Many copywriters are familiar with John E. Kennedy’s famous words that copy is basically “salesmanship in print”. The key word to note is SALESMANSHIP.
“Print” is just the medium (although nowadays it could equally be the computer pixel) – so as a copywriter, you are also a salesperson; or more correctly, your sales copy will the online equivalent of a salesperson.
I’ve worked in face to face sales (called “direct sales”), and there was a lot involved in direct selling. Among other things, we needed to overcome the potential client’s initial skepticism, and cynicism towards salespeople in general; we had to provide a compelling and credible reason for them to buy from us today; we had to overcome all of their objections (although nowadays I prefer to eliminate them in advance using the Objection Eliminator Method); and we had to “close” them effectively (which is basically about getting the potential customer to say, “Yes!” to the sale).
All of these things are also true of sales copy. Your visitors may initially be skeptical and cynical. They will have objections, such as “I can’t afford this”. They still need to be “closed”.
In fact, these things are even more important in a sales letter, because, for example, if a customer has the objection, “I can’t afford it”, they’re probably not going to tell you – they’re simply going to close their browser window or tab, and move on!
So one of the best ways of getting good at the “salesperson” hat needed for copywriting is to actually become a salesperson for a while! I found it a truly eye-opening experience.
Alternatively, I could point you to many sales books, but it’s never quite the same as experiencing it in real life. Besides, many of the best sales books are written for “direct sales”. That’s why I wrote The Secrets Of A 10% Conversion Rate which shows you how to apply the techniques I learned in direct sales, in a copywriting context.
In this series we’ve discovered all the different “hats” a copywriter needs to wear, but the question remains: How do you acquire all of these skills in the first place? I’ll tackle that important question tomorrow.