How To Tell Stories That Sell!

Posted on 03/29/18 in all posts, copywriting, No Comments

In 90% of the cases, you shouldn’t begin writing your copy until you know the story you’re going to tell in the copy and how you’re going to present it…

There are several reasons why you should do this. First, most cultures are “story cultures”. We take in our entertainment through stories. People watch hours upon hours of television a week, and a good portion of it is fiction stories of comedy, drama and so forth.

Plus, stories are perfect to engage a reader’s emotions. People buy emotionally, not logically. Although it’s a cliche, facts tell, stories sell. Facts tell the prospect the benefits of why they should buy (logical approach). Stories demonstrate those benefits in action, and show the prospect how it can transform their life (emotional approach).

Finally, stories are the “hooks” to hang your other persuasion elements on. The best way to prove your claims is while you’re telling your story. The best way to put a ton of benefits into your copy is by lacing your story with the benefits of your product and solution.

Stories build your credibility, and also help explain why you decided to price your solution at the price you did, and how it’s so little compared to the value they get, and so on.

Just study the greatest sales letters of all time and you’ll find that 9 times out of 10, they used a story to do the heavy lifting.

I’m now going to show you how to do the same.

The 3 Types of Story Plots That Almost Every Killer Sales Letter Follows

The good news is you don’t have to be a genius story teller to write great stories that sell. No. You just need to know three basic approaches to create good stories that will help sell your products. You master these three, and you don’t really need anything else.

That makes it easier to become a great “story telling” copywriter in no time flat.

The Journey Plot

The first plot is what’s called a “journey plot”. This is the simplest plot to use to improve your conversions and copywriting ability. It works like this.

You start out explaining where you were at when you decided to go out and and find a solution for your problem. Then, you explain your lowest point, where things got really bad for you. Next, you talk about how you found the path that started to make positive changes in your life. Then you talk about how that led you to discover the solution. Finally, you explain why you’re sharing the solution for them.

Let’s do an example. Let’s say you’re selling a course on how to get rich by investing in the stock market.

You’d first start talking about how you were fed out with your current financial situation, and how earning money the way you did in the past wasn’t cutting it for you any more. Then, you talk about finding better solutions, and how you struggled and failed and were made a fool of. Highlight one very specific example that demonstrates this.

Perhaps you became so broke finding the solution that you almost stole money from your brother-in-law! Explain that, to really show your lowest point. That will help create more impact when you talk about how you finally succeeded.

After talking about your lowest point, then start building up on how you begin making progress, and were first introduced to the solution you found. Explain your “path of success” on how you first started getting results, and how those results improved over time to the point they are at now, where you now have the “ultimate” solution. Then explain why you have decided to share that solution with them.

It really is that simple.

Once you have fleshed your story out like that, it becomes really easy to sit down and write your copy, because you now how it’s going to flow.

In most cases, you should write with the journey plot. There is no better story that sells than this one, and it’s the first one you should always consider when sitting down to write your copy.

The Accident Plot

A second story that is also good for using in sales letters is what I call the “Accident” plot. In this case, it’s perfect to use if, by accident, you or the person you’re writing copy for “stumbled” on the solution.

This is a good plot because it appeals to the “average joe” in the market. The idea is to get them to think that if you, an average Joe just like them, can do it by accident, then they will be able to do it on purpose.

Plus, it’s a great way to build in proof that your stuff works.

Here’s an example. Let’s say one day you were out on the golf course. The day before you had suffered a leg injury, so you couldn’t tee off the way you normally did. So you had to modify your stance, and you thought you were at a huge disadvantage because of this.

But when you stepped up to the first tee, you launched your drive 235 yards, dead center on the fairway. You thought you had just gotten lucky. But you did it again and again throughout the day, and shot one of the best rounds of your life.

You still weren’t sure if it was a fluke or not. So you showed a couple of your country club buddies, and they, too, were instantly able to improve their driving ability.

And best of all, it only took five minutes to show them, and they were shaving 8-10 strokes off their game by the next round!

What a great story. It’s engaging, it’s interesting and exciting, and it promises a huge benefit to the reader. It’s also believable, especially if you have testimonials from your buddies, and your score card to show them and a picture of your limping from your injury.

It’s easy to put in all those proof elements without even thinking about it, because of the flow of the story.

Us Versus Them Revenge Plot

The third killer plot to use is an “Us vs. Them” plot. This is where you position your solution as a way for the prospect to get revenge on a certain group of people that they hate and feel are taking advantage of them!

In this case, you first start out the story by getting them angry at a certain group of people that are taking advantage of them. Then, agitate that anger even more by explaining specific instances to demonstrate just how bad they are being taken advantage of. Then talk about how you came up with a solution to turn the tables, so they are no longer being taken advantage of. Then, further explain how not only will they no longer be taken advantage of, but they will also wildly benefit from the situation by using your solution. Then explain specific examples of how and what types of benefits they can enjoy with your solution, and how to get your solution.

Example: you got a product in the dog food niche. A lot of commercial dog food companies put a lot of junk in their food, and then use deception to market their products to naive dog owners.

In fact, that’s the main reason there are so many pet food recalls. Even worse, there are several documented cases of dog food companies who knowingly put ingredients in their products that can cause your animal to die, because to them it’s just a numbers and profits game.

However, there is a way to feed your dog that they are, in fact, trying to suppress so you don’t’ find out about it, because it could potentially put them out of business. In fact, not only is this new way better for your dog, it’s also easier, cheaper and just as convenient, and will probably extend your dogs life by many years. You can find all about it in the new report that was just created!

The “Us vs. them” plot is more of a specialty plot that can only be used in certain situations when there are very popular conspiracy theories in that niche, or when a large portion of that niche hates a certain group of people because they feel that those people are trying to control them or knowingly bringing them harm for their own personal gain.

Effectively Using Sub Plots

Seriously, you really only need to master the three plots above to get really good at writing stories that sell. Anything else you do will only increase your persuasion power by a little bit. So master those three plots first. Then, if you want to take it further, start using sub plots.

These are plots within the main plot. For example, let’s look at the “journey plot”. What if along the way, you talked about how so many times you were close to the solution, but experienced a setback. Then you overcame that setback only to run into another one. And another way. But you always came out on top.

That’s a “loss and redemption” sub plot.

Another sub plot you might consider to work into your main plot is “escape”. In this case, you were held captive, either mentally or physically, and you were able to break out of that “prison” and gain freedom.

Or you can do the opposite sub plot – “rescue”. In this case, you were trying to free something or someone else that was “held against their will”, and you were able to do so.

Another great plot that works really good with the “us vs. them” main plot is the “underdog” subplot. This is the classical David and Goliath. You were at all odds, everything was against you, and you still succeeded in spite of all that, and you know how to show them to do the same.

2 Advanced Story Telling Plots

There are two other plots that you can consider using, but I’d only use these after you master the three basic plots, and also the use of sub plots. That’s because these two story plots I’m about to show you take a lot more skill to use effectively, but they also can give you tremendous results in the right circumstances.

Reluctant Selling

The first plot is “reluctant selling”. This plot works because it is different than what most people are used to reading in sales letters. In most cases, the situation is you are trying to sell them something, and the reader is trying to come up with reasons NOT to buy. There is almost always resistance when you are pushing someone to do anything – even if it’s in their best interest.

You can side step that resistance, and completely nullify it if you position yourself to appear as though you don’t care if they buy from you at all, and that you don’t really even want or need to sell to them (even though, of course you want them to buy).

In this case, you want to talk about how you were initially not even very excited to share the solution that you came up with, because you knew it would take a lot of work to do it right, and in that time you could’ve been doing other things that would give you better results quicker.

However, you decided, due to some unique circumstance, to bite the bullet and create and offer the solution anyway… but it’s a solution that you only want people who meet certain conditions to consider.

Then, casually present the benefits, proof and everything else that will help you sell the product, but don’t push it, and always remain “aloof”. You really want to give them the impression that they need you more than you need them.

This is very hard to accomplish until you’ve gotten really good at writing stories, and that’s why I call it an advanced plot. However, if the conditions are right, and your story telling skills are solid, you can make this work. But it is much more of an art than a science, and can really only be understood with a lot of practice and experience.

Transparent Plot

The second plot is advanced, not because it’s a hard plot to write, but because you need to have an additional skill or a special situation. This is the “transparent” plot, and is the complete opposite of the “reluctant selling” plot.

This is where you come right out and say, at the very beginning, that you are trying to sell them something, and your goal is to get them to buy from you.

Then explain that normally this is not how people try to sell stuff, but you can come right out and say it because you believe you have such an incredible offer that they would be a fool not to take you up on it.

Then, the rest of your copy is “offer-driven” to explain everything in the product and the benefits of it, and proof that your offer is truly a no-brainer for them, based on what they get and what it can do for them against the price you’re charging for the offer, your killer guarantee that reverse all risks on their part, and so forth.

This plot takes skill because you really have to keep them engaged and excited, since you’re hard selling them. And you need a really outstanding product/offer to make this work.

Additional Techniques To Boost The Power Of Your Stories

Drama sells. You want to be as dramatic as possible. Let’s say you figured out a great golf swing, and were going to use it to win an upcoming tournament, but got really sick and could barely walk before the tournament. Yet, you went out and won the tournament anyway.

You’d want to write a headline or subhead for the story that says, “Golfer crawls out of death bed and shoots the game of his life!”, or “How I Crawled Out of My Death Bed and Used A Simple Swing To Win the Biggest Tournament of My Life!’

Okay, so maybe you weren’t quite on your death bed. But you are allowed to be a bit dramatic when you’re a copywriter. And you want to be as dramatic as possible, without making it too apparent. You want to get as close to over-doing it as possible without making your reader think “Okay, he’s just hyping the hell out of this, and exaggerating.”

The second way to really improve your stories is to keep them short and simple, using your verbs to do most of the work. In fact, you should use as few adjectives as possible. Usually an adjective is used when the verb is not strong enough to stand on its own. It’s much better to use a stronger verb than a weak verb and an adjective.

For example, “John liked the product so much, he looked starry-eyed and drunk after using it” is not that good. “liked” is such a weak verb, and that’s why you had to use adjectives like “starry-eyed and drunk”. Better is “John was infatuated with the product. His body pulsated after using it.”

The second example is short, punchy and uses powerful verbs.

Finally, learn the art of “transitions”. Sometimes you have to create additional hooks in your story to keep the reader engaged. Every once in a while, you need to “sell them” on reading the next paragraph. That’s why you want to start off certain paragraphs like

“But it gets even better…”

“I have to warn you though…”

“And that’s just for beginners.”

“However, it didn’t stop there…”

“Now get this.”

“And that’s when it hit me”

“Actually, that’s an understatement”

“Speaking of…”

“But, Know this:”

“But should you ____?”

And so forth. It keeps the reader engaged, because it piques their curiosity to keep reading, because you’re promising to reveal something else that might shock them, delight them, benefit them, or save them grief in some way that you previously haven’t mentioned.


There you have it. Start with the three basic plots, and master them. When you get them down cold, work in sub plots to your copy. Then once you have that, learn how to write your stories with the approbate amount of drama, to grab your reader and excite them, and use transitions to keep them engaged.

Once you master that, move onto the more advanced selling plots.

In any case, just mastering the three basic story lines, and learning how to use a little bit of drama and transitions will make you into a damn good copywriter in a short amount of time.