1 – The Bar Conversation

John Carlton’s
Simple Writing System Express Course
Lesson #1 – The Bar Conversation

[text_block style=”style_1.png” align=”left”]Welcome!

Here’s your first free lesson from The Simple Writing System Express Course…

… a little something we call “The Bar Conversation”.

Just to be clear…

Here’s how to participate in this unique interactive step of the SWS Express Course:

1. Watch the brief video.

2. Imagine how the first part of your “bar conversation” with your Perfect Prospect might go (where he describes his problem).

3. Write that description out, and post it in the comments section below.

That’s it.

John Carlton will be jumping in all day and responding to selected comments.

Don’t be shy.

You’ve got nothing to lose here… and you”ll gain a priceless lesson on understanding the mind of your prospect.

See you in the comments section.


Stan Dahl
John Carlton’s Business Partner & Your Host for The SWS Express Course[/text_block]

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John Carlton has completed providing personal feedback on new exercise posts.

We’re leaving this page and these comments available for just a few more hours. There’s a TON of valuable marketing knowledge here for you.  Please take advantage of this resource while it’s available.

Watch your inbox for an email from me telling you how you can be one of a very small group of people John Carlton will personally coach through the complete Simple Writing System starting next week.

— Stan Dahl

Click here for Lesson #2.

Click here for Lesson #3.




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Join The Conversation



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Click Here For Lesson #2 of The Simple Writing System Express Course.



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The testimonials and case studies on this page are, to the best of our ability to determine, all true and accurate. They were provided willingly, without any compensation offered in return. These testimonials and case studies do not represent typical or average results. Most customers do not contact us or offer to share their results, nor are they required or expected to. Therefore, we have no way to determine what typical or average results have been. Many people do not implement anything we teach them. We can’t make anyone follow our advice, and we obviously can’t promise that our advice, as interpreted and implemented by everyone, is going to achieve for everyone the kinds of results it’s helped the folks on this page achieve. The income statements and examples on this website are not intended to represent or guarantee that everyone will achieve the same results. Each individual’s success will be determined by his or her desire, dedication, marketing background, product, effort and motivation to work and follow recommendations. There is no guarantee you will duplicate the results stated here. You recognize any business endeavor has inherent risk for loss of capital.


  • “Man, Chris, I’m telling you, I want my business to work so, so, bad. I’ve bought inventory, I’ve got quality products and services, I’ve worked hard to master the technical skills of the business but it’s like no one’s interested in buying anything from me! And man, I’m telling you, sometimes I just have trouble sleeping at night not knowing whether I’m going to be able to pay my bills or not. You know, this business thing is killing me. I think I was sold a lie. People told me that when you set up a business you get to fix your own hours and be your own boss, but it’s no way as easy or fun as they think it is. My existing customers are just so fixated on price and can’t look past that, and they’re pushing my profits down so low it’s killing my business. Damnit! I need to bring in some customers that’ll actually pay me what I KNOW my business is worth.”

    • John Carlton says:

      Hey, Paul. Good job on the conversation part — you’ve actually nailed down two good “pressure points” that your prospects often bring to the table:

      (1) The fixation of target markets on price…

      … and (2) The notion that “bringing in more customers” is the only possible solution many biz owners see.

      In many cases, these really are valid complaints. And better marketing could counter this objection to price (by explaining how your offer is a total bargain, compared to all other solutions)…

      … as well as force-feed a higher number of prospects into the sales funnel.

      However, in some cases, these are NOT necessarily the right things to focus on. You, as a freelance copywriter offering your writing services, may realize through your research that (1) The price of the current offer really isn’t the “stopping point” in the marketing…

      … and (2) The actual problems in the biz or sales funnel right now would NOT instantly do better by bringing in more customers… because the current customers aren’t being taken care of properly.

      Nevertheless, this is a great start to putting the “language” of your best prospect into place. Right now, for this first step of the process, it’s important to explore how your prospect THINKS about his situation, using words he would use.

      The NEXT step of the process — which will be explained in Lesson Two, coming up tomorrow — will use this insight to start crafting your best possible way to bring your prospect into the conversation you want to have.

      Thanks for participating.

      This will all start becoming crystal clear as the lessons continue…


  • hi,
    i’m not very sure of what my prospect really need, i have 2 different ideas.

    first : “hi, i’m so desperate, my dog is still lame and i don’t know what to do. the meds my vet give him don’t work, i can’t stand seeing him suffer.”

    second : “i feel my life is so empty. luckily i have my dog, my best friend, to be with me. but what can i do with him that be fun and that i can tell to my friends?”

    p;s i’m an animal osteopathe and the problem for me is i don’t sell to the animals but to the owner of the animal.

    thanks for what you doing.

    • John Carlton says:

      Okay, here’s some mentoring for you: Pick one of these ideas, based on what you honestly feel your best possible prospect would actually say in this situation.

      And then spend some serious time getting into her head, her way of thinking about this, and how she might actually speak about it. It’s VERY important for you, if you’re going to break through to the core of persuasive marketing to targeted audiences.

      Try again, Robin. You’re not far off the mark — and following through on all the lessons this week will blow your mind… and help you master this fundamental skill of framing and closing sales. To humans, not to dogs, of course.

    • Dog owner chiming in.

      The first is much more likely if I’m feeling upset at a bar. Also, if you are offering training, I’m more likely to come to you with an issue and it may be that teaching my dog tricks and having fun is part of the solution but I don’t think it would be why I seek you out in the first place UNLESS I see my friends doing amazing things with their dogs.

  • Okay, here’s my “perfect prospect’s” part of this conversation: “I feel horrible. I jsut got beat, bad, at tennis again by my friend. It’s so frustrating, cuz he’s not all that much better than me, but I can’t beat him at the game.”

    We’re trying to sell our book of tennis short cuts. I’m not famous in the tennis world, but I’ve taught a lot of students (mostly adults who never learned the game properly) how to get better every time they play.

    • John Carlton says:

      Hey, Charley. Good job on this first step.

      You’ve even got some of the language in here that a real person would use — like “frustrating” and “feel horrible”. I believe a person who kept playing against someone who kept spanking them at the game would say something like this.

      In fact, I’ve been in this position myself. Took me 3 years to finally take a set from an old pal I played against several times a month. Oh, the joy of watching him grit his teeth in frustration as that last point sailed past him. I’m smiling now, remembering.

      Understanding the emotional side of your prospect’s situation is critical. I’ve actually had clients in my career with products aimed at the tennis market…

      … and their idea of a perfect prospect was “someone interested in buying lessons”. Even worse, they often assumed their prospect was GOOD at the game.

      This is not a good way to create high-level marketing.

      When you’re offering advice and lessons, your best prospects will NOT already be good at what they do, most of the time. The frustration of losing, or not attaining goals, or constantly encountering problems will be THE main thing driving their search for solutions.

      So, good job. I would add, as you envision this barroom scenario, the age, gender, and physical condition of your perfect prospect. Examine your target market, or your current list of customers, to understand whether you’re going after young women in peak athletic condition, for example (doubtful)…

      … or older dudes with back trouble, a spare tire, and maybe a touch of arthritis (more likely).

      Targeting the right prospect has been the central key in ALL of my most successful ads.
      Keep thinking about this, and you’ll be primed for Lesson #2 (coming up soon)…

    • Christopher says:

      Heh! I was at that place in real life. It’s not only frustrating to loose, that part is solvable with a few drinks. What is really infuriating is the teasing and mockery!! I hated the jokes more than the loosing itself. Hope this helps!

  • What’s wrong? I don’t even know if something is wrong or I am just plain wrong. I’ve started this business after leaving the corporate world, where I felt like a prisoner and the “nobody” in the room to start my own business, to help people, to change lives and I am about to pull my hair out yet again. I am sick and tired of buying programs and opting into a gazillion “shiny-will-solve-your-problem-yesterday” books and videos and all I do is become more and more frustrated. What the hell am I supposed to do now? I know I have to create content and BE MYSELF, I don’t even know myself anymore and it seems everyone’s got it but me. This content drives me bananas because I feel always I sound like an idiot, who will listen to me and who am I to go and proclaim I know the answers??? I am starting to feel like I want to throw my kids out the balcony and my husband is annoying the living lights out of me. All this marketing BS is getting on my nerves so I am doubting if it’s even worth continuing or do I just suck it up and go back to the grind, where I have to smile at some sleazy ass all day long, still not see my children and raise them in the oh-so-screwed up system of playing by the rules world? I feel more in a prison than before and starting to wonder if this is all one big fluff of – BE YOUR OWN boss BS and nonsense. I mean, who the hell succeeds online if they don’t become just simple moral-lacking individuals or I don’t even know what. …..

    • John Carlton says:

      Okay, this is a decent start, Ellie.

      But you’ve missed the mark on crafting a real conversation. You’re just ranting here. Which is totally understandable (I assume you’re channeling your own frustration with the lack of clarity on finding good resources for rookie entrepreneurial activities).

      You don’t mention what your product or service is, but I’ll guess that it’s something to help entrepreneurs juggle the demands of the job (perhaps creating content for sites). So it makes sense that your perfect prospect would rail against the lack of clarity out there (cuz it’s true).

      However, this person seems out of control. Would you really consider them your perfect prospect, if you were sitting next to them at a bar?

      Consider walking them back from the edge a bit, where they’re not in complete melt-down mode. I don’t see this person being open to yet another resource on marketing, if they’re so hostile to the entire notion that anything can help.

      Good first attempt, however.

      • Ellie

        You are not alone.I just returned to the pond of poo recently as after 5 years and zero results I needed an income,but I know there’s an answer and I believe I can learn what it is.

  • Hi John –

    My Perfect Prospect’s part of the conversation:

    “Dude, I got pulled over last week! Total B.S.! The cop had me get out of the car and do the drunk driving tests. For what?!?! Then he said my wife’s pain pills in the dash console were illegal…dude, this was straight out of a movie and I got arrested. Total SCREW-JOB! I have no clue what to do!…if my boss or coworkers find out this is not good…NOT GOOD AT ALL. I think I should call an attorney, but jeez, who do I call? They all “fight aggressively”, and “we care about you.” What the hell does that mean? Will they know how to keep my license and not let me go to jail?? What about my insurance? How do I get to work? I heard I will lose my driver’s license for a year…A YEAR?!?! WTF!

    P.S. – I’m a criminal defense attorney: DUI’s & drug possession.

    • John Carlton says:

      Excellent, Chris. You’ve got an ear for your market’s language (though, in truth, I suppose the actual conversation would include a few more 4-letter words).

      I’d add just one more element here, to round out this prospect’s “perfect” response — “I don’t know what to do next.”

      Yes, it’s implied in the general frustration and WTF realizations. But when doing this exercise, always go for the “perfect language” you’d hear in a perfect situation.

      Good job. Be sure to come back tomorrow for the next lesson, where you’ll craft your very critical response.

  • Hello! I write custom wedding poems. Ideal prospect is kind of split into two camps: the couples themselves and friends/family that commission these poems as gifts.
    1) “Everything about my wedding seems so generic, like it could be anyone’s wedding. It has nothing to do with US and our story. Even the readings — they’re the same ones everyone uses. I wish there was a way to tell our story in a way that we could share with everyone in a beautiful way…”
    2) “My niece means everything to me, and I’m so glad she found someone special to spend her life with. I want to help them commemorate their wedding day, but even the expensive items on their registry are so impersonal. In two years or ten or fifty, will they look at their fancy blender or crystal bowl and remember their most meaningful day? I guess I could just give them cash, but that’s mooring. There’s got to be something truly unique out there, something that would only grow more special as the years went on…”

    • John Carlton says:

      Good stuff, Marty. I can hear these as actual language someone would use.

      Tomorrow, we’ll get into how you respond to this situation, to begin the actual sales-message part of the conversation.

  • Yasar Shahzad says:

    Hi John,

    Thank you for such a valuable lesson. Here is what my prospect would say in such situation.

    “I am frustrated and overwhelmed as an entrepreneur I have lot in my plate to do, I have to give time to my family, kids, I need to come up with new blog post ideas, I need to constantly update my social media profiles and I need to stay updated with latest trends and watch the market carefully. I have to run ppc campaigns for lead generation and nurture those leads with email marketing campaigns. On top of all this I need to be fast and come up new product ideas to sell in the market”

    Solution social media automation with content curation.

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Yasar.

      This would be quite the bar, where the bartender understood the complexities of entrepreneurial life.

      But you’ve got the general idea right.

      I’d suggest you work on the actual way your perfect prospect would voice his complaints in public. You’re being too specific here. Imagine this as a real situation — in a bar, where a guy complains about his problem.

      What’s really bugging him? Here, you’ve outlined what many entrepreneurs actually have on their plate during a typical week — it hardly sounds overwhelming, because it’s just doing the job of collecting leads, working them toward the sale, and managing product creation.

      What’s the PROBLEM this guy has? What’s actually tearing him apart to the point he’s become your PERFECT PROSPECT?

  • “I’ve built up my gym on word of mouth and just from being in a convenient location, but now I just can’t get ahead. I’ve reached a plateau and now I feel like anything I try is just setting me back. For every member I bring in, another one leaves! I want to open up more locations and make improvements, but I just can’t seem to attract the right people. Once I get them in the door, I can sell them, but what’s going to make them walk in the door? I’ve tried things like Groupon before, but it brought in so many assholes, that I ended up LOSING money. Maybe this is as far as I’ll ever get”

    Thanks, John!

    • John Carlton says:

      Nice, Ben.

      Excellent example of doing this right — this guy is your perfect prospect.

      Be sure to catch tomorrow’s lesson, where we go to the next step.

  • Prospect: “I spent $10,000 on newspaper ads for my fitness club last year and I don’t know if I made a dime off them.”

    Me: [I look at the copy. Make suggestions for improvement along with some marketing strategy and alternative media channels to test.]

    Prospect: “But I let the newspaper lady write the copy. She’s been writing my ads for years. It looked OK to me. Why would your copy work better?”

    Me: [I talk about focusing on the prospect, not the the business; testing ads appealing to fitness club-minded people in one ad and running another for weight loss; etc.]

    “You’re still pretty high-priced. Let me think about it.”

    [Crickets …]

    • John Carlton says:

      Getting ahead of yourself here, Michael. You aren’t IN the conversation yet for this lesson. (Why would a stranger just give you copy to look at?)

      These 3 lessons you’re about to master are simple for a reason. I walk folks through each step to make sure you get them right, separately.

      Still, your first part of this is right on target. You’ve outlined the fundamental problem of your perfect prospect very succinctly.

  • “I don’t want to go home and hear Frank tell me how I should just retire already. Between him and the kids, I’m getting all this pressure but I love my team and the money. But Frank reminds me how we’ve been saving up all these years and he’s just waiting for me to join him. I think it will be great but…”

    I’m starting a new business of coaching women who are worried about the transition to retirement and would love to have some help with getting clear on what their future could look like.

    • John Carlton says:

      Great start, Pam. You’ve got a couple of good points in here.

      Can you go just a bit beyond the “it’d be great, but…” idea? How might your perfect prospect phrase this complaint? As in, starkly saying “I’m worried about the money, worried about making a mistake by selling my biz, worried about how Frank and I will even get along when I’m no longer doing what I love…”

      • How about this:

        “I think it will be great but I will miss working with my team. I hate leaving them in the lurch. Plus I won’t have those extra bucks to jump on those travel deals. Not sure I can take being with Frank 24/7. Wait, don’t tell him I said that, he would be so hurt.”

  • “I’m working my nuts off Joe but nothing seems to work!

    I’ve been hitting the gym hard but just can’t seem to shift these few extra pounds…

    I’ve spent hours and hours on the treadmill…

    I’ve been swimming twice this week…

    I’ve been eating healthier than I have for years…

    And still I’m stuck with a body I hate and a fitness level that my 2 boys laugh at.

    Honestly, I’m frustrated and embarrassed, and the gym doesn’t seem to care much whether I get results or not.

    I must have tried a dozen diets too but after a few weeks or so I end up right back where I was.

    I used to be in such great shape and it was almost effortless but as I’ve gotten older it seems to have gotten a whole lot tougher and I wonder whether there’s anything at all out there that can actually work for me now.

    If there is I sure wish I could find it!”

    • John Carlton says:

      Yep. Pretty close — IF your target market is middle aged guys trying to get into peak shape again.

      However, if that’s not your specific target market… say, if your product or service actually covers younger or older prospects… then you’ve boxed yourself into a corner here.

      Consider WHO you’re after. That’s the main point of this lesson — who IS your Perfect Prospect?

      Good job, though.

  • Where do I start Chris! it’s totally frustrating…

    These baby tech muscle builders gave me a website to kick start my biz and heck that darn thingy doesn’t even show up in google! man. from where will my prospects find me, man! it ain’t rosy man…
    I made a mistake of hiring an idiot to build my website…it’s killing me, man! he was cheap though…

    What I don’t understand is, this idiot is not able to fix a damn thing to get some shit load of emails that I bought from an agency to my web, man and he calls himself a geek! geek my foot!

    you know, I paid a truckload of money to buy these lists and time is running out, man.
    I am running out of cash and my girlfriend will kill me man if she smells fishy… I maxed out all my cards for getting this up and running and now, this douchebag wants me to pour in cash for getting that… eh! I don’t get that name, what do they call that shit on facebook, yeah, facebook marketing or social media marketing…I wonder is anyone making their moolah marketing on facebook…

    it’s not money Chris, it’s the time and trust. I am drowning in debt from all corners and I am cursing myself why did I ever dreamt of getting into this business…


    • John Carlton says:

      Not bad, Chetan. You made me laugh out loud with the “Argh!!” even.

      You can trim this down a lot, if what you offer is just tech support for websites and social media marketing.

      But it’s fun fleshing out how your Perfect Prospect would actually speak, isn’t it.

      You’ve got all the main points in here — he’s shelling out cash and not getting results. And doubting his own dreams.

      Good job.

      The next lesson, tomorrow, will take this all to the next step.

  • A quick note that I’m UK-based and this is for a business selling dash-cams to a UK audience:

    “Hi mate, pour me a double scotch, I’ve had a truly awful day. Started this morning when I was late leaving the house. Jumped in the car, approaching the end of my street and BAM! I went into the side of some idiot that had pulled out of his drive without looking.

    I reckon the car’s a write-off. So, now I’m stuck getting a bus until my insurance company sorts out a courtesy car. That could take a few days. And what’s worse is that the numpty who caused the crash is blaming me! He says that I was driving too fast and not paying attention. I know for a fact that I was doing under the speed limit, I was watching the road and I had my glasses on! The cheek of it. My insurance premiums are high enough without this.

    If only I had some way to prove it, but it’s just my word against his, there was nobody else around at that time of the morning. To be honest, it makes me want to give up driving, too many morons on the road.”

    • John Carlton says:

      Good job, Dan.

      You’re ready for Lesson 2, tomorrow…

  • Dennis McMahon says:

    I believe my perfect prospect would say

    “The stress is killing me – I’ve got dozens of road bridges I’m meant to maintain, and I don’t have enough information about what may be going wrong with them to be able to prioritise and schedule my maintenance guys.

    I need a crystal ball or a fairy godmother to tell me where problems are BEFORE something happens!!”

    • John Carlton says:

      I have no idea what you offer here, Dennis… unless it’s maybe software or some kind of model that helps monitor problems with structures.

      If what you offer can be shown to BE something like a predictor of problems, then you’re fine here.

      Reconsider, though, how your Perfect Prospect would speak. Really get into his head and try to “hear” him.

  • Hey John … pour me double … my daughter is really struggling in school … shes smart … does really well in all her other subjects, but just can’t get math … she’s not lazy … she really works hard … we’ve talked to her teachers … taken her to all kinds of tutoring … still no change … her confidence is shot … I’m really worried about her and her future. I can’t help but wonder how shes go to college if she can’t pass math.

    • John Carlton says:

      Not bad, Jim.

      As a certifiable right-brained dude myself, I had occasional trouble with math myself. I aced Trig (cuz that third dimension was easy to visualize in my mind), but nearly failed regular algebra the year prior…

      Anyway, I can see a Perfect Prospect laying out his fears like this.

      Good job.

  • Hey Joe, I’ve been sending messages to women all day on OkCupid, and most of them just aren’t replying.

    I’ve changed my photos and profile description so many times, but it feels like nothing is working.

    When I do get a reply, the messages just fizzle out so quickly. It’s as if they just don’t wanna talk to me at all.

    I don’t think I am ugly or hideous, but online dating is starting to piss me off. It makes me feel like I am the most unattractive person on Earth, and God… are women picky!

    • John Carlton says:


      I’ve worked with a lot of the guys who invented this entire market. Finding out how their Perfect Prospect actually speaks was essential to the ones who survived the competition feeding frenzy.

      IF your product is JUST about fixing OkCupid posts, then this is okay. If, however, you have an alternative product, then you’ve got to flesh out your Perfect Prospect more.

      And consider how he would ACTUALLY SPEAK in this situation. Would he even bare his soul to a bartender, in public? Or would he couch his fears in more measured language?

      Consider this. In a crowded market like this, getting this step right is essential, Jiron.

      • Hey John,

        thanks for the reply. My product is online dating advice for men, to help them pack their calendar with dates just from online dating. I used “OkCupid”, because it would be more specific than just an “online dating site or app”. I am not sure what you mean by “OkCupid posts”?

        You are right though. This is probably not how he will speak to a stranger. It’s what he thinks in his head though. This is where I am confused. I imagine speaking out his thoughts in my copy will help me? Or do I have to actually speak to my PP in the way he talks to others about his problems?

        • John Carlton says:

          Lesson Two is tomorrow. All will become clear…

  • “I might need a double Bill, it’s been crazy this week. I can’t figure out how the hell to sell my clothing line to all these people on my email list. Is it really that hard?

    And you know Junior just started soccer – I can’t find the time to write emails. Even if I did get some peace and quiet, you think I wanna spend it writing?! I’m no guru – those bastards make it look easy. Who really writes newsletter stuff all day?

    I got over a thousand people in my auto-responder thingy and not of them is buying anything! You think it’s my prices? I’m totally lost.

    It’s like, how they gonna buy if they don’t even open the email?! You know what? They might not even like my stuff – just wanted to poke around and see if they can get discounts. You know how much it costs me to make these shirts?! I’m not Groupon!

    Ya know what Bill? Let me get a long-island too.”

    I’m offering email campaign sequences but not sure which niche I enjoy most or that is the most profitable. I’m fascinated by copy-writing and consistently study it. I just want to write campaigns and get big ROI for my clients.

    I’ve been targeting retail ecommerce lately because they seem to be neglecting their back-end. (Just used clothing above because it was the first thing that popped in my head regarding retail.)

    I appreciate any feedback and direction. Thanks for making this mini-course available.


    • John Carlton says:

      Okay, good thinking on this, Malachi. Though, this dude is gonna get really hammered if he drinks all night like this.

      You DO need to decide who you’re after, before this lesson will help. Going through the lesson, however, can help you figure this out.

      The kid starting soccer isn’t part of this — your Perfect Prospect already has enough of a problem with finding time to write. That’s your main “in” here — your PP is lost, needs to figure this email writing thing out, and you have the goods.

      Consider other ways he might voice this frustration, more specifically. Make him your actual Perfect Prospect, the guy whose problem is so dialed into what you offer, he’s PERFECT.

      Tomorrow, this will all make sense as we glide into Lesson Two…

  • Hi John and fellow CopyWriters!
    Thanks for this awesome opportunity!

    the miserable marketing exec walks into the barroom, “I just spent 6 months rolling out “The Best Marketing Campaign of The Century” for my company. I got squat to show for it. My job’s on the line. I don’t know how to regain credibility from my boss. I feel like Ron Johnson.”


    “Man, I just came from the worst meeting of my life. My boss will eat my head, after he sees the report that will hit his desk in the morning. Might as well drink my ass off tonight.”

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Bernadette. But it’s just me in here, doing all the coaching. The other writers are sitting this session out.

      Not knowing what your service or product is makes it tough to see who you’re after here. And I don’t know who Ron Johnson is.

      Reconsider how your PERFECT PROSPECT would voice his concerns in this situation. That’s the key to this lesson.

      • too vague. sorry. I assumed too much knowledge on the path of the prospect. Here we go…

        “Man, I just came from the worst marketing meeting of my life. 2nd quarter reports came in and sales are down. AGAIN! That blasted ad agency told me they could fix everything. The posts looked great! Everyone in the office loved them! The monthly reports said site visits were up…
        Am I missing something here? Gone are the good ole days of cold calling.
        At least I could see the staff at work. This digital marketing thing is confusing, hard to track, It’s kinda out my league.
        I need to get some clarity on how this thing works before I make stupid marketing miss matches like Ron Johnson did with JC Penny and crash a business instead of fixing it.

        I am a digital marketing consultant and I want my perfect prospect to be marketing execs or business owners

        • Hey Bernadette, to help out Mr C, I thought it might be helpful for you to know it’s not just your scenario that’s too vague, it’s also your market. Tighten up “marketing execs or business owners”. You don’t want to sell to everyone. That’s just too hard. I’ve been trying to do that for nearly 40 years and I haven’t succeeded yet.

          • I see. I have 3 avatars here. the business owner, the marketing exec, and the CEO. Hmmm

            “Man Harry, gimme a straight. I need to fix this confufullness in my head. Major marketing meeting tomorrow and I gotta come up with a solution to increase sales. I’m excited and confused all at the same time. Know what I mean?

            I’ve been reading article after article about… ever heard of Marketing Automation?
            Something about stalking visitors who come to your site. Then something about rating or a points system for your visitors. They can even ID Social fans. Imagine a system can tell you who visits or reacts to your online posts?
            That’s scary and exciting all at the same time.
            Then they say you could leave cookies on their computer so your ads can follow them around…
            It just sounds too good to be possible. Then again. I just need to figure out how this would solve the disconnect I have at the office between my online marketing campaigns and the number of sales calls I get every month.
            If I could see the big picture here…then i could know what I need to do to change my sales projections for the better.
            I can’t imagine sales staff actually thanking the marketing team for the leads they send over every week. Ha! Another one Harry!

  • Hi everyone! Great video, thanks for this amazing opportunity!
    I’m starting my Coaching Business, focusing mostly on helping people live their dreams and don’t give up. I live in Argentina by the way, so most people chose stability over passion due to the economic crisis… (we are kind of ALWAYS in a crisis scenario)

    “I’m so fed up with my job. I’m sick and tired of coming home late, seeing the kids only for a few minutes a day and getting home soooo exhausted. I’m sacrificing so much and all I’m getting in return is low pay, more work… and they might not even promote me after all of this. You know, I don’t even want that promotion. It would mean longer hours even, spent on something that I don’t even care about. I want to do something that matters to me, that will make my children proud, and I want to do it while I enjoy life and spend time with my family… But in this economy there’s no way anyone can do that”

    I think this is what my prospects would say… actually it’s what I said when I changed careers, but my doubt is if anyone else is actually saying it or if it was just me and all this dialog is what I would like them to say but not what they are actually saying…

    Thanks for reading and for any comments 🙂

    • John Carlton says:

      Good insight, Marina — when YOU’VE had the same problem as your Perfect Prospect, you can more easily tap into your own conversations about the problem.

      Good job.

  • So, my perfect prospect is a hiring manager for the marketing department of my current employer.

    “Gah! I need someone who can write copy, who understands banking, and who does NOT miss deadlines! And someone who has their life together and knows what they want. I’m tired of flaky people test-driving this as a career option, I want someone I can hire and develop, who is going to stay and make a difference and take on more responsibility over time. And someone who can actually collaborate with other people and take in new ideas and perspectives. I need a writer. I need a contributing team member. And I need them now. I’m done trying to find a needle in a haystack.”

    • John Carlton says:

      Ha! It’s fine…

    • John Carlton says:

      Good start, Sara.

      It doesn’t “read” as an actual conversation, though. Is this how your Perfect Prospect would really talk? It’s a little too specific on the language. Remember, you’re in a bar.

      It’s important to get this right. How would he/she actually voice this out?

      You’ve got the general idea down, though. You’re more or less ready for Lesson Two, tomorrow…

  • Hi John, this coming from somebody who peddles luxury outdoor furniture in a brick-and-mortar setup.

    My ideal prospect’s conversation will sound something like this:

    “I’ve dressed up my backyard with a new pool, manicured lawn and a big-ass deck, just in time for the holiday season. Problem is – I don’t know what to fill the damn place up with. I mean the whole clan’s coming over for Christmas lunch. This time, last year round, we had the same meal at my brother in-law’s – dining on his new $15,000 setting. The whole family, especially our folks was gushing on how beautiful the table is and that he must’ve done well for himself. I must admit though it’s a helluva setting. But I’m dying to buy myself an even shinier set of furnishing to announce that I too, have made it.”

    Now I think that was starting to sound a little like a conversation to him/herself rather than a “bar conversation”.

    Did I get it right or have I just confused myself?

    Thanks in advance John.

    • John Carlton says:

      You’re on the right track, Albert.

      But yes, this is more like the internal conversation.

      You can pivot to how this might actually play out in a bar. You took one shot at it, and it came out stilted and not “real sounding”. That’s normal.

      Now, keep imaging how that ACTUAL conversation might play out. Work at it. It could be simpler, even, as in “Where the hell do I find decent patio furniture that impresses guests? I don’t wanna sound like a snob, but I ain’t gonna use Target’s crap…”

      • Thanks for the pointers, John. Looking forward to the next lesson.

  • “Damn world is going to hell in a hand-basket. Between the government going broke, big corporations selling us GMO garbage food, and crazy terrorists around the world who knows what will happen next.

    Just a matter of time before there’s another terrorist attack like 9/11.

    Plus, the way the government spends money were going to go broke and end up in another depression.

    When the TSHTF how will I feed my family? I’m no farmer and don’t hunt either. So how do I keep food on the table?”

    – Trying to write copy for affiliate sales in the prepper / survivalist niche.

    • John Carlton says:

      Ah, the preppers.

      Been writing to them for years.

      I figured out TSHTF immediately. It’s language they actually use.

      But you’re too general here. Remember — you’re describing your PERFECT PROSPECT.

      What would HE say? I think your PP is a bit further along than just ruminating about the apocalypse — he’s already into sampling stuff, looking into options, maybe has already bought land somewhere and hidden weapons and cans of food… but isn’t at ALL confident he’s truly prepared.

      Reconsider the actual conversation.

      Good first effort, though.

      • Thanks for the feedback John, good points.

        Thinking about it my Perfect Prospect would be someone who, like you said, knows the importance of prepping and has started the process but still needs more items. Someone who knows just enough to be dangerous but doesn’t necessarily have all the answers yet.

        Since most preppers are cautious I would take more of a “Columbo” approach to a conversation with them. Something more like this:

        PP: You know there’s trouble coming don’t you?

        me: what do you mean?

        PP: Between the way our own government treats us and foreign terrorists it’s only a matter of time before something bad happens here. Could be civil unrest, maybe a bomb who knows, but it’s coming.

        me: damn that’s no good, but what do you do?

        PP: You’ve got to get smart and start planning. Don’t want to get caught with your pants down when TSHTF. You need a place to go and supplies when you get there.

        me: sounds smart, but what do need?

        PP: Food, water & ammo for sure. Plus a few clothes and some basic toiletries.

        me: sounds good to me, how much do you need?

        PP: You need at least enough to last a month or two, maybe longer depending on what happens.

        me: wow sounds like a lot of work, you’ve got all that stored up already?

        PP: Some of it, but it’s a pain in the ass trying to buy what I need without the wife bitching that I’m spending too much money on prepping.

        me: ahh got it. what would you say if told you I could help you prep on the cheap?

  • “I don’t know what to do. My wilderness retreat offers awesome ways to reduce stress, help kids grow into smarter adults, and help people work together better… but I can’t seem to reach enough people to get my numbers up. I get the same small amount of these crunchy types every year. I need to figure out how to make the benefits of nature appealing to rich business people and successful entrepreneurs.”

    • John Carlton says:

      Okay, not bad. I can guess what you’re offering that makes this a Perfect Prospect.

      Let’s see how this plays out as you move to Lesson Two, tomorrow…

      • Thanks for your feedback, Mr. Carlton! I appreciate it.

  • “My mom died last year and she didn’t have any savings or life insurance, so I was stuck paying for the entire funeral… and those things are insanely expensive! The funeral home wouldn’t bury her until I came up with all the money because apparently you need to pay up front these days, unlike in the past where you could make a payment arrangement with them. I didn’t have the money so I had to pull out a quick cash loan for $8,000 to pay for the funeral, which put me in a really tough position for a long time. I could hardly pay my bills because the payment on that thing was so high. I just paid the loan off, FINALLY, but I’ve been thinking about what my kids will have to do when I die. I don’t want them to have to go through what I did financially. I looked into life insurance but there are so many choices and options, it’s just so confusing. I’m getting different information from different people and I just don’t know what to do.”

    I’m in sales for a life insurance company. The company offers term life, whole life, accidental, and more. I’ve only been in this position for a month or so, and I don’t really understand who my perfect prospect is yet. I’ve taken a guess above but would really appreciate any insight. Thank you!

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Matt. Very tough market — your prospect gets hammered on by multiple competitors as soon as he reaches adulthood, and you’ve got to stand out.

      This exercise will help you flesh out your Perfect Prospect — keep doing it, keep trying to get this conversation right. You’re close, here.

      Actually talking to more prospects will help — you’re still a rookie. But thinking about the language people use, how they frame their problems, and how they struggle to figure it out is important.

      You’re hitting the right buttons, at least. The damage done when planning wasn’t there, the fear for his kids, the confusing options. Just flesh it out a little, as you move forward in this gig.

      Lesson two, tomorrow, will really make your day, though…

      • Thank you, John. I really appreciate your input!

  • “I tell you I am starting to think I should have never started this new business.

    There was so much detail to handle when I started with little help, pouring my heart, soul and money into this therapy telehealth startup business.

    After spending months to get the help, work out the bugs in the app, I thought yeah we are finally gong to do this. I was even able to sign on an investor.

    But no, now I find it really hard to get patients to sign up with us and give it a try, much less keep coming back. I realize this is a new idea, but the telehealth doctors seem to be doing well.

    My website doesn’t seem to be helping. Since early on I couldn’t find anyone to volunteer to write content for it, I did it myself. It looks good to me.

    I don’t know what I am doing wrong. I tell you I am ready to through in the towel! If I can’t start turning this around, I may have to file bankruptcy.”

    • John Carlton says:

      Reconsider how your Perfect Prospect would actually speak to a bartender in this situation. You sound like pamphlet copy here.

      But you’re close. If other Tdocs “seem to be doing well”, that frames this guy’s problem differently.

      Think this through. It’s a great exercise to see into the head of your PP. You’re basic idea of “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong” is okay, but how does that appear in actual language, in a reality-based setting?