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#SellersBecomeMarketers - Being a Mind Reader with Sales Copy

Liston Witherill
Liston Witherill
16 min read

Are your clients nodding along as you speak as though you’re reading their minds? You’ll be way ahead of the curve if your prospects feel like you can articulate their pains better than they can.

Marketers use this mind-reading effect all the time. And like professional mind readers, it has nothing to do with actually reading minds.

Improve your sales copy, improve your sales business — without making any assumptions.

In today’s episode, I explain how to develop effective sales copy, the psychology of why it works, and the action steps for you to start applying these skills right away. This is the second episode in the #SellersBecomeMarketer series on Modern Sales where we’re covering the changing landscape of sales, and how developing some marketing skills can help you thrive.

This episode will help you understand:

  • How different clients have different pains

Perfect Client Profiles (PCP) are composite representations of your average client within a market. You should know them and the pains for each. But there is another level of client: the individual. Each person requires a slightly different message because each person has different goals and values when buying from you. Know the PCP, know their pains, then apply it at the individual level.

  • How to find a client’s range of pains

We want to lay out all the possibilities of the pains our clients could be feeling so that we can be prepared to talk about what an individual client is actually feeling and experiencing. The key is to message and speak in the same way our clients speak.

  • How to accelerate trust-building and the quality of your sales conversations

The psychology of trust-building is such that your clients trust you more if you can understand and empathize with them. There are 2 ways to bedazzle your prospects by demonstrating that you understand them: listening actively so you can absorb and react to the nuances of what they’re telling you; and researching clients’ pains, causes, and solutions.

Mentioned in this episode:

#SellersBecomeMarketers – Sales Skills We Learn From Marketers

Check out the entire #SalesQuestions podcast series:

#SalesQuestions – What’s going on?
#SalesQuestions – How long has this been happening?
#SalesQuestions – When did you notice this was a problem?
#SalesQuestions – What have you done to fix it?
#SalesQuestions – Who else is this affecting?

For more information on remote selling and a complete list of links mentioned in this podcast, visit this remote selling article on our website.

#SellersBecomeMarketers – Being a Mind Reader with Sales Copy:

Full Transcript

What if you could read minds as in guess what someone else is thinking without their speaking to you. That’d be useful sale skill, right? Well, of course it would, and they’re actually professional mind readers, but they’re called mentalist, not mind readers. And the reason is because, yes, you guessed it, it’s impossible to read someone’s mind. You have to read something else.

You can read their body language or use the power of suggestion to make them think that you’ve read their mind. You can pick up on cues like accents, clothing or mannerisms to understand things about them. Or you can even make up games that rely on probabilities to point your subject to a single conclusion, giving them the illusion that you read their mind and suddenly you’re a real life, mind reader, there’s a long line of mentalists out there who do exactly that. Darren Brown has built his career on it. His mind reading feats are so convincing that he now has a Broadway show and three Netflix specials, but he’s still the first to admit that he has no supernatural and no superhuman powers. He’s no different than you or me.

So how does he do it? Through research, by identifying patterns, by understanding how the human mind works, and there’s good news. You don’t have to be a mentalist at the level of Darren Brown to apply some of the same lessons that he’s learned and uses. Marketers have been doing it for years. In this episode, I’ll teach you how to hone your mind reading powers, give you concrete ideas for how to do it and tell you how to begin applying those mind reading powers to your sales process right now.

Welcome to Modern Sales, a podcast for entrepreneurs, business owners, and sales people looking to have more and better conversations with your perfect clients. You’ll get a healthy scoop of psychology, behavioral economics and sales studies to help you create win-win relationships. I’m your host, Liston Witherill, and I’m pleased to welcome you to Modern Sales.

This is the sellers become marketers series on Modern Sales. Where we’re covering the changing landscape of sales and how developing some targeted marketing skills can keep you ahead of the curve. In today’s episode, we’ll be talking about developing your mind reading. Yes, your telepathic powers. Each of the episodes in the series. We’ll have the hashtag sellers become marketers at the beginning of the title to help you find them quickly.

This is episode number two in the series. If you’d like to start from the beginning, just scroll back in your feed. Before we dig in today, this episode is brought to you by Serve Don’t Sell a sales training and consulting firm. If you’d like to help your team dig deeper, give better sales presentations and sell value rather than features. Serve Don’t Sell, can help you with remote and onsite training options. Yes, that’s me, I am the trainer. Just head over to servedon’ to learn more about how it works.

Now, let’s talk about mind reading. Whenever you’re working with a client, you know that they have to be in pain to want to change, no pain, no change, and the best way to serve them, of course, is to help them understand their pain and to illuminate the opportunity to make changes, to provide them with valuable insights and consultation along the way. That is your role as a professional, but the catch is they may not understand their pain in the first place. They may not understand how deep it is. They may not understand just how many people are affected by it in their organization and it’s certainly a challenge to build trust and build it quickly.

Here’s why this is all occurring. Buyers can be in a hurry, they may not have the whole view of their situation, they may not have all of the information they need to understand what’s going on in their organization and they certainly haven’t seen their problems as many times as you have with the other clients that you serve because you’ve been working with lots of other companies and lots of other clients and your ability to identify patterns across all of those different clients and companies you’ve worked with may exceed your client’s ability to identify their own pains and problems.

And here’s what I want you to do about it. Start thinking like a copywriter writing sales copy. Here’s what I mean by that. Marketing and sales have a pretty big difference. Most of the marketers work is done without direct face to face interaction at the time of prospect consumes their marketing. Sellers, on the other hand, you and me friend, we typically witness client reactions in real time.

When we present our deck or when we have a conversation or when we’re asking our client in the early phases PGV their pain goals and value. We’re directly observing what they’re saying, how they’re saying it, their body language along the way. We are consuming massive amounts of information in real time and here’s the biggest difference of all we can adjust on our toes. If the client doesn’t like a road that we start to go down, we can come up with a new plan.

Marketing, on the other hand, produces videos, written works, downloadable content, websites, all kinds of things that, yes, people are interacting with and we can observe the data that we gather as a result of that, but we’re not seeing them react in real time and we’re not there to explain to them if they misunderstand something or if they’re not clear on how the marketing applies directly to them. That is a giant difference and that my friend is why marketers have to become mind readers.

But marketing isn’t about guessing, right? There’s often a leap of faith between the time a marketer conceives of copy or a campaign and the time they get feedback from the marketplace. But of course, a good marketer doesn’t want to make blind guesses or blind leaps of faith. They’ve taken steps to learn as much as they can before they launch a campaign, and that is what you need to understand because a marketer, especially a direct response marketer who sells through marketing copy, doesn’t have the privilege of talking to people while they’re making decisions.

The marketer has to understand their prospects so intimately that a purchase is made without any direct interaction and it’s in this way that they have become mind readers, not real mind readers, just people who give the illusion of mind reading. And before we move any further, yes, I’m going to explain to you how they do it and how you can apply this to your own work, but I do want to identify attention here. When you’re using your telepathic powers, your sales copy powers, you’re making some assumptions, you’re messaging to a perfect client profile. This is a composite or an average. This isn’t the same as an individual. I’m going to get into the differences in a second, but I don’t want you to do that. I don’t want you to make assumptions. And this is an inherent tension in the sales process, because we both have to be prepared by identifying and understanding the patterns exhibited by our best clients, but we also have to avoid making assumptions about them.

Instead, understanding their range of problems can help us suggest to our clients what their problems might be and then work out how to help them when they agree. Okay, more on that in a second, but I want to get to the psychology of this and why this perception of mind reading is so powerful. There are two things I want you to know. One is when we communicate with anybody, one of the key drivers of communication is to be liked and to be understood. If we are able to give our clients the impression that we implicitly and even intimately understand what’s going on with them within their organization and even aluminate problems they may not know they had, but we can articulate for them, they’re going to feel liked and they’re going to feel understood, they’re going to feel important.

If you understand your client’s problems better than anyone else, they’ll trust you more than anyone else. And that’s the second point, is around trust. Trust is built when you deliver on promises, you make a promise, you deliver on it. And of course it’s got to be a promise that the person actually wants you to keep and is valuable to them. Let’s just agree on that. So how does this work when it comes to mind reading? Because it’s not as straight forward as a typical promise, like I’ll call you next week, right? It’s a little bit different than that.

So here’s how it works. There’s an unwritten contract when a prospect is talking to us, that unwritten contract is that you understand them in order to deliver on the promises you make. In other words, your promises won’t be valuable, your promises won’t be relevant and therefore your promises will be practically useless if you don’t understand your client. These are promises like how we can help them solve their pain and how we can deliver results. Demonstrating that you already understand their pains, demonstrating that you already understand the results that would be valuable to your client, will accelerate their level of trust in your ability to actually deliver.

Just tracing back, in summary, mind reading is important to trust because when we talk to a client, there’s an implicit contract that we have to understand them in order to work with them and get their business. If they have the impression that we’re reading their minds, not literally, but we understand exactly what’s going on with them, they will believe we can fulfill our promise to actually deliver results to them. That is a fast track to trust and therefore it’s totally rational for them to feel this way. Enough about the psychology. Let’s get into the major points to keep in mind.

Point number one is different clients have different pains. A good marketer knows this. A good seller knows this. And there are two different levels of clients. First, there’s the perfect client profile, and second, they’re individual clients. Perfect client profiles are composites. They’re averages depending on what business you’re in. You may say a perfect client profile is a VP of sales at a tech company. Maybe you say it’s the CEO of a company with at least 50 people in the aviation industry. Whatever it is, right? You have a perfect client profile and that profile represents an average of a market of people who are experiencing similar things.

The second level of clients are actual people, individuals, real people, right? There’s going to be a lot of nuance between individuals. There will be some differences between them, but many more similarities than differences. So you may have three or four perfect client profiles. Ideally, you have one, two, maybe three just so you can keep all this in your brain and fresh and relevant, but however many perfect client profiles you have, you have many clients who match up under each of those and each type of client you serve, each type of profile you serve is going to have different pains in each individual within those profiles will have slightly different nuance around what they’re experiencing, which means, here’s why it’s important.

They require different messaging, their pains may have different causes and they’re going to be motivated with different goals and therefore experience different value when they buy from you. That is even if you can serve different clients with the same products and services, why they’re buying may be substantially different. Darren Brown’s mind reading trick isn’t very good if it only works on one person, it has to work on everyone and so that’s point number one. You have to know your client profiles, you have to know their pains, and then you have to apply those at the individual level.

Okay, so you agree I’m waving a magic wand now because you’re totally with me and nodding your head in agreement. The next thing is how to find those pains. And this is where marketers really excel, or at least good ones. What we’re looking for is what I call a range of pains. So if you went out and you interviewed a hundred clients, which by the way, you don’t have to do, 10 to 30 would be plenty, but if you went out and you interviewed a hundred clients, you would see the pains that come up and the reasons they buy and the causes for those pains and even their goals and value start to line up in a fairly normal distribution. Of course, I know there will be long tail problems, but as a seller, we’re dealing with people one on one. You can’t really cater to the long tail.

And so what’s important is that we find our client’s pains. And how do you do that? Well, ask. Marketers will typically do research with prospects and existing clients so they can understand their clients in their own words. And this is one of the key points here. We want to message and speak in the way our clients speak. That is going to give them the impression of mind reading. We want to use the same client language in our marketing copy and in our sales copy. And you can do the same thing.

Finding the complete range of pains your client may experience is going to help you be prepared for anything. I’ll talk a little later about how to apply this, but you can think of it this way. Let’s say you made a two hour movie of all of the client pains that any client could ever feel. And if you wanted you could play the whole movie back to them. But these are all the pains a client would feel over their whole lifetime. But once you’re talking to that client, they’re only feeling a subset of those pains. And so you probably only need to show them a five minute clip from your two hour movie for them to feel like they’re living it and for them to feel like you understand.

So the goal of laying out the range of pains is to identify everything your client could be feeling to help you prepare to talk about what an individual client actually is feeling and experiencing, which brings us to point number three, being ready to talk about client pain and its causes will accelerate trust building and the quality of your sales conversations.

The psychology of trust building is such that your client trusts you more if you can understand and dare I say, dear seller, empathize with them. Yes, my friend. You need to have feelings. You need to be a human being. You need to relate to them at a human level. And the reason is because we like people who are like us and who understand us. In marketing, the ultimate goal of sales copy is to achieve what I call nod along, N-O-D, nod along. As in they’re nodding their head along as they read the copy.

So just imagine for a second someone’s busy on the internet. They’re checking their email, they’re going to LinkedIn, they’re reading industry news or Gasp, Facebook. Yeah, they might be doing that. And suddenly they see a message that captures their attention so much that everything else fades away and they read a 5,000 word page. The only reason they would do that is if they’re nodding along because they can see themselves in the story and it’s compelling to them. And if they did that, they’d probably be thinking something like, wow, this person can articulate the way I’m feeling better than I can.

Now, if you can achieve that in a sales setting, you will be so far ahead of the curve that it’s an unfair advantage. And it’s not just to line your pockets with money, right? It is to develop a level of understanding and collaboration with your client and get them to open up to you. Because whenever we work with our clients, we’re in a position to truly help them to truly improve something that is painful right now. And that’s what I want to do. That’s what you should want to do. And that’s what your clients want from you.

So we want our prospects to know we understand them, and this can be achieved in two ways. One, through active listening. So you can absorb and react to the nuances of what our clients are telling us. But two, as I’m driving home in this episode over and over again, it also comes through the preparation of understanding what client’s pains typically are, their causes, and ways you’ve solved them in the past.

So here’s how to take action. I want you to remember this. We’re not in a guessing game. Go back and listen to the sales questions series for a list of questions to ask throughout the sales process so you can uncover your clients four pains. I still want you to do that. Don’t assume you know what’s going on with a particular client. Just be prepared to respond and give insights to clients who are experiencing pains you’re already familiar with.

Action number one, identify your perfect client profiles. Now, if you’re working in a large company, they’ve probably already done this for you, or if you’re a manager at a larger company, you probably already have that together. What I want you to do is deliver it or absorb it in such a way that it’s memorable to you the individual. PowerPoints on their own are not useful. Understanding, internalizing and applying the information on a PowerPoint deck is the goal, so make sure that however that information is put together, it’s useful if you’re the one doing that. If you’re the consumer, feel free to adapt it so that you can remember.

If you already have the answer, go back, look at what those perfect client profiles are and review them. If you don’t have the answer, perhaps your manager does, perhaps other people on your team do or just think back on who your clients have been, especially the most successful ones so that you can identify your perfect clients. That’s action number one.

Action number two, identify the possible pains each one might have, and this is really simple. You’re just going to make a list. Open up a Google doc or plain text file or whatever you use. Write out all of the perfect client profiles and underneath each one just make bullets. Write out the pains and the causes of those pains and be ready to discuss them. Once you’ve written it out for each client type, identify the patterns. What are the most universal pains and causes of those pains? Spend more prep time on those because they’re going to come up more frequently.

In action number three, committed to memory and practice. Look, there’s good news and there’s bad news here. The good news is that you can accelerate the trust you build with your clients. You can predict some of their pains with accuracy and you can have ready-made persuasive responses that help them understand the value you bring. The bad news, it’s going to take work. Sorry about that. No free lunch here. After you identify your perfect client profiles and the pains each one is likely to have, I want you to commit it all to memory. You don’t have to write out and memorize an in depth script. In fact, I’m against that.

All you need are some talking points and that’ll be more enough and far more than what most people will do and commit to memory. And here’s what that’s going to do for you. Next time you’re in a conversation with a client, you won’t be searching for the perfect thing to say. You’ll already know what it is. And there’s a bit of a paradox here. If you commit this stuff to memory, which all happens in the past, you can actually be more in the moment and attuned to your client because you won’t be wondering what to do or say next. It’ll work like muscle memory and that is action number three, committed to memory and practice.

Just to review, the three actions I would implore you to take, one, identify your perfect client profiles. Two, identify the possible pains each one might have. Make a list, identify the patterns across all your different clients and focus on your highest priority and most frequent pains and causes. And action number three, committed to memory.

That’s it for this episode in the sellers become marketers series. In next week’s episode, I’ll be covering differentiation. And what you can learn from a single purple cow. If you aren’t already subscribed to this podcast, boy would I love if you did that only for getting value out of it of course, and you can do that by clicking the subscribe button in iTunes or Spotify or whatever you’re using to listen to this. You can also get notified of all podcast episodes with some occasional behind the scenes info as well as other exclusive sales content I put out by signing up for the newsletter at It’s totally free and it’s linked in the show notes.

And finally, if you’re looking for help training your team to sell more of your big hairy, complicated products and services to big companies, I can help you with remote and onsite training options. Just head over to click the contact button and you can fill out a quick form to begin the conversation. Thanks so much for listening. I’m Liston Witherill of Serve Don’t Sell and I hope you have a fantastic day.

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