Avoid the scams, find out which Business Opportunities actually work
10th July 2009
Filed under: Direct Mail,Internet Marketing,Seminars — Ben @ 8:23 am

I still remember the first time I was really sucked in by a sales letter.

It was in 2003 when I got a mailing I’d requested from Vince Stanzione for his spread betting course.

I received a large envelope full of sales material and read it over and over again. After a week or so I sent off the money (£297) for the course and looked forward to receiving my new product.

The sales letter had certainly done its job. It had sold me superbly and coaxed me into spending more than I ever imagined I would on a home study course.

That whole experience led me into the business opportunity world and resulted in the creation of this blog and my main review site, BizOppsUK.com.

In the 6 years since I read that first mailing piece, I have read hundreds of sales letters.

Most have been mediocre, some terrible and a select few have been excellent. However, in many of these sales letters there has been one common theme – the copywriter exaggerating the truth somewhat.

Plenty of sales letters contain a story to hook the reader in and I guess you could say that some copywriters, as my friend Sam would say, “don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story“.

I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago after viewing a website for a Clickbank product, a successful one, which had been created by somebody who I often see at seminars. He’s a great bloke and we tend to catch up over a few beers each time we bump into each other.

This sales letter was telling the story about how my seminar friend had become a successful internet marketer.

Apparently, after listening attentively at a seminar a couple of years ago, he found a secret group having a mastermind session and gatecrashed their little gathering. After that meeting he had all the knowledge he needed to get started on his way to becoming a marketing superstar.

A great story, no doubt, but slightly different to the version of events that I recall.

My recollection of that seminar was that this particular fella was usually found sat on the back row with myself and several other semi-successful marketers, watching (and picking holes in) the various presentations and pitches (taking the mickey, basically).

When we weren’t in the seminar room for the scheduled presentations, we were at the bar.

The only “mastermind” session that I remember from that particular seminar was the downing of shots at the bar and the drunken arguments in the smoking area.

Perhaps the most successful marketer who was there (one who you would imagine would be in a mastermind group) was more interested in drinking than masterminding and we usually found him slumped over the bar come breakfast time. I don’t think he surfaced from his room unless there were other marketers at the bar.

Don’t get me wrong, the Clickbank vendor telling the story is successful and well worth listening to, but the events were slightly different to the professional sheen he put on the story in the sales letter.

The other story that didn’t quite ring true got me into a bit of trouble with one successful UK marketer.

This particular fella had written a story about a chance meeting with a millionaire who then basically taught him everything he knew.

Unfortunately in my review of this marketer I told a different version of events – one I had gleaned from a talk the marketer gave at one of his seminars.

At the seminar he said that he had been chasing the dream for years, attending lots of different events and paying for all kinds of mentoring packages when one day it just ‘clicked’. In the sales letter he told this completely different story that clashed with the truth, as I understood it.

Obviously this caused problems. Customers would see his sales letter, decide to do some research and come across my site. On my site I told a different story (don’t forget, the one he told in front of a camera i.e. a primary source) and so these customers became confused and confronted him.

The first I knew of it was when I received an email basically saying “what the &%#@! Please take that stuff down ASAP you’re confusing my customers!

So much for the down-to-earth, honest, ex-minimum wage slave!

Of course, telling lies in a sales letter can get you into a lot of trouble if you step over the line.

Adding a couple of little white lies to a sales letter is usually considered fine, probably to be expected but once you start creating fake Clickbank screenshots or faking testimonials then you’re into fraud territory.

Sadly I’ve seen plenty of those types of sales letters too and I’m sure they’ll keep on coming…

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