"My salesletter's fundamentals are solid but it seems as if it's the clueless lover who thinks he's doing all the right things to give his woman pleasure but in reality... nothing is happening for her."


Hey You,

It’s Lewis aka Nerd #2.

You ever wonder why if you’ve covering all the bases of what should be included in a salesletter – you’ve grabbed attention, shared lots of “you” oriented benefits, relieved the prospect of risk and asked for the order – why your copy is still converting at such a low percentage?

“I used everything the damn book said you needed to, and yet my salesletter just lays there like a dead log in the heat of the moment when someone actually lands and starts moving up and down on it.”

I’ve been in this place (but not for long). Maybe you have too. Probably the opposite way you’d like to feel about your hot little babe of a salesletter, right?

The reason I say I’ve been in this place before, but not for long is because I’m a nerd. I LOVE learning. And I hate looking bad in front other people. This my friend, is a recipe for mastery.

See, maybe you didn’t have all the time I did to study all the pro’s like Bencivenga, Halbert, Makepeace, Carlton and Kennedy AND THEN take hours and hours and hours actually using what I learned writing copy.

Do you wear all the hats in your itty bidniz?

Are you the website designer, the accountant, the customer service desk, content creator AND the copywriter for not only the salesletters but also the auto-responders, the articles, and the blog posts?

Tough place to be, right?

How you supposed to be all ninja at writing salesletters when you’ve barely got time to go to the bathroom? *Sigh*

Well, I got good news for ya.

You don’t have to be all ninja to make your salesletter convert at a much higher percentage that you can be proud of.  All you need are some questions that get you focused on getting everything you can out of everything you’ve got.

Quality Questions Lead To Quality Answers

Of course we need a solid frame to work from that allows us to have a complete sales message and that tells the whole damn story to our potential prospects.

I’m giving you a framework you may have never seen before unless you bought our notes that we did on Eben Pagan’s Guru Blueprint Seminar. That’s where I was first introduced to it and it’s one of the best I’ve ever come across… especially for someone who’s not a professional copywriter who spends 40+ hours a week writing.

But the most important thing I’m sharing with you today are the power questions that go along with each step in the frame that allow this specific segment of the letter to shine.

Recently I shot a camtasia video highlighting these questions and used Gary Bencivenga’s, arguably one of the greatest copywriters alive, old school Accountable Advertising ad to demonstrate how he must have asked himself a variation of these questions I’m giving you, to come up with the brilliant letter he wrote.

I’ll share with you what he came up with in the examples below but I’ll be very quick about it as I hear you Warriors are in love with breezy content…



Now besides your headline being benefit-driven, specific, clear and crisp… you also want to ask yourself…

“How compelling is the angle/perspective used?”

In Gary’s ad that he was using to get clients for his direct response agency, he chose not to run a headline on the piece he sent. Instead he started off with a killer testimonial in 24 point type…

“The direct mail letter you wrote for us is working brilliantly….It’s getting us solid appointments with 40% of the people we contact.

We’re just thrilled with the results.”

And guess what? He ran testimonial after testimonial for the entire first two pages of the letter.

The only line of copy in his voice said…

Some of the results our clients have enjoyed, described in their own words...”

Do you see how this approach could only come about from asking yourself, “How compelling is the angle/perspective I’m using?” Try this for any headline you write and it’ll nudge you to look for something sexier to showcase your wares.

Set Up Challenge or Expectation of Learning How To Get the Desired Result

You say something that sets up the challenge the prospect is facing and the outcome that they want to move towards or away from. And in setting this up, you’ve implied that you know how to solve it, that you have the answer.

And you can come to this point by asking yourself…

“Am I using real life tidbits – in the form of an event in this letter?”

The way Gary used this in his promo was through the testimonials he used. He made sure that the majority of them had specific events that occurred tied into them, such as…

“I’ve recommended your services to three of my business associates, and I expect you’ll be hearing from them. On a more personal level, I would be honored if you would accept an electric organ for your daughter as a special bonus and an expression of our heartfelt gratitude for the great success you have helped us achieve.”

Dennis Sandberg, Director

Atlantic Conservatory of Music

22-05 Steinway St. Astoria, NY 11102

See how that works? Also take note of how Gary gave the specific address, name and title for this client here. You can do this too when you ask yourself, “Am I using real life tidbits in the form of an event in this letter?


You want to share a story of, ideally, you being in their situation, having the frustrations, the symptoms that they have, trying and failing to get the result, finally finding a solution and then creating a system or solution that led to you creating your product.

And the question that brings this about is…

“How much empathy is there in this piece?”

Gary did this in his piece letting other people tell their stories that showed you he’s empathetic to the concerns of a direct response marketer. Look at this brilliance…

“My bank has given us a line of credit of $185,000 to do the roll-out, on the strength of your package. That’s the best measure of confidence I know of… Without the success of your package, we would not have had the confidence to roll out in such large numbers (1.35 million).

I sincerely appreciate the effort you made to get to know and understand both our product and our marketplace. Clearly your sensitivity and understanding paid off in real dollar terms, as evidenced by the stunning success of your package.

Please feel free to use any of my comments in your own marketing efforts. I will be more than pleased to give you the highest recommendation to any potential client.”

Van R.H. Sternbergh, President

Medical Hotline

119 West 57th St., New York, NY 1001

Ask yourself “How much empathy is there in my letter?” and it’ll stop you from going on robot, Dwight Schrute mode of selling with the finesse of a jackhammer as he explains on a sales job interview in this video…

Product & Bullets

You’ve introduced your product or your service, and then at least a minimum of 20 solid bullets that are all focused on solutions to problems, deliverance from pain, specific benefits and results.

Here’s a great place to be asking yourself…

“Is there a big promise here – said several times in different ways?”

Now Gary’s ad was coming in under the guise of a 12 page newsletter and it steered away from looking like ad instead opting to show up as content that helped you make the decision that these guys know their shit.

Eben Pagan taught me that you want to be asking prospect’s questions that only someone who knew the answer to their question could ask. And in this ad Gary proceeds to show you he knows the right questions to ask. Here’s how he slipped some bullets into his piece in the form of questions…

“Your Market…

  • What is your primary objective: generate qualified leads…build repeat business…support your distributors…lower your selling costs, etc?
  • What is your cost per inquiry?
  • In your former campaigns, what worked for you, what didn’t, and why?

You can ask questions in your bullets. I love doing this. One of my favorites on the cover of a recent edition of Cosmopolitan Magazine was… “GREAT GUY, LAME SEX? Help on p. 110”

The important thing to get from Gary’s example is how he knew to ask himself the all important question of, “Is there a big promise and is it repeated – said several times through the ad in different ways?”

Build Value & Tell Them The Price

This is where you’ve framed the price in a way that translates the value they’ll receive from buying your stuff into a minimum of 10x what they will be investing. And you’ve given a great reason for why you’re only charging a 1/10 of what it’s really worth.

This is marvelous place to check in and ask yourself…

“Can I determine a consistent USP that has built to climax here?”

If you haven’t clearly established why someone should choose you over your competition or doing nothing, then you’re gonna lower your conversion, even though you’ve got all the surface structure of great salesmanship in your piece.

Gary’s consistent USP that runs through his ad from beginning to end was “We Walk the Walk and other people will tell you this as well as does the content I’m sharing with you that demonstrates that you’re in the presence of a pro.”

And a concrete way he expressed this was giving the prospect his Persuasion Equation… Problem + Promise + Proof + Proposition = Persuasion.

He used the ad copy to show how they’d rolled this philosophy out, showcasing examples of pieces they’d written for others who’d hired them, that allowed these clients to advertise effectively.

So make sure that you’re asking yourself, “Can I determine a consistent USP that has built to climax here?” so that you make it easy for people to give you their money.

Remove Risk With Your Guarantee

You’ve made sure to offer a 100% guarantee but is the guarantee answering the question of…

“Am I using indirect persuasion to my benefit in my copy?”

Most people don’t do this in their guarantee copy. They use lame phraseology like, “If you aren’t completely satisfied, then you get all of your money back.” That’s shit.

Now in Gary’s piece, he’s only trying to secure an appointment, not make the sell for a project and yet, look at how he indirectly implies that they’re the lucky ones if they get to work with him through this guarantee copy…

“May we listen to your needs?

If you would like to discuss a project, see samples of our creative work, read our client testimonials, or just become acquainted, please feel free to call or write at any time. We understand that there is no commitment or obligation on your part – just a desire to gain more information.

Have no fear that you will be subjected to a high-pressure sales pitch. Indeed, until we know more about your needs and your product or service, we won’t know how or even if we can help you.

At our first meeting, we’ll mostly ask questions and listen with undivided attention. Then we’ll come back to our offices and think. Within several days, we’ll get back to you with our frank analysis of your situation. If we believe we can help you, we’ll tell you why, and we’ll spell out in a written proposal our view of the opportunities, problems, directions toward a solution, and cost of our services. This proposal can give you a whole new perspective on your advertising program.

Then, in the privacy of your own offices, you and your staff can decide whether or not to proceed.

You’ll find this low-pressure, professional approach characteristic of our manner. Since we believe we offer honest value, the knowledge and skill to achieve direct response breakthroughs, and a doting attention to client satisfaction, we feel there’s no need to shout or resort to high pressure. It wouldn’t be good salesmanship.”


So make sure to ask yourself “Am I using indirect persuasion to my benefit in my copy?”

Tell Them to Act Now

You have to instruct them. Ask them to respond. Give them a specific direction to action with the exact action steps detailed out so that they know what to do in order to purchase your product.

But before you do this, you’ll very quickly want to ask yourself…

“Have I used connection and resonance to my benefit throughout all of my copy to ensure this person trusts me with their money?”

Remember how Gary did it in his piece right from the start to finish beginning with:

Specific Testimonials laced with real life examples of the awesome things that happened as a result of working with him…

Lacing his big promise throughout the copy as well as his USP with snap shots of winning promotions he’s written for clients and sharing why they worked…

Showing empathy for direct marketing clients by using body copy headlines like “What we’ve learned from $78 million worth of tests…” giving them the assurance that he gets what’s important to them…

Using eloquent indirect persuasion in his guarantee to give the impression that after he’s bedazzled them during this whole time, they might not get to work with him after all, unless they can prove to be worthy of working with him…

And then bringing it all home with this brilliant closing copy…

“Best track record in direct response?

Accountable’s clients include some of the largest direct mailers in America. Since these firms mail in such volume, it often pays them to test the work of several agencies and copywriters simultaneously.

In the 24 most recent campaigns when our creative work has been scientifically split-tested against the work of others, we have won 21 times. We know of no other agency or copywriter in America with a comparable “win ratio”.  (If you wish to verify this performance, we will be happy to put you in touch with the clients involved.)

For more information, please call or write…”

So once again can see how Gary must have been asking himself in some shape or fashion, “Have I used connection and resonance to my benefit throughout all of my copy to ensure this person trusts me with their money?”

He knows trust is all that important and that building a bond with prospect is crucial and the way he’s connecting with his market is absolutely stunning.

You can do the same. Now you’ve not only got a kick ass structure to work from but the questions that make sure each piece of the structure is rock solid.

I promised I’d be brief so I’m calling this done. And because of this I know I may have left some key distinctions out.

Please feel free to give me your feedback letting me and everyone else here what more could be added to what I’ve laid out here to make it even stronger… while keeping it simple enough for the person who wears all the hats in their business to benefit from.

Talk soon,

Lewis LaLanne aka Note Taking Nerd #2