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How to start winning with cold leads from minute 1

I’ve had an influx of people ask me about daily rituals – and the secrets to getting good at copy fast.

More on this next week, because I do have 3 tricks which made the world of difference for me. And I think you can apply these principles – whatever you’re trying to master.

But the best insights, I find, always come from the late, great Gary Halbert’s newsletters.

I have the entire collection – dating from the ’80s until the early 00s.

Every 8-16 page letter is a gem and makes you think, “ah-ha!”

Case in point:

When Halbert was a door-to-door salesman, he quickly tapped into the psychology of skeptical, defensive housewives.

No sooner would they open the door, he would say, “Hello!” And they would frown, suspicious, wanting to know who the heck he was, and why he was on their porch.

This is a terrible position to be in.

During a negotiation, whoever speaks first takes the weaker position. Halbert had to turn the tables on his prospects. So here’s what he did…

After knocking on the door, he would immediately turn around and walk away!

This meant the housewife would call to him: “Hello?”

Now he wasn’t stuck trying to start a conversation. All he had to do was turn around and respond.

It’s a simple, powerful trick – the kind you find most abundant amongst people who’ve sold face-to-face. And most of this stuff can be applied to your copy online.

Think of banner ads.

In finance, I’ve seen banner ads with 300 words of copy, squeezed into a tight frame. They’re trying to sell the entire service in a tiny window of space.

This is the wrong approach.

Your banner ad is the moment where you knock on the door and casually walk away. It has 2 jobs only…

  1. Get your ideal prospect’s relevant attention.
  2. Make them want to know more.

I discuss a few ways to do this in my new short book, “Gold Standard Copywriting: How to write breakthrough financial promotions at breakneck speed.”

Look out: its first draft is to appear on this site asap. Hopefully sometime in September. Though I’m a desperately insecure, self-loathing ball of stress – and there’s no telling how long I’ll agonise over this draft before releasing it to the world.

But it will be soon.

I promise.

Actually, while I’m squirming in creative agony, did you know that lockdowns and quarantines can kill your creative mojo?

It’s for similar reasons that Abraham Lincoln regularly went to the theatre each night – even while the Civil War was raging.

I’ll talk about this, too, in an upcoming post.