The Practical Guide To Selling Using Your Story

Marketing is manipulation. The stuff I'm gonna share over the next 2 weeks is powerful stuff. But with great power comes great responsibility. Please be a responsible marketer and don't manipulate people into buying shitty products.


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Marketing is manipulation. The stuff I’m gonna share over the next 2 weeks is powerful stuff. But with great power comes great responsibility. Please be a responsible marketer and don’t manipulate people into buying shitty products.

BTW, if you missed last week’s email, you can read it on my website now.

Let’s get started!

My sales page “framework” 😉

I don’t like using the word “framework”, but here’s a rough steps I follow when I write sales pages:

  1. Emotional pain
  2. Common myth
  3. Vulnerable story
  4. A-ha moment
  5. Problem
  6. Solution
  7. Why me?
  8. Call to courage
  9. Call to action

In today’s email, I’m gonna cover ONLY the first 3 steps. Next week I’ll cover the rest of the steps in detail!

Step 1: Emotional pain

Most sales are driven by the need to avoid an emotional pain. For example, when someone buys a brand name shirt so they can “fit in” with a crowd, it’s actually to avoid the emotional pain of being an “outcast”.

So the first step is to make a list of deeply rooted emotional pain that your product or service can solve.

Start this part with:

“Does this sound like you: (insert customer’s emotional pains)”

Step 2: Common myth

Your customers don’t think your product or service will work for them because of a common myth they believe in about you or your industry. For example, “a dating coach can’t help me because I’m too ugly”.

Figure out what common myth your customers believe.

Start this part with:

“You’re probably thinking (insert customer’s common myth)”

Step 3: My Story

Next step is to show them that you understand how they feel and there’s no need to feel embarrassed.

There are 2 ways you can do this.

Option A: assure them that EVERYONE feels that way and share a relatable story of a customer who had the same pain and beliefs.

Start this part with:

“Don’t worry, everyone feels that way. Let me tell you a story… (insert customer’s story)”

Option B: assure them you understand how they feel by sharing your own relatable story about the time you had the same pain and beliefs.

Start this part with:

“Trust me, I’ve been there too. Let me tell you my story (insert your story)”

Why vulnerable story works

Your customers won’t bring it up their emotional pains first because they’re ashamed of it. So you have to be vulnerable first and address it.

If you ONLY talk about your strengths, people will think:

“Yeah, it worked for you, but it’ll never work for me”

But when you share your weakness through a vulnerable and relatable story, people will think:

“That happened to me too, I thought I was the only one! If it worked for you, maybe it’ll work for me too”

Vice sells, virtues don’t

If you’re selling a health or fitness product and say: “do you want to be healthy and feel energized?”

People will say “yeah, maybe I’ll sign up later”

But if you say “do you want to lose 30 pounds in 3 months?”

They’ll say “hell yeah, sign me up!”

That’s because most people can’t delay gratification, especially when they’re spending money for it. Being healthy helps them in the long-term but losing 30 pounds is a short-term desire.

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This is why the emotional pain should be based on vices and not virtues.

Mainstream vs niche audience

Before you come up with a brand story and messaging for your product or service, you have to know which audience you want to go after: mainstream or niche.

Niche audience is already familiar with your niche, where as mainstream audience is brand new to your niche.

For example, if you’re a yoga teacher:

Do you want to target people who are spiritual, meditate, and already practice yoga? Then you have to talk about how YOUR yoga is different from your competitors’.

OR do you want to go after people who have NEVER done yoga before? Then you have to talk about why they should do yoga.

Today’s examples are ONLY for mainstream audience. Messaging for niche audience is very different for each niche. I’ll cover niche audience in another newsletter one day.

And finally… the examples:

Here are examples for 5 different different type of business. These are JUST examples. You need to find out YOUR audience’s emotional pains and myths are and come up with your own story.

Example 1: Business Coach

Emotional pain:

Does this sound like you:

Working all the time, but not making money?
Wishing you had 36 hours in a day?
Trouble delegating tasks because only YOU can do it?
Always working IN your business and not ON your business?
Always second guessing if you made the right decision?

Common myth:

You’re probably thinking “a business coach can’t help me. I just need more sales and better clients.”

Vulnerable story:

Trust me, I’ve been there too. Let me tell you my story:

When I quit my job and told my friends I’m gonna work for myself, they were all jealous of me.

After a year, everyone saw how busy I was and thought I was really successful. The truth is, I was working all the time, but I wasn’t making any money. I was actually a little jealous of my friends who were working at their cushy 9 to 5 jobs and making more money than me!

I was burnt out. I even started growing resentment towards my family because when I was with them, I felt guilty for not working. But then when I was working, I felt guilty for not spending time with my family…

To make things worse, one day, while scrolling through Instagram, I saw another entrepreneur who started their business around the same as me. She was on vacation on a beautiful beach talking about how she just had a 7-figure launch.

A million thoughts and questions came up in my head…

I’m nowhere even close to that!
I must be doing something wrong
Maybe I’m not cut out to be an entrepreneur…
Who am I to think that I can do this?

I felt like a total fraud. Then one day… (Insert “a-ha moment”)

Example 2: Physical Therapist

(Note: Most people are willing to pay to relieve emotional pain over physical pain. Think about how their physical pain can trigger their emotional pain.)

Emotional pain:

Does this sound like you:

Is waking up with back pain making you dread getting out of bed?
Never feeling like you’re at 100%?
Skipping outdoor social activities to avoid pain?
Is your pain making you grouchy all day?
Getting annoyed at people easily?
Is this affecting your relationship with people?

Common myth:

You’re probably thinking “It’s just a little back pain, it’s no big deal.”

Vulnerable story:

Don’t worry, ALL my patients feel that way. Let me tell you a story

I had one patient with chronic back pain he ignored it for years. He kept saying “I’m used to the pain. I can live with it.”

He didn’t realize how it slowly started to affect his personal life.

Waking up with pain every morning made him less excited about the day. He would easily lose patience and get annoyed at his family for little things.

He even started feeling less competent as a dad because he couldn’t play with his kids. Over time, his family started to treat him like a “patient” and this made him feel like he was losing his identity as a “fun dad”. Then one day his whole family went camping, but he decided to stay home by himself because of his back.

He never felt lonelier. When they came back they told him what an amazing time they had. He was happy for them, but deep inside he started feeling resentment. He started to feel like an outsider.

And it all started because of his back pain. That’s when he decided to come see me. (Insert “a-ha moment”)

Example 3: Yoga Teacher

Emotional pain:

Does this sound like you:

Life is good, but something’s missing I feel stuck, like every day is the same
There’s gotta be more to life than just this
I feel anxious sometimes, but who doesn’t?

Common myth:

You’re probably thinking “Yoga is for people who burn incense and say things like nameste. That’s not me.”

Vulnerable story:

Trust me, I’ve been there.

I had a loving husband, two beautiful children, great job, and a beautiful home. On the outside, everything looked perfect. But something was missing. I kept saying to myself there’s gotta be more to life than this. Every morning, I’d wake up and just scroll through my phone trying to avoid getting out of bed.

Eventually I would drag myself out of bed just to get through the day.

My kids were grown up and they didn’t need me as much anymore. I felt like my identity as a mom was slowly disappearing. I needed a change in my life. Maybe a career change or a new project.

Every night I would be on my phone scrolling through Instagram and get even more anxious. It seemed like everyone has their life “figured out”. Like they have a purpose that they’re living for.

Every night I would tell myself “what’s MY purpose? That’s what I need to figure out this week.” The next day, I would wake up I would repeat it all over again. That turned into a week, then a month, and a whole year had gone by.

I needed a change. Until one day… (insert A-ha moment)

Example 4: Copywriter

Emotional pain:

Does this sound like you:

Feeling like your brand message isn’t clear?
Does your story sound like everyone else’s?
Not sure what to call yourself?
Feeling like there’s nothing special about what you do?

Common myth:

You’re probably thinking “I don’t know how a copywriter can possibly help me…”

Vulnerable story:

Don’t worry, EVERYONE feels that way. Let me tell you a story.

When my client John started his business, every time people ask him “so what do you do?” he didn’t know what to say. he would come up with a different answer every time. Sometimes he would say “I’m a life coach” and people would reply “oh cool”. But he knew they were thinking “oh great, not another life coach”.

Then he started telling them “I help people get unstuck by finding what makes them energized” or “I help people get clear and find their authentic self”. Then people would say “what does that mean? Why do I need that?”

He had trouble getting clients because nobody really understood what he does.

Then someone told him he needed a “brand story” so he wrote a story about how he became a life coach. But soon he found out that pretty much EVERY life coach had the same story as him.

Around that time, he hired me to write copy for his website. This is when everything changed. (insert a-ha moment)

Example 5: English Teacher

Emotional pain:

Does this sound like you:

Getting dismissed or ignored because of your English?
Feeling frustrated about not being able to fully express yourself?
Thinking you’ll be more confident once become fluent?

Common myth:

You’re probably thinking “no one can teach me English. I’m too old to learn a new language”

Vulnerable story:

Trust me, I thought so too.

When I first moved to America, I learned what it feels like to be “foreigner” for the first time in my life.
During group projects, nobody wanted me in their group because they thought I wasn’t smart enough. Even though I knew more than any of them. One time my classmates made a joke about me, and even though I wanted to say something back, I didn’t because I didn’t want to sound stupid with my accent. So I just kept my mouth shut.

Not being able to fully express myself was so frustrating. I wished I could talk back in Korean so I can say exactly what I mean.
When I was in Korea, I was witty and outgoing, but ever since I moved to America, I became a totally different person. I turned into this shy, awkward guy. It made me feel stupid.

I always thought I’ll have more confidence to speak up when my English got better, but that day never came.

The truth is, I wasn’t getting better because I never spoke up. And because I never spoke up because I wasn’t fluent.

It was a never ending cycle. Until one day… (insert A-ha moment)

Want to work on YOUR story/sales message?

Over the next 4 weeks, we’ll be working on “sales message” and “brand story” in my community Night Owl Nation. If you want to really up level your storytelling, become a member and practice storytelling with us!

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Next week, I’ll go over the rest of the steps in my sales page “framework”. Until then, work on what I taught you today {{ subscriber.first_name }}. I promise it’ll help you with next week’s exercise!


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