An Impassioned Plea To Keep You From Missing The Biggest Opportunity Of Your Life

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Monday, 6:26pm
Reno, NV
Don’t bunt.  Aim out of the ballpark.  Aim for the company of immortals.” (David Ogilvy, “Confessions of an Adman”)

This is important:

This past weekend, I posted something on this blog that hit a freakin’ nerve among the throngs of entrepreneurs, biz owners and rookies who hang out on this site.

Comments started flooding in…

… and, as usual, I interacted with folks.

I’m just been told (by trusted inner-circle colleagues) that one of my replies in the comment threads…

… was perhaps the most vivid and impassioned point I’ve ever made about the raw seething power of honest kick-ass salesmanship to change lives.

So, I want to share that reply, here in a fresh post.

Let me set the scene for you: People were trying to make sense of the massive piles of hype still being disgorged by the Internet marketing community…

… and how all that hype soured good people on good opportunities.

“Hype”, and the dreadful sales pitches filled with it, really confuses people.  To the point where it’s now cool to talk about “selling without selling”.

It’s clear that many people now struggling to make a business successful…

… feel adrift in all the advice, information, and teasing opportunities swirling around the marketing community, both online and offline.

I know it’s frustrating.  I hear about this frustration all the time.

And here’s how I addressed this critical subject in that comment thread:

“Hi Stephen.

You know what? The modern world is designed to bug us.

None of our ancestors had to deal with virtual worlds, global anarchy, an economy based on blips in a database, or any of the other challenges to sanity this brave new adventure called Life In The 21st Century hath wrought.

And within this turmoil and chaos is the “marketplace” we do business in. It’s noisy, distracting, and crammed with scams and opportunity in equal amounts.

The truth about modern marketing ain’t pretty.

Having the best product means squat. Being a genuine nice guy out to do the right thing won’t save you from bankruptcy. The marketing graveyard is full of fabulous products no one figured out how to sell.

Selling is the language of the marketplace.

Sure, there’s so damned MUCH of it going on, it’s annoying, it pisses us off, and our fight-or-flight urges kick in big time.

However… one man’s hype… is another man’s essential information.

You can want the world to come at you in short little bursts of exciting, entertaining bite-sized pieces of lusciousness…

… but if you live your life that way, you’ll be perfect fodder for the worst scams.

You can use the “what the heck, I’ll go with my gut” method of choosing what you buy…

… and maybe you’ll survive just fine. Maybe get stuck with a bad car that doesn’t meet your needs, or was overpriced, or a lemon. You can survive that, probably.

But you’d be a fool to apply that kind of decision-making to, say, getting married.

You want to know as much about the other person as possible.

Courtship is, essentially, a long sales letter. You’re getting pitched, and you’re processing the data on your own at the same time.

The decisions you make for your business are (or should be) as carefully munched on as the other life-long choices you encounter.

Hype is in the eye of the beholder.

If you are offended by classic salesmanship — which presents a choice, and then lobbies for you to make that choice — then you need to find another way to make your business work.

I’ll tell you that every day there are fresh businesses launched by good people who don’t believe they need to know how to sell in order to thrive…

… and those businesses are shuttered and empty soon after.

Business isn’t a popularity contest.

If you have an ethical product that your prospect really should have (because it will make his life better, or fix a dire problem he has)…

… then SHAME on you if you ignore the proven ways to get his attention… and fail to sell him on it just because you’re uncomfortable with the sales process.

You do NOT have to be obnoxious in order to sell.

You don’t have to be anything other than who you are, in fact.

You just need to understand the emotional, psychological and behavioral mechanism your prospect has to endure in order to agree to buy what you have.

Some of the smoothest salesmen alive can close the deal without a bit of perceived hype. They’re still using classic salesmanship tactics, however.

They understand the needs of the prospect, and they understand the sometimes irrational process required in order to close the deal.

Scams will never go away. You must be hyper-aware as a consumer. The dangers of an open marketplace are with us forever.

Nevertheless, the old maxim “the more you tell, the more you sell” will also never go away, either.

If detailed information and legitimate urging to join up strikes you as “hype”, then maybe the opportunity in front of you isn’t something you should engage in.

But I’ll tell you what: If this were the last train about to leave the station, and the conductor didn’t do all he could to make you clearly understand this fact…

… and the train left without you…

… you’d be in a world of hurt. And you’d be right to blame the conductor for not grabbing your attention and forcing you to understand just how critical the situation was.

This upcoming Simple Writing System mentoring program very well might BE the last one we ever host. It starts April 12. There is not another one planned.

I could whisper this fact. Or just ignore it.

Or, I could do everything in my power to make you aware of this… so you aren’t left behind, ticked off that no one made it clear to you.

When you don’t care about that train pulling away, the conductor is just yelling. It’s an annoyance, and you wish he’d shut up.

However, when it’s your train, and you’re about to miss it, then you’re thankful he broke through your daydreaming.

The SWS adventure is about to start.

It will change lives, as the previous ones have. This is the real thing, crammed with real value and real skill sets that can fuel success and independence for the rest of your days.

It’s a crazy time to be alive.

Choose your resources and choose who you trust carefully.

And when you discover genuine opportunities, jump on them. I know the lure of the Magic Button is powerful and hypnotic and hard to resist. Choices are seldom easy when the stakes are high.

Do what you think is right.”


That was my impassioned plea to anyone out there struggling to understand how important this choice before them really is.

If you’re still on the fence about joining this program…

… consider this:

1. My biz partner Stan and I have many different (and lucrative) projects we’d love to pursue.

And while it’s pretty evident (from the flood of sign ups the day we began accepting students) that this upcoming SWS mentoring program will be the best one we’ve ever hosted…

… it’s equally unlikely we’ll host another one.

These are exciting times, as I said.  Lots of opportunities to get busy with, lots of reasons not to commit to an intense, deeply interactive coaching program like this.

The single reason TO commit should be obvious: It is the one skill-set, above all others, with the power to fuel your success in everything you do from here on out.

2. So… this really may be your last shot at getting this kind of pro-level SWS mentoring, one-on-one, personalized, intensely focused on you.

3. And if this IS the last one…

… we’re going to make the best one yet…

… and we’re also going to end this short period of accepting students with a BANG.

Here’s what we’re doing: When you join us in this Simple Writing System at-home mentoring program (which begins April 12)…

… we will give you full-privileged access to video of the infamous Action Seminar we held in January…

… absolutely free.  This is an exclusive JUST for folks in this upcoming program.  Right now, this is the ONLY way to see this sought-after video.

The marketing community is still buzzing about that Action Seminar (more than a month afterward).

And it’s easy to see why.  The entire focus of that event — as you’ll soon see — was on organizing your business plan…

… and implementing it as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Through a realistic, strategy-loaded action plan that fits you like a glove.

Basically… we gave attendees their first honest, no-B.S. glimpse of how top marketers actually get their act together.

And get busy achieving every goal on their list, while racking up the moolah and results.

This was a gold mine of proven, total-insider advice and info and specific tactics.

It was NOT about writing.

It was about having that breakthrough “a-HA!” realization on finally kicking your adventure in capitalism into high gear… the way the niche-dominating Big Dogs do.

There were two solid days of this stuff.  No “rush to the back of the room” pitching goofiness, either.

It was all run interactively — everything we discussed, broke down,  explained and shared came directly from attendee questions and concerns, based on real-world situations straight from the people in the room.

These were entrepreneurs, small biz owners, and rookies… in other words, people just like you.  Finally learning how to break through the chaos, and map out the clearest path to getting what they want.

Everything we taught them…

… is now available for you to feast on, too.

Privately.  Exclusively, and for free, when you join us in this SWS mentoring program.

There is very little time left to decide if you’re coming with us…

… or remaining where you are in your life.

There are, as I write this, spots available with the professional-writer teachers in the faculty.  Who are itching to get started, going deep with each student one-on-one.

It’s a proven program — the 7th one we’ve hosted.  The only one of its kind out there.

You can see what people who have been through it have to say here:

It is not expensive.  Hiring any one of the top writers in the faculty to write privately for you would cost you thousands of dollars more (up to tens of thousands more). To get long-term access like this to so many professional writers — including me and the writers closest to me — would be out of the reach of even big-budget corporations.

We’ve set up a legitimate once-in-a-lifetime opportunity here.  Perfect for entrepreneurs, biz owners and even rookies who realize it’s time to learn the most powerful (yet simple) system anywhere for creating killer sales messages.  Whenever you need them.

As you will see, we’ve bent over backwards to make this amazing program within the reach of almost everyone.

There is a commitment.  You will need to follow through.

However, we’ve made it easy.

You’ve likely never been taken by the hand and guided like this before.  You’ll soon get used to accepting the personalized help, though.  It’s fun, once you get moving.

This train is leaving the station soon.

Should you be on it?

Make your decision.  See what’s up, and please choose wisely.

If you join us, I’ll see inside the program.  Where your amazing adventure in success and independence begins April 12…

Stay frosty,


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  • Goodness sakes John. I’m literally going to read your response aloud each day for 30 days to ingrain it into my brain.

    You are a master of words.

  • Matt says:

    However… one man’s hype… is another man’s essential information.

    Is that kinda like one man’s TRASH is another man’s treasure?

    I took your FREE 3 course SWS precursor. Good stuff. How do I know? Because I read the same info in a few books I purchased at Barnes and Noble for a fraction of the cost of your course. (University libraries now have the books I bought.)

    Obviously I’m not in your target demographic, for any reason you might want to give. So …

    It’s probably not a surprise that I turn from your offer like I’d turn from a door to door fish salesman.

    Best of luck. Your information is good. Just overpriced. And a little over HYPEd.

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Matt.
      Thanks for posting. Honestly — you’re welcome to chime in here.
      However, I’m gonna offer you some free advice… which will probably piss you off now, but later on you may very well thank me for.
      I started out with nothing but books to help me. My first several years as a freelancer were like that. I jumped on the opportunity to have mentors — something the other freelancers who were around then didn’t do. It changed my life, dramatically, suddenly, and in ways I could never have predicted. I walked away from a certain fortune as an “A List” writer, in fact, to hang with Halbert for years, learning. With no guarantees at all. The mentoring was worth, eventually, a much larger fortune (in both cash and knowledge).
      I’m gonna go out on a limb here… and guess that you are not yet successful. Smart, yes. But you haven’t achieved anything yet.
      And you have a rage burning deep inside that you are barely conscious of, and have no real control over. You’ve assigned yourself the job of being the naysayer in the room, the guy who feels he’s gotta be the Devil’s Advocate. Knock down the assholes with big egos, poke holes in the bullshit.
      None of the people I know who are successful do that. It’s negative energy, and it will keep you from becoming successful just as surely as refusing to participate in capitalism would.
      You can go your own way, and that’s great. The world needs rebels. But you’re hanging around here, trying to prove to yourself that only free or cheap info is “worth” anything. As Jude says below, knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing is foolish.
      My advice: Your main battle right now is within you. Not with the outside world. Your simmering rage is blinding you. I’m not saying you need to be in this program. This program isn’t FOR everyone.
      And I’m not suggesting you need a shrink. You can probably figure this out on your own. But you are spending precious time and energy trying to damage things that offend you. Successful people focus on positive energy, and swiftly move past the negative shit. You’re setting up camp in negative territory. That’s not good.
      I was full of blind rage, too, when I was young. It fueled a sense of being an outsider, and soothed my wounded pride when I felt envious of others success.
      Maybe you are in total harmony with yourself. It doesn’t sound like it, though. I’m sure you will disagree — that’s your current job, to disagree and feel superior because you’ve found the cheaper path.
      Like I said, this advice will probably piss you off right now. If you work this out, though, you may yet understand the value of having someone more experienced guiding you through the tough parts.
      Good luck to you, Matt. I’m guessing you’re a good guy. You’re just twisted up inside bullshit logic that’s holding you back.

      • I agree that there is little new, in any course. The basics will always be the same. However, John is right about the value of mentors. A book is static, it can’t tell you about all the possible variations of the info. How do I know? Because I’m writing a book for micro businesses to Advertise, Market and Sell more effectively. It doesn’t come close to what I could teach in person.
        I read John, Clayton Makepeace, and a number of other blogs. I took the 3 part course, and still learned some things. You’ve obviously stopped any real learning, and I feel sorry for you.
        If I had the money, I’d take the SWS course in a heartbeat. The problem is that I’m rehabbing in a Nursing Home. The Gov’t allows me $52 a month of my SSDI, to pay for “personal needs.” Reading the blogs, and newsletters, is *not* the same as real mentoring. Neither is reading a few books. Let someone else take the place you could have had, and do better than you will.

      • AnthQ says:


        I was with you on the prices charged for info prodcuts and going through SWS with John and Harlan taught me a HUGE lesson. Namely there is a massive difference between reading andgetting something conceptually and actually being able to integrate and produce good work. I was sure I had it perfect but sometimes it took me 6-7 attempts before Harlan was satisfied and my copy showed the results. So in summary it’s not the info that’s so valuable but the real feedback from the pros on your work that makes this programme so cool.

        It’s not knowledge, but feedback from taking action that gives most progress :o)


      • Matt, you just received advice worth many times what the price of the SWS system is.

        I know, because back in 2001, I was the guy that John is referring to…but I had the fortune of a wise mentor to “untwist” my twisted sense of logic. My life changed forever after that moment.

  • Jude says:

    Some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
    Overpriced. Hmmmm.
    Did those books give you feedback to sharpen your words? Your words are not bad, but they could use some improvement.
    Why would you even bother with the Express course if you already have all the information? Just to prove to yourself that you don’t need John’s course?
    Can those same books take some of the best marketing minds in the country and apply them to what you write, specifically?
    Can you watch (and this was the real killer when I realized this) — not only as you become better, but you can watch the transformation of others as they become better, too? And watch how that’s done? The learning by osmosis has to be stunning.
    No — I don’t think your books could do that.
    It’s the specific feedback that will take you from good to great. But maybe you’re satisfied with where you are.
    I know one copywriter — already doing well, who took John’s course. And he’s gone from pretty darn good to jaw-dropping. I know, because I’ve been reading his copy for years now.
    How do your books get you the high-level networking?
    It really is about values. And about time.
    And I would have been in John’s course this time except for a couple of gotchas and glitches (one was that I was prepared for the previous payment plan, not the current one. Too late now.)
    I’m a past member of John’s Insider’s Club — the first ones he ran, when he just started teaching. I’ve seen John in person. He’s just plain awesome.
    Overpriced? Compared to what?
    Comparing the content of some books to live mentoring — and not just mentoring that you get, but that you can see others get, and be transformed … well, I don’t know else what to call it but silly.

  • Interesting debate.
    I must admit I have tired of offer after offer pitched at $1997 but John managed to knock me off the fence on this one.
    He nearly got me last time but I knew I had Copywriting Sweatshop 2 from a previous purchase still to watch along with other copywriting training.
    That was my excuse not to take action then but I now know that to make significant improvement in my writing, I need feedback.
    I selected my teacher very carefully because it is the entire experience which makes the SWS course worth $1997 – and hopefully many times that price in extra earnings this year, let alone future years.

  • Overpriced Matt?

    Hmmm. Sure, you could probably take a bunch more time, and use a bunch more energy sifting through the free to lower cost info that could explain SOME of the stuff that John covers in his courses.

    Heck, even ALL of what John covers…

    But, there is a caveat…you’re left to your own interpretation of whatever information you’re digesting (making a dangerous assumption that what you ARE digesting is proven and tested to be effective).

    Personally, I would rather have access to a “John Carlton” + “grizzled veteran copywriter” filter for that information (and he doesn’t have to provide direct mentorship to provide that filter). That access, and quite frankly, the shortcut that access provides, has a price…and I don’t mind paying extra for that.

  • Mark says:

    This is one of THE most honest and balanced comments I’ve ever read about selling. I used to struggle with walking the line between “hype” and what I viewed as “ethical” selling. You’re right. Hype IS in the eye of the beholder. I never got that before. I do now.

    The light went on when I read this post.
    Thanks, John.

    PS. When I can afford either your program or your writing system, I’m on it!

    • Dave Doolin says:

      Mark, I’m with you. I’m working my way through stuff I’ve already purchased. Whether with John or not, I’ll be paying for some serious training at some point.

  • Brocton says:

    “When a pamphlet was published entitled 100 Authors Against Einstein, Einstein retorted ‘If I were wrong, one would be enough.'”

    I want to suggest for the audience of John’s blog a lesson in security. When you’re secure in your views, when you’re sure of what you know… there’s no need to argue.

    The facts speak for themselves.

    It’s only when you’re insecure you raise a defense.

    It’s only when we’re unsure that we test the waters by trying a debate.

    And so I want to encourage those who’d like to support this blog and the SWS (of which I’m a graduate from last year) to let the naysayers naysay… pay them no mind. You only give credence to their arguments when you let them flare you up and reply with a sophisticated version of “nuh-uh!”

    Think back to the last time you said something that was so wrong nobody knew what to say. That moment of agonizing silence after you’ve just made a fool of yourself is pretty hard to swallow.

    Let that be the reward for those who want to ruin the fun, eh? And maybe John will sort it out if he feels a response is in line.

    In the meantime, to those who can afford it and want to learn a valuable skill set, the teachers who teach this thing are already selling it. Hard. I won’t sell it to you. But I can say that it’s a spectacular springboard for anyone who wants to do any sort of direct marketing or entrepreneurship. The networking opportunities alone (that is, the other students you’ll meet who have businesses that are already up and running) are worth it.

    I landed four clients as a freelance writer just from word of mouth in the forums. One of whom I’m an in-house writer for now (and have been since July of 09), building my portfolio and learning the marketing lessons I need to go into business for myself (eventually).

  • Stephen says:

    Hi John
    This is a great discussion, and I think the real issues are coming into focus more with each contribution, so thank you for allowing & fostering it.

    I especially like it how, having raised the original ‘itch’, we are all enjoying a more frank and open discussion, and you are really getting to the guts of your craft: I admire you for that.

    I think that was my original point: I think/hope/imagine that everyone prefers honest open business, but so often it gets plastered with all the ‘trigger talk’. You know, the $2 gift with $10 wrapping. Some prefer the gift, others the wrapping. I’m just shy of promoting lots of wrapping.

    Thank you for pulling back the wrapping on what you do and what you offer 🙂


  • At least the naysayers reveal a lot about how portions of the market think and act (assuming we want to target that portion. Probably not in Matt’s case.)

    It’s good to see objections raised to make us ponder as marketers: “If I were to target Matt, what would win him over?”.

    You can get instructions for changing a tap washer anywhere – for free too – but it takes a skillful plumber to do it without screwing up the system.

  • Tarek says:

    Hi John and guys,

    I’ve been debating whether I should join the SWS or not. I know I NEED to learn how to sell but my main biz is offline. And that’s why I’ve been hesitant. I’m not sure if SWS is for offline businesses or just for websites’ copy. Could any one shed some light on this please?



    • Robert Gibson SWS INSTRUCTOR says:

      Hi Tarek,
      Robert Gibson here. I’m one of the teachers for SWS. This will be my 4th time teaching it.
      If that’s the only thing holding you back, come on in. Simple Writing System teaches copywriting, plain and simple. It applies offline and online businesses equally. Whether it’s direct mail, a radio ad, a flyer for a store or a landing page online, the same principles apply.
      You’re trying to move another human being to action. There are nuances that come with each format. A 60 second radio ad will not be written the same way a post card for your customers will. No matter what the format is, at some point in your copy, you want the person reading to take a specific and measurable action.

      Compelling qualified people to take action in a consistent, timely and reliable manner is an extremely valuable skill set to have. That’s what Simple Writing System teaches.

      The debate of books vs. teaching is an interesting one. With Simple Writing System, the thing that comes to mind, is a driver’s manual. You can learn a lot on how to drive by reading one. But having a professional in the front seat with you while you learn the road goes a long way.

      There’s an old story about a broken printing press. Not the kind you see today. The kind that took up the entire floor of a building.

      One day the printing press breaks down.
      The owner calls in one repair person after the other. I can fix it cheap! Still broken.
      That guy’s an idiot. Let me try! Still broken.
      Over and over, people come in with big promises, and leave the same way they came.
      The very expensive printing press is now a giant paperweight. And the owner is starting to bleed money.
      Finally he calls in the top expert.
      Guy walks in, looks at the printing press, walks around, looks some more..
      finally he reaches into his bag and pulls out a beaten up, rusty hammer. Walks over to a tiny spot on the printing press…
      He hits the printing press with a hammer.
      All of a sudden the printing press starts whirring to life. Paper starts moving, the printing press is FIXED!

      So the owner is impressed. He asks the guy to give him a bill.
      No problem! He pulls out a piece of paper and writes the amount due:
      The owner is shocked!
      He can barely speak..
      But were just here for a minute!
      You just hit the printing press with a hammer!
      How is that worth $10,000????
      I could have done that for a dollar!
      Give me an itemized bill!

      So the man takes out another piece of paper.
      And this is what he writes…
      Amount Due
      Hitting printing press with a hammer: $1.00
      Knowing WHERE to hit the hammer:$9,999

      Businesses without healthy sales are at best a hobby and at worst a money pit.
      To make serious sales requires serious skills.
      That’s what Simple Writing System Mentoring offers – the skills you need and a pro to help you make them yours.

      The rest is up to you.

      I hope that helps, Tarek 🙂
      Robert Gibson
      SWS Instructor

      • Tarek says:

        Hi Robert,

        Many thanks for your great reply and beautiful metaphor 🙂
        Apologies… I think I should’ve been more specific with my question.

        I wanted to know whether the SWS teaches sales. Not just copy. I’m someone with a technical background and lacking in sales skills. So when I’m in sales meetings with prospects I find myself doing no sales at all! That’s what I need to work on at the moment. Not copy. Does the SWS help with this?

        Thanks again. I appreciate you making this clearer.


        • Robert Gibson SWS Instructor says:

          Hi Tarek,

          I don’t know enough about your business and your role there to have an opinion on what course you need.

          Here’s what I can tell you:
          Simple Writing System teaches sales on a very powerful level. What makes it even better is the classroom aspect of it. Because we’re going to be looking at real world examples where the lessons can be applied.

          That means your offline business. Keep in mind, the SWS lessons are about words. They don’t cover body language, tone of voice, etc. But you will learn what makes people buy and how to sell them.

          One thing you can do is write down what’s holding your sales back on a piece of paper.
          Then go to the SWS page and read what’s being offered:

          Whatever you decide, the key is to choose firmly.

          If you join SWS and you feel torn, that’s not a recipe for success.

          If you don’t join, clear your mind and know that you made your choice.

          If you do join, you want to jump in with both feet and give your all.

          That’s the only way I know to succeed.
          I hope that helps, Tarek 🙂
          Robert Gibson

  • John, heretic that I am, I partially disagree with you. There is a fine line between info, and HYPE. To use your conductor example. If he/she gets in the face of every person on the platform, it would be hype. If the conductor merely makes sure that everyone can hear and make the _appropriate_ response that’s salesmanship.
    If I run a music store, and play random selections above the sidewalk, Hype is at level 10, on a dial of 10. Good salesmanship is playing it loud enough for a conversation to take place near the speakers. I’m sure that many, including John, if he thinks about it, can come up with better examples. He just needs to break out of _his_ rut. 🙂

    • Robert Gibson SWS Instructor says:

      Hi Walter,
      Robert Gibson here.
      John’s a grown adult so he doesn’t need me to defend him. But I do defend great copy.
      And I think the conductor example is perfect.
      John said:
      If this were the last train about to leave the station, and the conductor didn’t do all he could to make you clearly understand this fact…

      … and the train left without you…

      … you’d be in a world of hurt.
      I don’t see any thin line or hype.
      He didn’t say “get in everyone’s face”.
      You can assume that’s what he meant.
      Yet it’s pretty obvious if you asked John:
      “Hey John -does that mean get in everyone’s face?”
      He wouldn’t say yes.
      The nuances of all that’s involved to make the sale can’t be covered in a blog post.
      That’s what SWS is for.

      After midnight, Grand Central Station in NYC has some people announcing trains so loud you can hear them in Cleveland.
      And when it’s the last train out on a Saturday night and it’s 17 degrees outside and there’s NO WAY I’m going back out there, I’m counting on it. Say it loud and clear so I hear it and get on that train and get home.

      Are there marketers who confuse that with hype? Yes. That’s the distinction that Simple Writing System helps discern.

      Here’s the flip side:
      Trying to be perfectly pleasant is what kills sales. This isn’t muzak.

      If it sucks, it doesn’t matter what volume the message is. If it’s for the wrong person, no decibel level is the right one.

      If the person has a ticket for a certain destination and that’s where the train is going, they’re the right person.
      Message to market match.
      John didn’t say the conductor should do it for everyone.
      Last train of the night to someone waiting in a train station. And you’re the conductor.
      If that’s a rut, I’ll pay to stay there.
      Don’t mess with great copy. 🙂
      Robert Gibson

      • _My_ point was that the distinction in John’s comment was *not* made. You and I may know enough to make it, but judging by many ad’s others do not. I have been in a bus station, waiting for a bus that runs three times a day, waiting to travel. I have also been in a train station where the train runs *once* per day. I’m now disabled (almost a paraplegic), but I was handicapped, on both occasions. I didn’t have the option to “run,” or even go above a fast walk. I either made the transport, or didn’t. So, I know about “making options clear.”
        I realize this isn’t the SWS. but it is still a teaching venue. I pointed out where John was less than clear, not attacking him. If I did not respect him, and his ability, I wouldn’t bother to read his blog, and learn from it. If I also didn’t feel he needed to be reminded of basics, as do all experts occasionally, I would have remained silent. John’s good, but not yet perfect. 🙂

        • Robert Gibson says:

          Hi Walter,
          Yeah – if any of us were perfect, where would the fun be? 🙂
          I’m just sticking up for the copy.
          I think he covered the bases pretty well.
          People may not avail themselves to apply it to their ads as you point out.
          However, the conductor example is just too good in my eyes to mess with.
          The debate on this blog and in the comments makes learning come alive.
          You and I are covering different viewpoints.
          Sounds fun to me. 🙂
          Have a great weekend!
          Robert Gibson

  • Guy Sohm says:

    To create & share the vision, walking the way of a yogi, living in truth. Went people are real and share there intentions, this is where its at I believe! To connect and relate, offering understanding and an answer, to help find peace and contenment in being. Consciously breathing, and aware of the moves we make and the ripple they create. As Robert points out, knowing the spot to push, question to ask? insight to share… I feel is also one of the keys. As John’s insights lead the hourse to water, I thank you for sharing your water hole….

  • Adam says:

    I passed on the last SWS course because of a few various reasons (mainly money concerns) , but this time i have no choice! This is my last chance to do something that can actually control my future. All these shiny products that come out every week have never made me a dime. I’m hoping that by the time I finish this course (cause $$ is tight!!) I will be able to write copy for some income and possibly write for myself in some capacity also. Hopefully this is a skill that will pay for itself over and over again!

  • Colin says:

    This is so much fun to watch. I would be handing over my money in no time if I would have guaranteed access to email during the time of the course (excuses, excuses).
    It seems that the topic of salesmanship and marketing is sore point to the timid viewers. I can happily live with the fact that I sell to my patients every minute that I am with them. Selling something of Value (health) you would think is an easy thing but it seems the things we really need to improve our lives are the things we are most resistant to buy.
    Maybe if you gave them the thing they need for free and then they would happily buy a shiny Button for $1997…
    If you think this crowd is tough you should try and discuss Marketing with a Podiatry Forum…
    Ah… but a Man needs a challenge in life.

  • John, I’ve been reading your information for years now. It’s one thing to read it and implement it compared to being mentored and implementing it. I do have a goal someday to eventually hire you to write all my copy. That’s just not b.s. either. If I knew what I know now and if I wasn’t such a fool and purchased thousands of dollars worth of other internet crap over the years, I would’ve just hired your from the get-go. Hell, I’d be WAYYYY ahead of the game. Thanks, Brad.

  • Mike Brooks says:

    I just signed up for a second go at the SWS. I got a discount because I’ve done it before but still paid a hefty chunk of change.

    And I would do it again and again and again and again. It’s kind of a no-brainer.

    I estimate that I have spent close to $100,000 on internet marketing products, seminars, events, (drinks at the bar at those events), etc. SWS was the most important of any money I’ve ever spent.

    Copy is king! Copy will save your life.

    Having the worlds best writers teach me how to write copy that converts… having them proof read my pieces and help me make it better… frickin’ priceless.

  • LoneWolf says:

    The problem that I have with Long Copy sales letters is that they often don’t need to be as long as they are for the information that they give you. I find that the ones I see from John do present the benefits, the urgency and do a good job of convincing me why I should be onboard that train (if only I could afford the fare 8-(

    One of my beefs is long copy that is tedious and doesn’t really explain the benefits and costs and focus too much on “results” and testimonials.

    The other beef is false, trumped up scarcity. I do understand legitimate scarcity such as the fact that SWS may never be offered again since there is the human interaction component that is a scarce commodity. But a limited run of an ebook just to create urgency? I suppose it works though. Doesn’t mean I have to like it 8=)

  • Sarah says:

    It’s understood that you, John, are THE master of long copy. I have many a time read through your sales letters, salivating as I go, sure that I absolutely cannot live without whatever it is you are talking about. I admire that. Not many writers can keep my interest up that long. I seldom can afford what you are selling. Makes me frustrated, but doesn’t kill me. However, just because people can’t afford you doesn’t make their inherent worth less than those who can.
    I’ll eliminate all question here. No, I’ve not been successful yet. Rather than have it make me bitter, I think it has more made me humble.
    I ALWAYS want to take your courses. I ALWAYS have too many obligations and too little discretionary income to make it come to pass. Sometimes I have to laugh at the easy 3 payments of only a zillion dollars each…I laugh because it is so far out of my league. Doesn’t make me a bad person, nor does it make you one. You charge what you are worth. I have no doubt about that. I only wish that I could afford to pay what you are worth.

  • “It is not expensive.”
    Hi John,
    No doubt at some point early on you were in the same financial position I happen to be in at this time.
    Expensive is relative I suppose, however the investment in the Simple Writing System is vastly above my ability to attend.
    I know I am just a name on an auto responder, but there is a feeling of a much stronger connection; developed through reading so many of your Best Damn Blog postings and other writings.
    So for my own delusional peace of mind I respond to your impassioned plea by saying — “I know what I’m missing, it is just a bad time for me.”

    Stephen Anderson
    Waterbury, Vermont

    (The Bung-Hole of the North East)

  • Mathias says:

    Hi John, Gotta be honest with you.
    I have no products, no business yet. I’ve read a lot, (free) yes. About the way in which you guys, information marketers, build your succesful businesses. But frankly, I don’t see how I can model what you guys do based on free information you share.

    That’s why:
    I intend to buy your sws. To learn the skills and gain the confidence to build my business, and to just get moving. Because I’ve been stuck for quite some time now, just watching gimmic after gimmic, filling my inbox.

    But I wanna get real, and hip(as you call it) . With what it really takes to make it as an entrepeneur.

    I am 18 years old and I live in Denmark. Maybe… I am the most obsessed-about marketing guy in this little fuzzy country. Fascinated with the idea that you can use words to create emotions in people.

    But again, what’s your opinion…
    Should I buy your course? And… what can this material and your mentors give me that I won’t get from all that information outthere. Cause you and I know… that there’s a bunch of it floatin around, and some of it is crap, some of it is impractical.

    Can this course help me, Even though I haven’t set up a biz before, researched markets, and studied seo and html and all the skills the experts claim are must-haves in order to be succesful?

    I have not grasped marketing, selling, and the technical know-how of building an online business. But I am childlisly curious, has some understanding, and i want to apply things instead of just “knowing them”

    Maybe you know people who’ve been in the same situation as me, what would you say to them?

  • Mike says:

    Just signed up for mentoring… pulled the trigger on the SWS home study course last November.

    I have a local Service Business – Not selling widgets or information (although I’m finding out that I am selling myself and my expertise.. but I digress). I’m actually selling a physical “Brick & Mortar” service.

    Tried my hand at long copy back in November 2009 after completing SWS and the response to my website has been phenomenal. (The best comment I get is when folks are handing me money complaining about how my website just went on and on and on…)

    I know my website is completely different from any other website in my industry due to the long copy… but still something is missing. This mentoring deal could crush every one of my competitors.

    You see, I’m a real technical guy (recovering accountant), but I know I’m leaps and bounds above my peers when it comes to selling. (Again, I’m not a salesman!) This SWS Mentoring program could be the “Game Changer!”

    Worst case scenario is that I come out of this program with my instructor telling me not to make any changes and that I’ve got it perfect. (I feel like an idiot just for thinking that!)

  • pat says:

    I’m not quite as sure as the rest of the gang here about parting with hard earned money. I have seen a lot of things come and go. I realize you have to invest into yourself but I really have that thing going on in the back of my mind saying “show me the money”.

  • Richy says:

    It seems to me that most of the positive comments written here sound the same. I’m not saying they are the same person, but that the follow a cookie cutter approach to writing.
    They LOVE to capitalise key words which I find a MAJOR bugbear in when I am trying to evaluate a product or service.
    And who reads really long sales letters apart from other internet marketeers. It is increasingly becoming like an echo chamber where self appointed experts shout about how great their course is and every price is ‘free’ or ends with number ’97’.
    Anyway, I’m probably like Matt and battling with myself, or have low self esteem or maybe my dad didn’t love me.
    But it’s getting old fast and people will soon wake up to these cruddy marketing techniques.

    • Mathias says:

      What’s getting old?
      People don’t need to wake up to these marketing techniques. They’ve already done so. It’s salesmanship and has worked for thousands of years and propably will for the next millenium.

      What’s so cruddy about selling to people who wanna be sold, and do it in a way so they actually move their butt and make a decision to change their life? When you know you got a product that can kick people into gear and is the key to solve the problems that has kept them in the dark for oh so long, trapped and isolated for maybe years. How’s that crudy?

      And fail? Seriously you need to wake up. You are fighting against yourself
      Skeptic people are usually fearful. Afraid of disappointment and the possbility that someone is going to screw them one more time. It’s okay to be critical, as long as you don’t shoot yourself in the foot. There are times where you gotta be open, procces information and let it sink there for a while before you filter it out with all the rest.

  • Jeb says:

    Lies + Hype = Marketing

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about.

    Maybe someone can fill me in.

    or Maybe I need to be Hypnotized!

    I am getting very eye lids…….


  • ken ca|houn says:

    I would say….

    Lies + Hype = Dishonest Marketing

    Skillful Sales Persuasion + Benefits + USPs + In the interest of the customer + Honesty = Professional Marketing.

    There IS a big difference between them. Thankfully John is a master of ethical, persuasive, honest professional marketing. And for that I’m deeply grateful. Learning the skilled, professional nuances between excellent marketing done well, and the hype-approach amateurs use, is well worth learning.

    It’s all about the nuances and research and understanding how to really dig deep and “get it”. And then deliver on promises made. Which John does an excellent job of. I agree it’s a challenge, my competitors in the trading industry are almost uniformly thin hype w/o substance or credibility; thankfully I learned how to differentiate and soar above them; John’s training has made a big difference (thx).


  • What would be do without these wonderful lizard brains of ours?

    It’s all about delivering value. It’s much easier to sell and resell if you offer value instead of playing on fear. This is especially true in the service industry. And Always, Always talk benefits, not features. Thanks John.

  • Would I pay for SWS over all the free stuff? Yes, I did, and I was lucky enough to be at John’s very first SWS workshop, which I was lucky enough to attend for a fraction of what he should have charged because he and Stan were experimenting with a dutch auction on Ebay.

    Two great things happened at that workshop. First, I met two people with whom I have made a fair amount of money doing joint ventures with.

    Just two months ago one of those people invited me to speak at an event he was hosting. I talked for 90 minutes and made a little over $15,000. How? 1) Because the copy (thanks John) in my presentation was super awesome, and 2) because I met the person hosting the event in the audience at John’s workshop.

    Second, because we are the average of the 5 people we spend most of our time with, I upped my game, hanging out with John and his instructors and getting into their mindsets.

    This is important because since attending that event a couple of years ago, I’ve added about $2 million to my annual revenue.

    Two weeks ago, I wrote copy for my own sales letter video and blogs that I used to support a new Internet product launch and I earned $88,117.00 in commissions, all for me, all in a week, and the total time I spent writing was about 3 days.

    This was kind of an accident too because I was stuck in London because of the flight cancellations from the Iceland volcano, and since there was nothing better to do in the airport, I pulled out my laptop, discovered this new launch was taking place, applied to be an affiliate, got approved and started writing.

    So, while others were complaining on the news about going bankrupt because of the extra expense of being grounded and not being able to get home, I made enough to pay for my month long trip to Europe PLUS an extra $50,000!

    I could not have done that without what John teaches and without spending time networking with people of his caliber. It’s that simple.

    I still spend about $100k per year on info products, Masterminds and yes plain old Barnes and Noble books, and my income and lifestyle reflect my investment in myself and my craft.

    The ability to write copy has given me the lifestyle of my dreams, and it can do the same for anyone. I believe that John offers the single best course available in SWS and doing his mentorship program should be a no brainer for anyone.

    John’s advice to Matt is priceless. I hope that Matt receives it and gets it. I hope that anyone who reads this will jump at the opportunity to spend time with John.

    I was able to spend time with Gary Halbert about a year before he died. I paid him $25,000 to train one on one in Miami. That time was priceless, as was really getting to know Gary. After that we did some deals together and he even had me speak at one of his last ever workshops.

    Had I waited even one year to do that, I would have never had the possibility of learning what I did from that live interaction.

    Anyone who has the opportunity to spend time, in person or virtually with someone of Gary’s or John’s or Dan Kennedy’s caliber should truly “crawl over broken glass” to do it. The benefits are quite simply… priceless!


  • mark grove says:

    I’m just friggin’ blown away “Frosty”.

    If I don’t take my Musicians Writing Service and just do it,I’m screwed!

    I’ll just ask for money and keep rollin’.Yeah,I’ll get mainly no’s,but I can’t worry about that.

    Thanks John.

    Mark Grove–Music Writer For Blues Artists

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