By Joe Sugarman
The Guinness Book of World Records listed Joe Girard as the
"World's Greatest Retail Salesman" for 12 consecutive years. He
holds the singular distinction of having sold an average of six
cars a day over his career. Recently, Joe Girard told me:
"Joe, I can sell in person to individuals in a personal way - in
fact, I can sell more cars per day than anyone else. Yet, I
can't do what you do -- you sell millions of products to masses
of people through the sheer power of print."
Salesmanship in Print
When you look at it from Joe Girard's perspective, it's hard to
deny the awesome power of writing good sales copy - which I call
"salesmanship in print" -- a power that anyone can take
advantage of. You don't need good looks, a charming personality
or even great intelligence. In fact, you don't even have to
This is why it baffles me when people desperately rack their
brains trying to find ways to make money -- when the greatest
opportunity is staring them right in the face. What's even more
mystifying is that those very same people, when presented with
ingenious approaches to writing copy that sells, take the skill
for granted and don't use it to make personal fortunes for
Not many people know this, but I almost flunked English back in
high school. In addition, I don't know many big words, unlike
the rest of my advertising and marketing colleagues -- and my
writing style is quite unsophisticated to boot. Yet, by learning
to incorporate into my sales copy all the things about how the
human mind reacts to certain words and phrases that I've learned
over the years, I have made millions of dollars for myself.
The most important lesson you must remember is this: If you
learn nothing else but the proper use of psychological
principles in writing sales copy, you will always make more
money than you'll ever need.
The Million-Dollar Grapefruit Farmer
If you're one of those people who believes that you're not a
good enough writer -- and that you couldn't possibly learn to
write ad copy that sells -- I want to tell you the story of a
man who attended one of my seminars. This man was a grapefruit
farmer who had never written sales copy prior to attending my
copywriting seminar. In fact, he expressed his doubts that he
would get anything at all from the copywriting lessons he
learned. Yet, by the end of the seminar, he was able to write
direct mail copy to sell grapefruit by mail which, over a period
of ten years, has earned him millions of dollars.
Success Leaves Clues
For many years I specialized in "space-age" products, and my
claim to fame was in building and selling "the better mousetrap"
-- from state-of-the art smoke detectors to chess computers to
new-fangled calculators -- and more recently -- to BluBlocker®
But you don't need a space-age product to make a million
dollars. In fact, that is the downfall of most people who enter
the marketing field. They find a product, fall in love with it,
and try to get the market to buy it. With an unproven product,
you could lose a lot of money in the process.
Instead what you should do is find a product that's already
selling well -- and use compelling copy to sell it better.
Harmonize with the Marketplace
One of the psychological principles I describe in my book,
"Triggers," is simply this: Your product needs to harmonize with
Here's a tip that you would definitely find useful: When you're
looking for a product to sell, go to the library and flip
through the back issues of magazines -- particularly the
tabloids. Note those mail order ads that are running week after
week, month after month. There's only one reason why those ads
keep running -- they're making money. Those products are
already proven to sell well -- they've demonstrated that they
harmonize with the marketplace.
Even if there are many companies that are already competing in
those product categories (example: weight loss, hair
restoration, and wrinkle products, etc.), don't worry. If you
apply good copywriting guidelines, your marketing efforts will
fare better than those who are making money, despite their poor
"Splish Splash I Was Takin' A Bath"
Take a clue from Bobby Darin, a popular singer of the '50s.
Darin was a young singer in New York who, for a long time, tried
unsuccessfully to break into the music business. He would go
from record company to record company trying to convince them to
make an album of him singing popular jazz oldies. He was
So one day, Darin sat down and wrote a song that fitted or
"harmonized" with what the public was buying at the time. What
was popular at the time was good old rock and roll sung by black
artists -- it was called the Motown sound.
The song he wrote was called "Splish Splash" and the words
started out, "Splish splash, I was takin' a bath/ 'Round about a
Saturday night." It had a good old Motown rock and roll sound --
and it became a smash hit, selling millions of copies.
Darin recognized what the market wanted, and he created
something that harmonized perfectly with the prevailing
market. From his earnings, he himself produced a record in the
music genre that he really loved -- popular jazz oldies. His
song, "Mack the Knife" went on to become a multimillion-selling
single and made Bobby Darin famous.
To summarize, you must first have a product that harmonizes with
your market. If you haven't made a substantial amount of money
from your marketing efforts yet, sell only products or services
that have a ready market -- this is the path of least
resistance. Afterwards, with the money you make, you can blaze
new trails with other products of your own preference.
How to Trigger a Successful Sale Through the Power of Psychological Triggers
Knowing the subconscious reasons why people buy, and using this
information in a fair and constructive way, will trigger greater sales
response -- often far beyond what you could imagine.
How To Test Your Headlines Without Spending A Fortune In Advertising Fees
Headlines are the most critical part of any marketing
campaign. Don't put money into any advertisement without
first testing the Headline.
Repetition, The Key To Making More Sales
How often have you purchased a product or service on the
Internet the first time you were exposed to it? Most
marketing experts say that it takes an average of seven
contacts with your prospect before they will buy.