Is your sales pitch missing this important message?

written by john c ashworth

If you are unable to quickly, easily and comfortably communicate the fundamental reason why people or organizations would choose to do business with you and you company above all other options, including doing nothing, you will likely have a very serious problem when prospecting for customers.

In fact, you might not ever even get your foot in the door..

Here’s a quick sales pitch formula to help you get started.

“We assist our _______[clients or customers] in the _______ [industry/business] to _______(what you help them do). We do this by _______[what do you help them do? what problems do you solve for your customers?].”

Don’t cheat this work. I know it sounds simple. Too simple, even.

But it’s not.

As soon as you begin working through this as it relates to your products and services and your company, you will see what I mean. If you haven’t answered other key sales and marketing questions about your business, you will have to go back and do that first, before you can get to this.

This process forces you to consider four very important questions about your business. Questions that I’m sure you’ve thought of at some point or another, but that I know first hand, most small business owners and salespeople don’t spend nearly enought time curating and clarifying so that they can truly hone their efforts.

I’m going through this again in my own work right now so I’m also speaking from very personal and timely experience.

Especially in light of everything that has changed over the last year and a half, it is time to reflect on how you, your work, and your business have changed in an effort to adapt to your customers and the marketplace.

What can you do differently?

How can you craft a killer unique selling proposition? (USP)

Here are those four quick questions that will help get you started.

  1. Dou you work with individuals, organizations, enterprises, associations, or governments?
  2. What industry or industry segment do you specialize in? What segment? What market? What type of business? “…OK, I know, that’s really a few questions in one, but they’re all related.”
  3. How do you assist your customers?
  4. How do you assist your customers?

OK, time to get to work.


How to write headlines that make sales soar!

written by john c ashworth

Ninety percent of the success or failure of ANY sales offer is the headline.

How much time are you spending on your headlines?

The reason is that the headline answers the MOST important question you need to address in ANY sales pitch. “What’s in it for ME?”

Why should I stop everything I’m doing, open my wallet and invest in your product over any and all other products or simply do nothing at all?

Now, go back and look at the last few email subject lines you’ve written and ask yourself if they are good enough to break through these barriers. Stop wasting time and money and start putting a lot more attention and intention into crafting great headlines.

What does a headline do?

First and foremost, it attracts attention.

It communicates a strong benefit; and once you start looking around at what other are doing and maybe even what you are doing, you’ll see that this very ofte missing. Big mistake.

Third, and as I’ve mentioned already, your headline should appeal to the self-interest of the reader and answer the MOST important question of, “What’s in it for me?”

When thinking about headlines and how to use them it is also very important to remembe that they are not only for the top of your sales letter, blog post or email. They should be used everywhere. For example, the teaser copy on an envelope and the the of your book are just as important as the headlines in your sales letters and advertisements. If your prospect won’t open your letter, you’ve accomplished nothing more than subsidizing the post office. If your book title stinks and is not compelling, you’ve wasted a lot of time, money, blood, sweat and tears for a book destined to be mostly ignored.

Advertising guru, John Caples once said that “when you write an ad, write a lot of headlines first. Spend hours writing headlines – or days if necessary. If you happen to think of a headline while walking down the street or while riding the bus, take out a pencil and paper and write it down.”

When was the last time you put that much thought and attention into writing a headline?

And if I still haven’t convinced you, think of this…

The father of advertising, David Oglivy, once said that “on average, five times as many people read headlines as read body copy. It follows that, unless your headline sells your product effectively, you have wasted 90 percent of your money.”

Good luck and remember, there are no shortcuts.


Subscribe to the ash flash and get your copy of The 100 Greatest Headlines of All time right now! Sometimes the answer to how to write headlines is simply swiping a successful one that you know already works 🙂

Too few truly understand the power of direct mail

written by john c ashworth

In a popular previous post on the subject of direct-mail, I stated that the death of direct-mail, print advertising, and long sales copy is continually exaggerated. Mostly, this is because it is misunderstood by most. Especially when considered in the context of similar stories warning of the apocalyptic end to the post office and printed mail in general, direct-mail as a viable and profitable marketing strategy is too easily set aside, like a bowl of vegetables at the dinner table.

Maybe it helps if you think about it this way…

Your mailing list is MORE valuable than your inventory, your expertise, and the services you offer. All of these things can be replaced, and also improved upon day to day inside your business. But without anyone to tell those stories to, other than the customers inside your store online or off, who is gonna care?

You want to find more people don’t you?

And when you find them, you want them to get just as excited as you are about what you do and the solutions you offer, don’t you?

You want them to visit your website or store, make inquiries, and then buy some or all of the things you sell, don’t you?

Sure, you can do it without a mailing list, but you are much less effective, and you will make less money than you could if you embraced this old school mechanism. I guarantee you.

When you continually work to build and cultivate your list, you open many doors to countless opportunities to MORE effectively serve your customers and communities. Your business might go bust and you might lose everything, and yet your cultivated list could become the seeds from which you grow something far stronger and more powerful.

There are countless means of accomplishing this goal.

I sincerely hope you choose at least one of them and start today.


Your marketing. Simplified.

written by john c ashworth

I would be doing you a disservice here if I tried to tell you that marketing and the sales that result from it were easy. Remember, the mission here on the ash flash is to share real expertise in small doses for both your small business and your health and fitness program.


Two reasons.

First, I have a lost of expertise to share when it comes to your health and fitness. And though I currently spend most of my time working as a salesman and marketing maniac, I spent the first 25 years of my career focused on clinical exercise physiology, personal training and fitness coaching. As my son Carl has pointed out on many occasions, “it would be a shame to waste all that talent and wisdom, Dad.” He’s right.

Second, there is such a preponderance of nonsense out here anymore that I also fee strongly that those of us committed to the good stuff, the real stuff, absolutely MUST make a commitment to sharing what we know. And what I know is that if you spend even just a little bit of time here on the ash flash, and especially if you come back regularly, you are bound to run into things that help you cultivate the slight edge .

Today, that might be the following two things I felt compared to share with you today.

A really great blog and expert whom I was fortunate to find and connect with on linkedin and the latest post on his blog about story-telling.

Assuming you really want to get it right, and that you want to build the ultimate sale machine inside your business, you must embrace the idea that you are a marketer in the business of whatever it is you’re doing. Not the other way around. Once there, the next step is to embrace the complexity of creating a system from which you can derive a steady stream of leads and new business as well as cultivate more business from existing customers, generate referrals, constantly obtain good reviews and success stories, and so on.

Feeling overwhelmed by all this?

That’s OK.

Start telling stories. As pointed out in the article, marketing at its core is really about stories. About seeing stuff, writing it down, and then sharing it in ways that are compelling, interesting, and prone to stir emotions and drive people to the actions that you desire.

So, if you’re in need of something today that will ground you in the ultimate truth that simplicity really is the ultimate sophistication, tell me a story. If it’s a good one, I’m always ready to listen.


How to promote your business and your personal brand using these 4 often overlooked strategies

How to promote your business and your personal brand using these 4 often overlooked strategies

written by john c ashworth

  1. Worry less about image then everyone else does.
  2. Write like you would talk, face-to-face, belly-to-belly, person-to-person.
  3. Be friendly, not stuffy.
  4. Be courageous
Continue reading “How to promote your business and your personal brand using these 4 often overlooked strategies”

The importance of personality in YOUR marketing


The importance of personality in YOUR Copy & Marketing

written by john c ashworth

john c ashworth after the 8th grade parent, teacher, versus the students basketball game. -circa 2015

There is an absolutely wonderful marketing principle for your small business that may be applied in many different situations that has to do with scarcity and the fact that most people want more of which they can’t seem to get enough. Denial or exclusivity increases desire. This is one of life’s greatest truths if you ask me.

Generally speaking, when it comes to being a consumer, really personal, memorable, and amazing experiences worth talking about and sharing are extremely rare. This is not only unfortunate for all of us, but it is actually a huge missed opportunity for you and your small business and everything you are trying to do to grow your enterprise.

So, when you give your public, and especially your own prospects and customers a really friendly, personable, believable “regular guy” to deal with, people are thrilled to have found you. Add to that an expert dose of entertainment in everything you do and communicate to your lists and you have an extremely powerful elixer for small business growth.

You as the owner or operator of your enterprise have this opportunity. As I said earlier, most squander it for a variety of reasons, the main one being that you sell yourself short and think that no one will be interested in what you have to say and/or don’t feel this a valuable use of your time or you simply don’t feel comfortable with so much attention directly focused on YOU. That’s OK in part. You don’t necessarily have to be the one to take on the task of becoming the ‘attractive character’ in your business. But someone should. Think of some of the great companies out there who have done this with their advertising with a memorable spokesperson and think about how effective that really is.

Find this spokesperson and attractive character inside your small business. Promote them constantly and outrageously and be entertaining and not boring and you will be amazed at what kind of sales growth you can create and then sustain over time.

Good luck!


PS If you’re interested in speaking with me directly about how I can help you achieve this effect inside your small business and want to explore the possibility of me becoming your spokesperson, check out the video feed on the ash flash, my youtube channel, and almost anything else I share here and then let’s talk about how and what I might be able to create and do for you and your small business.