When you clean your desk, sometimes you find gold

…  Which is why I’m sharing this ultra-simple 6-step selling formula with you today.

I’ll admit, I have a tendency to gather stuff around me.  While I have — at various times — been better or worse, my default seems to be to accumulate.

But today — thanks to the epic polar vortex of inhumane coldness — the kids are home from school again.

So I’ve used the day to handle a few more random tasks, including tidying my desk.

And among the randomness that had accumulated was this simple 6-step selling formula.

I wish I could tell you where I first found it, or who to credit for it.  I can’t.

But what I can tell you is that if you strip down a selling message to its most fundamental components, this is what it needs to contain.

And it doesn’t really matter if you’re selling in media, in text, in video or audio, or in person.

If your sales pitch doesn’t contain at least these six components, you’re likely leaving a bunch of money on the table.

But if you make sure you cover all these points, you will at least be covering the minimum required for someone to make a buying decision.

So without any further ado…

  1. Headline/Opener

Your first job in any sales pitch is to get the attention of your target audience.

In ads, this is done with a headline.  But if you’re in some other media, or selling one-to-one, you still need to think in terms of headlines.  You need to think about the most compelling thing you can say in the beginning to make the attention sale.  That is, to give them a reason to give you their attention, as opposed to moving on with their day (probably to do something they were already planning to do).

For this, think in terms of ABC…

A — Audience.  Make sure that your best prospects know within the first few words or seconds that this message is targeted at them, at their needs.

B — Benefits.  Be clear about the benefits those prospects will receive.  Not just from responding to your sales pitch, but even from engaging with it in the first place.  How does your pitch make their life better?  What value does the pitch itself contain?

C — Curiosity.  Don’t give away everything in the opener.  Your goal is to engage and keep attention for the rest of the pitch, so make sure you are stimulating their imagination and curiosity for what is to come.

  1. Core pitch or story

Essentially every transaction occurs to solve a problem.

It could be rather direct.  So if I have dirty carpets and I need my carpets cleaned, I’m buying a service or a product to solve that direct problem.

Or it could be very indirect and even abstract.  For example, my problem could be getting ahead at work, and I want to buy a nicer car because I think it will impress clients and colleagues.

Note on the second one: the reason it’s not direct is because the direct need for a car is transportation.  In which case a Kia will do.  But the indirect need of fulfilling an inner drive or perceived need to impress may lead you to buy something far more than you need for simple transportation.

So at this point in the pitch, you need to present and dramatize the movement from problem to solution.  From negative or insufficient current experience to the desired future.

Depending on a mix of factors, you may present this very directly, or very indirectly.  You may clearly state the problem and solution, or you may imply it through story and other elements.

Either way, you do this successfully when you honor the attention bought by your opener by quickly and clearly establishing that you understand your prospect’s core problem or unfulfilled desire, and making it clear that there is a solution.

  1. Promise of result

Here’s where you get more direct.  Here’s where you go beyond simply acknowledging that there is a solution, to saying that you have it and can offer it.

Essentially this is an if-then proposition.  If you have the problem I’ve been talking about, and want the solution I’ve presented, I can give it to you.

Even better here, dramatize the fulfillment of the result.

You can do this with future pacing — helping the prospect imagine a future scenario where they’ve indeed achieved the result you promise.

And you can also do it with case studies and testimonials — showing them other people like them who had the problem (or worse) and got the solution (and the results were better than they hoped for).

  1. Offer

Now you get down to brass tacks.

At this point you’re done with any indirectness, and you simply need to make an offer.

Pile on the value.  Make it clear that the result will be worth far more than you’re asking for.

And think beyond mere deliverables.  What about your offer makes the achievement of the result faster, easier, cheaper?  What about your offer increases the value beyond stuff?

Essentially, the product or service is a mere mechanism for the outcome they want to achieve.  Your offer is to give them the outcome, the result, in exchange for a small investment today.

  1. Risk-reversal

It’s not enough for them to feel like the value is there.

They’ve been burned too many times before.  They’ve been lured in by false promises, only to face utter disappointment.

Here, you must counter that.

You must — at the very least — remove all risk from the transaction.  Make it feel as if they risk absolutely nothing by taking you up on your offer — and have everything to gain.

Even better, find a way that they will get value above and beyond the refund, even if they decide it wasn’t right for them.

Is there something extra they get to keep, even if they cancel their order?  Do you offer a better-than-100% money-back guarantee?

This isn’t there for them to take advantage of — and most buyers won’t.

Rather, this reinforces your own confidence in your offer.

Ultimately most buying decisions are a transference of confidence.  They want what you’re offering, yes.  But the reason they actually buy is because they sense the confidence you have in being able to get them that result.  And because you’re confident, they can be confident.  So they take action.

The role of this section is to establish infectious confidence in your offer as the right path for qualified prospects.

  1. Call-to-action

Finally, you don’t get what you don’t ask for.

So ask them to take action.  Ask them to buy.  Ask them to place their order.

Even better, give explicit instructions for how to do so, and what they will experience when they do.

Assume they’re going to order — simply tell them how to do it, and what will happen as a result.

Be clear, confident, and direct here.

Know that if they’ve truly bought into your pitch, ordering is in their best interest, and is their best course of action.  So stand behind that idea, and tell them to do so.

How you can use this

So, there you have it.  A simple 6-step selling formula.

How should you use this?

At its core, it would form a simple outline for any copywriting, or putting together any selling message.

You could build webinar scripts, video sales letters, or even podcast interviews based on this.

You could also keep this as a list next to your phone, so whenever you speak with prospects you make sure that you cover each item in sufficient detail.

Or, you could use it to back-check any selling message you’ve put together, in editing.  If you write a sales page for a product and you check this list and realize you haven’t done any risk-reversal, maybe you need to do so.

Or if you’ve planned out a pretty good pitch but you realize you haven’t really gotten clear in your opener about your audience, benefit, and curiosity elements, maybe you can revisit.

Or, like many of these essays, just take this as a principle you should internalize.  Take a note, like I did, and put it somewhere you’ll rediscover in a few months.  And think about how you’ve been applying this in your persuasive messaging, and if it’s an opportunity to improve.

No matter what you’re doing, use it.  Because using it is what will lead to breakthroughs.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr