The shopping channel that accidentally paid for my house

One of the biggest challenges in every piece of copy is getting people to believe you’re on the level – and not just another lying sack of shit!

It can be tough. I’m sure you can remember a time when you’ve been totally truthful, but you know it sounds like a lie. So even you doubt yourself, and start thinking your nose is gonna go all Pinocchio.

Know what I mean?

So if the truth can sound like a whopping great fib…what can you do?

This. Be so truthful that it seems you’re shooting yourself in the foot. By admitting to a weakness.

Man, that’s one sweet mutha of a move, as the kids say.

It works. In fact, this one tactic bought me my current house.

‘Twas like this…

Back in my 20s, I spent 2 years selling cable TV door to door. From grotty estates to leafy suburbs, I had to knock and sell wherever our network was live.

At the start, I was closing at around 40%. Then one day, the penny dropped…

(This is worth reading…it could make you a bucket of cash).

See, our deal was, “Take your phone from us, and we’ll give you 3 TV channels free: Sky One, UK Gold and a shopping channel”. A smart deal, because it got a TV unit into the home – ready for upsell.

So, I had to push it as the greatest offer on earth. But there was just one problem…

The shopping channel was pants. Just a load of orange presenters flogging useless tat, like jewellery made of Playdough and toenail clippers for hedgehogs. So I couldn’t look a customer in the eye and tell them it was worth having.

Cue that moment of clarity.

My pitch became: “Sky One is great, you get ‘Friends’ and ‘The Simpsons’. You’ll love UK Gold, it plays all the classic sitcoms on a loop. And we also give you a shopping channel – but to be honest, that’s a load of old crap”.

Bold move? Maybe.

But first time I said it, I could see the belief on the customers’ faces. They switched from “Don’t believe a word he says” to “This guy speaks the truth”.

And all because I’d owned up to a weakness.

Meaning, they believed me when I told them about all the good stuff.

It worked time after time. My close rate went from 40% to over 70% – bagging me over 1000 sales. I wouldn’t be living where I am now, if I hadn’t stumbled upon it.

And what’s true in sales is true in copy too. So if you’re crap at something, say so. Admit “That’s not my thing”, then offer to bring in someone more qualified for that bit of work. The juicy prospect will applaud your honesty, and believe you can do the main stuff you’re bidding for.

Funny things, human beings.

Suck it and see. Truth brings its own rewards.

Meet the Author

James Daniel

You might not know who James is...but you've probably read his copy. Through high street clients like Hidden Hearing, or big gun marketers like Jonathan Jay and Chris Cardell. His words are out there, pulling in new business every month. What else? Well his books, Do You Talk Like That at Home? and Direct Mail 101 will help you squeeze out more sales. Oh yeah - and his next book Before You JFDI will help you plan your next campaign. Get on the list for a free advance copy here.

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