Hey You,

Smile as you think of what an awesome consult these questions will lead to

It’s Lewis aka Nerd #2.

Why would anyone who’s serving up small business marketing strategies via copy critiques, for a client they’re unfamiliar with, do so by only working from the copy sent to them or the websites the clients sends them to?

I’m no research ninja by any means, so whenever I’ve done this in the past, I’ve ended up doing some half-assed detective work just to get the bare necessity background info that would help me gain the proper insight needed in order to serve up awesome solutions.

The lazy consultant’s way to go about this is to get the client on the phone or meet them in person and THEN ask all of the right diagnostic questions that give them the insight they need. Common sense says this leads to a LARGE hunk of the call being chewed up.

Stop Letting Your Copy Consulting Time Be Wasted

There’s a better way to ensure you get the maximum bang for your consulting buck.

All great copywriters know that writing, the words they pen, are the least significant part of what they bring to the table. Bad ass copywriters think of themselves as marketing strategists. You can find writers all over – it’s a lot more rare that you find marketing wizards who can merge all of their expertise with their ability to write a mean salesletter.

But no magic can be woven without the raw material. 

Questions You Should Answer For Anyone Reviewing Your Ad Copy  — Whether They Ask You To Or Not

Below I’m giving you what I call my Pre-Critique Questionnaire.

When you answer these questions listed below, you’re giving me what I need to  help you optimize your copy, this will make sure that when you and I are on our call together, we’re going balls-to-wall the WHOLE TIME.

Now let me share the questions with you and note there’s a free PDF attached of the Pre-Critique Questionnaire that you can instantly download for future use. What I’ll do now is lay out the questions and tell you quickly why I’ve included them . . .



Years In This Business ________

Sales Trend: YTD $_________ 2010: $___________

2009: $___________

Income Trend: YTD $__________ 2010: $__________

2009: $____________

As a consultant, the truthful answers to these question tells me something very important . .

Whether I’m dealing with a someone who’s getting their head kicked in and might always get their head kicked in because they don’t get direct marketing or refuse to put it to work in the bidniz and this consult is meant to be a rescue mission or . . .

If this is a star on the rise. Someone who’s capable of paying my fees. Someone who consistently takes action, is doing well and wants to do better. Someone who actually has money to implement kick ass marketing.

A smart consultant wants to know this stuff early so he knows what kind of climate he’s stepping into and what recommendations – ad spending, educational resources, hiring/outsourcing help, etc. to make or not.

How did you get Into this business?

Why did you get into this business?

These questions give me insight as to why this person is in this role at this particular time. Did you just get stuck here taking over the business after your parent who founded the company passed away and you only worked in the company prior to this because your parents expected you to? Or is this a passion project based on sound research you’ve done and you’re on a mission from god to rid the earth of a certain problem/challenge that a big hungry market wants relief from?

The second implies an ambitious, risk-taking, playing to win mentality. The first implies dread, cowering to opinion to others, and playing not to lose. Two very different clients who need to be handled differently. 

Size Of Business:

Relative to your goals…

Relative to the most successful businesses in the industry…

Relative to your direct competition…

Relative to your potential…

Again, more light into on ambitious vs. delusional vs. apathetic mentality. What can be very revealing is if you do a lot of work in their niche (something to be cherished in a copy strategist) and you know the landscape. Most business owners/marketers are pretty clueless when it comes to knowing about their competition. These questions can reveal how either lazy or industrious they are.

If you’re unhappy with where your business is at, what do you attribute this to?

This question lends insight as to whether a client takes personal responsibility for where they’re at now or if they blame external circumstances.

A wise consultant can look at this answer and have vast perception into how you’d behave as a client and get a feel for how receptive to their advice you’d be if you ever worked together in the future. And it could very well lead them not wanting to work with you at all if you go on some rampage about, “Fuckin’ Obama’s ruining the country, god damn Chinese are ruining me, or scum suckin’ Walmart is the Devil in a blue vest!!!”

Me, I’d be running for the hills if I saw this shit because guess what? I’m gonna be on that list and it’s probably gonna be a result of the client’s bad habits that lead them to not implementing the advice/work they paid me for. Wait a second here? Did I just blame the client for my lack of success? Yes and no.

While I acknowledge the truth that nothing happens until something moves, in the end, if a client threw me under the bus due to their not implementing or implementing my shit wrong, and I’d gone ahead and worked with them DESPITE seeing this red flag in their answer to this question, I would take full responsibility in the end for going ahead and engaging in a project with them.

What do you want your business to look like 2 years, 5 years, 10 years from now?

What specific differences, improvements, changes are hoping to see in your business in 2-3 years or less?



Size? Expansion?



Day to day business life?

Family life?



Optimistic vs. Delusional vs. Beat Down

A smart consultant/communicator meets people where they are, and then leads them to where they want to be or allow themselves to be. Some people are hell bent on staying broke and challenged. They tell you different but this desire is unconscious and also off putting so they either tend to not know they’re sabotaging themselves or they’re embarrassed to admit they are.

And for someone stuck in this victim/powerless headspace, you, Jesus, Mohammed, god, Tony Robbins, Dan Kennedy, Zig Ziglar, all put together aren’t gonna get this person out of the rut they’re choosing to be in.

Where you’re at with your thinking here is gonna tell the consultant how to frame their solutions for you. 

Magic Genie Question: If a genie appeared and granted you three wishes that allowed you to magically change three things about your business instantly, what would these changes be? Specificity, please…

Another window to your soul question.

If your answers  here are all about changing things like… 

<<<Government passing anti-dog-eat-dog laws that don’t allow Walmart to be as big (read: popular) as it is . . .

<<<Exporting/outsourcing of work in my industry to other countries put to an end . . .

<<< And more customers

These answers are scary to the smart consultant. Again, they signal that this is a client that needs a lot of psychological/belief fixing that you probably aren’t qualified to help with. Nor, may you have interest in fixing.

A wise consultant would love to see something along the lines of…

>>>Systems that allow my marketing to deliver consistent, dependable, and profitable results…

>>>A pricing model that allows me lots of margin and is popular with my customers

>>>To be able to pay more for a customer than my competitors

These are all highly productive outcomes. Outcomes you, as a business owner have control over. Outcomes that lead to you putting dumb business owners you compete with, behind you, maybe never to be seen again.

The Rich Uncle Question: If one of your rich uncles arrived and gave you $100 thousand bucks to spend on advertising, marketing, promoting or otherwise expanding your business, what would you do with it?

If you’re a small business and not some behemoth corporation and your answer to this question is, “Hire me an ad agency and have them get the word out there about my company on billboards, TV Commercials, and full page magazine ads that all feature some cute/witty/funny slogan they can come up with next to a ginormous picture of me looking all cool standing in one of the many $2,000 suits I bought with the money,” a smart direct response marketing strategist might start slowly walking away from you.

The answer to this question reveals your level of expertise on the subject of advertising and marketing. A strategist worth his weight in gold is on the hunt for smart clients who probably could write their own awesome copy but have way too much other marketing stuff to do, to do it as well as it deserves to be done.

Or, they know the real deal when they see it, highly value it,  but they’re admittedly horrible at writing it so they’re happy to hire it out.

Your Market

What do you believe or know about your perfect prospects with regard to these five-levels that measure “customer awareness” — the degree of familiarity your prospect has with your product?

Here’s the breakdown. Are they…

1) The Most Aware: Your prospect knows your product, and only needs to know “the deal.”

2) Product-Aware: Your prospect knows what you sell, but isn’t sure it’s right for him.

3) Solution-Aware: Your prospect knows the result he wants, but not that your product provides it.

4) Problem-Aware: Your prospect senses he has a problem, but doesn’t know there’s a solution.

5) Completely Unaware: No knowledge of anything except, perhaps, his own identity or opinion.

Any prospect you’re writing to should fit somewhere on that scale. What does it matter?

Simply put, knowing where your customer falls on that list is key to knowing which sales pitches will get his attention… and which will not

For Eben Pagan’s advice on how to really narrow this down for your business, make sure to go check this out here…

Who is your customer?

Most business owners only have a rough, incomplete answer to this question.

For example, the outside observer who’d been following the legendary marketing strategist, Dan Kennedy for 5 years or more and had purchased multiple products of his, when asked this question might look at me as a fellow raving fan like I was retarded or something and reply, “Business owners, DERRR!!!”

They’d be wrong.

That’s only a surface level of who they are. Through studying and segmenting his list, he’s found that women don’t buy from him. Some do. And something he’s discovered about the one’s that do is that they’re what he calls “Women with balls,” – they’re independent action takers who make shit happen on their own and don’t need the marketing messages sent to them to be laced and pink to appreciate wisdom and a compelling offer.

There’s further distinctions he’s made but just knowing this one “Truth” easily dug out of the proof within his customer file allows him to NOT waste any of his effort in his marketing catering to both men and women, which would dilute the message that attracts all of his men buyers to him in the first place. 

What Do You Really Know About Your Customers?

All of these questions below will unveil what you do or don’t know about your customer and all of this information is extremely important to making sure your marketing and selling message makes love to the ear holes of your perfect prospects and customers . . .

Where are they?

How do they think?

What are the 5 most important facts you believe about your clientele or perfect prospect?

What has changed most in your perfect prospects’ lives or behavior in the past several years?

Price? (Example: very price conscious, price shoppers, or price is irrelevant)


Impulsive or analytical?

Geographic Limitations?

What are your perfect prospect’s main, present concerns, fears, worries, frustrations, hopes, and desires? (What keeps them awake at night? What irritates them?)

What are the best things about your perfect prospects?

What are the worst things about your perfect prospects?

Provide for me the most detailed profile of your present clients now that you can…

Provide the most detailed profile of your perfect prospect that you’d most love to attract…

If you have really shitty, bland, non-specific surface level answers to these questions you might want to grab these free notes on Frank Kern’s “Core Influence” speech where he lays out how to figure out who your “perfect prospect” is.

Why is your product/service your perfect prospect’s best option they could pick out of everything else available including doing nothing?

And last but not least, the “Differentiate or Die” question.

A smart strategist chooses to play with winners, not losers. I think when it comes to consulting, most people – clients and consultants alike have this fucked up. People assume that if a business is doing horrible, they’re the perfect target for a consultant to come in and save the day.

But there’s a reason that business is doing horrible. And it has to do with A) Not having a good answer to the “Why you?” question as well as all the others on this list. Or B) Having good answers – knowing everything they need to do, but no follow through, no finish in them.

A smart strategist is going to be attracted to places where he can win. The desperate scuzzballs will swoop in like vultures and eat the rotten meat (tiny fees) but the eagles only eat fresh prime meat (High fees) so they fly right by rotting carcasses. This is why I highly encourage you to master the fundamentals of direct response marketing and get your house in order so that you not only can keep your business up and running but also attract superstar talent that helps you go to the next level.

Do your homework and download and answer all these Pre-Critque Questions honestly and thoroughly, and I guarantee you’ll be excited at the richly targeted feedback you get that allows you move forward fast because it’s from a highly qualified pro who’ve you attracted!

Talk soon,

Lewis  LaLanne aka Note Taking Nerd #2