looking behind the sales curtain

Peeking Behind the Sales Curtain


How many times have you heard that your copy should show and not tell?

Even though it’s something you keep hearing, it’s not always something that’s easy to achieve. In fact, you might be of the opinion that its utter nonsense and people will only buy if you tell them all about your product or service.

Yes, that stuff will be important to them, just not as important as the other stuff.

What are you really selling?

Shall I let you into a secret?

If you sell life insurance, you’re not actually selling insurance.

If you’re selling holidays, your customers aren’t buying holidays.

If you sell shoes, you’re not really selling shoes.

Have I gone crazy?

Not yet.

You see the actual physical product or service you specialise in isn’t what people are buying from you.

They are buying because they are looking for something else; something that’s much bigger than your product or service.

They are buying a feeling – an emotion.

What are they buying?

To find the right buttons to press to convince your customer to buy, it’s vital you identify what they want.

Let’s go back to the examples I gave earlier.

When you’re selling insurance, you’re selling peace of mind that your customer’s loved ones will receive a lump sum of money in the event of their death.

If you sell holidays, you’re offering them the opportunity to get off their hamster-wheel of a life and enjoy quality time to relax with their families.

Those shoes aren’t just offering protection for your customers’ feet. They are empowering your customers, making them feel sophisticated and attractive (in the case of heels).

In the case of B2B sales, you’re selling the most precious commodity – time.

Your labour saving device will enable the business owner to reinvest their time elsewhere in the business where they will be more productive. It will release staff from mundane jobs (that lead to high churn) and allow their talents and experience to be used in other roles that will lead to business development and expansion.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

Your product or service is just the ‘thing’, how it affects their life are the benefits that they want.

So when it comes to creating your content, it’s vital that you look beyond the thing you’re selling and think about how it will affect the lives of your customers.

What is it that they get out of it?


Sally Ormond is an international copywriter. Working across all industries, she creates on-brand content for on and offline marketing as well as internal communications.