7 Big Ticket Copywriting Secrets I Learned from Ted Nicholas

I recently sponsored and attended Joel Christopher and Ted Nicholas’s Double

Birthday Bash and Interactive Marketing Summit in beautiful San Antonio, Texas.

There was a fantastic lineup of speakers including John Assaraf, Joe Vitale,

Brad Fallon, George McKenzie, Shawn Casey, Alan Bechtold, Tom “Big Al” Schreiter,

Brian Keith Voiles, Rosalind Gardner, and Sydney Johnson.

And, of course, both Joel Christopher and Ted Nicholas presented as well.

Don’t know who Ted Nicholas is?

Ted is a living legend in the offline direct marketing world. He’s considered

the “King of Print”, the “Copywriter’s Copywriter”, the “Entrepreneur’s

Entrepreneur” and the “GodFather of Direct Marketing”.

He’s known as the “4 Billion Dollar Man” because that’s how much of his own

products he’s sold using offline marketing methods.

Ted’s business card says: “I help people turn words into money“.

Anyway, it should be clear that Ted knows a lot about marketing and

especially copywriting.

Copywriting is simply selling with words. When someone reads the “copy” or words

of an advertisement or sales letter and is compelled to respond to the offer,

then you know your copy is effective.

I wanted to pass on some copywriting secrets I learned from Ted while I was at

the Double Birthday Bash. These secrets are taken directly from my notes so any

errors or omissions are mine.

Secret #1: Write the copy BEFORE the product is created!

Ted Nicholas says the smart marketer writes the copy BEFORE the product is


Say, for example, you have a product idea. You should write the copy that sells

the benefits of the product even before you create the product.

There are two great reasons for doing that.

The first reason is that you get a much clearer idea of the focus of the product

from a customer perspective because you will be focusing on the benefits to the

customer in the copy.

Remember, people buy products that help solve their problems or give them

information that they need to solve a problem. By focusing on the benefits to

the customer, you can ensure that your product is really targeted towards

providing those benefits.

The second reason to write the copy first is to do market validation. In other

words, even if you’ve done some market research that indicates there is a huge

market, you can perform one final test using the copy you write first.

Even if people order your product you can tell them that it is not ready yet but

that they will be the first to be notified when it is ready.

If no one tries to order the product THEN don’t spend any more time on it! This

is the smart way to determine if a product is worth creating before wasting time

creating it! Especially for a Big Ticket product.

Also, if a ton of people order the product based on the copy then it is a huge

motivating factor to create a product that meets the expectations in the copy!

Secret #2: Headlines – The Most Important Item to Focus on when Writing Copy

When Ted Nicholas writes copy for a product, he has to look at the research, the

features, the claims and the benefits of the product – all before he creates the

copy for that product.

The first thing Ted writes are the potential headlines for the products.

Ted writes the headlines FIRST!

Before any copy.

Without the headline you are DEAD!

Because if the headline does not draw your reader’s attention and intrigue them

enough to read further, then they WON’T buy your product!

It does not matter if you have the most killer Big Ticket product in the world,

if people stop reading after the headline you have no chance to make the sale.

Spend 50% to 80% of your time on your headline and make sure that there are no

more than 3 ideas covered by the headline. Any more than 3 ideas is too

confusing to readers. And confusion causes readers to stop reading, something

you definitely don’t want.

One final tip on headlines: Studies show that 27% more people will read a

headline that has quotation marks around it because it indicates that someone

important said it. And of course someone important did say it – you did 🙂

Secret #3: Headline Generation Process

As mentioned in Secret #2, when Ted Nicholas writes copy for a product, he has

to look at the research, the features, the claims and the benefits of the


As he goes through this process, he lists all the benefits of the product on 3×5

cards. He lists one benefit per card and uses as many cards as required to list

all the benefits.

Once Ted has all the benefits down on the cards, he reorganizes the benefits in

order of highest impact.

The strongest or best benefits are used in the main headline for the sales copy.

Many of the other benefits become sub headlines for the copy. Any others that

are left over are often used as bullets in the body copy.

So this process is extremely useful not only for creating headlines but making

sure that all the benefits are covered somewhere in the body of the copy itself.

With Big Ticket items and their higher price tags, it is crucial to make sure

all the benefits are covered. The more benefits you can point out in the copy

the more you move your reader away from their natural skepticism towards the

value that your product can offer!

Secret #4: Copy Flow is Key

Ted Nicholas brought up a quote that many of the top copywriters agree on:

“Copy can never be too long. Only too boring”.

What this means is that you must engage your reader and keep them engaged

throughout the copy of your sales letter or advertisement.

If your potential customer loses interest at any point and stops reading or puts

your copy down there is a good chance that they will never come back and finish


Your Big Ticket copy needs to cover all the benefits and possible objections

that your potential customer might have. That means its going to require a lot

of copy to cover everything. So you must ensure that your copy flows and that

they keep reading.

Here’s what Ted had to say about the flow of copy and what makes good copy:

  • Keep your paragraphs short and only cover 1 idea per paragraph.
  • The best way to test the flow of your copy is to read it out loud. If it doesn’t flow naturally when you read it out loud then chances are doesn’t flow. Change the copy until it does.
  • Have a student in Grade 7 or 8 read the copy. If any of the copy is hard for them to read then you need to rewrite your copy. You want the copy to be easy to understand.
  • Great writing is about rewriting. It makes it clearer and simpler, removing unnecessary words and loaded with emotion. That is when the writing is truly great.

Secret #5: Buying is Emotional

Almost all purchasing decisions are emotion driven. When we buy something, we buy it because of how we think it will make us feel or because we think it will solve a problem for us and make us feel better.

We may come up with all sorts of other rational reasons why we should make or made the purchase but the core reason is always an emotional one.

The last bullet in Secret #4 says that great writing is clear, simple and loaded with emotion. It appeals to our emotions.

So, when you write or read a good sales letter, you need to look at the copy and ask:

What is the emotional feeling you get when you read the sales letter?

Is it Hot?


Important but boring?

Or just plain boring?

Any parts of your copy that are in the “Important but Boring ” or “Just Plain Boring” categories you need to rewrite or get rid of those sections.


Because those sections are the ones where your potential customer could choose to stop reading.

You never want them to stop reading!

Ted Nicholas also said:

If you can’t cry, you can’t write copy!

It takes great strength to admit your feelings.

It’s also vitally important that you can relate on an emotional level to the situation of your potential customers. The more you can emotionally experience where they are coming from the better copy you can write.

Secret #6: Trust

When people know you, trust you and love you they will buy from you forever.

If you ever betray that trust, you will lose your customer forever.

In copywriting, never try to trick your potential customer with misleading copy and then switch topics.

They can detect that, will feel deceived and will not read your copy any further. You have lost the sale.

So when you sell someone a first product, make sure you astonish them with the first product because you want to win their hearts and minds!

This is especially true of Big Ticket products.

Secret #7: Avoid These Common Copy Mistakes in Your Sales Letters

Here is a list of the most common mistakes you must AVOID in your sales letter or advertisement:

  • No headline – You must have a headline. It is what catches your reader’s attention and makes them want to read you copy.
  • Few subheads – People tend to read in two ways. They either read your whole letter or they scan it. If they scan it you want to have lots of sub headings to catch their eye and interest and make them read at least those sections.
  • No guarantee – Always include a moneyback guarantee with your offer. The longer the guarantee period the more credible your offer.
  • No P.S. – Always use a P.S. on every letter you write. If people scan a letter they will usually read the P.S if nothing else. The P.S. should re-emphasize the strongest benefits and restate your offer.
  • No signature – Always sign your letter. It’s more personal.
  • No free bonuses – Free is one of the most powerful words in the human language. Providing free bonuses enhances the already great value of your product offering. In some cases, the right bonuses might convince someone to buy your product just to get the bonuses!
  • Logo on the letterhead – Your logo is about you, not about your customer. It’s just one more distraction from your sales message. If you must include a logo put it at the bottom of the letter.
  • No close – Make sure you give specific instructions on what you want your potential customer to do. If you don’t tell them to buy your product and exactly how to do it then the won’t.

And that’s it for 7 Big Ticket Copywriting Secrets I learned from Ted Nicholas. I hope this helps you improve your own copy.

Or, if you need help with your copy, at least hire someone who knows and follows these secrets. It will be worth the money you pay them to get more sales with great copy.

Copyright (C) 2005 Chuck Daniel, Like Magic Marketing, LLC — All Rights Reserved.

Lessons Learned From the Rise of the Tech Start-Ups in Silicon Valley

All successful business strategies are founded on certain guiding principles, like Google’s famous maxim, “You can make money without doing evil.” Whatever your line of business is, the key to long-term sustainable growth are the right principles and remaining true to them no matter what.

Even if your business is not in the technology sector, you can still profit from knowing the unspoken principles underlying the successful business strategies that continue to serve Google, Facebook, Apple, Sun, Cisco, Amazon, and the other Silicon Valley heavyweights well.

These high-tech companies weren’t always big. In fact, all of them started small. Many of them weren’t even the best or the first in their field. Yet, by the mid-1980s, they had outperformed their older; more established and better-funded counterparts in Route 128.

How did this happen?

Sociologists suspect it may have something to do with the cultural and institutional values in that part of California. The industrial systems in Silicon Valley were built on regional networks, which are more flexible, adaptable, and more dynamic than other business districts in the US, which were based on independent, autonomous mega-sized companies.

Silicon Valley vs. Route 128 Boston

In Silicon Valley, the organizational boundaries within and among companies, trade associations and learning institutions are conducive to knowledge sharing, collective learning and collaborative undertakings. Big CEOs, start-up owners, interns, and new players would meet for coffee, brainstorm ideas, and interact with one another freely.

In contrast, the Route 128 companies were super-secretive about what goes on within their organizations’ walls. Information was highly compartmentalized, similar to that of military settings. Ideas flowed in systematical, hierarchical chains. This may sound like a logical process to you, but this process actually hindered innovation- another reason why those companies didn’t survive.

The companies in Silicon Valley have implemented many successful business strategies from their start-up days up to the present time, no doubt about that.

Three of these strategies though, are consistently present in almost all companies there.

Innovate or perish, it’s as simple as that.
Innovate, otherwise you stagnate and become redundant. Remember that there will always be better, faster and cheaper ways for consumers to get something done. The good news is there are always new needs to fill, problems to solve and wants to fulfill. Your company’s job is to find those opportunities and take advantage of it.

Take risks and don’t be afraid to fail while experimenting. Failure, for the resilient, is the first step that must be taken to succeed. Embrace your failure and learn from your mistakes, and then iterate and experiment some more until you hit it right.

There wouldn’t be an iPod today if Apple allowed their failure with Newton PDA back in 1993 to hinder them.

Of course, no man is an island!
No business can survive in a vacuum. Communication should not be limited to a one-way, or even just a two-way street. The digital age we’re in requires leaders and company front-liners to have excellent, business communication skills. This means having the ability to sell the company’s vision with colleagues, customers, and investors regardless of the person’s role and position in the company.

Listen to what the public, the staff, and stakeholders in your business have to say. Share your ideas and get their feedback. Most Silicon Valley software makers release free beta versions of their next products, which anyone can try out, comment on and even retool, and improve. Emulate the practice and chances are you will be learning something new to improve your product or service. You will also be earning a lot of respect and goodwill.

You may even forge lasting authentic relationships, which is much better than the I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine networking arrangements typical among many commercial establishments and professionals.

Pay it forward
Lastly, helping others is its own reward. Organizations with successful business strategies that incorporate social responsibility will earn the respect of their community.

© 2013 Incedo Group, LLC

Sales Training and Prospecting Tips to Increase Sales With Actions I Learned From My Window Fitter

Sales training and prospecting tips from the unbelievable sites I witnessed while watching window fitters working on my house. I recently had new windows fitted and while watching what happened I saw some fantastic sales prospecting techniques that just naturally happened because of how prospects think and act. Forget classroom sales prospecting skills you learn on courses, I saw a steady flow of sales prospects that would fill any sales person’s diary and make their target for the month. I’m now adapting these techniques with my working sales teams and you can fill your diary or grow your small business sales by doing the same.

The front of my house is on a busy lane that leads to the local shops and throughout the day many people passed by and saw the two guys installing my new windows. I saw people slowing down and stopping to look towards the house and the work being done. Some took the contact details from the side of the window fitter’s truck, and many others stopped to ask the guys questions about windows and for prices for repairs or renewals. I have to admit I cringed as I listened to the window guys responding to these passing sales prospects. They were excellent window fitters but not salesmen.

What I learned was the marketing power this situation created. This was far more effective than expensive T.V. or newspaper advertising. It triggered a reaction from anyone passing that had the slightest need for the guy’s services. This was a sales person’s dream, prospects queuing up to talk to someone. It got to the point where it was stopping the guys from working and they didn’t have the time to deal with all these people. What a waste of sales opportunities, I bet there are home improvement direct sales people that work all month to get that many prospects, more on that later.

There are several reasons why these prospects stopped and talked to the working window fitters, and within these reasons we can find valuable sales training and prospecting ideas.

The main reason people felt comfortable was that someone else has taken the first action and decided these professionals were the ones to contact and employ. So the prospects follow some one else’s first action.

Another reason is that these were working tradesmen not salesmen. When a windows salesman knocks on your door they are doing it for their benefit. When you stop a working guy in the street you are doing it for your benefit. Imagine what a sales person could have done with all those leads.

Buyers will always take the easiest actions. Which is easiest, searching through adverts, directories, and the internet and having to make a decision on which company to contact. Then speaking to someone on a sales line and waiting to be ambushed into agreeing to a sales appointment or even a sale. Or, stopping for a casual chat with a working guy that you can see actually knows what he’s talking about? If you wanted information and advice about having new windows fitted who would you talk to. A guy in overalls that fits windows everyday or a smart suited salesperson that knows more about the credit agreement than the windows? So what sales training lessons can we learn from the actions of the passing sales prospects and my window fitters? Without knowing your line of business it’s difficult to give precise sales tips. But consider the following ideas and think how you could adapt them for your sales role.

If you were a sales person for the company my window fitters worked for how about getting your hands dirty and spending some time with the guys fitting the windows. Put on some overalls and talk to all the passing prospects that want information. From what I saw outside my home I guarantee you will fill your sales diary.

Small business sales can be boosted by making all your front line people sales motivated. Put a reward scheme in place and supply every one of your staff with sales and information literature. Give them a prospect pad to take details of any potential sales opportunities, and reward them for every sale that they generate.

Sales people are perceived as doing their job and contacting people for their own benefit. Working people in non sales roles are viewed as being able to offer information that will benefit the buyer. If you’re a sales person how do your prospects perceive you? What can you do to be seen as someone that can benefit the buyer, and how will you get a queue of prospects wanting to talk to you.

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