best possible subheadlines to place throughout your letter?

Did you make careful choices about your presentation of price?

Were you able to sell money at a discount?

Were you able to incorporate intimidation into your call to action copy?

Were you able to appeal to the ego of your buyer?

Did you develop and present a strong guarantee?

Overall, did you tell an interesting story?

Did you use an interesting story about yourself?

Did you write to the right length? (Not longer than need be due to poor or sloppy editing, but not shorter than necessary to deliver the best presentation?)

Did you use Double Readership Path?

Did you use Internal Repetition?

Did you keep the reader moving, with yes-momentum and end-of-page carryovers?

Did you bust up paragraphs, keep one idea per paragraph, and make the letter easily readable?

Were you interesting and entertaining? … Is the letter enjoyable to read?

Did you use five-senses word pictures?

Did you choose words carefully, consider options of one word versus another, and create high-impact phrases?

Did you make your copy personal and conversational (not institutional)?

Did you go back through your copy and think of the possible questions or objections it might leave unanswered? … then find ways to ask them, raise them, and answer them? (Leave no unanswered questions!)

Did you choose and use devices to create urgency and spark immediate action?

Did you write at least one PS at the end of the letter for a strategic purpose?

27 Essential Copy Cosmetic Enhancements





Cartoons, Comics, and Caricatures



Drop Caps

Fonts and Typefaces




Line Justification

Line Spacing



Photographs and Illustrations

Screen Tints

Short Words, Sentences, and Paragraphs


Simulated Hand-Drawn Doodles

Simulated Handwritten Margin Notes

Simulated Rubber


Text Boxes


White Space

If you can’t romanticize your product or service or its direct benefits, you’ve got to be able to create excitement out of the feelings of owning it or using it, or the enjoyment of the money or time it saves. Find something for the reader to get excited about.

Regardless of who you are addressing your copy to, it is better to err on the side of simplicity.

Other Books by Dan Kennedy

My Unfinished Business

No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs

Recommended Reading

If you like The Ultimate Sales Letter, you may also enjoy the following books:

How to Write Copy That Sells by Ray Edwards

The Copywriter’s Handbook by Robert W. Bly

Triggers by Joe Sugarman

Buy this bookhttps://amzn.to/2BBemR2


Triggers by Joe Sugarman: Notes

Categories sellPosted on

Joseph Sugarman, recognized as one of the nation’s top copywriters, marketers and catalog pioneers, has sold millions of dollars’ worth of products through copywriting.

In Triggers, Sugarman takes the principles he learned from direct marketing and applies them to the field of personal selling with 30 powerful techniques he calls Psychological Triggers.

Psychological Triggers are sales tools for effectively influencing, motivating and persuading a prospect to make a positive buying decision.

The Five Big Ideas

Direct marketing is a general term that applies to any form of marketing where the prospect orders directly from the product source and does not touch the product until it is delivered (usually the prospect pays for the product before receiving it).

As a direct marketer, Joe Sugarman has determined that the most important thing you can do to turn a prospect into a customer is to make it incredibly easy for that prospect to commit to a purchase, regardless of how small that purchase may be.

Always make that first sale simple. Once the prospect makes the commitment to purchase from you, you can then easily offer more to increase your sales.

Bring out an objection very early in the sales presentation. Further, figure out a strategy for resolving the objection.

Be honest in everything you do and say.


Trigger 1: Consistency

Once a buying decision is made, the buyer is inclined to continue to buy or to continue to act in a way that is consistent with the buyer’s previous action.

Trigger 2: Product Nature

Each product has its own personality and nature—a special series of characteristics that can relate your product to a prospect. Recognize the nature of the product and relate its characteristics to the prospect and you will have the key to selling your prospect.

Trigger 3: Prospect Nature

Discover the emotional and logical reasons that your prospect will buy your product. Once you know these reasons you’ll have the key to effective selling.

Trigger 4: Objection Raising

Raise the flaw(s) or the objection(s) to purchasing your product right up front in your ad copy or your selling approach.

Trigger 5: Objection Resolution

Resolve the flaw(s) or objection(s) you raise in your ad copy or presentation to reinforce why your prospect should buy from you.

Trigger 6: Involvement and Ownership

Make your prospect use their imagination to feel more involved in the buying process.

Trigger 7: Integrity

Your prospect will be more likely to buy from you if everything you say is truthful and that you match your words with your action.

Trigger 8: Storytelling

A story provides a human element to your presentation and helps you bond with your prospect.

Trigger 9: Authority

It makes a big difference if the prospect can buy a product from somebody or some company recognized as an expert in the field.

Trigger 10: Proof of Value

Truthful comparisons with other products, savings possible, or simply bargain pricing should be emphasized.

Trigger 11: Emotion

In the selling process, emotion sells while logic justifies.

Trigger 12: Justify with Logic

For many products or services, it’s important to give logical reasons why your prospect should buy.

Trigger 13: Greed

People like to get more than they think they deserve. And this can be used to your advantage by pricing your product very low and making the perceived value high.

Trigger 14: Credibility

If something about your message is not believable, chances are your prospect will sense it. Make sure each statement you make is truthful, not too exaggerated and utterly believable.

Trigger 15: Satisfaction Conviction

A satisfaction conviction says “I am so sure you will be satisfied that I will put my money where my mouth is and do something that you would suspect many will use to take advantage of me.”

Trigger 16: Linking

A technique of using what the consumer already knows and understands to what you are selling, to make the new product easier to understand and relate to.

Trigger 17: Desire to Belong

People want to belong to a group that already own a brand.

Trigger 18: Desire to Collect

There is a strong urge in the human psyche to collect.

Trigger 19: Sense of Urgency

Make your call to action as compelling as possible with a sense of urgency that won’t allow procrastination.

Trigger 20. Exclusivity

To be the owner of something that the few others can own is one of the strong human motivations.

Trigger 21. Simplicity

By keeping the offer simple you, in essence, make the choice for the prospect.

Trigger 22: Guilt

Give something to somebody and you automatically engender a feeling of reciprocity.

Trigger 23: Specificity

When you use specifics, your advertising copy is a lot more believable. By using specifics, you enhance your offer and make your offer more credible.

Trigger 24: Familiarity

People are much more likely to buy if they are familiar with the brand name, the product or the company offering the product. The more familiar your prospect is with your brand, the more inclined they are to accept and buy your product.

Trigger 25: Patterning

If you have a product to sell and others have sold a similar product, find out how they did it and pattern your approach after theirs. But don’t copy. Later, when you are successful, you can pioneer new ways to sell your product. 

Trigger 26: Hope

An implied hope tied to your product can be a very strong motivational factor in causing your prospect to buy from you.

Trigger 27: Curiosity

Use this trigger to keep the prospect interested and involved until the very end of your presentation.

Trigger 28: Harmonize

Get your prospect to agree with your truthful and accurate statements and start nodding their heads in agreement.

Trigger 29: Mental Engagement

By challenging the mental process of the reader or the viewer and not making your presentation too obvious, you will evoke a sense of mental engagement that leaves the prospect with good feelings toward your message.

Trigger 30: Honesty

Be truthful in everything you say—almost to a point where you are disarmingly truthful.

Triggers Summary

It is estimated that 95% of the reasons a prospect buys involve a subconscious decision.

Once a commitment is made, the tendency is to act consistently with that commitment.

How do you determine or learn about their nature? There are two ways. The first is to become an expert on the product you are selling. Specifically, learn about the emotional appeal of the product or service to a prospect. The second thing you can do is tap into your own broad knowledge.

Every product has a unique nature to it—a unique way of relating itself to the consumer. If you understand this nature and find the way to best relate the product to your prospect, you’ll hold the key to a successful sales program.

In selling, it is important to understand not only the nature of the product you are offering but the nature of your prospect as well.

Get to know the nature of your prospect relative to the nature of your product. Become an expert on your prospect. Be a good listener; talk to your prospects and those who know and have dealt with them. You’ll soon discover the very nature of your prospect and the emotional reasons he or she will buy.

Whenever Sugarman sold a product that contained some obvious blemish or fault, he brought the blemish or fault up first in his copy. In short, he shared his dirty laundry openly and honestly right up front. By presenting the negatives up front, he reduced and often eliminated a major objection to a sale.

You can’t just resolve an objection without first raising it.

You are wasting your time resolving any objection unless you raise it first.

If you raise an objection that really isn’t much of an objection in the mind of your prospect, you are raising a red flag that doesn’t need to be raised, let alone resolved.

In direct response, using a gimmick to get involved with the reader is often referred to as using an involvement device—something that involves the consumer in the buying process.

An involvement device that ties in with what you are selling can be very effective.

Advertising copy that involves the reader can be quite effective, especially if the involvement device is part of the advertising.

Whatever you say, you’ve got to walk your talk. If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you make a promise, deliver. If you agree to provide quality service, deliver quality service. In short, walk your talk.

People love stories and one of the really good ways to relate to your prospect is to tell a story.

If you tell a story in your sales presentation that is relevant either to selling your product, creating the environment for selling your product, or getting the prospect involved with your sales presentation, you are using this wonderful and powerful trigger in a very effective way to sell your product or service.

A good story should capture a person’s attention, relate the product or service to the sales message, and help you bond with the prospect.

Establishing your authority is something that should be done in each sales presentation, regardless of how big or how little you are.

Knowledge is a strong way to express authority.

Authority can be expressed by dress.

In Sugarman’s advertising, he always wants to convey, through examples or by comparison, that what the customer is buying is a good value.

By comparing your product with others and proving its value, you are providing the prospect with the logic from which he or she can justify a purchase.

In short, there is a value associated with the education you are providing your prospect and your prospect will be willing to pay more as a result.

No matter what Sugarman was selling, he’d express proof that he was providing real value to the prospect and that he was providing more than anybody else.

In short, it is up to you to visibly demonstrate, by example, that the product you are offering will, in the long haul, give more value than any other choice possible. Period.

There are really just three points to remember about the subject of emotion in advertising, which relates to the subject of personal selling.

Every word has an emotion associated with it and tells a story.

Every good sales presentation is an emotional outpouring of words, feelings, and impressions.

You sell on emotion, but you justify a purchase with logic.

John Caples, one of the legendary direct marketers, changed the word repair to the word fix and saw a 20% increase in response.

When you justify a purchase in the minds of the consumers, they have no excuse not to buy, and in fact may even feel guilty if they don’t.

The higher the price point, the more need there is to justify the purchase.

View logic as the answer to the unspoken objection, “Why should I buy this thing?”

Greed is simply the psychological trigger you use when you provide the prospect with more value than he or she really feels entitled to.

If you convey honesty and integrity in your message, chances are you’ve gone a long way toward establishing your credibility.

Credibility is being believable.

One of the biggest factors that can affect credibility is not resolving all the objections that are raised in your prospects’ minds so that they think you’re hiding something or avoiding an obvious fault of the product or service.

You can also enhance credibility through the use of a brand-name product.

One of the techniques Sugarman used in his mail order ads to build credibility was inserting a technical explanation to add a certain expertise to my advertising message.

In a mail order ad or in person, technical explanations can add a great deal of credibility, but you must make sure that you indeed become an expert, and your statements must be accurate.

A satisfaction conviction conveys a message from you that says, “Hey, I’m so convinced that you will like this product that I’m going to do something for your benefit that will surprise you and prove how incredible my offer really is.”

The ideal satisfaction conviction should raise an objection or the last bit of resistance in the prospects’ minds and resolve it, but in resolving it, go beyond what your prospect expects. The resolution should be a passionate expression of your desire to please the person you are selling and to remove the last ounce of resistance he or she may have.

Basically, linking is the technique of relating what the consumer already knows and understands with what you are selling, to make the new product easy to understand and relate to.

One of the easiest examples of linking is to explain how it works in a fad.

The minute there is a lot of publicity about something and it has the potential to turn into a fad, it could be a great opportunity to link it to something that you’re doing, either to get publicity or to promote a product.

The consumer who buys a specific brand has been motivated to buy that brand by a desire to belong to the group of people who already own that brand.

The desire to belong is one of the strongest psychological triggers on why people purchase specific products or services. Use it to your advantage by realizing what groups your prospect belongs to and then matching the needs and desires of your prospect with those of your product.

When selling (whether in print, on TV, or in a personal selling situation), recognize that there is a very large segment of the population who, for whatever reason, has an emotional need to collect a series of similar products.

One of the ways the direct marketers optimize sales via the collecting instinct is by first sending, free of charge with the very first shipment, some sort of device to hold the collection.

Just because you have sold a customer a product, don’t ignore the opportunity to sell him the same product again or a new variation of that product.

In selling, the concept of a sense of urgency involves two emotional aspects in the selling process. One is loss or the chance of losing something, and the other is procrastination.

Always make sure there is a sense of urgency in your sales presentation so that the prospect does not leave without you making that sale.

Elmer Wheeler recognized that if you reached a point when your prospect says, “Let me think about it,” or “Let me discuss this with my partner,” chances are you’ve lost the sale.

It is critical that you make the sale and not accept a delaying tactic.

The basic concept of exclusivity is to make the prospect feel that he or she is special—that you are really allowing that prospect to buy a particular product that few people can obtain regardless of price.

Always make your offer simple.

Realize that only after your prospect becomes your customer can you present more complicated offers and products.

Consider many of the creative ways to instill the feeling of guilt in your prospect. You’ll find your selling to be a lot easier with a receptive buyer when you grease the way with this powerful psychological trigger.

When people perceive certain general statements as puffery or typical advertising babble, those statements are at best discounted and accepted with some doubts. In contrast, statements with specific facts can generate strong believability.

There’s a greater tendency to buy from somebody with whom you are familiar.

Whatever you are selling, with the proper credentials, you will automatically engage the power of hope—a powerful force that could motivate, inspire and even trigger a sale.

Realize that often you must go with the established way of doing things in order to accomplish your goals. You’ve got to pattern yourself with what is working and then harmonize with the marketplace. Once you have an established reputation, it’s easier to try something different that you yourself want to do.

The more the mind must work to reach a conclusion which it eventually successfully reaches, the more positive, enjoyable, or stimulating the experience.

If you make your sales pitch too obvious, the prospect will feel either patronized or bored. Make the prospect think, in order to come to a conclusion, and you create a very stimulating mental effect.

The more the mind must work to reach a conclusion that it eventually successfully reaches, the more positive, enjoyable, or stimulating the experience.

Books Mentioned

Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy

How to Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins

How to Sell Anything to Anybody by Joe Girard

How to Sell Yourself by Joe Girard

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D

Sales Magic by Steve Bryant

Selling Dangerously by Elmer Wheeler

Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith

Successful Selling with NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) by Joseph O’Connor and Robin Prior

Recommended Reading

If you like Triggers, you may also enjoy the following books:

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Buy this bookhttps://amzn.to/2SBlCHc

Kindle | Print | Hardcover

Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout

Categories sellPosted on

Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. Put another way, it’s how you differentiate yourself in the mind of your prospect.

Positioning Summary

Chapter 1: What Positioning Is All About

Positioning is not about creating something new and different. It’s about manipulating what’s already in the prospect’s mind. It’s about bridging the connections that already exist.

“The mind, as a defense against the volume of today’s communications, screens and rejects much of the information offered it. In general, the mind accepts only that which matches prior knowledge or experience.”

“Once a mind is made up, it’s almost impossible to change it.”

Trying to change the prospect’s mind is an advertising disaster.

“The best approach to take in our overcommunicated society is the oversimplified message.”

“You have to sharpen your message to cut into the mind. You have to jettison the ambiguities, simplify the message, and then simplify it some more if you want to make a long-lasting impression.”

“Once you own a word in the mind, you have to use it or lose it.”

“When you want to communicate the advantages of a political candidate or a product or even yourself, you must turn things inside out. You look for the solution to your problem not inside the product, not even inside your own mind. You look for the solution to your problem inside the prospect’s mind.”

“The essence of positioning thinking is to accept the perceptions as reality and then restructure those perceptions to create the position you desire.” The authors call this process “outside-in” thinking.

Chapter 2: The Assault on the Mind

Another reason our messages keep getting lost is the number of media we have invented to serve our communication needs.

Chapter 3: Getting into the Mind

“Positioning is an organized system for finding windows in the mind. It is based on the concept that communication can only take place at the right time and under the right circumstances.”

“The easy way to get into a person’s mind is to be first.”

“‘It’s better to be first than it is to be better’ is by far the most powerful positioning idea.”

“If you want to be successful in love or in business, you must appreciate the importance of getting into the mind first.”

“If you didn’t get into the mind of your prospect first (personally, politically or corporately), then you have a positioning problem.”

“‘If you can’t be first in a category, then set up a new category you can be first in’ is the second most powerful positioning idea.”

To succeed in our overcommunicated society, you must create a position in the prospect’s mind. A position that takes into consideration not only a company’s own strengths and weaknesses, but those of its competitors as well.

“Don’t give your brand a generic name.”

“The name of your brand is just as important as its positioning, maybe even more important.”

Chapter 4: Those Little Ladders in Your Head

“To put a new brand into the mind, you have to delete or reposition the old brand that already occupies the category.”

“The mind has no room for what’s new and different unless it’s related to the old.”

“For 13 years in a row, Avis lost money. Then they admitted that they were No. 2 and Avis started to make money.”

“The best headline for an advertisement is always incomplete. The best headlines always let the reader supply a word or phrase to complete the idea. That’s what makes an advertisement ‘involving.’”

“To find a unique position, you must ignore conventional logic. Conventional logic says you find your concept inside yourself or inside the product. Not true. What you must do is look inside the prospect’s mind.”

“More than anything else, successful positioning requires consistency. You must keep at it year after year.”

“If you want to be successful today, you can’t ignore the competitor’s position.”

Chapter 5: You Can’t Get There from Here

“Don’t fight perceptions with facts. Perceptions will always win.”

“Positioning has nothing to do with whether you mention a competitor or not. It has to do with ‘considering’ competitive strengths and weaknesses before you launch a marketing campaign.”

Chapter 6: Positioning of a Leader

“History shows that the first brand into the brain, on the average, gets twice the long-term market share of the No. 2 brand and twice again as much as the No. 3 brand.”

“Leadership alone is your most effective marketing strategy.”

“Leaders should not try to drive their competitors out of business. They need them to create a category.”

“Leadership is your best ‘differentiator.’ It’s the collateral for your brand’s success.”

“In every category, there are two brands which will ultimately dominate the category.”

“When two brands are close, one or the other is likely to get the upper hand and then dominate the market for years to come.”

“You can’t build a leadership position on your own terms. ‘The best-selling under-$1,000 high-fidelity system east of the Mississippi.’ You have to build a leadership position in the prospect’s terms. There are two basic strategies that should be used hand in hand. They seem contradictory but aren’t.”

“The ultimate objective of a positioning program should be to achieve leadership in a given category.”

Chapter 7: Positioning of a Follower

“Most me-too products fail to achieve reasonable sales goals because the accent is on ‘better’ rather than ‘speed.’ That is, the No. 2 company thinks the road to success is to introduce a me-too product, only better.”

“It’s not enough to be better than the competitor. You must launch your attack while the situation is fluid. Before the leader has time to establish leadership.”

“‘Look for the hole’ in the prospect’s mind is one of the best strategies in the field of marketing.”

“You don’t have to be first to succeed, as long as you can create the perception that you were first.”

“Your high price must have a real difference to justify the price. If nothing else, it rationalizes the spending of more money.”

“Being the first to (1) establish the high-price position (2) with a valid product story (3) in a category where consumers are receptive to a high-priced brand is the secret of success.”

“In positioning a product, there’s no substitute for getting there first.”

“The biggest single mistake that companies make is trying to appeal to everybody.”

“Rather than asking yourself, ‘Who are we trying to appeal to?’ try asking yourself the opposite question, ‘Who should not use our brand?’”

Chapter 8: Repositioning the Competition

“To move a new idea or product into the mind, you must first move an old one out.”

“For a repositioning strategy to work, you must say something about your competitor’s product that causes the prospect to change his or her mind, not about your product, but about the competitor’s product.”

“The late Howard Gossage used to say that the objective of your advertising should not be to communicate with your consumers and prospects at all, but to terrorize your competition’s copywriters, and there’s some truth in that.”

“‘We’re better than our competitors’ isn’t repositioning. It’s comparative advertising and not very effective. There’s a psychological flaw in the advertiser’s reasoning which the prospect is quick to detect. ‘If you’re so smart, how come you’re not rich?’”

Chapter 9: The Power of the Name

“The name is the hook that hangs the brand on the product ladder in the prospect’s mind.”

“What you must look for is a name that begins the positioning process. A name that tells the prospect what the product’s major benefit is.”

“One of the things that makes positioning thinking difficult for many people is the failure to understand the role of timing.”

“When you want to change a strongly held opinion, the first step to take is usually to change the name.”

“In naming people or products, you should not let your competitors unfairly preempt words that you need to describe your own products.”

“The name is the first point of contact between the message and the mind.”

Chapter 10: The No-Name Trap

“When they have a choice of a word or a set of initials, both equal in phonetic length, people will invariably use the word, not the initials.”

“In general, if you remember the set of initials, you also remember the name.”

“A company must be extremely well known before it can use initials successfully.”

“Make no mistake about it. Initials make weak brand or company names.”

“The mind works by ear, not by eye.”

“Before you can file away a picture in the mind, you have to verbalize it.”

Chapter 11: The Free-Ride Trap

“A big company with a big reputation usually cannot compete successfully with a smaller company with a well-defined position. Size doesn’t matter. Positioning does.”

Chapter 12: The Line-Extension Trap

“What does it mean to own a position in the mind? Simply this: the brand name becomes a surrogate or substitute for the generic name.”

“The stronger the position, the more often this substitution takes place.”

“The easiest way to kill a brand is to line-extend it.”

Reverse line extension is called “broadening the base.”

Chapter 13: When Line Extension Can Work

“One of the keys to understanding the line-extension issue is to separate the short-term effects from the long-term effects. Is alcohol a stimulant or a depressant? Actually, it’s both. In the short term alcohol is a stimulant; in the long term alcohol is a depressant. Line extensions generally work the same way.”

“The classic test for line extension is the shopping list. Just list the brands you want to buy on a piece of paper and send your spouse to the supermarket.”

“If your competitors are foolish. If your volume is small. If you have no competitors. If you don’t expect to build a position in the prospect’s mind. If you don’t do any advertising.”

Chapter 14: Positioning a Company: Monsanto

“Rightly or wrongly, the bigger, more successful companies have the better people. And the smaller, less successful companies have the leftovers. So if your company occupies the top rung of the product ladder in the prospect’s mind, you can be sure that the prospect will also think that your company has the best people.”

Chapter 15: Positioning a Country: Belgium

“The perceptions of people living in a place are often different from those visiting it.”

“To position a country as a destination, you need attractions that will keep the traveler around for at least a few days.”

“In any positioning program, if you can start with a strongly held perception, you’ll be that much ahead in your efforts to establish your own position.”

“To create an effective positioning program, you have to ‘verbalize the visuals.’ Alliteration can also be an effective memory device in this process.”

“A successful positioning program requires a major long-term commitment by the people in charge.”

Chapter 16: Positioning a Product: Milk Duds

“The first step in any positioning program is to look inside the mind of the prospect.”

“Isolating a narrow target is usually the first step in finding an effective position.”

“The solution to a positioning problem is usually found in the prospect’s mind, not in the product.”

Chapter 17: Positioning a Service: Mailgram

“Visuals can be extremely memorable, but unless they are connected to a verbal idea they lose their effectiveness.”

“Regardless of how much money you spend, regardless of how technologically interesting your service is, to get inside the prospect’s mind, you have to relate to what’s already there.”

Chapter 18: Positioning a Long Island Bank

“To successfully position a retail outlet, you must know the territory.”

“‘Mapping the prospect’s mind’ is normally done with a research technique called ‘semantic differential.’”

“Most marketing research is overly concerned with the attitudes of customers and prospects to the company itself. It doesn’t really matter what customers think about your company and your products or services. The thing that counts is how your company compares with your competitors.”

“In semantic differential research, the prospect is given a set of attributes and then asked to rank each competitor on a scale, generally from 1 to 10.”

Chapter 19: Positioning the Catholic Church

“Once a positioning strategy has been developed, it sets the direction for all the activities of the organization. Even one as large and multifaceted as the Catholic Church.”

Chapter 20: Positioning Yourself and Your Career

“The most difficult part of positioning is selecting that one specific concept to hang your hat on. Yet you must, if you want to cut through the prospect’s wall of indifference.”

“Confusion is the enemy of successful positioning.”

“Always try to work for the smartest, brightest, most competent person you can find.”

“If you look at biographies of successful people, it’s amazing to find how many crawled up the ladder of success right behind someone else.”

“The more business friends you make outside of your own organization, the more likely you are to wind up in a big, rewarding job.”

“It is possible to succeed in business or in life all by yourself. But it’s not easy.”

Chapter 21: Six Steps to Success

What Position Do You Own?

What Position Do You Want to Own?

Whom Must You Outgun?

Do You Have Enough Money?

Can You Stick It Out?

Do You Match Your Position?

Chapter 22: Playing the Positioning Game

“The meanings are not in the words. They are in the people using the words.”

Alfred Korzybski, who developed the concept of general semantics, explains that insane people try to make the world of reality fit what is in their heads.

“It’s a whole lot easier to change the facts to fit your opinions.”

“Unsane people make up their minds and then find the facts to ‘verify’ the opinion. Or even more commonly, they accept the opinion of the nearest ‘expert,’ and then they don’t have to bother with the facts at all.”

“Language is the currency of the mind.”

“To be successful in the positioning era, you must be brutally frank. You must try to eliminate all ego from the decision-making processes. It only clouds the issue.”

“One of the most critical aspects of positioning is being able to evaluate products objectively and see how they are viewed by customers and prospects.”

“Often the solution to a problem is so simple that thousands of people have looked at it without seeing it. When an idea is clever or complicated, however, we should be suspicious. It probably won’t work because it’s not simple enough.”

“The big winners in business and in life are those people who have found open positions near the center of the spectrum. Not at the edge.”

“The secret to establishing a successful position is to keep two things in balance: (1) a unique position with (2) broad appeal.”

“To repeat, the first rule of positioning is: To win the battle for the mind, you can’t compete head-on against a company that has a strong, established position. You can go around, under or over, but never head-to-head.”

“The leader owns the high ground. The No. 1 position in the prospect’s mind. The top rung of the product ladder. To move up the ladder, you must follow the rules of positioning.”

“If you’re not the leader, set up a new category you can be the leader in.”

Other Books by Al Ries and Jack Trout

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Recommended Reading

If you like Positioning, you may also enjoy the following books:

Cashvertising: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone by Eric Whitman

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

Buy this Bookhttps://amzn.to/2IePiFc

Print | Hardcover | Audiobook

Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday: Notes

Categories Philosphy, sellPosted on

I love Ryan’s work. And I’ve read many of his books (see below). But I was compelled to read Perennial Seller after Ahref’s Head of Marketing, Tim Soulo, recommended it in his course, Blogging for Business (notes available in my commonplace book).

While I enjoyed it I felt there could have been more for the reader to act on. I understand Ryan’s decision to focus on principles in an effort to write a timeless book, but it would have been nice to know what to do other than “create great work.”

For more on why things catch on, I recommend reading Jonah Berger wonderful book Contagious.

The Five Big Ideas

Make creating great work your primary focus.

Be a verb rather than a noun (in other words, make creating a “need” rather than a “want”).

“The Dip” is inevitable in any creative endeavor.

Nobody creates better second drafts without the intervention of someone else (e.g. an editor).

The best marketing you can do for your book is to start writing the next one.

Perennial Seller Summary


In every industry, certain creations can be described as “perennial.” By that Ryan means that, regardless of how well they may have done at their release or the scale of audience they have reached, these products have found continued success and more customers over time.            

Part I: The Creative Process

Derek Halpern says you need to “create content 20% of the time. Spend the other 80% of the time promoting what you created.” Ryan makes an interesting counter argument,

The kind of important, lasting work we are striving for is different—we’re talking about making something that doesn’t rely on hype or manipulative sales tactics. Because those methods aren’t sustainable. And they do an injustice to great work.            

Ryan on creating great work,

To be great, one must make great work, and making great work is incredibly hard. It must be our primary focus. We must set out, from the beginning, with complete and total commitment to the idea that our best chance of success starts during the creative process.              

Austin Kleon says, “Lots of people want to be the noun without doing the verb. To make something great, what’s required is need. As in, I need to do this. I have to. I can’t not.” (Sam’s note: Austin has a wonderful book on creativity called, Show Your Work which I highly recommend.)            

“You must have a reason—a purpose—for why you want the outcome and why you’re willing to do the work to get it. That purpose can be almost anything, but it has to be there.” (Sam’s note: This echoes Simon Sinek’s thesis in Start with Why).

Ask yourself,

Why are you creating?

Why are you putting pen to paper and subjecting yourself to all the difficulties you will certainly face along the way?

What is your motivation?

“If you’re to create something powerful and important, you must at the very least be driven by an equally powerful inner force. If there is anything to romanticize about art, it’s the struggle and the dedication required to get it right—and the motivating force that makes it all possible.”               

“In the course of creating your work, you are going to be forced to ask yourself: What am I willing to sacrifice in order to do it? Will I give up X, Y, Z? A willingness to trade off something—time, comfort, easy money, recognition—lies at the heart of every great work. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but always a significant sacrifice that needs to happen. If it didn’t, everyone would do it.”                

Ryan’s analogy for creating art,

“Art is the kind of marathon where you cross the finish line and instead of getting a medal placed around your neck, the volunteers roughly grab you by the shoulders and walk you over to the starting line of another marathon.               

There is inevitably a crisis and a low point in every creative work. You will run into what author and marketer Seth Godin calls “the Dip.” The existential crisis where you’ll have to ask yourself: Is this even worth it anymore?

Ryan on creating work that matters,

Creating something that lives—that can change the world and continue doing so for decades—requires not just a reverence for the craft and a respect for the medium, but real patience for the process itself. By patience, I’m not referring just to the amount of time that creation will take, but also the long view with which you evaluate your own work. And the long view can be really long.

Ryan on creativity,               

Art can’t be hurried. It must be allowed to take its course. It must be given its space—and can’t be rushed or checked off a to-do list on the way to something else.

The risk for any creator is over-accounting for what’s happening right in front of them.               

“The best we can do is sit down and create something, anything, and let the process organically unfold. Tolerating ambiguity, frustration, and changes in the grand plan and being open to new experiences are essential to creative work. Indeed, they are what makes creativity work.”—Scott Barry Kaufman

Holding multiple contradictory ideas in your head at the same time is an essential phase of creativity. (John Keats called it “negative capability”). You have to be able to tolerate this and then refine your idea like mad until it gets better.               

“You don’t have to be a genius to make genius—you just have to have small moments of brilliance and edit out the boring stuff.”    

“An audience isn’t a target that you happen to bump into; instead, it must be explicitly scoped and sighted in. It must be chosen.”

There is a small publisher whose slogan is “Find your niche and scratch it!”               

“Successfully finding and “scratching” a niche requires asking and answering a question that very few creators seem to do: Who is this thing for?”               

“For any project, you must know what you are doing—and what you are not doing. You must also know who you are doing it for—and who you are not doing it for—to be able to say: THIS and for THESE PEOPLE.”

The best way Ryan’s found to avoid missing your target—any target—entirely is to identify a proxy from the outset, someone who represents your ideal audience, who you then think about constantly throughout the creative process.               

“Just as we should ask “Who is this for?” we must also ask “What does this do?” A critical test of any product: Does it have a purpose? Does it add value to the world? How will it improve the lives of the people who buy it?” 

One of the best pieces of advice Ryan received as a creator was from a successful writer who told him that the key to success in nonfiction was that the work should be either “very entertaining” or “extremely practical.”               

“You want what you’re making to do something for people, to help them do something—and have that be why they will talk about it and tell other people about it.”              

“The bigger and more painful the problem you solve, the better its cultural hook, and the more important and more lucrative your attempt to address it can be.”

Ask yourself,               

What does this teach?

What does this solve?

How am I entertaining?

What am I giving?

What are we offering?

What are we sharing?

What are these people going to be paying for?

“An essential part of making perennial, lasting work is making sure that you’re pursuing the best of your ideas and that they are ideas that only you can have (otherwise, you’re dealing with a commodity and not a classic).”               

Goethe observed that the most original artworks “are not rated as such because they produce something new” but because they are saying something “as though it had never been said before.”               

The higher and more exciting standard for every project should force you to ask questions like this:

What sacred cows am I slaying?

What dominant institution am I displacing?

What groups am I disrupting?

What people am I pissing off?

“You cannot violate every single convention simultaneously, nor should you do it simply for its own sake. In fact, to be properly controversial—as opposed to incomprehensible—you must have obsessively studied your genre or industry to a degree that you know which boundaries to push and which to respect.”               

“You want to provoke a reaction—it’s a sign you’re forging ahead.”

“Your work may shock people, they might not be willing to accept it right away—but that’s also a sign that you’ve created something fresh and truly original.”               

“Deep, complex work is built through a relentless, repetitive process of revisitation.”               

“Ignore what other people are doing. Ignore what’s going on around you. There is no competition. There is no objective benchmark to hit. There is simply the best that you can do—that’s all that matters.”

“It takes time and effort and sacrifice to make something that lasts.”

Part II: Positioning

The first wake-up call for every aspiring perennial seller must be that there is no publisher or angel investor or producer who can magically handle all the stuff you don’t want to handle.               

Perennial sellers are made by indefatigable artists who, instead of handing off their manuscripts to nonexistent caretakers—“kissing it up to God,” to use a Hollywood expression—see every part of the process as their responsibility. They take control of their own fate. Not simply as artists but as makers and managers.               

Instead, prior to release, considerable effort needs to be spent polishing, improving, and, most critically, positioning your project so that it has a real chance of resonating with its intended audience.

We have to take this thing that means so much to us and make sure that it is primed to mean something to other people too for generations to come. That it will stand out among a crowded field of other creators sincerely attempting to do the exact same thing. That it will be the best that it is capable of being and that the audience it is intended for is primed to love it. And the best person in the world to accomplish this difficult task? You.                

The competitive landscape for creating something that lasts is not one for the entitled or the half committed.               

Once you understand that this project’s chances of success or failure rest entirely on you, you must undertake a paradoxical and difficult task: finding and submitting your work to the feedback of a trusted outside voice (or, in some cases, voices).               

But ultimately, to take a project where it needs to go, you’ll need to rely on an editor to help you get there.               

As infuriating as it may be, we must be rational and fair about our own work.               

Ask yourself: What are the chances that I’m right and everyone else in the world is wrong? We’ll be better off at least considering why other people have concerns, because the reality is, the truth is almost always somewhere in the middle.               

“Remember: When people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.”—Neil Gaiman

Getting feedback requires humility. It demands that you subordinate your thoughts about your project and your love for it and entertain the idea that someone else might have a valuable thing or two to add.

Nobody creates flawless first drafts. And nobody creates better second drafts without the intervention of someone else. Nobody.   

Sometime after the bulk of the creative production is done but before a work is fully wrapped up, a creator must step back and ask: “OK, what was I trying to make here? Did I get there? What do I need to change or fix in order to successfully do so?”              

A similar exercise that I like to do with all my projects is one I call “One Sentence, One Paragraph, One Page.” It goes like this: Put the website or the beta version of your app or your manuscript aside and grab a piece of paper or open a blank Word document. Then, with fresh eyes, attempt to write out exactly what your project is supposed to be and to do in … One sentence. One paragraph. One page. This is a ______ that does ______. This helps people ______.               

When you know what genre you’re in and you know what you’re trying to accomplish, it becomes clearer which decisions matter and which don’t.               

You say to them: “Here’s what I’ve been aiming for. Do you think I am close? What do I need to change with my [writing, design, music, art, etc.] to get where I’m trying to go?”               

Regardless, you must start somewhere—ideally somewhere quantifiable. By which I mean: Who is buying the first one thousand copies of this thing? Who is coming in on the first day? Who is going to claim our first block of available dates? Who is buying our first production run?               

With a concrete number in mind, it’s a lot easier to establish and empathize with what your audience is going to need.               

You must create room for the audience to inhabit and relate to the work. You must avoid the trap of making this about you—because, remember, you won’t be the one buying it.               

Today, in order to even have a chance at people’s attention, your project has to seem as good as or better than all the others.          

Three critical variables determine whether that will happen:               

Positioning is what your project is and who it is for.

Packaging is what it looks like and what it’s called.

The Pitch is the sell—how the project is described and what it offers to the audience.

Work that is going to sell and sell must appear as good as, or better than, the best stuff out there. Because that’s who you’re competing with: not the other stuff being released right now, but everything that came before you.         

That’s why it’s critical that you be able not only to clearly and concisely explain who and what you are, but also to show it, too.       

If your goal is to create a perennial seller, you can’t measure yourself against people who aren’t aiming for the same thing—you can’t be endlessly checking industry charts or lists, and you can’t be distracted by the trends and fancies of other creators who are hopelessly lost.              

Knowing what your goal is—having that crystal clear—allows you to know when to follow conventional wisdom and when to say “Screw it.”

Part III: Marketing

“Marketing is your job. It can’t be passed on to someone else.”

“The mark of a future perennial seller is a creator who doesn’t believe he is God’s gift to the world, but instead thinks he has created something of value and is excited and dedicated to get it out there.”

“No one has the steam or the resources to actively market something for more than a short period of time, so if a product is going to sell forever, it must have strong word of mouth. It must drive its own adoption. Over the long haul, this is the only thing that lasts.”

“The strategy of perennial success is about trying to create work and products that will sell over the long term, but ideally we also want to sell in the short term.”               

“Selling in perpetuity and launching strong are not mutually exclusive.”               

“The first thing anyone planning a launch has to do is sit down and take inventory of everything they have at their disposal that might be used to get this product in people’s hands.”               

“As creators, we have to get more comfortable with giving people a taste of our work—or, in some cases, giving some people the entire meal for free. That’s how we build an audience and gather momentum.”               

What is the right price to create a perennial seller? Ryan’s answer is “as cheap as possible without damaging the perception of your product.”               

One of the best ways to build a readership, viewership, listenership, user base, or customer base early on is by making it cheap.

According to Amazon’s data, the cheaper a book is, the more copies it sells (and, counterintuitively, makes more money than if it were expensive).               

As a general rule, the more accessible you can make your product, the easier it will be to market. You can always raise the price later after you’ve built an audience.               

“Try to find the people least likely to get a request from someone like you, and approach them first, instead of going where everyone else is going.”               

“The most newsworthy thing to do is usually the one you’re most afraid of.”               

Don’t be afraid of pissing people off either. (Sam’s note: As Dan Kennedy says, “If you haven’t offended someone by noon each day, then you’re not marketing hard enough.”)               

Publicity is about temporarily breaking through the noise and contributing to the word of mouth that a product eventually needs to succeed.               

“Advertising can add fuel to a fire, but rarely is it sufficient to start one.”               

When it comes to creating a perennial seller, the principle to never lose sight of is simple: Create word of mouth.  

Part IV: Platform               

Becoming a perennial seller requires more than just releasing a project into the world. It requires developing a career.         

In Ryan’s definition, a platform is the combination of the tools, relationships, access, and audience that you have to bear on spreading your creative work—not just once, but over the course of a career.

“Creating a perennial seller and word of mouth is possible when you have high-level supporters who are willing to evangelize what you do and bring other people to your work.”            

“If you want people to consume your work and to know what you do next, you have to make it possible for them to hear about it as easily and regularly as possible.”

The best marketing you can do for your book is to start writing the next one.

Ryan on achieving mastery,

It’s not enough to make one great work. You should try to make a lot of it. Very few of us can afford to abandon our gift after our first attempt, convinced that our legacy is secured. Nor should we. We should prove to the world and to ourselves that we can do it again … and again.

“One of the things all creatives must do during their downtime is explore new ways of reaching new fans.”               

A great example of profiting from haters: Colonel Parker, the infamous manager of Elvis Presley, came up with the idea to sell “I Hate Elvis” memorabilia so that Elvis could profit from his haters too.

Other Books by Ryan Holiday

The Daily Stoic

Ego Is the Enemy

The Obstacle Is the Way

Recommended Reading

If you like Perennial Seller, you may also enjoy the following books:

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries

Contagious by Jonah Berger

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Buy this bookhttps://amzn.to/2V58vLb

Print | Hardcover | Audiobook

Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy: Notes

Categories sellPosted on

Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

Print | Hardcover

Ogilvy on Advertising summary

Ogilvy on Advertising Summary

Chapter 1: Overture

“When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.”

“Consumers still buy products whose advertising promises them value for money, beauty, nutrition, relief from suffering, social status and so on. All over the world.”

Chapter 2: How to Produce Advertising That Sells

“You don’t stand a tinker’s chance of producing successful advertising unless you start by doing your homework.”

When doing your homework, study the product you are going to advertise, first. The more you know about the product you are going to advertise, the more likely you are to come up with a big idea for selling it.

Then, research what kind of advertising your competitors have been doing for similar products, and with what success. This will give you your bearings.

Finally, research your consumers. Find out how they think about your kind of product, what language they use when they discuss the subject, what attributes are important to them, and what promise would be most likely to make them buy your brand.

Ogilvy’s own definition of positioning is ‘what the product does, and who it is for.’

“Doyle Dane Bernbach created one of the most powerful campaigns in the history of advertising. ‘When you’re only Number 2, you try harder. Or else.’ This diabolical positioning made life miserable for Hertz, who was Number 1.”

“Image means personality.”

“When you choose a brand of whiskey you are choosing an image. Jack Daniel’s advertisements project an image of homespun honesty and thereby persuade you that Jack Daniel’s is worth its premium price.”

“It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.”

“I am supposed to be one of the more fertile inventors of big ideas, but in my long career as a copywriter I have not had more than 20, if that.”

“Big ideas come from the unconscious. But your unconscious has to be well informed, or your idea will be irrelevant.”

It will help you recognize a big idea if you ask yourself five questions:

Did it make me gasp when I first saw it?

Do I wish I had thought of it myself?

Is it unique?

Does it fit the strategy to perfection?

Could it be used for 30 years?

“Sometimes, the best idea of all is to show the product—with utter simplicity. This takes courage, because you will be accused of not being ‘creative.’”

“Whenever you can, make the product itself the hero of your advertising.”

“There are no dull products, only dull writers.”

“If you and your competitors all make excellent products, don’t try to imply that your product is better. Just say what’s good about your product—and do a clearer, more honest, more informative job of saying it.”

“You aren’t advertising to a standing army; you are advertising to a moving parade.”

Leo Burnett once said, “When you reach for the stars, you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.”

“If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”

“Advertising reflects the mores of society, but does not influence them.”

Chapter 3: Jobs in Advertising—And How to Get Them

“‘Most good copywriters’, says William Maynard of the Bates agency, fall into two categories. Poets. And killers. Poets see an ad as an end. Killers as a means to an end.’ If you are both killer and poet, you get rich.”

Chapter 4: How to Run an Advertising Agency

“When people aren’t having any fun, they don’t produce good advertising.”

When new hires were appointed to head an office in the Ogilvy & Mather chain, Ogilvy gave them a Russian doll. Inside the smallest was this message: “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs, but if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, Ogilvy & Mather will become a company of giants.”

Chapter 5: How to Get Clients

“The easiest way to get new clients is to do good advertising.”

“Tell your prospective client what your weak points are, before he notices them. This will make you more credible when you boast about your strong points.”

“The day after a new business presentation, send the prospect a three-page letter summarizing the reasons why he should pick your agency. This will help him make the right decision.”

“Avoid clients whose ethos is incompatible with yours.”

“Erosion of morale does unacceptable damage to an agency.”

“If you get an account which also advertises in overseas markets, you stand a good chance of getting it around the world. I call this the domino system of new business acquisition.”

Chapter 6: Open Letter to a Client in Search of an Agency

“Don’t keep a dog and bark yourself Any fool can write a bad advertisement, but it takes a genius to keep his hands off a good one.”

Chapter 7: Wanted—A Renaissance in Print Advertising

“On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.”

“It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money.”

“The headlines which work best are those which promise the reader a benefit”

“Headlines of ten words sell more merchandise than short headlines.”

“Headlines that offer the reader helpful information, like ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, attract above-average readership.”

“I advise you to include the brand name in your headline. If you don’t, 80 percent of readers (who don’t read your body copy) will never know what product you are advertising.”

“If you are advertising a kind of product which is only bought by a small group of people, put a word in your headline which will flag them down, like asthma, bedwetters, women over thirty-five.”

“If you need a long headline, go ahead and write one, and if you want a short headline, that’s all right too.”

“When you advertise in local newspapers, you get better results if you include the name of each city in your headline. People are mostly interested in what is happening where they live.”

“On the average, long headlines sell more merchandise than short ones. This one-word headline is the exception that proves the rule.”

“Specifics are more credible and more memorable than generalities.”

“When you put your headline in quotes, you increase recall by an average of 28 percent.”

“I am the only copywriter who has literally bled for his client.”

“When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing each of them a letter on behalf of your client. One human being to another, second person singular.”

“You cannot bore people into buying your product. You can only interest them in buying it.”

“It pays to write short sentences and short paragraphs, and to avoid difficult words.”

“Copy should be written in the language people use in everyday conversation.”

“Tell your reader what your product will do for him or her, and tell it with specifics.”

“Write your copy in the form of a story, as in the advertisement which carried the headline, ‘The amazing story of a Zippo that worked after being taken from the belly of a fish.’”

“Avoid analogies.”

“Stay away from superlatives like ‘Our product is the best in the world.’ Gallup calls this Brag and Boast. It convinces nobody.”

“If you include a testimonial in your copy, you make it more credible.”

“Always try to include the price of your products.”

“When the price of the product is left out, people have a way of turning the page.”

“All my experience says that for a great many products, long copy sells more than short.”

“I believe, without any research to support me, that advertisements with long copy convey the impression that you have something important to say, whether people read the copy or not.”

“Dr. Charles Edwards concluded that ‘the more facts you tell, the more you sell.’”

“On the average, headlines below the illustration are read by 10 percent more people than headlines above the illustration.”

“More people read the captions under illustrations than read the body copy, so never use an illustration without putting a caption under it. Your caption should include the brand name and the promise.”

“Your poster should deliver your selling promise not only in words, but also pictorially. Use the largest possible type. Make your brand name visible at a long distance. Use strong, pure colors. Never use more than three elements in your design.”

Chapter 8: How to Make TV Commercials That Sell

Sixteen Tips:

Brand identification

Show the package

Food in motion

Close Ups

Open with the fire

When you have nothing to say, sing it

Sound effects

Voice-over on camera?


Avoid visual banality

Change of scene


Show the product in use

Everything is possible on TV


The great scandal

Here are two ways to register your brand name:

Use the name within the first ten seconds.

Play games with the name. Spell it.

“When you advertise a new product, you have to teach people its name on television.”

“Commercials which end by showing the package are more effective in changing brand preference than commercials which don’t.”

“In commercials for food, the more appetizing you make it look, the more you sell.”

“It is a good thing to use close-ups when your product is the hero of your commercial.”

“If you grab attention in the first frame with a visual surprise, you stand a better chance of holding the viewer.”

“When you advertise fire-extinguishers, open with the fire.”

“Never use a jingle without trying it on people who have not read your script. If they cannot decipher the words, don’t put your jingle on the air.”

“While music does not add to the selling power of commercials, sound effects—such as sausages sizzling in a frying-pan—can make a positive difference.”

“Research shows that it is more difficult to hold your audience if you use voice-over. It is better to have the actors talk on camera.”

“It pays to reinforce your promise by setting it in type and superimposing it over the video, while your soundtrack speaks the words. But make sure that the words in your supers are exactly the same as your spoken words.”

“If you want the viewer to pay attention to your commercial, show her something she has never seen before.”

“On the average, commercials with a plethora of short scenes are below average in changing brand preference.”

“It pays to show the product being used, and, if possible, the end-result of using it.”

“The technicians can produce anything you want. The only limit is your imagination.”

“If you want to avoid your television commercials being misunderstood, you had better make them crystal clear.”

“The easiest way to reduce the cost of a commercial is to cut actors out of the storyboard.”

A pilot study Ogilvy commissioned suggests four positive factors to radio advertising:

Identify your brand early in the commercial.

Identify it often.

Promise the listener a benefit early in the commercial.

Repeat it often.

Chapter 9: Advertising Corporations

“Opinion Research Corporation has found that people who know a company well are five times more likely to have a favorable opinion of it.”

“Advertising whose purpose is to influence public opinion is more likely to be successful if it follows these principles: If the issue is complicated, and it almost always is, simplify it as much as you reasonably can.”

“Present your case in terms of the reader’s self-interest.”

Chapter 10: How to Advertise Foreign Travel

“People dream about visiting foreign countries. The job of your advertising is to convert their dreams into action. This can best be done by combining mouth-watering photographs with specific how-to-do-it information.”

“When you are advertising little-known countries, it is particularly important to give people a lot of information.”

“I believe that charm works well in tourism advertising. And differentiation.”

Chapter 11: The Secrets of Success in Business-to-Business Advertising

“An effective strategy in business advertising is to show the reader how he can calculate the money your product would save him.”

Chapter 12: Direct Mail, My First Love and Secret Weapon

“The more people trust you, the more they buy from you.”

Chapter 13: Advertising for Good Causes

“It is difficult to persuade people to give money to a charity unless they know something about it.”

Chapter 14: Competing with Procter & Gamble

“The best of all ways to beat P&G is, of course, to market a better product.”

Chapter 15: 18 Miracles of Research

“Advertising which promises no benefit to the consumer does not sell, yet the majority of campaigns contain no promise whatever. (That is the most important sentence in this book. Read it again.)”

“Sometimes you will find that the promise which wins your test is already being used by one of your competitors. Poor you.”

Chapter 16: What Little I Know About Marketing

“The manufacturer who finds himself up the creek is the short-sighted opportunist who siphons off all his advertising dollars for short-term promotions.”

Chapter 17: Is America Still Top Nation?

“I would give my right arm to have made the nostalgic commercials for Hovis bread.”

Chapter 18: Lasker, Resor, Rubicam, Burnett, Hopkins, and Bernbach

“Lasker held that if an agency could write copy which sold the product, nothing else was needed.”

“Lasker used to say, “I make my men so good that I can’t keep ’em”.”

“The secret of [Stanley Resor’s] success was his ability to attract exceptionally able men, and to treat them with so much respect that they never left.”

“[Raymond] Rubicam used to say, “The way we sell is to get read first”.”

“Without any doubt, Leo [Burnett]’s greatest monument is his campaign for Marlboro.”

“Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read [Scientific Advertising] book seven times. It changed the course of my life.”

“[Claude] Hopkins was interested in nothing but advertising.”

“I am told that [Bill Bernbach] used to carry a card which bore the self-admonition Maybe he’s right.”

Chapter 19: What’s Wrong with Advertising?

“There is one category of advertising which is totally uncontrolled and flagrantly dishonest: the television commercials for candidates in Presidential elections.”

“In a period when television commercials are often the decisive factor in deciding who shall be the next President of the United States, dishonest advertising is as evil as stuffing the ballot box.”

“The best way to increase the sale of a product is to improve the product.”

Chapter 20: I Predict 13 Changes

“The quality of research will improve, and this will generate a bigger corpus of knowledge as to what works and what doesn’t.”

“There will be a renaissance in print advertising.”

“Advertising will contain more information and less hot air.”

“Billboards will be abolished.”

“The clutter of commercials on television and radio will be brought under control.”

“There will be a vast increase in the use of advertising by governments for purposes of education, particularly health education.”

“Advertising will play a part in bringing the population explosion under control.”

“Candidates for political office will stop using dishonest advertising.”

“The quality and efficiency of advertising overseas will continue to improve—at an accelerating rate.”

“Several foreign agencies will open offices in the United States, and will prosper.”

“Multinational manufacturers will increase their market-shares all over the non-Communist world, and will market more of their brands internationally.”

“Direct-response advertising will cease to be a separate speciality, and will be folded into the ‘general’ agencies.”

“Ways will be found to produce effective television commercials at a more sensible cost.”

Recommended Resources

Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins.

Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples.

Reality in Advertising by Rosser Reeves.

Madison Avenue by Martin Mayer.

Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy.

New Advertising: Twenty-One Successful Campaigns from Avis to Volkswagen by Robert Glatzer.

The 100 Greatest Advertisements by Julian Watkins.

The Art of Writing Advertising by Denis Higgins.

How to Advertise by Kenneth Roman and Jane Maas.

Advertising Inside Out by Philip Kleinman.

Successful Direct Marketing Methods by Bob Stone.

Or Your Money Back by Alvin Eicoff

The Art of Plain Talk by Rudolph Flesch

Writing That Works by Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson.

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E B White.

Thirty Seconds by Michael Arlen.

Speech Can Change Your Life by Dorothy Sarnoff

The Duping of The American Voter: Dishonesty and Deception in Presidential Television Advertising by Robert Spero

Obvious Adams by Robert Updegraff.

Recommended Reading

If you like Ogilvy on Advertising, you may also enjoy the following books:

Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout

The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy

Buy this bookhttps://amzn.to/2S5sesb

Print | Hardcover

No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy: Notes

Categories ProductivityPosted on
  • If you don’t know what your time is worth, you can’t expect the world to know it either.
  • People who can’t be punctual can’t be trusted.
  • Regimen, ritual, commitment, and discipline are of vital importance in relation to successful achievement.

The Five Big Ideas

  • Calculate your base earning target.
  • SlayTime Vampires.
  • Stop“productive interuptuts.”
  • Practice“clearing the calculator.”
  • Link everything to your goals.

Dan Kennedy’s No B.S. Time Truths

If you don’t know what your time is worth, you can’t expect the world to know it either.

Vampires will suck as much blood out of you as you permit. If you’re drained dry at day’s end, it’s your fault.

If they can’t find you, they can’t interrupt you.

Punctuality provides personal power.

By all means, judge. But know that you too will be judged.

Demonstrated self-discipline is MAGNETIC.

Good enough is good enough.

Liberation is the ultimate entrepreneurial achievement.

Chapter 1: How to Turn Time into Money

The use or misuse (or abuse by others) of your time—the degree to which you achieve peak productivity—will determine your success.

Entrepreneurship is the conversion of your knowledge, talent, guts, etc.—through the investment of your time—into money.

The more you think like an investor-entrepreneur than just an entrepreneur, the better you do financially. It is “investor-think” that makes you wealthy.

You’ve got to decide how much money you’re going to take out of your business or businesses this year in salary, perks, contributions to retirement plans, and so on. What is that number?

Second, you have to eliminate the need for doing or delegate those tasks and activities that just cannot and do not match up with the mandated value of your time.

Deciding what you shouldn’t be doing—this moment, or at all—is at least as important as deciding what to invest your time in.

Chapter 2: How to Cheat Time

There are only three ways to make money: your own work; overrides or profit margin on other people’s work; money making money for you.

You should consider any resource you are having to create, manage, or maintain with your time and ask yourself who else is doing the same work and how you might get some kind of “ride along” on their efforts.

Few entrepreneurs understand the incredible leverage, time savings, and capital investment reduction available from using OPC: Other People’s Customers.

Chapter 3: How to Drive a Stake Through the Hearts of the Time Vampires Out to Suck You Dry

Time Vampires are needy, thirsty, selfish, and vicious creatures who, given an opportunity, will suck up all of your time and energy and leave you weak and debilitated.

Being willing to deal with Time Vampires as you would a vile, evil, blood-sucking creature of the dark is the first step in freeing yourself from them.

“Mr. Have-You-Got-a-Minute?” is perhaps the most insidious of all the Time Vampires.

How to deal with “Mr. Have-You-Got-a-Minute?”: “I’m busy right now. Let’s meet at 4:00 P.M. for 15 minutes, and tackle everything on your list at one time.”

“Mr. Meeting” is another dangerous Time Vampire.              

Being in meetings is seductive. It is a way to feel important. It’s also a great way to hide from making and taking responsibility for decisions.

You need to stop and ask yourself: do I really need to be in—or hold—this meeting? Is there a more time-efficient way to handle this? A conference call? A memo circulated to each person? Heck, a posting on a bulletin board. On an internet or intranet site. An email. Hey, anything BUT another meeting.

If you are going to hold a meeting, there are several stakes you can use to stop the vampires from making it an endless “blood klatch”:

Set the meeting for immediately before lunch or at the end of the day so the vampires are eager to get it done and over with, turn into bats, and fly out of there.

Don’t serve refreshments.

Circulate a written agenda in advance.

Have and communicate a clear, achievable objective for the meeting.

If you must attend a meeting, you also have some stakes available so you can slay Mr. Meeting:        

Determine in advance what information you are to contribute, and then do it with a prepared, minimum-time maximum-impact presentation.

Have an exit strategy: someone coming in to get you at a certain time, a pre-arranged call on your cell phone, whatever. You can then excuse yourself only long enough to make a call and return if you need to—but you probably won’t. Or get a drop-dead end time pre-set for the meeting—the tighter the better.

Another Time Vampire to watch out for is Mr. Trivia. He either can’t or doesn’t want to differentiate between the important and unimportant, minor and major.

How to deal with “Mr. Trivia”: “I have an exceptionally busy day, so I am only dealing with 9s and 10s on a 1 to 10 scale. Everything else MUST wait until tomorrow. Are you convinced that what you want to talk to me about is a 9 or 10?”

Chapter 4: Stopping “Productivus Interruptus” Once and for All

If you’re going to achieve peak personal productivity in an interruptive environment, there are five self-defense, time-defense tactics you’ll have to use:   

Get lost.

Don’t answer the phone.

Get a grip on email, texts, and faxes.

Set the timer on the bomb.

Be busy and be obvious about it.

Leadership is not about visibly outworking everybody. Actually, brilliant leadership is about getting everybody else to out-work you.

You have absolutely no legal, moral, or other responsibility to answer the phone or take a call unless you want to.

If your clients, customers, or patients, and prospective clients, customers, or patients view you as one of and the same as many—so that if you aren’t instantly accessible or responsive and, whoever’s next by alphabet or Google Local or whatever reference will do just as well, you have lost—you will suffer and die in the marketplace.

When you are visible to others, it’s best to be visibly busy.

Have pre-set appointments with start and end times.

The average worker is interrupted every 3 minutes, 50 seconds. 44% of these are self-interruptions, 56% inflicted by others, in person or via phone calls, texts, email, etc. given attention. That equates to 137 interruptions in an 8-hour workday. If you aspire to be only an average worker achieving average performance and average outcomes, then going along with this will meet your needs and guarantee your mediocrity.

Attitudes and actions have direct consequences. If you accept the attitudes of the average—in this case, accepting frequent interruptions as unavoidable, and you accept the behavior of the average—in this case, the habit of distraction and self-interruption and of instantly or quickly or even same-day response to interruptions inflicted by others, you can count on being and staying average.

Chapter 5: The Number-One Most Powerful Personal Discipline in All the World And How It Can Make You Successful Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Dan believes a person who cannot keep appointments on time, cannot keep scheduled commitments, or cannot stick to a schedule cannot be trusted in other ways either.

Chapter 6: The Magic Power That Makes You Unstoppable

Regimen, ritual, commitment, and discipline are of vital importance in relation to successful achievement.

There are three kinds of action: starting things or implementation, follow-through, and completion.

The two things that seem universal are that self-disciplined action is evident in every winner, as is the ability to differentiate between action and purpose-specific action—between busyness and purpose-driven busyness.               

Chapter 7: The Ten Time Management Techniques Really Worth Using          

Information marketing revolves around the public’s stubborn belief that there must be a “secret” to success concealed from them, possibly by conspiracy, that, if uncovered, would change everything.

Technique #1: Tame ALL the Interruptions

Technique #2: Minimize Meetings

Technique #3: Practice Absolute Punctuality

Technique #4: Make and Use Lists

Technique #5: Fight to Link Everything to Your Goals

Technique #6: Tickle the Memory with Tickler Files

Technique #7: Block Your Time

Technique #8: Minimize Unplanned Activity

Technique #9: Profit from “Odd-Lot” Time

Technique #10: Live off Peak

Bonus Technique #11: Use Technology Profitably

For years, Dan’s operated with four basic lists:

My Schedule.

Things to Do List.

People to Call List.

Conference Planner.

If you aren’t making lists, you probably aren’t making a lot of money either.

Jim Rohn often said that the only real reason more people do not become millionaires is that they don’t have enough reasons to.

Similarly, Dan insists that the only real reason more people aren’t much, much more productive is that they don’t have enough reasons to be. A secret to greater personal productivity is more good reasons to be more productive. That’s why you have to fight to link everything you do (and choose not to do) to your goals.

If you’re going to achieve peak personal productivity, you’ve got to define peak personal productivity.

Dan defines productivity as, “The deliberate, strategic investment of your time, talent, intelligence, energy, resources, and opportunities in a manner calculated to move you measurably closer to meaningful goals.”

To determine whether you’re being productive, ask yourself, “Is what I am doing, this minute, moving me measurably closer to my goals?”

Anything beyond a 50% “yes rate” qualifies as peak personal productivity.

One of the real, hidden secrets of people who consistently achieve peak productivity is that they make inviolate appointments with themselves.

The more you know about yourself and what works best for you, to liberate your creativity and to power your performance, the better you can arrange things to your satisfaction.

If you do project work, it’s important to estimate the minutes or hours required and work against the clock and against deadlines. Every task gets completed faster and more efficiently when you have determined in advance how long it should take and set a time for its completion.

Deadlines refine the mind.

Dan can tolerate some compromise of desired quality, but he cannot tolerate winding up underpaid.

You can’t actually manage time; you can only manage yourself and those around you.

There is no excuse to simply waste time while waiting in an airport, stuck in traffic, or parked in a reception room.

When you say to yourself, “It’s only ten minutes,” you miss the entire point of time. You either take it seriously or you don’t.

Acceptance of ordinary realities that are counter to deriving maximum benefit from your time equates to surrender of control.

Guilt about creating benefit for yourself blocks any benefit coming to you.

If you are to take a goal, objective, or target seriously and have a hope of its achievement, you need to link it to time. Time must be made for it, allocated to it, budgeted for it, and booked into your schedule as firm, inviolate appointments with yourself and/or with others.

Chapter 8: Decisiveness

We do not get paid for our ideas, our intentions, our thinking things over, for trying, even for doing. In the real world, there is no A for Effort. We only get paid for DONE.

Chapter 9: Fire Yourself, Replace Yourself, Make More Money, and Have More Fun

You must systematically, aggressively divest yourself of those activities you do not do well and do not do happily, or you must find routine, so as to systematically invest your time (and talent, knowledge, know-how, and other resources) in those things you do extraordinarily well, enjoy doing, and find intellectually stimulating.

There is a profound difference between delegation and abdication.

You cannot delegate if you believe there’s only one way to get things done right.

You cannot move ahead without jettisoning some responsibilities and tasks in order to make room for new, more valuable tasks and responsibilities.

A six-step process to effective delegation:               

Define what is to be done.

Be certain the delegate understands what is to be done. This means asking to have the assignment restated by that person. Never assume you’ve successfully communicated. Hope but verify.

Explain why it is to be done as you are prescribing it to be done. With anything but the most menial of tasks and lowest level worker, there is room for differences of opinion about how a thing should be done. If they have a better sense of the actual doing than you do, they should be encouraged to voice it. If you want exactness of your instruction followed, you need to make it clear that you have “method to your madness.” Be sure the delegate understands the how-to process.

Establish what defines a successful outcome. Dan often catches his clients putting people in charge of important and relatively complex projects without clear agreement about what will constitute success or how it is to be measured. Everybody ends up frustrated.

Set the deadline for completion or progress report. Open-end delegation without a timeline is doomed. YOU have to set the timer.

Follow-up. If the person and delegated task do not return to you at the agreed-on date and time, you need a means of noticing the absence (failure) so you can deal with it at one minute late—not hours, days, or weeks.

If you’re looking for the answer that turns your time into the most money and wealth possible, then turn your attention to marketing. Why? Because it is infinitely easier to find or train someone to take care of a business’ operations than it is to get someone to do its marketing. Marketing is the highest-paid profession and most valuable part of a business. The person who can create systems for acquiring customers, clients, or patients effectively and profitably is the “money person.”

Chapter 10: The Link Between Productivity and Association

The phrase “time management” is inaccurate shorthand. You can only manage things that affect your ability to convert time to value, like environment, access, and all the other things discussed in this book.      

One of the most significant, that you can control to a great extent, is association—your choices of whom you permit into your world, whom you give time to or invest time with, and whom you look to for ideas, information, and education.

Each minute of your time is made more or less valuable by the condition of your mind, and it is constantly being conditioned by association.

Chapter 11: Buy Time by Buying Expertise

Here are four questions to ask when considering hiring an expert:

Has the expert actually done the thing he is advising you about—or is he an academic theorist giving book reports?

Is the expert current?

Does the expert have satisfied clients?

Are there at least three other successful entrepreneurs who have done more than one deal with you?

Do you understand what your chosen expert is doing and how he does it?

Never blindly delegate to mystics. If you can’t understand how the investment makes money, how the sales strategy works, or how the expert’s advice about anything works—run.

Chapter 12: The Inner Game of Peak Personal Productivity

There is a certain state of mind that best facilitates achieving peak productivity.

Achieving maximum personal productivity requires that you become extraordinarily facile at stopping, storing, and clearing so as to direct 100% of your mental powers to one matter at a time—to the matter at hand.

Dr. Maxwell Maltz, the author of Psycho-Cybernetics, called it, “clearing the calculator.”               

If you can’t control your thoughts and manage your mind, you can’t control or manage your time.

Dan is a big believer in populating my work environment with “psychological triggers”—objects that remind me to think a certain way.

Chapter 13: Reasons Why a Year Passes and No Meaningful Progress Is Made

This is one reason why a person fails to advance much from one year to the next: he is so busy whining about how unfair everything is and feeling sorry for himself that he has no time left to make anything happen.

Eric Hoffer, the author of The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, wrote: “There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement, for an achievement, does not settle anything permanently.

No one who is good at making excuses is also good at making money. The skills are mutually exclusive.

Alibi-itis: Choosing a nifty alibi over a difficult path to achievement.

Here’s how to get focused if you’re too majoring in minor matters: identify and write down the three most important, most significant, most productive, and most valuable things you can do to foster success in your particular enterprise—just three. Write them down. From there, translate them into three actions you can take each and every day. Write them down.

For about 30 years, Dan has not let a day go by where he did not send out a letter or a package, get an article published, do something to keep my books on bookstore shelves, secure a high-profile speaking engagement, or do something else to create and stimulate “deal flow.” It didn’t matter how busy he was or how tired—or if it was the Friday before a holiday weekend. Whatever. Before sunset, at least ONE thing had to be done intended to stimulate demand. He has only eased up on this in very recent years, as he chooses to rein in myself and wind down my work schedule, but still, at least half of his days include this.

Chapter 14: Taming Tech and Surviving the Social Media Swamp

We have finite amounts of willpower that become depleted as we use them, get drained away, and replenish slowly if at all. Therefore, it is far more beneficial to structure a success environment and install and enforce protections for your mind and its ability to do deep work than to cultivate and call on superior willpower.

Technology tempts us to ignorance and sloth.

The embracing of new technology often masks a downgrade.

Dan is not a fan of social media for reasons Cal Newport outlines in his book, Deep Work.

Other Books by Dan Kennedy

My Unfinished Business

The Ultimate Sales Letter

Recommended Reading

If you like No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs, you may also enjoy the following books:

Built to Sell by John Warrillow

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

The ONE Thing by Gary Keller

Buy this bookhttps://amzn.to/2V1Aw6c

Print | Kindle

How to Write Copy That Sells by Ray Edwards: Notes

Categories sellPosted on

“There is virtually no other skill that can make you as much money as copywriting.”

“You must distil your ‘big idea,’ or Copy Thesis, down to a single, clear sentence.”

“The more accurately you can describe your reader’s problem in terms they relate to, the more they instinctively feel that you must have an answer to that problem.”

The Five Big Ideas

“Make the reader aware of the cost of indecision.”

“Make certain that you focus 80% of your copy should focus on the transformation itself.”

Copy that converts at a high rate usually has a lot of bullets.

“As much as 30 percent of your sales may come in the week after your big launch day.”

“Stories are the process by which we learn, live, and believe anything.”

How to Write Copy That Sells Summary

“Advertising, and by extension copywriting (which is the writing of ads) is simply salesmanship in print.”

“There is virtually no other skill that can make you as much money as copywriting.”

Ask yourself, “What are you selling, and how does it benefit the customer?”

You must distil your ‘big idea,’ or Copy Thesis, down to a single, clear sentence.


The P.A.S.T.O.R. Copywriting Framework

Person, Problem, and Pain

Amplify and Aspiration

Story, Solution, and System

Transformation and Testimony



“You must begin by identifying the person you are trying to reach with your message, understanding the problem that you are solving for them, and the pain that problem causes.”

“The simplest, most effective way to do this is to describe the problem in great detail.”

“The more accurately you can describe your reader’s problem in terms they relate to, the more they instinctively feel that you must have an answer to that problem.”

“Use the reader’s own language, the very words, and phrases they use to describe the problem they want to solve.”

“You have to join the conversation that is already taking place in the reader’s mind.”—Robert Collier

“You must first empathize with your reader, and have the feelings they have. Then you must develop the feelings of excitement that come from knowing the problem can be solved.”

“Amplify the consequences of not solving the problem, and the aspirations the reader holds for the future.”

“Get the reader to fully experience the consequence of not solving the problem.”

“You need to place a dollar cost on this failure to solve the problem when at all possible.”

“Make the reader aware of the cost of indecision.”

“Help your prospect see the real long-term consequences of ignoring their problem.”

“Whatever you’re selling, whether it’s a home study program, a book, a seminar, your consulting services — anything at all — what people are buying is not the ‘stuff,’ it’s the transformation.”

“Offer testimonials, real-life stories of people who have successfully made the transformation that you are providing.”

There are three questions people are asking when you sell them coaching, consulting or instruction about anything:

Has this person been able to do what they are describing for themselves?

Has this person been able to teach other people to achieve the results they are describing?

Will this person be able to teach me how to achieve these results?

“Provide the prospect with proof that the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding “Yes!”

“Make certain that you focus 80% of your copy on the transformation itself.”

The response request is one of the areas where copy tends to often be the weakest.

Tell the customer exactly what to do in order to get your program, your consulting, your book, etc. and remind them why it’s important to do so.


“You’re at the point of decision. You can either continue down the path of least resistance, the path you have already been traveling, or you can choose the road less traveled. The path of least resistance will probably result in you getting the same outcomes you’ve always received. But if you want something different to happen, if you want to change the direction of your health (or your relationships, or your finances, etc.) you’re going to have to do something different. Make a new choice, and pursue your new outcome. Click the button below, fill out the order form, and we will immediately ship your entire package to you. It will contain everything you need to get started.”

The 15 Building Blocks of a Sales Letter

Pre-head (also known as the “eyebrow”)


Deck Copy





Bullet Points



Value Justification

Risk Reversal


Call to Action or “Explicit Offer.”


The headline is the “ad for the rest of the ad”.

All your headline has to do is make the reader want to keep on reading—specifically, to get him or her to read the next sentence.

“Studies show that you have about two seconds to grab the attention of people who are reading your copy for the first time.”

The deck copy is the block of type that is usually in black bold type and set apart from the rest of the text. It comes between the headline and the beginning of the letter.

“The job of the Deck Copy is to reinforce the impact and expand on the idea proposed in the headline. It can also be used to arouse more curiosity.”

The lead is the very beginning of the body of the sales letter.

The body is the bulk of your text; most of your sales letter.

The subheads are smaller headlines that separate the major sections of your sales letter.

“Prospects never read anything at first; they never believe anything at first, and they never buy anything at first.”

Rapport is relationship building.

“People like three kinds of people: one, those who are like themselves; two, those they would like to be; and three, those who like them back.”

“Rapport demonstrates that you know the reader’s pain, that you understand his or her problems, and that you have some common experiences that you can share that proves you understand his or her pain.”

“A bullet point is a brief statement that identifies a single benefit offered by your product or service.”

Copy that converts at a high rate usually has a lot of bullets.

“You must build credibility with your prospects in order for them to lower the resistance they’re naturally feeling.”

“Establishing credibility will answer the top question that they have once they’ve started reading your letter and that is, ‘Why should I listen to what this person has to say?’”

“Testimonials are third-party verification that your solution does what it claims to do.”

“You want to make your testimonials as believable as possible. Usually that means getting a video testimonial.”

“The next best thing is to get a photograph of the person, not a studio shot, but a candid shot, and include his or her full name and website address or, even better, his or her phone number.”

If you’re just starting out, you could use quotes from famous people, as long as it’s clear you’re not implying that the famous person is personally endorsing your product.

Value justification is where you start to talk about how valuable your product, service, or solution actually is to the user.

“You highlight the value to your offer and do it in a way that contrasts it favorably to the price.”

“My goal when writing copy is to demonstrate the value to the buyer is at least 10 times the price.”

“The simplest form of risk reversal is simply to say you have a 100 percent money back guarantee.”

“Your job is to find a way to express the guarantee or the risk reversal in such a way that you’re taking all the risk off their shoulders and putting it onto yours, so that they feel they’re taking no risk at all.”

“Your bonus is a related but unexpected gift that enhances the value of your offer.”

“The mistake I see people making in their online sales letters is offering bonuses that are not related to the product that they’re selling and that don’t enhance the value of their product.”

“The explicit offer is simply the place in the copy where we ask for the order and tell the reader what to do.”

“The research that I’ve seen shows that either one or three PS’s seem to work best.”

PS is important because readers skim, scroll, and scan. They start at the top and scroll all the way to the bottom because they want to know, “What is this person selling and how much is it?” and that’s usually near the bottom of the page. If you put a good, properly formatted PS at the bottom, you can restate your entire proposition in one sentence.

How to Write Compelling Headlines

To do its job, a headline must accomplish three tasks:

Stop the reader in their tracks. They must stop scanning through the copy on the page, and consider the headline.

Make a promise (either explicitly or implicitly) that interests the reader.

Evoke enough curiously to compel them to keep reading the ad.

Here are five essential qualities of a compelling headline:

Grabs Attention. Your headline’s number-one job is to grab the reader’s attention. To accomplish this, your headline must either: make a claim or promise, evoke an emotional response, or stir up curiosity.

Screens and Qualifies Readers. Choose specific words that segment out the exact “tribe” you want to reach. Headlines that apply to everyone can just as easily apply to no one.

Draws Readers into the Body Copy. Remember you’re not selling your concept or proposition in the headline. You’re making one sale only: the idea of reading the rest of the post.

Communicates the “Big Idea.” What is the one true benefit of your post, and how can you communicate that to your readers in a way that is meaningful to them? Put that in your headline.

Establishes Credibility. Authority is one of the most powerful ways of gaining attention. If you have an “authority card” to play, play it in the headline if possible.

Headlines Formulas

The “How-To” Headline

The “Transactional” Headline

The “Reason-Why” Headline

The “Probing Question” Headline

The “If-Then” Headline

“The key to making the “How-To” headline work is that you need to tie it to a benefit your reader cares about (related to your content, of course).”

“The “Transactional” headline is all about the promise. When you truly have ‘Wow!’ level content, this headline will grab attention.”

Cialdini’s research showed that simply adding the word “because” to a request makes it more likely you’ll get what you’re asking for.

“With the ‘Probing Question’ headline, you ask a question that creates an intense desire to know the answer. The kind of question you want to ask is one that really evokes strong curiosity or taps into a problem you know your reader has.”

“With the ‘If-Then’ headline, you contrast something that’s easy for your reader to do with the major benefit of your post.”

The ultimate secret to writing really good headlines is to write a lot of really bad ones.

Write lots of possible headlines for your sales copy, subject lines for your emails, and titles for your blog posts before you finally settle on one.

“Email is still the number one way to get things sold on the Internet.”

“Bullet points are a great place to start writing when you’re in that ‘stuck place,’ when that resistance-to-writing feeling sneaks up on you.”

“A blind bullet is a bullet that tantalizes your reader with a curiosity-inducing statement, yet does not reveal the actual secret behind it, in effect setting up an ‘open loop’ that the mind longs to complete.”

Bullets that are not blind are called “naked” bullets.

21 Winning Bullet Point Templates

The “Wrong” Bullet

The “Themed Sequence” Bullet

The Two-Step Bullet

The Giveaway Bullet

The Reverse Hook Bullet

The Naked Benefit Bullet

The Transactional Bullet

The If-Then Bullet

The “Truth About” Bullet

The “Single Most” Bullet

The “How-To” Bullet

The Number Bullet

The Sneaky Bullet

The “Better Than” Bullet

The “Simple Fact” Bullet

The “What” Bullet

The “What NEVER” Bullet

The “Do You?” Bullet

The “Reason Why” Bullet

The “Secrets Of” Bullet

The Probing Question Bullet

“The wrong bullet is simply a case where you can contradict a common assumption.”

An example of the “Wrong” bullet: “Eating lots of salt in your diet is bad for your blood pressure, right? Wrong! We’ll explain why when you order our special report.”

With the “Themed Sequence” bullet, you are going to spell out, for instance, the “seven deadly diet sins,” or the “three humiliating secrets men don’t want women to know.”

“A two-step bullet offers a parenthetical elaboration on the main benefit statement.”

Example: “What to never do with your business card, and why. (If you get this wrong, people will walk away and you’ll never hear from them again.)”

Every now and then in your bullets, you should give something away.

“If you can give people a tip or trick that’s stunningly good, they are more likely to think, ‘If that’s what they’re giving away in their sales promotion, what are they hiding behind the scenes? If the free stuff is this good, what kind of information do I get when I pay it?’”

The Reverse Hook Bullet is a bullet that presents, first, an interesting fact, and then presents an unexpected benefit that arises from that interesting fact.

Example: “37.1% of the keywords in your Google AdWords account are not getting enough traffic to give you reliable test data.” Now, this is the parenthetical statement, “Here’s a simple trick you can use to eliminate these keywords from your ad campaigns forever and save yourself loads of money.”

“The Naked Benefit Bullet makes a direct benefit claim, but it has got to be supported by some additional facts, or what I call ‘intrigues’ that deepen your reader’s interest.”

Example: “How to effortlessly generate dramatically different ideas and know instantly if they are worth pursuing.”

“The Transactional Bullet is simply a proposition that says, ‘Give me (X), and I’ll give you (Y).’”

Example: “Give me one hour, and I’ll teach you how to write effective headlines.”

“Whenever you’re using a transactional bullet, it’s often best if you can use it in a case where what you’re asking from your readers seems of small consequence in contrast to the benefit you’re offering to them.”

“With the “If-Then” bullet, you’re giving the prospect something easy for him or her to do or comply with, and you’re associating it to a more valuable benefit.”

Example: “If you can spare 10 minutes a day, you can lose five pounds a month.”

“Find an issue where the controversy is well-known in your market.”

Example: “The truth about carbohydrates – and chances are, it’s not what you think it is.”

“Use the “Single Most” type of bullet when you have a superior benefit that you can prove.”

Example: “The single fastest, easiest, and best way of lowering your blood pressure documented and approved by the American Medical Association.”

“You want a bullet that uses specificity to dimensionalize the benefit you’re claiming.”

“Any time you use the how-to bullet, make sure you’re using a few more specifics and make it more real, more tangible to the reader.”

Use the Number Bullet when you have a specific number of techniques or multiple ways of doing a certain thing, multiple reasons why, or multiple reasons why not.

“You want to use the Sneaky Bulley when you can imply some kind of element of conspiracy.”

Example: “The sneaky methods drug companies use to keep you hooked on their products.”

“This is most effective when you can confirm a suspicion that your reader already has.”

“You want to find something good that you can make better.”

“When you can’t use a blind bullet, use simple facts—but make them interesting.”

Example: “Healthy people are dying of sudden cardiac arrest,” quote the study, then follow up with a comma and say something to this effect: “There are steps you can take to prevent this from happening.”

“The ‘what’ bullet simply answers the question ‘What?’”

Example: “What inoculations you need to travel abroad.”

The “What Never” bullet is the negative form of the “what” bullet.

Example: “What never to eat on an airplane (unless you want to die).”

Use the “Do You?” bullet when you believe your readers are doing something that is a mistake. Something that your product, service, or information will help them avoid.”

Example: “Do you make these mistakes when filling out your business tax returns?”

The “Reason Why” Bullet is a simple version of “reason why” copy.

“It’s just explaining the reasons why they should buy your product or service.”

Example: “The reason why you should always use the lowest octane fuel available at the gas pump, not the highest.”

“If you have an unusual solution, device, tactic, or method, then you can use this bullet to build curiosity.”

“Ask a question you are reasonably certain you know the answer to.”

Example: “Do you know the seven kinds of deductions the IRS looks for to flag your return for an audit?”

“The triad of selling—the offer, the close, and the risk reversal segment.”

21 Steps to Writing Irresistible Offers, Rock-Solid Risk Reversal Copy, and Powerful Closes

Make your offer stand alone

Apply the P.A.S.T.O.R. Framework™ to your offer.

Enclose your order area copy in a differentiating text box

Use the prospect’s positive voice in the offer

Use aspirational language

Use credit card logos and secure site symbols

Use both an order button and a text link (such as “click to order”)

Do not sleepwalk through the guarantee

Put your risk reversal inside a certificate

Keep selling, especially in the risk reversal section

Use “100 percent money back”” language, but don’t rely on that to convey the message of your guarantee

Add video to your risk reversal section

Use your signature in the risk reversal section

Use a handwritten guarantee

The “close” is you asking for the order

Use all the tools that are available to you at the close

Tell your reader what to do to close the deal

You want to reassure and praise your readers

Explain what’s going to happen

Maintain the look and feel of your website

Test your order form

“Construct your offer so it’s like a miniature sales letter. It needs a headline, a little deck copy, a string of benefit-rich bullets that describe what the product is about, and exactly what your prospects are going to get when they buy. Then give them a call to action, where they can click and actually order your product or service.”

“Give your prospects the words to say inside their own minds.”

“You are thinking thoughts for the reader.”

“The reason this is so powerful when related to offers is that when you write in the prospect’s positive voice (‘Yes, Ray, I want to take advantage of your Copywriting Academy Coaching Program. I want to possess the power of turning words into wealth.’), you’re telling him or her what to think.”

“Invoke your reader’s desire. Focus on the outcome your reader desires and use language that aspires to that outcome, to gain the emotional state or the sense of being that this outcome will give them.”

Credit card symbols are important because we’ve been trained to accept as trustworthy, reliable, and stable. By including them, you are reassuring your prospect that your site shares the same qualities.

“Give them every opportunity to succeed at giving you money.”

“It’s always best to assume that your user or reader doesn’t really know with 100 percent certainty what to do next.”

“The guarantee is also known as the ‘risk reversal’ section of your copy.”

“You want to reassure them—as much as possible—that the decision they’re making is the right decision and that they cannot make a mistake.”

“Putting something in certificate form lends it credibility.”

“This is a perfect place to restate the benefits of your offer.”

“Describe the benefits in your guarantee or risk reversal language.”

Example: “Order my e-book, read every page. If you’re not delighted with the results, if in fact you don’t lose at least 30 pounds in 30 days, find it easy to eat the right foods without feeling hungry or deprived, know in an instant what you’re supposed to eat without ever having to refer to a calorie chart or point system, then I refuse to keep your money.”

“Use active language to dimensionalize your guarantee.”

“Use it, but don’t make that the only guarantee you offer; be more descriptive.”

“Make your risk reversal or guarantee personal, persuasive, and passionate. One of the best ways you can do that is by using the human voice and face, especially if your personality is part of your marketing. A video of you personally delivering the guarantee is more powerful than text alone.”

This increases conversions because if it’s signed, we feel like it’s a deal; it’s official; it’s a contract.

“If a signature works, a handwritten guarantee often works even better.”

“If you’re going to use a handwritten guarantee, make sure that it’s short, powerful, and most important, legible.”

“That means you want a headline on the order page just as I described: one that’s affirmative, congratulatory, and lets them know they’ve made the right decision.”

“You want to use urgency, scarcity, and reward.”

“If you can introduce some urgency into the selling process ethically and honestly, then you should do it.”

“Make sure you’re offering a limited number or a limited time on your bonus items, and make certain it’s all honest and ethical.”

“Make your promotions real, honest, and ethical.”

“This is where you need to be as specific as possible.”

You’re going to use language like this: “Okay, now’s the time to type in your name and your address, double-check that the information is correct, then type in your credit card number and click on the ‘Buy now’ button.”

“You want to be just that specific in your instructions.”

“If you can give these instructions in audio or video, that’s even better.”

“Reassure and praise your reader for the good decision he or she made.”

“Tell them exactly what’s going to happen when they press the ‘Submit’ or ‘Buy now’ button. This is a question your reader is wondering about.”

“The best way to reassure them is to tell them what’s going to happen or even show them if you can make a screen capture video that shows exactly what’s going to happen.”

“Your order form should look exactly like your website.”

“Order your own product. If it’s an expensive product and you want to minimize your processing expense, set it to zero dollars or one dollar and make multiple orders.”

10-Part Guarantee That is Powerful Beyond Belief

Start with the words “100% unconditional money back guarantee”

Sell your benefits and transformation in the guarantee itself

Integrate your USP (unique selling proposition) into the language of the guarantee itself

Personalize the guarantee

Give the longest guarantee possible

Demonstrate that returns are easy and hassle-free

Assure them that this is a no-strings attached, unconditional guarantee

Emphasize the speed of refunds

Amaze them with what I call the “I’ll-take-the-risk twist.”

Give your guarantee a name

5 Closing Templates That Get The Job Done

“You Will Certainly Arrive” Close

The “Different Results” Close

The “Crossroads” Close

The “Decision Time” Close

The “Handholding” Close

Example: “Here’s what you and I both know, one year from today you will certainly arrive. The question is where? That is your decision to make right now.”

Example: “Here’s the tough truth you probably already know. If you want different results you need to do something different. Make a definitive decision right now to get different results.”

Example: “You’re standing at the crossroads. To the left is the same rough, rocky road you’ve been traveling. To the right is the road fewer people will choose. This road is not harder it’s different. Choosing the right road makes all the difference. I’m hoping you’ll choose the right road and join us today.”

Example: “It’s been said that in your moments of decision your destiny is shaped. What will you decide to do right now? The same thing you’ve been doing so you get the same old results or will you decide to change your results for the better by joining the Champion Circle…”

Example: “And you won’t be alone, I’m going to hold your hand every step of the way and walk you through this process.”

The Offer is the core of your sales copy. It consists of:

The benefit of what you’re selling (the transformation)

The vehicle or mechanism that delivers the transformation

The price & payment terms

The O.P.E.N. Framework

Oblivious. These are the people who do not know there is a problem. They don’t know they have a problem, and they don’t know that you exist with a solution. These are the hardest people to sell to.

Pondering. The pondering person is considering a solution to their problem.

Engaged. The engages person is actively looking for something to solve their problem

Need. This is the person who’s in “agony”. You don’t have to sell or pitch a solution to them. These are the easiest people to sell to.

“The secret is to address each of these levels of awareness with a different kind of offer; the Oblivious with something like a Soft Offer, while the person in Need probably only requires a simple Hard Offer.”

Power Moves for More Compelling Offers

Power move #1: Make sure you’re selling them what they want. “You sell them what they want and you also give them what they need.”

Power move #2: Make your copy crystal clear. “If you can read a paragraph and not be sure of what it said, or if you read it to someone and they aren’t sure what it says either, that’s ‘voodoo copy.’”

Power move #3: Use tipping point bonuses. “You need to pay special attention to the bonuses you offer.”

“Spend as much time on your bonuses as you do on any other part of your product creation, and as much time on the copy for the bonus as you do on any other copy that you write.”

“The bonus needs to be as good as or better than what you’re selling.”

“Product launches work because they employ all the psychological triggers of influence.”

11 Launch Copy Components

List-building copy

Survey copy


JV Recruitment copy

Prelaunch copy

The “Big PDF”

Unpredictable plot complication copy

Countdown copy

The sales letter

Post-launch-week copy

The missing piece

“As your list and traffic grow, you want to start asking your market what bugs them. Find out what their pain is.”

“There are two ways to go about this when you’re thinking about how you’re going to create and market your product. You can focus on relieving a certain pain in the life of the prospect or you can focus on moving the prospect towards some type of pleasurable outcome.”

“People will respond more readily and will do more to get out of pain than to get into pleasure.”

“I recommend focusing on finding their pain and ways to relieve it.”

“You want to think of your product itself as copy because it’s making a continual sale to your buyer.”

“You need to think in terms of how you structure the product, how it is written in language that reaffirms the decision the prospect made when he or she decided to invest in it.”

“Think of the product as an extension of your copy.”

“When you’re performing a launch, you don’t just want to rely on just your own list.”

“Here is where you begin building anticipation, scarcity, and social proof.”

“This is where you’re going to write a white paper, a position paper or special report that spells out your platform or USP (unique selling proposition).”

“Unpredictable plot complications” means things will occur you didn’t plan for.

Example: “Wow! We had so much traffic from people who wanted to get a copy of our big PDF that our server went down.”

“This is where we start playing on the anticipation and scarcity.”

“Even if a buyer never sees your actual sales letter—they are still sold by it.”

“As much as 30 percent of your sales may come in the week after your big launch day.”

“I see this component left out all the time: following up with your buyers and prospects to make your launch become a profitable business.”

“Stories are the process by which we learn, live, and believe anything.”

The best and most successful movie trailers do three things without fail:

Give you the Dominant Story Idea (DSI)

Offer a sample of the feelings you’ll get from the movie itself

Provide proof that the movie ‘works’

Recommended Reading

If you like How to Write Copy That Sells, you may also enjoy the following books:

The 7 Day Startup: You Don’t Learn Until You Launch by Dan Norris by Dan Norris

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells by Robert W. Bly

Buy this bookhttps://amzn.to/2IwZbOX

Print | Kindle | Hardcover

Book Summary: Hack the Entrepreneur by Jon Nastor

Categories EntrepreneurPosted on

Donot underestimate what you, your laptop, a good Wi-Fi connection and some hardwork can accomplish.

In order to be an entrepreneur, you need to act like an entrepreneur.

Build a viable business that gives you the money and freedom to do what you love.

The Five Big Ideas

“We always overestimate the size of our hurdles, until we overcome them.”

“Life is short. Do work that matters.”

“Move from being a consumer to being a producer.”

“Always be proud of creating something out of nothing.”

“You don’t have to outsmart your competition or have more resources, you just have to outwork them.”

“Do not underestimate what you, your laptop, a good Wi-Fi connection, and some hard work can accomplish. These are the new rules of business. Get used to it, or keep your day job.”

“Overcoming my sense of inadequacy was one of the most liberating feelings in my life.”

“Yes, of course, you have to find your periods of hustle and hard work, but you also have to nurture your periods of stepping back and taking time off from business. Allowing yourself this time, without becoming anxious you are not working enough, will give you the energy and focus required to build and launch your next project, and grow your business.”

“In order to be an entrepreneur, you need to act like an entrepreneur. That means acting however you want, as long as you build things and put them out into the world.”

“Rather than building a business around what you love, build a viable business that gives you the money and freedom to do what you love.”

“What do you want your lifestyle and businesses to look like? Think about this when starting, and begin with your end goals in mind.”

“Determine exactly what you want from your business. Then begin with the end in mind.”

“We always overestimate the size of our hurdles, until we overcome them.”

“Accept that the starting point is the worst your business will ever be.”

“Life is short. Do work that matters.”

“You will never have all the information, only the information that is available to you where you presently are.”

“Move from being a consumer to being a producer.”

“Enjoy the lows, because they make the highs much higher.”

“Remember, your business is not about you. It is never about you. It is about your customer.”

“Luck is a by-product of hard work.”

“I have a piece of paper, a “fears page” if you will, where I write down whatever is keeping me from doing something at a specific moment. By doing so, I can dimensionalize my fears as Jay said. This has allowed me to see what mistakes I have made and how limiting fears can be.”

“The future needs goals, today needs appreciating, and yesterday needs to be acknowledged.”

“Your ideas are worthless until you take action.”

“In order to win in your market, you need to understand your competition better than they understand themselves.”

“Find people that will push you as far as they can.”

“The value of an idea is only realized during its execution.”

“What you make in your business or your spare time, no matter how insignificant it may seem, has the ability to change someone’s life.”

“Failure is not the end of an idea or business venture, but the starting point of the next one.”

“The only way to fail as an entrepreneur is to quit before you’ve seen enough failures to find your success.”

“In order to be really successful, you have to be able to work hard every single day, celebrating the wins and accepting the failures.”

“When you fall while climbing an obstacle, you simply land back on the plateau you were just on. You don’t have to start from scratch again.”

“Always be proud of creating something out of nothing.”

“Even if you don’t make a bunch of money out of it, you have done something most people in the world will never do and you deserve a pat on the back. You have executed your ideas, which gives them value.”

“When you find yourself in the dip, put your head down, keep working, and don’t look up until it’s clear you’ve made it through.”

“Entrepreneurs are not born – they are created through mindset, determination, and a willingness to work hard.”

“You have to appreciate what you’ve accomplished, no matter how small it might seem, while remaining unimpressed, because that will drive you forward.”

“Be the CEO of your show.”

“At times, we have to do the work that has to be done, even if we’re not great at it and don’t like doing it. It is the nature of running a business. Think big and work small.”

“Our businesses do not need us to be good at everything, but they do require us to acknowledge our shortcomings with courage and humility.”

“You don’t have to outsmart your competition or have more resources, you just have to outwork them.”

Buy The Book: Hack the Entrepreneur

Print | Kindle

The Dip by Seth Godin

Categories Jobs&Skills, RICHPosted on

Winners quit the right stuff at the right time.

People settle for good enough instead of best in the world.

Being well rounded is not the secret to success.

The Five Big Ideas

“To be a superstar, you must do something exceptional. Not just survive the Dip, but use the Dip as an opportunity to create something so extraordinary that people can’t help but talk about it, recommend it, and, yes, choose it.”

“The next time you catch yourself being average when you feel like quitting, realize that you have only two good choices: Quit or be exceptional. Average is for losers.”

“Winners understand that taking that pain now prevents a lot more pain later.”

“The decision to quit or not is a simple evaluation: Is the pain of the Dip worth the benefit of the light at the end of the tunnel?”

Quitting as a short-term strategy is a bad idea. Quitting for the long term is an excellent idea because it frees you up to excel at something else.

The Dip Summary

“Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”

“Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most.”

“Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other.”

“With limited time or opportunity to experiment, we intentionally narrow our choices to those at the top.”

“People settle for good enough instead of best in the world.”

“Just about everything you learned in school about life is wrong, but the wrongest thing might very well be this: Being well rounded is the secret to success.”

“Almost everything in life worth doing is controlled by the Dip.”

“At the beginning, when you first start something, it’s fun. Over the next few days and weeks, the rapid learning you experience keeps you going. Whatever your new thing is, it’s easy to stay engaged in it. And then the Dip happens. The Dip is the long slog between starting and mastery. A long slog that’s actually a shortcut, because it gets you where you want to go faster than any other path.”

“The Dip creates scarcity; scarcity creates value.”

“The Cul-de-Sac is boring, the Cliff is exciting (for a while), but neither gets you through the Dip and both lead to failure.”

“In a competitive world, adversity is your ally. The harder it gets, the better chance you have of insulating yourself from the competition. If that adversity also causes you to quit, though, it’s all for nothing.”

“It’s not enough to survive your way through this Dip. You get what you deserve when you embrace the Dip and treat it like the opportunity that it really is.”

“Knowing that you’re facing a Dip is the first step in getting through it.”

“It’s human nature to quit when it hurts. But it’s that reflex that creates scarcity.”

“Quitting when you hit the Dip is a bad idea. If the journey you started was worth doing, then quitting when you hit the Dip just wastes the time you’ve already invested. Quit in the Dip often enough and you’ll find yourself becoming a serial quitter, starting many things but accomplishing little.”

“If you can’t make it through the Dip, don’t start.”

“If you want to be a superstar, then you need to find a field with a steep Dip—a barrier between those who try and those who succeed. And you’ve got to get through that Dip to the other side.”

“If you can get through the Dip, if you can keep going when the system is expecting you to stop, you will achieve extraordinary results.”

“To be a superstar, you must do something exceptional. Not just survive the Dip, but use the Dip as an opportunity to create something so extraordinary that people can’t help but talk about it, recommend it, and, yes, choose it.”

“The next time you catch yourself being average when you feel like quitting, realize that you have only two good choices: Quit or be exceptional. Average is for losers.”

“Selling is about a transference of emotion, not a presentation of facts. If it were just a presentation of facts, then a PDF flyer or a Web site would be sufficient to make the phone ring.”

“If you’re not able to get through the Dip in an exceptional way, you must quit. And quit right now.”

“Winners understand that taking that pain now prevents a lot more pain later.”

“The decision to quit or not is a simple evaluation: Is the pain of the Dip worth the benefit of the light at the end of the tunnel?”

“If your job is a Cul-de-Sac, you have to quit or accept the fact that your career is over.”

“Strategic quitting is a conscious decision you make based on the choices that are available to you. If you realize you’re at a dead end compared with what you could be investing in, quitting is not only a reasonable choice, it’s a smart one.”

“Quitting is better than coping because quitting frees you up to excel at something else.”

“Actually, quitting as a short-term strategy is a bad idea. Quitting for the long term is an excellent idea.”

Other Books by Seth Godin

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Recommended Reading

If you like The Dip, you may also enjoy the following books:

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stree-Free Productivity by David Allen

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

Buy this bookhttps://amzn.to/2Ef8j6n

Print | Hardcover | Audiobook

error: Right click disabled