The Underground Marketer Podcast

Episode 43 – Copywriting Is NOT Salesmanship in Print

The Underground Marketer Podcast
The Underground Marketer Podcast
Episode 43 - Copywriting Is NOT Salesmanship in Print

Sell in Person, Scale in Writing

In today’s episode, I want to make you aware of the difference between selling in writing vs. selling in person. The biggest reason for this difference is that the real power of salesmanship comes from the personal connection with your audience. When you are able to interact with another person and ask them questions, you can accurately identify their needs. But you cannot do this with written advertising.

3 Big Ideas

  1. Sales and copywriting are 2 completely different skill sets that have the same goal: to influence. Copywriting appeals to the average needs of your audience, while sales is all about tailoring your message to your client. 
  2. If you’re just getting started, learning how to effectively do sales will help you make some profit, build your business and invest in others to replicate your selling process. 
  3. Then you can focus on mastering copywriting because it will offer you access to a wider audience and help you scale your business. 

Show Notes

[02:06] Written vs. in-person communication. 

  • Written advertising is for targeting a specific demographic. 
  • You appeal to the average needs or desires of your target audience. 
  • Both copywriting and salesmanship attempt to influence, but the means of doing it are different. 
  • The message that you deliver is the same, but in the case of in-person conversations, you can better tailor it to fit your client’s needs. 

[04:53] Great copywriters are not always great salesmen and vice-versa. 

  • Great copywriters know how to influence people in writing, but are not as effective in person. Conversely, great salesmen cannot sell just as well in writing. 
  • When selling in writing, you need to be able to target average needs. 
  • When selling in person, you need to be spontaneous and target specific needs. 
  • Selling in person has lower scalability than in writing, but a higher conversion percentage. 

[07:18] Copywriting is influence in print. 

  • Some like to say that copywriting is salesmanship in print. 
  • However, while both copy and sales influence people, they are 2 completely different skills and should not be overlapped. 
  • Every entrepreneur should start out in sales by understanding the selling process. 
  • While the selling process is similar for copywriting and sales, the tactics used are different. 

[08:04] The selling process in person vs. in writing. 

  • It starts when someone is aware of a problem and becomes dissatisfied. At some point, they start looking for solutions and buy the best one for them. 
  • Copywriting works by predicting the average needs of the target audience. It focuses on what these people have in common using information from market research. 
  • However, selling in person is more targeted and tailored to the personal needs and circumstances of your clients. It focuses on what differentiates these people. 
  • If you’re just getting started, focus on learning how to do sales first. You can then grow your company, hire other people and teach them the sales process. 

[12:22] Summary of the episode. 

  • Copywriting is not just salesmanship in print, they are fundamentally different skills. 
  • An entrepreneur should start out by learning sales. 
  • Copywriting is more powerful because you can reach a bigger audience and convert more people. 
  • To learn sales, read Spin Selling, The Spinselling Fieldbook, and The Secret to Selling Anything. 
  • To master copywriting, my favorite book is Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel. However, the best ones to start with are Ca$hvertising and Breakthrough Advertising. 

Recommended Resources 

SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham

The SPIN Selling Fieldbook by Neil Rackham 

The Secret to Selling Anything by Harry Browne

Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel by John Carlton

Ca$hvertising by Drew Eric Whitman 

Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz

Full Transcript 

Read The Full Transcript

Introduction    00:00:03    Marketing, explosive growth, and revolutionary secrets that can catapult your business to new heights. You’re now listening to The Underground Marketer Podcast with your host Tudor Dumitrescu, the one podcast devoted to showing new businesses how to market themselves for high growth.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:00:25    Welcome to the underground marketer. This is the place where we deliver the real truth and explore big ideas that can help new businesses thrive and grow into big ones. I’m your host Tudor. And today I want to basically tell you that copywriting is not the same, a salesmanship, but just in print. There is a very big difference between any written material that you can have and salesmanship that can be achieved in person. And the biggest reason for this difference, if you ask me, is that the real power of salesmanship comes from the personal connection and from the ability to ask questions from the prospect. And here’s why when you ask a person questions, you can define their needs exactly in a way that they are absolutely exact to who they are. As a person. There are a lot of people who want a luxury car or who want a car as a status symbol, or who wants a sports car, but there are fewer people who want a Ferrari and there’s even fewer people who want a red Ferrari.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:01:36    And there’s even fewer people who want a red Ferrari because their older brother used to drive it when they were five years old. And they remember him and watch him with envy, right? So the more specific you can get, and the more specific you can narrow to a person’s interests, the more likely you are to get them to buy what you have so long as you can prove that it’s going to meet those needs. And you can’t really do that with copywriting and with advertising and written advertising. Generally, what you do with reading and advertising generally is that you target a niche of people really, and you sort of go after the average need and the average desire of that group, maybe that’s luxury cars, right? Let’s say, but you’re not able to target each person according to his very specific desire and very specific motivation and the, all these factors that make them unique and make them individuals really, you can’t do that in writing, but you can do that very easily when you’re selling a one-on-one with somebody.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:02:42    This is the first big, big difference between the two of them. They do share similarities in the sense that they are both attempts to influence, right? So both copywriting and salesmanship, they’re trying to influence another person and get them to take a specific action. That’s true. But the means of doing this is not the same. In one case, I’m listening to somebody else. I’m asking them questions. I’m bringing problems in their awareness, I’m identifying their specific needs. And so on. And in the other case, I’m just targeting an average need. Let’s say, and it’s going to resonate with this specific person, but it’s not going to resonate at its maximum strength. It’s one thing for me to show you how a sports car is and to prove to you that it will lead to a status increase. And it’s completely a different thing to tell you that this red Ferrari being very specific now is going to help you get the feeling that your brother had when you were three years old and you saw him driving a Ferrari, right?  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:03:48    That’s the emotional impact on you as a person? If that was your actual history is much stronger in the case of salesmanship. That’s why, if you give me an email list and you tell me that these people in this email list were sold through email, let’s say whatever product I would be able to take the same list. And just by calling each and every one from the list who didn’t buy, I would be able to increase sales and not because I’m delivering a different message, right? The message is essentially the same. It’s just because I’m delivering it in a way where the message can be tailored to the very specific needs of the actual individual. There’s no averages here. There’s no I’m stumbling in the dark or attempting to approximate their needs, right? This is actually going to speak to one person. So this is the big difference that I see between copywriting and sales.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:04:49    And if we look at things, most of the people who are great copywriters, aren’t also great salesmen. At least in my experience, they’re very good at writing. Copy that converts and copy that brings in sales. But for most of them, if you put them in front of a prospect and tell them to sell this guy, they’re not going to be very effective at doing it. They’re obviously going to be a bit better than your average person off the street. And I mean, that’s sort of to be expected because both copywriting and sales share routes in influence, right? I mean, influence is really the foundation of both, but the disciplines are different. And the same thing holds true for salesmen. Many people. They are great salesmen. They’re great when it comes to selling face-to-face to someone or over the phone or whatnot in person basically, but then they’re not so effective if they have to sell through an email, because I mean, fundamentally these are different skills and they really work with different parts of the brain.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:05:48    In one case, you’re able to chisel out an argument and target average needs. While in the other case, you have to be spontaneous. You have to target very specific needs of the person who is in front of you. You have to uncover them. You have to go through an entirely different process basically. And not everybody can do this successfully. That’s why there’s few people who can both write great copy and be great salesmen. I was very blessed personally, because I can do both. I’ve solved very well for copy and I’ve sold very well in person any day. However, I would prefer, especially if it’s a high ticket item to sell in person, my chance of converting that one prospect is going to be better for sure. In terms of that one person, of course, that there’s a trade off here, right? Because you need to spend your own time and you need to spend your own time with people one by one.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:06:41    Whereas if I write an email, I can send that to 10,000 people, right? So there’s the issue of scalability. Obviously selling in person has lower scalability then copywriting for sure in terms of being able to scale it and get sales in the mass market, cooperating with easily win. But if we’re speaking strictly about a conversion percentage, I’d always take sales over copywriting. So a lot of people and a lot of books really like to say that copywriting is sales in print and salesmanship in print. And I partly agree. You know, I’d prefer to say that copywriting is influenced in print. I think that’s more accurate. And it really goes to highlight that it’s not the same thing as salesmanship. And it’s really a different skill, ultimately that you have to learn on its own. Now, for people who are starting out, a lot of people are asking, you know, what should be the first skill that I learned as an entrepreneur?  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:07:38    In my opinion, even though the impact of copywriting can be much greater, do you scale it? I think that every entrepreneur should start out in sales and every entrepreneur should start out by understanding the selling process. I mean, the selling process is similar for copywriting and for sales. It’s just that the tactics that we’re using to bring you to completion are somewhat different. The selling process starts with somebody who becomes aware of a problem and then becomes dissatisfied. And over time becomes even more dissatisfied to the point that he starts out looking for solutions, right? If he finds something and he buys it. That’s in a few words, the sales process and the process of getting the sale. And I mean, copywriting is moving through this process as well, but it’s moving through this process by figuring out in advance the average needs of a given set of people.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:08:38    And we say that on average, these people vote conservative and they’re between 40 and 60 year olds. And they make this income and whatnot, right? That’s an average, but there are specific differences between these people that make $200,000 income per year. One guy may do that as a lawyer and another may do it as an author. Another may do it as a whatever right. There’s differences between those people. So we average those differences and we say that they make on average the same income, right? That’s an average of the differences, but obviously there may be a better way if we sell to each one individually, right? So if we sell to the lawyers separate from the author and so on, and you can take advantage of all these differences when you are selling in person, because you actually talk with a person, you get his input on everything that you say, and you’re able to tailor your message to his exact needs.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:09:38    And you’re not able to do that with copywriting, with copywriting. It’s more about market research and speaking with quite a few people and seeing how that audience reacts on average, and then going after those averages in a way where you can drive people through the same cycle, right? So the cycle is, again, them becoming aware of a problem which leads to dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction gets worse. They become aware of the consequences of the problem. That’s why it gets worse. They start looking for solutions and then they buy one and they sell their problem and copywriting and sales. They’re doing the same thing. It’s just, the tactics are different. So I think there’s, once you understand this, you also understand what I’m going to say next. So an entrepreneur, he’s going to try to sell multiple people in one way or another. He’s going to be selling employees.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:10:27    He’s going to be selling investors. If there are any, he’s going to be selling clients, especially the most important clients, the biggest ones. So which skill is more important to learn first, I would always learn sales first, because if you learn sales, you can hire other people to help you. You can actually build a company and you can grow it, right? So that’s what I would learn. First. I learned copywriting second because copywriting can really help you to reach a much larger number of people. So you make up for what you lose in terms of increasing conversion effectiveness by increasing your volume. So instead of reaching out, let’s say in person to a hundred people and closing 10 or even 50, let’s say that you close 50 out of the a hundred that you speak with 50%, right? You would reach out to 1 million people for example, and close 1% and sell 1% and you sold a lot more people, right?  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:11:28    You can’t do that with salesmanship. So you need copywriting. You need to learn this kind of direct response marketing, and that’s what’s going to get you there. So, um, that’s pretty much what I wanted to share with you today. And I wanted to make this difference between copywriting and sales crystal clear to people and how I think that you should get started with thinking about them and also with learning them. And I know that this episode is going to be a bit shorter than the other ones. So, I mean, if you guys have any feedback in terms of the length, if you prefer more narrow topics like this, one or more broader topics, feel free to let me know. There’s a link on the episodes page, which takes you to our discord channel. You can join that discord channel and you can let me know what you think inside there.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:12:16    I’d be glad to hear your opinions and which sort of format you prefer. So, as a quick summary of this episode, we discussed the differences between copywriting and sales. I showed you why copywriting is not just salesmanship in print and that the actual tactics that both use are different, even though they’re trying to fundamentally solve the same process. I also explained to you that in my opinion, it’s my belief that an entrepreneur should start out by learning sales, because it helps in multiple areas of the business. And it helps with everything including hiring and hiring is very important because you can get other people to join you and to help you build your business, which I think is just an essential skill. And it can cover up for many other things that you may lack. You may lack marketing expertise or copywriting expertise, but you can make up for it by hiring the right person and by convincing them to work for your company.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:13:13    So that’s why I see sales as more important to learn first. However, I see copywriting as the more powerful skill, since it can help you reach a much larger audience and convert them into paying customers. And ultimately that’s what you’re going to want. Now, if you’re asking me, how can you learn sales? Well, I really recommend two books, which I think are great. So the first one is called spin selling by Neil Rackham. It’s a great book and it just gets you to understand why the power of sales really comes from the ability to ask people questions. So that’s the first one to learn sales. The second one I would say is I’m thinking now between two books, really? And I think I’m going to tell both of them to you. I think that after reading spin selling, you should read the spin selling field book also by Neil Rackham, which is like a practical application of the spin selling model to your own business.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:14:18    And it’s like a workbook. You can take it and you can do the exercises and obviously get the benefits. So I think that that’s pretty much a great way to get started. The other book is by, um, Harry Brown and it’s called how to sell anything. I believe. Let me just double check this. Yeah. So actually it’s called the secret of selling anything by Harry Brown. So it’s a great book and it really, it really nails what sales it, essence. It explains to you that sales is not about convincing anybody to buy anything, right? The secret to sales is finding those people who actually benefit and who have the need for what you’re selling and then selling to them. You know, you don’t start out by selling, you start out by seeing who’s interested. And that’s a very important thing because a lot of people think that they have to close everyone they speak with, so that’s wrong.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:15:18    And I think that these three books, if you read them, you will understand that questioning is the essence of sales. And the first job of sales is to identify people who would be prospects for the product and not to close everybody that you speak with now for copywriting, what books would I recommend? That’s a tough one. My favorite copywriting book is the book written by John Carlton. He calls it kick ass copywriting secrets of a marketing rebel, right? So that’s my favorite copywriting book. I don’t necessarily think that’s the best one to start with. It’s just my favorite. If I had to pick the best one to start with, it’s probably Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman. I think that that one is great. It’s a great book for beginners. It really explains what copywriting is and really summarizes a lot of the other copywriting books that you find out there and really explains the concept to you.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:16:15    And you see how to, you can put it in practice. So I think that for copywriting kick-ass secrets over marketing rebel is great and Cashvertising being the other one that I recommend. There’s also a lot more that I can recommend for copywriting, but those would be, I would say the top two, maybe the other one I allowed here is breakthrough advertising by Eugene Schwartz, because the book really teaches you about this average of desires, which is what advertising is targeting. Remember how I told you that in sales, you target specific needs and relate them to the specific motivations of the person in the individual that you’re talking to while in copywriting and in advertising, generally, you’re going after an average of desire and Eugene Schwartz explains this concept very beautifully in the book. So that’s pretty much what I had for today. Stay tuned for the next episode. And until next time, remember to keep growing your business and providing massive value to the world. You are the reason why we’re all growing richer. Our freedoms are expanding and we’re all living in greater prosperity. Thank you. 


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