The #1 reason we don’t sell them

Here it is…from perhaps #1 copy writer of the last century:

“The reason for most of the non-success in advertising is trying to sell people what they do not want…Ads are planned and written…to please the seller. The interests of the buyer are forgotten. One can never sell goods when that attitude exists.” – Claude Hopkins, in his classic, Scientific Advertising. p. 14 (free copy here.)

Do you agree? Is that the #1 reason we fail to sell? Are we trying to push our products or ideas onto our prospects? People who really don’t want them? And then we do therapy on them to make them say yes?

VOTE. Check your ads. Check ads of others. Whom to they actually please? The seller (who wrote them) or the buyer (whom they hope to sell)

Vote on the top right rail above.

Hint: when an ad boasts how great they are, whom does that please?

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • I voted, and most ads definitely are designed to please the seller. Learning to write ads that directly address the needs and emotions of the buyer is a highly underrated skill…and I’m working on improving my skill in this area. How about you? 🙂

  • I absolutely agree that most ads are more seller geared then buyer geared. Its not about what the sellers opinion is, but how that product or service solves a problem for the end user.

  • It’s most definitely focused on the Sellers opinions, which does give the the few minority a cutting edge advantage who can focus on what the buyer wants and comfortably put their own objectives on the back foot.

    A great quote from Dr. Stephen R. Covey from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

    Seek first to Understand, then to be Understood.

    That is a principle to live by in both business and life.

    @Eldon: Yes, there is always room for improvement.

    Like yourself, I am dedicated to improving my skills constantly.

  • This topic reminds me of the many SuperBowl ads which businesses have spent millions of dollars in revenue on in order to attract potential buyers.

    Sometimes sells are immediate and at other times they position the company in the minds of consumers in advance of a future purchase.

    One of the most fascinating late night informercials I have seen of late deals with a product called SHAM WOW! Keep an eye out for this advertisement if you have not already seen it.

    Another thought. Many people spend their money placing ads for their NWM businesses in several publications or newspapers each week. Have you ever considered after reading such ads if the ad was written to convey an image or one that speaks to the buyer (or distributor)? For me, the vast majority are simply informercials of the sellers ego. Very rare do I feel such ads were written with the buyers in mind. Food for thought, eh!



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