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A great salesman makes his own turf

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Your prospects are busy.

Their attention is harvested like a precious resource every second, every day.

How can you creep into their minds and take up your own little corner?

Yesterday I shared a scene from the TV show “Hello tomorrow!” about a newbie door-to-door salesman desperately trying to step foot inside his prospects’ homes. And failing.

Until his mentor urged him to “smell the cookies”.

The lesson there is that if you truly want to win your prospects’ hearts and enter their minds, you have to start from their world.

Not yours, not that of your product or brand.

You have to find out what excites them or what keeps them up at night – and then help them get where they want or get away from what they don’t want.

There’s another good quote from the show, “A great salesman makes his own turf”…

You, as the business owner or freelancer, are the sole responsible for your success.

Sure you might have a team, but unless you are clear on what your audience wants and needs, none of them will be able to help you.

But first, remove any trace of what your audience doesn’t need.

Here are 4 things the newbie was doing wrong in his pitch to the imaginary old lady (and that you should avoid at all costs) are:

  • He was demanding more time and energy: the lady was busy making her damn cookies. Pretend your prospects are jam-packed with stuff to do (which is likely the case). Never assume you have all the time in the world. Your copy should prevent procrastination.
  • He then shifted into neediness: he was willing to wait on the front door, “like a peeping Tom” which only signalled neediness and fear of losing the sale. Needy copy never works. You should always convey how proud and confident you are about what you do. Your copy should be clear, upfront and then leave space to your prospects to make a decision.
  • He started getting pushy: suddenly the noob became aggressive and he forgot one critical aspect of great copywriting as David Ogilvy said: “The customer is not a moron, she’s your wife.” Never assume your prospects need you to tell them what to think and what to do. Your copy should not dictate the idea, it should make them believe they came up with it.
  • Finally he began drifting into irrelevancy: he started including the lady’s children, her legacy… all themes and motivations that while important, weren’t necessarily front of mind or emotional enough for the prospect to stop and listen. Your copy should always be relevant and aligned with the context in which your writing them.

Keep these in mind when writing your copy and you’ll make sure you’re doing your best to seep into your people’s minds.

And also remember that once you do these right, you have to pinpoint what catches your prospect’s attention – fast.

In the case of the newbie salesman, it was the smell of the cookies.

That was his hook, his leade.

But what if you don’t know what that is?

The newbie salesman gets anxious at the end of the scene:

Newbie: What if… What if I didn’t actually smell the cookies?

Mentor: You better damn well find a way to smell ’em.

My point?

If you don’t know, find out.

Time to [do some research](get in touch)!


Our first giveaway is over! 🥳

And we have our 3 winners:

Congrats and a huge thank you to Madhu Kumar, Visarlini and another kind participant who’s not on the newsletter for spreading the word so massively.

I’ll email you each individually by the end of the week to deliver the prizes.

To be honest this was an experiment and I think it went pretty well considering I don’t have big numbers yet. There’s a meta lesson here: learning requires action and action provides refined learning. It’s a cycle.

Quote and reflection of the day:

“People who don’t see opportunity can’t see it because they don’t want to see what they need to see: unknown variables, new skills, hard work, trial and error, risk, and failure.”

  • MJ DeMarco, Unscripted

Growth requires you to open your eyes to reality as it is, not as you want it to be. To master growth, master your ability to see and think clearly.

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brain dump?

Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

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