How To Instantly Improve Your Copywriting


“At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in the New Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”
-David Ogilvy

This was David Ogilvy’s favorite piece of copywriting he ever wrote. Of the ad he said, “…I gave nothing but facts. No adjectives, no gracious living.”

David Ogilvy was a master storyteller. His stories usually took the shape of a headline with 17 words or less. Every word had a purpose and the fat was cut away revealing the lean selling machine of a successful ad.

Storytelling is an underrated technique in sales and marketing. But you can be very successful in your ad writing and sales presentations by learning to appeal to your prospect using storytelling.

Why is Storytelling So Appealing?

Storytelling is the oldest selling technique in the world. You may have heard of a little book called the Bible. What did Jesus, God and the disciples use to sell Christianity? Stories.

What has every culture used to communicate laws, warnings, lessons, entertainment and discipline? Stories.

What did you use to get your kid into bed and settled down tonight?


Stories go straight to the heart and make you feel all the feels.

Stories sell in email, too.  If your email doesn’t get opened, your stories don’t get read… and your sales don’t happen

Swipe these subject lines to get your emails opened, read, and selling for you! >>


Stories are powerful because they make you feel stuff: joy, excitement, inspiration, guilt, pain, empathy, pathos, love, hate, fear…every emotion.

When you pair an emotion with logical reasoning you have a sale. Whether you’re trying to sell your countrymen on a new policy, or sell your kid on trying a new kind of food, stories sell.

“Popeye ate spinach! Spinach makes you strong and gives you muscles! You want muscles right Kyle??”

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The Art of Storytelling in Sales

There are three templates I like to use. I use them to help my clients write testimonials. I use them to write my case studies. And I use them as templates when I sell from the stage or one-on-one.

They are all effective and have been successful for me in my business.

Before, After, After

One of the things that makes reviews and case studies so compelling and effective is that they tell a story. A good testimonial will tell a story about how the person found success with the product or service. Testimonials typically follow a formula: “before, after, after.”

Typically, case studies are used on sales pages or websites but you can also use case study and testimonial stories while you’re selling a product one-on-one. Using a testimonial or case study during a sales pitch is effective. It illustrates that the product has been around long enough for people to have experience with it.

  • What life was like before the product
  • What happened after I started using the product or service
  • How life has changed with use of the product over time

In 2005 I was in Singapore doing a seminar. During a short break someone approached me and handed me a JV proposal. He said, “Alex, you don’t know me, but I’d like to joint venture with you.”

I asked him, “Are you attending the seminar?” He said, “No, I can’t afford it.”

I didn’t do his joint venture proposal but I did consult with him and his team on his marketing strategies. I taught them a virtual marketing model that they implemented. Within 1 month they had doubled their profits.

His name was Vishen Lakhiani and his JV proposal was Mindvalley. Mindvalley is hugely successful now with over 3 million members.

Before I consulted with Vishen he couldn’t afford to attend one of my seminars. After consulting with him, he started having success with the model I taught him. After years of using the principles I taught them, Mindvalley is wildly successful.


Another storytelling formula you can use is P.A.R. which stands for Problem, Action, Result.

  • What was the problem you were having
  • What action did you take with the product or service
  • What result did you get with the product or service and how did it solve the problem

In 2006 this guy could barely afford my product Teleseminar Secrets. His friend told him, “Just do it. You get one idea from this course, that may be all you need.”

So he bought the course and started implementing the strategies from Teleseminar Secrets and lo and behold ClickFunnels was born.

That guy was Russell Brunson and he’s been very successful with ClickFunnels. He’s an ingenious marketing guy and I like to think I had a hand in helping him on his journey.

The problem Russell had was he could barely afford the course I was selling at the time.

He took action, bought the course anyway and started implementing some of the strategies laid out in the course.

Russell’s results from using Teleseminar Secrets speak for themselves. He’s one of the most successful online marketers in the world.

Both Russell and Vishen bought my product or service, implemented the tools I teach and got success. They then built on that success to become incredibly successful in their own right.

I love telling these stories in my own presentations. They’re inspiring and fun, aren’t they? I want to show you that storytelling is fun and can help you close a sale easily. The story does all the work for you.

When, Where, Who, What, How and Why

The third formula you can use is the When, Where, Who, What, How and end with Why. The ‘why’ in this case is a trial close letting your prospect know why it’s relevant to them. Answering why also obliterates objections.

  • When does the story take place
  • Where does it happen
  • Who is involved
  • What is the problem that needs to be overcome
  • How is the problem solved
  • Why is the product relevant to your prospect

In 2003 I was living in NYC with my very pregnant wife. Well, my son Gabriel ended up coming into the world three weeks early, the day before I was supposed to do my first telephone seminar for Teleseminar Secrets.

So the day after my wife delivered our baby boy, I crammed into the bathroom of her recovery room on the 5th floor of Mount Sinai hospital. I did my teleseminar sitting on the toilet. Everyone on the seminar heard the loud speaker when the nurse started announcing visiting hours were ending soon.

When I heard that I froze with embarrassment. I had to apologize and come clean to everyone on the call and let them know where I was calling from and why. I had to give them context for why I was presenting my teleseminar in a hospital bathroom sitting on a toilet.

So after the teleseminar, I took my wife and new baby home. When I started up my computer there was $13,000 worth of sales from that teleseminar. I figured that was because I came clean and told the truth. That day and that story taught me a lot about ethical influence and truth in marketing. The more transparent you are the more people trust you and your product.

In this story the relevancy comes from people relating to the experience of life colliding with work. Some things are unavoidable but you do what it takes to make it work.

It makes you wonder what was in that Teleseminar Secrets product, doesn’t it?

Curiosity is a powerful element of storytelling. Keep ‘em guessing and they’ll keep reading or asking questions.

If I was willing to do this teleseminar on a toilet in a hospital it must be worth it. And my honesty and transparency about my circumstances provided a basis of trust for the people listening. They could relate to me and now they trusted me.

Different formats work in different contexts. So the When, Where, Who formula is a more involved formula suited for one-on-one interactions. But it can also be used on stage during a live event or in an online situation like a webinar. Anywhere you have a rapt audience who is expecting to spend some time with you.

The Before, After, After and P.A.R. formulas tend to be shorter formats and can be used one-on-one or in live events but are also well-suited for written ads both online and offline.

But you can mix it up. You can shorten or draw out each of these formats to great effect. And when you get comfortable using storytelling is your presentations and sales you’ll also get creative in how you tell stories.

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5 Powerful Emotional Drivers

Whichever format you choose to tell a story make sure that you also include these emotional drivers to connect with your prospect or audience. Craft your story so that it is an emotionally powerful selling tool.

Win the Heart First

It’s not enough to tell a story. Make sure the story is emotionally charged. Telling you that my wife was pregnant and we had the baby 3 weeks early is emotionally charged. Babies are exciting and wonderful.

A baby born 3 weeks early is a little scary. There might be some birth complications. There’s an element of suspense. How did it turn out? Are mother and child ok?

These questions pique curiosity and are emotionally charged.

Of course it’s important to present the logical reasons for buying a product but if you want them to listen to those reasons, first get them interested with emotion.

Whatever story you choose to tell make sure there is a high level of emotion attached to it. And the way you make sure you will elicit high emotion is by telling a story with high stakes.

All the stories I told had high stakes. Vishen was so poor when he came to me he couldn’t afford to attend my seminar yet he had the guts to approach me. This was a Hail Mary for his business. What were his options at the time if I rejected him?

Russell Brunson’s story was similar. He couldn’t afford to buy Teleseminar Secrets but he found a way and bought it anyway and never looked back.

My own story takes place during one of the most pivotal moments of my life…becoming a father.

These stories all have pretty high stakes. The stakes don’t have to be that high but they do have to illustrate something we can all relate to in life:

…a singular moment when everything has the potential to change…

They are the “Aha moment,” the before-and-after, the “this changed my life.” It doesn’t have to be life and death, but it does have to be life.

Validate Failure

Everybody fails just like everybody poops. Failure is an intrinsic part of life. Without failure we wouldn’t have the appreciation for what we do accomplish. But failure stops people from continuing. They get scared, they stop.

That’s another reason why stories are so powerful. A good story always illustrates a failure before it exposes the triumph. We have to see our heroine fail before she succeeds. If we don’t see her fail we can’t relate to her.

It’s the same with your customer. Your customer is harboring his or her failures. Those failures might even turn into objections for not buying your product or service.

When you address her failures head-on she relaxes and remembers that everybody fails. She’s not alone. She can see herself in the heroine of your story.

So don’t be afraid to point out the failure. Don’t be afraid to bring it up and ask him or her about their own failures as they relate to their business or your product.

You can use a story to get in front of the objection.

Reduce Fear

If someone is afraid they contract, they close up. During a sale we want them to expand, to reach out, ask questions, etc. Storytelling is a great way to reduce fear because stories help the listener see themselves in the hero or heroine.

It’s the same concept with validating failure and winning the heart. If your story addresses their fears about their business, or your product they will be more likely to listen with an open mind.

If your story is relatable, your listener will want to know how your heroine overcame her fear so she’ll keep listening. Addressing a prospect’s fear head-on will build trust in you and your product.

Confirm Suspicion

Everybody has suspicion during a sale. Suspicion is inevitable. So address it. A suspicion is just like a fear. You need to get ahead of it and address it. When you do that your prospect begin to trust you.

Stone Their Enemies

Who’s their enemies? It could be a family member or a competitor. It could be technology or their lack of experience. Find out who their enemy is and then stone them.

What do I mean?

Deflating them; letting the air out of the tire. By uncloaking their enemy you’re cutting the enemy down to size. Then you give your prospect a boost of confidence by confronting the enemy together.

What if you have a customer who’s enemy is technology and you’re selling a product like ClickFunnels to make their sales funnels easier to set up?

That sounds daunting, doesn’t it?

A 29 year old Malaysian pharmacist attended one of my seminars. She was working on her startup out of her tiny apartment all alone. She borrowed money to take my course. Using the strategies I lay out in the course she found a $25,000 sponsor for her business.

She was not tech-savvy. In fact, she is tech-challenged. But she dove into the course, met her enemy head-on, got help with my support team and found an angel investor who helped bring her company online.

The Wrap Up

Stories obliterate enemies, challenges, fears and suspicions.

Stories also inspire someone to take a risk they’ve been too afraid till now to take.

Stories have the power to heal old wounds and reframe a failure.

Stories give you the courage to try again; to go for a long-held dream; to rise up and meet a challenge.

You can never underestimate the power of a story.

Using storytelling in your sales and marketing is fun, unique and exciting. Stories do the ‘sales’ work for you and they make selling not seem like selling. Can you see the benefits of using storytelling in your business?

I hope my own stories have given you courage to start implementing storytelling in your business. I hope my stories have given you some insight and inspiration. I love the art of telling stories. Do you? What’s your best story? Let us know below. I’ve shared some stories with you guys, now it’s your turn!

Storytelling is a great sales technique even in email marketing. Do you need some help with your email headlines? Click here to swipe these 52 great email subject lines to boost your email open rates.

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