[Quiz] The Single Most Important Slice O’ Biz Advice

Thursday, 8:41pm
Reno, NV
What you want, baby I got it…” (‘Retha)


Let me warn you up front here: This is not a trick question.

It’s totally on the level.

Still, I bet most folks botch it.

So, before I even ask…

… let’s sweeten up the stakes a bit.

The first person to answer correctly… will be shipped a free copy of the “Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel” course (text and CDs). (Or, if you already own that notorious course… you can ask instead for a copy of the currently unavailable “Freelance Course” — the manual that launched a generation of mercenary writers into the Web.)

(The Kick-Ass course currently goes for $299, by the way. And the Freelance manual, when sporadically released, goes for even more.)

(So, yeah… nice prizes.)

But you gotta be first…

… and you gotta be right.



Here’s the question:

(Quick set-up): Just 3 months ago, I was offering consulting clients a small menu’s-worth of specific advice on how to deal with economy-caused business problems.

All of that advice still holds true. Biz owners who have followed any of it have seen results “hot” enough for them to chase me down (through email or by phone) to demand that I hear their success story. And use it in my “Wall O’ Testimonials”.


(Tease): Just ONE of those specific pieces of advice has stood out from all the others.

It is, in fact, now the single most important thing I make sure EVERY new consulting client hears. And hears clearly, without any ambiguity.


(Ta-daaa!): What do you think that one piece of advice IS?

Do you think it is, perhaps…

Get hip to Twitter?

Buy a new computer? Move up to a Mac, or sideways to a hot-rodded PC?

Learn a new application? To maybe boost your SEO, or your PPC… or to evaluate your data?

Read some new books?

Attend a bunch of seminars?

Buy new gear, like video equipment?

Or what?

If you’ve been reading my drivel for any length of time, you SHOULD have the answer tripping lightly off your tongue already.

Hint: It’s not learning how to write copy.

Oh, sorry. That just bolluxed a whole bunch of incoming answers, didn’t it.

Okay. No more hints.

Send in your answer through the comment section, below.

It will automatically be time-stamped, so the winner will not be in doubt.


It’s the end of the week.

An exciting, wild ride of a week, too.

But you’ve still got at least eight brain-cells left today — plenty to cogitate on this question, and give me your answer (before boogy-boogy-ing out to TGIF Land).

You could win that nifty prize. I’ll sign whichever prize you choose, too. I never sign anything anymore. That’ll make it rare and valuable and cool.

Let’s give this little quiz a time limit of…

… oh, how about 27 hours and six minutes.

That means midnight, west coast time, Friday is the cut-off.

It’s a worthy question to ponder.

Remember: I am (blush) one of the most sought-after advice-givers in the direct response marketing/advertising game.

There’s a reason for that.

And there’s a reason why — after a very long time of having many pieces of advice in my “first response” to any client — a single marching order now dominates every consultation I agree to.

Okay, one more hint: It’s because of the economy that I’ve narrowed my “menu” down to one screaming suggestion.

Can’t stop — one last hint: It works like crazy to nail every single goal, wish and target you have.


Let’s hear your answer.

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

Friday Afternoon Update:

Wow. Some really great stuff coming in.

In fact, answers were coming in so hot and heavy, the “comment accepting process” jammed at some point late last night… and some folks had to email my assistant Diane. (It’s working fine now.)

And, as more than one person observed… even though the answers aren’t the one I’m looking for… this is one hell of a nice list of ideas, tactics and strategies. An education in and of itself.

Great work. From everyone.

Now, about the prize…

So far, there is just ONE person who’s close enough to win.

He could still be trumped by a more precise statement of the advice I’m talking about. But if (by midnight tonight) no one nails it exactly, then we have a “Close Enough” winner already.

However, the contest is still very much wide open.

I’m happy to see so much solid thinking going on. That’s good. You win by forcing your brain to work this way, you know.

It’s also wicked-good fun to torture everyone like this.

And… I’m frankly a little surprised this wasn’t answered quickly last night.

It’s not rocket science.

It IS, I’m now seeing, slightly out-of-the-box for most small biz owners and entrepreneurs, though.

I should add: Every client I’ve laid this advice on has taken it, eagerly.

I’ll post the answer — and the name of the winner — early tomorrow.

Go get ’em.

Just enter your name and primary email address below and we'll send you the new report right away.

"11 Really Stupid Blunders You're Making With Your Biz & Career Right Now."

  • Anthony says:

    Put yourself in front of a starving crowd. Meaning is there a hungry desire for your product?

    John Carlton replies:

    NICE try, Anthony. That was certainly in the menu I used 3 months ago.

    But… alas, no.

    Okay to try again, you know…

  • Clark says:

    Direct mail

    John Carlton replies:

    Another nice try.

    But… nope.

  • Hi John,

    Here’s my educated guess. Since most of your sales typically come from your existing customers, make it a point to market to them on a consistent basis to encourage them to keep buying from you. It’s your existing customers that are your bread and butter, not chasing after new ones.

    My two cents,


    John Carlton replies:

    This is a good “level 2” tactic. As my pal Alex Mandossian says, saving a dollar that was headed out the door with an old customer is equal to making a new one from a fresh prospect… and a lot less effort.

    However, it’s not the number one thing I recommend.

  • Get hip to twitter

    John Carlton replies:

    You’re funny, Murdock.

  • Am thinking attend a bunch of seminars, but economically that might not be possible.

  • Kevin says:

    Is it “find out as much about your market as you can; who they are, what they really want, and then figure out ways to give it to them?” Robert Collier talked about entering the conversation already taking place in your prospect’s mind… in other words, getting as “in tune” with your target market as possible?

    John Carlton replies:

    Close, Kevin. Very close.

    But no cigar.

  • Lindsay says:

    Up your rate.

  • Yancey Foster says:

    All it takes is a list and a letter to cure what ails you.

  • Step outside of your own box

  • Mutiara says:

    Don’t be afraid to make your case! Stand up and do some world-class self-aggrandizing. Brag! 🙂

  • Anthony says:

    Well before I go to bed.

    Make sure you’re hip and connected to your market by immersing yourself in what they read, listen to and watch and then just sell the damn thing.

    (That’s what you’ve taught me anyway and I’ve listened)

  • Oscar says:

    The hook.


  • Hi John,

    My guess is: JUST DO (whatever is meant to be done). People fall victims of inaction.

    (or “Motion beats meditation”, as Halbert said))

  • Chris Kellum says:

    Survey your customers. Ask them:

    – What they like about buying from you

    – What they don’t like about buying from you

    – What else they’d like to buy from you

  • Jonathan says:

    Survey/call/e-mail their existing clients to determine how their needs have changed, determine revised maximum pain points, then deliver solutions tailored toward those new pain points. Don’t guess where the hunger has gone, ask, then answer.

  • Chris Kellum says:

    Continued (in case that wasn’t as full an answer as it should’ve been lol) . . .

    Use the first two to reshape your offer and selling process, and use the third to go out and make that product and . . . drumroll . . . sell them what they want!

  • Okay, one more shot before I head off to bed. Talk to your customers the way that they talk.

    Use it as a central theme so your customers feel like you know them, whether its with your marketing or when they order from/visit your business. People like doing business with folks that they like and can relate with. In other words, become a welcome part of their lives.

    Take care,


  • Tom says:

    To client:

    Any copy I write for you will be used word for word…..period. No changes of any type, shape or form.

    All other items are open for discussion or negotiation.

    If this is satisfactory…..we can do business.

  • Pam Shannon says:

    Ask them “what business are you in?”

  • Kevin says:

    Ok… is it “find out what problems/desires your market is already spending their money on, how much money they spend, and how often they spend it, and then tailor your product/service/pitch around that information?”

  • Karen says:

    TELL them what they want and then give it to them.

  • DaveC says:

    What negative motivation drives your passion to persevere?

  • May Mitchell says:

    The Power of Focus.

    Focus -> Feelings -> Decisions -> Actions -> Outcomes

    Be it personally, professionally or relating to the economy, a goal, or target…

    (Life is short. Focus from this day forward on making a difference…)

  • Karen says:

    TELL them what they want AND why they want it – then give it to them. REALLY give it to them, with every bell and whistle you can possibly add to it.

    John Carlton replies:

    Hi Karen.

    Again, great answer.

    But not the right one.

    Isn’t this just frustrating as hell?

  • Make a list, set some goals, set some targets and then get off your ass and start working them. No excuses.

    Twitter’s fun but it ain’t gonna bake your cookies.

    Doing something will…

    John Carlton replies:

    Dude, you win “Best Handle” today. Rascal O. Scrimp. Love it.

    Good answer, too… but if I told clients paying me the Big Bucks in a consultation, they’d stare at me for a few minutes… and then leap the table to throttle me.

    This goal-setting stuff (which I use and recommend, as you know) is for personal growth, mostly. Yes, it works for biz, too… but it’s not something you can talk someone into using as part of a biz model.

    What I’m looking for is hard-core advice. Do this.


  • Joe Swopes says:

    Maaaaaaaaaaaaaan always something to keep us on our toes.

    Hmmm….I’m not sure…but….gonna say

    “they need passion for whatever it is they are doing….and ask for the sell!”

  • Find a ‘bleeding neck’ market. Your market desperately need you and craft you own USP “why should i do business with you vs. anybody else”? . You’ll be king of your niche if you can find this kind of niche and identified you USP.

  • It’s all about mindset. Stop believing all the doom and gloom being pumped out by the media (in fact avoid papers and tv news as much as possible) and focus on your goals. Stay motivated.

  • Ash Peters says:

    Ok John, I haven’t really followed your work in great detail but from what I do know, let me guess…

    “Raise your prices (differentiation) and deliver so much value to turn your offer into a no brainer”

    I like that one 🙂

    Ash Peters

  • Sarah Albers says:

    Take Action

  • Kim says:

    Promote your business as still healthy.

    Advertise. Be positive. People will be drawn toward the positive; your business was here yesterday, is here today, and will be here tomorrow.

  • Ian says:

    Focus on building and nurturing your list, and master how to talk to them.

  • Christoffer says:

    Tell your market why they would benefit from buying your product in “this economy”. Use it to your advantage and make the prospect understand that they NEED YOU because of today’s economy!

  • Yoda says:

    Advice you want Hmmmmmm

    Hit a big Jackpot….. not it, that was..

    Drum roll please……………………..

    “Develop Relationships”


    Smart enough alone, you are not….yoda

  • Peter Frank says:

    Study and understand exactly what emotionally turns your market on, then…

    produce a ‘Killer Offer’ that will push their emotional hot buttons to purchase.

    Have great up-sell in place for all buyers.

    Have a backend product or series of products (your or someone else’s) to continue the marketing campaign.


  • In your own words, “hey are all steeped in the most basic of basic fundamentals of continued success in busiess: Build and nurture a list, and know how to talk to the folks on that list.

    It’s so simple, that 90% of all biz in the world completely and utterly doesn’t “get” it.

    A big, good, gooey-for-you list… and the ability to reach them with email, ads, letters, videos and other tools… actually can create an insular world for you.”

  • People prefer to buy from those they know and like.

    Post a friendly bio on your blog and/or similar sites

  • Dave Snigier says:

    I would guess that it would be to build connections and relationships with your customers. They will keep coming back if they feel welcomed beyond the average “have a good day”. This is what twitter, blogging, and social media is all about… creating the advantages of a personal salesman without all of the time commitment.

    Much like you do with this blog, create personal relationships with your readers and then of course they will be buying your courses when they want training as opposed to someone else, even if the others might have a flashy website that would try to convince them otherwise.


  • Let people know who you are and what you do. Get personal
    Tell a story about yourself. Let them feel they know you and would like to do business with you.

  • Advice (always works in spite of the economy): Raise your fees!!!!

  • Focus only on what’s working already and enhance it. Toss what doesn’t work — or better yet — figure out why it’s not and either fix it or toss it.

  • Craig Woolven says:


    Testing. Test your copy, your offer, test whatever you can to get inside what they are thinking, how their thought processes are moving from money everywhere sloth to do I really need this, what are the objections etc.


    PS More of this please. It is fun brain exercise.


  • Sandra H says:


    Like Shakleton – people crave a wicked tale.

    Find Stories Hidden DEEP inside you – Be Edgy !!

  • Simon L says:


    How about a clear focus? Particularly on discovering what marketing is working for you (and why). You save marketing $$s by not wasting them.

    Expand on those tactics until you are rolling in your own money bath!!


  • Frank D. says:


    In this economy – or any – the deep in the gutter, used by con men, killer sales tactics and skills will always rule.

    I’m guessing your one piece of advice is: Sell the way you would if you had to go door-to-door, and your life depended on closing the deal.


  • Simon L says:

    Eek… I’m going to offer another quick suggestion – which is:

    Ignore all the news and media naysaying what you can achieve in this economy, it will only hold you back.

    Expand your marketing efforts while a lot of the competition is backing off and win a bigger share of your market.

    Use the principles of good marketing practice to get every dollar you spend to pay you back multiple times

    I’ll leave you in peace now, otherwise there may just flow forward a ton of suggestions and I’d think of that as kinda cheating 🙂

    All the best to everyone.

  • Roy Furr says:

    Put your freakin’ nose to the grindstone and do more sales calls, more marketing, and more going out and taking what you want instead of just taking what the economy gives you.

    Some people don’t want to play baseball when it rains. If an average player just shows up to play on a rainy day, they may become the playmaker — the MVP — because the highly-touted prima donna didn’t want to get wet.

    So if you have the guts to play in the rain — to step up to the plate and take the big swing — it could change everything.

    Big business holds off spending on marketing and sales when the economy slows… And the clutter of sales and marketing messages subsides (slightly)…

    Smart entrepreneurs see this as an opportunity to step up to the plate and take a swing.

    … And you won’t hit if you don’t get a chance to swing…

    … You won’t be the MVP if you don’t play in the rain…

    … You’re not going to survive… much less thrive… in the recession unless you get off your duff and do more sales calls, more marketing, more proactive solicitation of business.

    Go out and take what you want — not what the economy gives you.

  • Don’t do what you want to do, what you HAVE to. This is another way of saying Joseph Campbell’s Follow your bliss. But most people don’t get that saying not having read any Joe Campbell. The point with the mythology thing is it’s what you’re compelled to do. The TRICK is aligning what you have to do with what you want to be doing, and making it so important, like breathing, that you HAVE to do it… Then you’ll actually do it. If you don’t do the stuff that makes you money, you don’t make any money, and you die a horrible painful death 🙂

  • Jay says:

    It’s probably already been said, but…

    engage your audience (as you have done with us by asking this question)


    do not take part in the recession (especially the mind set that goes along with it)

    Okay, I know, that was 2 answers, but I’m just taking a shot.

  • Whats up John?

    How about… “SHOW UP”

    Put the ADD to the side, work your ass off, let your family get mad at you, girl (or man) pout in the corner cuz she/he is not getting enough attention and GET WHAT YOU NEED TO GET DONE… DONE!

    John you have blessed us and schooled us on so many topics that we could never possibly just remember just one.

    As always Kick Ass info on here…


  • Joe Coates says:

    LOVE YOUR CUSTOMERS… Communicate with them all the time – not just to sell them something, sometimes just to share something that will be useful and profitable to them.

    Relationships built in trying, emothionally turbulent times are stonger and more lasting than the ones built when the sun is shining, the birds are singing and money is gently floating down from the sky.

    LOVE YOUR CUSTOMERS, and make sure they know you love them, so they think only of you when they grudgingly part with those rare few dollars in the coming months.

  • Kevin Wood says:

    As a business owner myself, the advice I gave myself was to create a plan, overcome anything in my path and execute the plan. And what was that plan?

    It’s to expand the number of channels and ways I reach my customers. I’m increasing customer contact through multiple channels of communication.

  • Fish says:

    Do it better than your competition.

  • Aaron says:

    Hitch a ride with other companies via joint ventures and the like.

    Combine resources, and work cooperatively

  • I’ll take a shot John…

    How bout’:

    “Stop Dicking around and be a professional about it all now. Your goals, your business, etc. Professionals show up and “do work son” no matter what to get where they need to go”

    Something to that effect?


  • How about..

    Becoming part of your market. It’s not enough to understand your market, you actually have to kind of “become” them by doing the same things they do, talking to the same people and dealing w/ the same frustrations (i.e. invest in the stock market if you’re writing for investors)

    Jeremy Reeves

  • Aaron says:

    Get your current customers referring.

  • Aaron says:

    One more John…

    Put a video on your website.

    Put a live chat on your site as well.

  • Bernardo says:


    Focus on those few critical tasks you’re
    *best* at (and that bring in the money)
    that only you can provide.

  • Bernardo says:

    One more pearl that never goes out of style:

    “Bone up on master salesmanship.”

    Stop selling what you want to sell, and instead
    give your prospect/customer what she already

  • tom olofsson says:

    Make yourself more productive.

  • Rob Northrup says:


    Here’s my approach to Survive and Thrive in Turbulent Times…

    Gear your offers and copy to how they can help your customers to survive and thrive in tough times…(and tweak your products and services if necessary to make it work)

    And then don’t sit back and hope for better times, anticipate and make it happen…

    Rob Northrup

  • Bo says:

    Know your clients like the back of your hand.

  • Alex Pullman says:

    brush up on classic, old school salesmanship.

  • you mean nobody won? Damn!

  • How about researching what your market wants and giving it to them? …It works like crazy to nail every single goal, wish and target you have.

  • Shelby says:

    Match your offer to your audience.

  • Paul Moore says:

    Market Research. Specifically, need to get clear answers to the following questions:

    1) Who are you?
    2) What do you sell?
    3) Why are you in this business?
    4) What do you do for your customers?

    Thanks for all you do for others, John.


  • Rezbi says:

    Hey John,

    Is it to was get some direct, focused, and specific advice from you in their own, customized version of a Hot Seat intervention?

  • Bill Ward says:

    This question reminds me of the story of the hot dog stand owner who started taking down all his advertising signs because “business was bad”. And guess what…business got worse.

    So my answer would be to do 2x, 3x 4x of what you are already doing that works!

  • Kevin says:

    Is it that even though the economy sucks right now, people out there STILL need good products and services, and even if your business’ numbers are down, they’re still spending their money with businesses that do kick butt marketing? That you should refocus your efforts and become the “go-to guy” in your niche and fix your sales process?

  • “Be the adult in ‘the room'”

  • Tobi says:

    Figure out the one thing you are good at…and do THAT.

    Do more of it.

    Do it more often.

  • Michaael says:

    Know the pain of your audience!

  • Chris Kellum says:

    Ok, are we being allowed a second guess? Because I’ve seen like 2-3 guesses from some people. 🙂 If so, this can be my second – if not, then ignore . . . lol

    This is a bit of a departure from the other stuff that you’ve said is close (my other answer fits much more closely with that), but I do believe it’s about the most important piece of advice I’ve ever gotten from you, and something I think that most business owners are screwing up . . . royally.

    It’s that their job is to bring in the money, plain and simple. They can hire, outsource, or damn well ignore most anything else. Having money will fix the problems that not having money creates, and they’re the ones that know how to bring in the money. Their time is worth too much to be spending it battling broken copiers, paying the bills, etc.

  • Cheryl Dunaway says:

    Invest more in offline marketing methods, i.e., radio.

  • Gil Nelson says:

    If the economy has affected your business and you want/need to shift your ROI back to mo’ black (less red), then immediately start a campaign of Giving. Give mo’ personal, top-notch content.

    Sure the content could be about “How To Use X (my product) To Beat The Recession”, but it could also be more general with a personal perspective about your industry.

    or… you could run a sale or a quiz with prizes 😉

    Bottom line: stick around, be the leader that you are and have more fun than anyone else out there!

    rock on JC, and thanks for all the fish

  • Raymond Merz says:

    Go get the SRDS. Then freakin’ use it.

  • Cheryl Dunaway says:

    Break up every big goal, target or wish into small tasks, and then work on each until successful.

  • Ray says:

    Most of my guesses have already been posted. Myu next best answer would be:

    Provide value.

    If that’s not it. I’ll be away from my computer for a while. Next best answer:

    Tell your customers what to do/have a call to action

    John Carlton replies:

    Step back another couple of steps, Ray. There’s more in the picture than you’re seeing…

  • Just reading these comments is a marketing education in itself; so I would say give away a lot of information.

  • Bill Sadick says:

    John here’s a quote from you.

    “if you’re looking for reasons to fail, you’ll find them. And many people use the economy as an excuse to give up trying. But the good news is, nothing beats straightforward salesmanship. So if you show people the value in your product, you’ll succeed in any economy, and against all odds”


  • Arn says:

    Hazarding a guess from Thee Blog of “Yores”of November ’08(3 months, your reference date*):
    You claim find your groove AND to just do ‘it’ by way of talking/revealing yourself…Komprenu?

    Warm Regards,

    *Hey! If those date numbers aren’t correct, I’M a Numerologist…NOT an accountant!

    John Carlton replies:

    Hi Arn. Nice little piece of advice… but not the right one. Close cousin, but not what I tell clients.

  • Rezbi says:


    After seeing your email on Tuesday and David Garfinkel’s email just now, I’m convinced it’s the Hotseats.

    I can’t think of anything better to participate in to turn a business around or improve it.

  • jim says:

    Get excellent advice…

    … that is SPECIFIC to your situation…

    … From experts who know their s.

    John Carlton replies:

    Oh, now you’re trying to win by quoting me. Not gonna work.

  • Tom Jones says:

    1) VALUE

    whatever you give, give tremedous value and bring it to the front.
    Don’t leave it to the back end.

    Leave them frothing at the mouth like a rabid dog.

    Not just product offers and deals but every interaction – it’s all got to be valuable.

    Don’t get tuned out – make sure people want to tune you in.

    You do this by opening a…


    Build rapport with your market, listen to them, understand them, empathize with them and help them.

    Best Wishes,

    (the same Tom from copywritersboard.com – I miss that place!)

    P.S. thanks for the Copy Critique 🙂

  • Anthony says:

    “The old poker rule is in effect: If you sit down at the table… and you don’t who the sucker is…

    …then YOU’RE the sucker.”

    You better know who the suckers are in your market.

    PS Stop make me read all your tattered old Rants. Best education I ever got on writing still to this day.

  • Jake says:

    Offer a product upgrade

  • Ryan Gauthier says:

    Have some frickin’ empathy.

    John Carlton replies:

    It’s freakin’ empathy, not frickin’. And no, that’s not the answer.

    However, as Ryan knows, I’ve done numerous Rants on empathy as VERY important. So this is a good thing to remember, even if it’s not the right answer to the quiz. Nice try, Ryan.

  • Tony Ruffin says:

    Find out who is doing or has done what you want to them and model them.

  • Tony Ruffin says:

    Find out who is doing or has done what you want to do and model them.

  • Emette Massey says:

    Hi John,

    Seems I’m bringin up the rear, but here goes:

    As we all know in good times or bad, there’s ALWAYS going to be prospects just dying to do business with someone.

    And that someone could be (Blank Company). Fill in the blank with your client’s name.

    Here’s the advice I believe you’d give to said client: Build a list if you don’t already have one, work that list on a regular, steady basis, and know exactly how to talk to the people on that list.

    So there’s my 2 cents worth!

    Thanks for letting me play along!



  • Matt Desmet says:

    The answer I believe is to find people who have the wisdom and the knowledge to buckle down and make it through no matter what the circumstances or economy are doing.

    You have to find someone who can tell you what to do with your business and how you can survive, and actually THRIVE no matter what storm is raging around you!

  • Chili P. says:

    Understand their pain! Not the clients, the clients customers.

    Economy going down brings all kinds of new emotions, fears, etc. You need to understand your customers hope, fears, etc.

  • Give, Give, Give! Service, Service, Service!

    Know who your best customers are and treat them accordingly. Over deliver. Give whatever you can for FREE. They should never have to wait – or want – for anything.

    What are you really selling? Most people are buying solutions, not products. And often they’ll be happy to trade money for (more) time.

  • Peter says:

    I’ve run out of time to read all the comments above so I do not know if this has been suggested, but here’s what I think you would tell them.

    Look at every interface between your business and your customers i.e marketing, sales, customer support, shipping, pricing, refunds,accounting, production, service, technical backup, the way the phone and emails are answered, and then squeeze the last possible ounce of value for your customers out of these interactions.

    Provide so much value and goodwill to your customers that they feel honoured to do business with you, would not dream of going elsewhere and become your best salespeople themselves through referrals.

    By the way John, a great competition.

  • John says:

    ….and that you can and will deliver.

    They see you as their “lifeline”, the go-to guy who’s been there
    who will be Honest with them and
    has their best interest at heart.

    Yea, you gotta know what keeps them awake at night and where
    they hurt-a really clear picture of your avatar.
    But if they don’t trust you you’re blowin hot air.

    At least that’s what the remaining 8 brain cells are telling me.


  • Cheryl Dunaway says:

    Always give customers more perceived use value than actual cost of the product or service.

  • Cheryl Dunaway says:

    Never “sell” your customer, let his/her emotions have them think they made the decision to buy on their own.

  • Mia says:

    Utilize kaizen to polish and refine a crystal-clear communication of:

    1) What you offer;
    2) Why it’s the right solution for your prospects; and
    3) The action you want them to take next (and then another “next” once they’re customers, another “next” when you have a new offering for them, etc.)

  • Jerald says:

    Reality Check!

  • Take 2…

    Self-promotion. Self-promote the hell out of yourself. Self-aggrandize and tell everyopne how you’re thriving in this economy and your methods are the bomb and what everyone needs to solve all the worlds woe’s.

    And you do it however works for you, but if you can pull off the kind of Frank Kern every guy’s man, and I’m just like you, so I feel your pain, but I know I’m good and I’m gonna make you better.

    And you keep self-analyzing, and looking within yourself to find the

  • (and learn how to make comments)

    …hidden treasures that you have within, and then you tell everyone about them. And you show them how buying your stuff is going to make their lives better.

    And you don’t stop, and you don’t sit back and ride out the storm, you push through it.

  • Jason Ayers says:

    Get inside the customer’s version of reality, undertand what they want and not what you want for them, and help them get what they want by creating value instead of extracting it.

  • Jake says:

    Have an external focus… tip the scale so much in the favor of your prospects that they can’t resist.

  • Simon L says:

    Ok, last try. Anything you create should be reverse engineered. Or find the pain your customer is experiencing. Oh, and learn to write copy 🙂 No seriously, that’s my last three!

  • One more from me John.

    Do NOT try to sell to people directly. Get your name/ brand out there and make people chasing you with their wallets wide open.

    “Do not chase the money, let the money chase you!”

    Regards Marcel

  • Cinaea says:

    Just having a go John…

    ** ‘Join the conversation’ that is already taking place in the minds of the reader (the minds of the customer)

    you can only channel a desire that already exists …

    Gotta go – cupcakes burning in the oven ! (yikes!)



  • Roy Furr says:

    Before you do any marketing and sales…

    Go out and have conversations with your market.


    Their needs have changed… if only slightly.

    However… even with a slight change in needs… there is a new opportunity to be the one who’s talking to them on the exact level they’re thinking.

    With their words.

    In their conversation.

    And you won’t get that until you talk with them.


  • Ryan Gauthier says:


  • Adam says:

    Find out what the market wants first, then go out and create a product/service that delivers it to them.

  • Patrick says:

    Hi John,

    I have read the first 4 replies, so before I read the rest I’m gona take a stab at this…

    Nail your sales pitch verbally, face to face with prospects first, using the advantage of “instant trial and error”, then once it rocks, (peaks interest, clinches deals and has your prospect lusting for your product), put it on paper (speak it onto paper) word for word as you have said it… ta daa there’s your sales letter.

  • Darwin says:

    Hello John

    I would have to say the most important thing is to just take action. As I heard often in military leadership school, “Do something, even if it’s wrong, Do something”


  • Alan Carr says:

    Sell the value, not the product, would be my first choice but I think that’s been posted.

    My 2nd choice would be “improve your guarantee” to take away all risk but that’s NOT already mentioned and you say one of the answers is very close…

    Are we missing the obvious – “concentrate on improving your conversion rate/value per vistitor/customer”? That’s got to be the number 1 advice bite when money is tight all round, but I guess they know that if they’re consulting with a copywriter?

    Exit pop-ups? Downsells? Upsells?

    Well whatever the correct answer is, I’m sticking with “squeeze the maximum value out of each and every visitor”, or in simple terms, make sure you’re not leaving money on the table.



  • The Dude says:

    I’m assuming the answer hasn’t been reached and the offer still stands…then again, you know what assuming does to us. In a moment of clarity, lucidity if you will (respite from possible clinical bi-polar ailment), I make this post…

    “Re-inventing the wheel is dumb. Not doing your homework is unforgivable. Finding out what has worked in the past or, better yet, what’s working now is the first step that is usually not taken by an ad agency when it takes on a new account.” –Gary Halbert

    What has worked in the past? Tweak it to make it fit and do more of it!

    • John Carlton says:

      Find the next post in the archives… that’s the one with the answer. And the winner was awarded their prize long ago (you’ll read about it in the next post, by date). You’re in the archives here, dude. This is history…

  • Dan says:

    never give up! stay positive or stay frosty

  • Test, Test Test…

    My guess before I go to check the archives.

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