Still The Best “Big Darn Secret” I Use To Make Serious Money

By: Dan Kennedy on: February 18th, 2017 26 Comments

Words matter.

One of the things many people wonder about is what I do that can possibly justify fees of $18,800 to (more commonly) $100,000 to write an ad, sales letter campaign, video script, TV call to action, etc. The answer is simply that “words matter” and I’ve gotten good at picking and combining words that sell.

I have a little, internal alarm bell that goes off when I hear or see “turn off words” (words that will turn off the reader), so I edit myself as I write. Still, I often spend hours upon hours agonizing over the choice of a few words in a given piece.

It is absolutely true that how you say it is at least as important as what you are saying. This accounts for the success of people in every field.

If you have good marketing systems in place and they aren’t making money for you or if you are experiencing shrinking sales, you should check your copy.

Especially if your marketing worked at one time, but has suddenly dropped off and stopped working. It may be that you just need to resuscitate your ad. All great ads eventually peter out, however it is not always necessary to completely re-do them.

By the way, sometimes copy that isn’t working from day one contains great elements worth hanging on to—elements that do their job.  But the reason the copy isn’t working is because key elements are missing such as an opening paragraph that grabs your reader by the throat and won’t let go or a great offer. You need to know how to identify what’s missing or you may waste a lot of time and money.

You can sell just about anything with great copy. While there are a few isolated cases where great copy hasn’t made a difference, it is rare, and even then the copy still sells, just not profitably.

Not only can you use copy and use sales letters to sell, but you can use them to sell your products and services the way you want to—to sell things on YOUR terms. To make your prospects comply with the way YOU want to do business.

This is a very important principle. Because it is one thing to make money, but it is an entirely other matter to make money the way you want to make money.

Everybody believes that their business is different. That this doesn’t apply to you. That no one else is doing this in your business.  That they aren’t using the written word to sell or that their copy must be acceptable because they are making sales. Maybe it’s “acceptable.” But using better sales copy gives you a competitive edge. Especially when you possess this #1 skill and they don’t.

Darin Garmin was making sales in real estate, but he wasn’t happy with the process and was becoming increasingly frustrated by doing a lot of work only to lose the sale to a competitor.

No one was using sales letters to sell apartment buildings until Darin decided to do it. Not only did he succeed at selling apartment buildings with sales letters, he got the people HE pre-determined were good candidates to respond. Plus, when he did some research, he found that he had moved into a position where 70% of all apartment building transactions go through HIS office. That was NOT the case before he started using sales letters.

It does not matter whether your clients are the CEO or the broom pusher…everybody buys the same way. They all go through the same process. They all go through the same emotions. And if you do not accept that, then you are missing out on the single greatest secret I have to offer.

I made my first money from writing sales copy when I was 17 years old. To this day, it is still the greatest secret to making money I’ve ever discovered.

And I can tell you that there is A LOT of money at stake by not taking your copy more seriously.

From the boiler room to the boardroom, across all demographics, words sell. To believe that your customers are above all this…that they won’t read…or that your words are adequate…or that you can simply hire someone to write them for you without fully understanding whether the words are well-chosen or not… is hopelessly naïve.

For the most part, we MUST use words on paper to do our marketing which means you have to keep this is mind as you choose your words. And if you are hiring someone to choose your words for you, then you better know if it is good, if not great copy you are looking at. Because in today’s market, you simply cannot afford to be adequate.

As a side note, I often hear from business owners that they want to grow their business to millions, but they don’t like to write.

This is like being a pro football player, but never wanting to get hit or a pro basketball player, but never wanting to try the game-winning shot.

Sorry, but the serious money comes from result-getting performances, not just acceptable writing.

Fortunately there is literature about the art and science of selling through writing, so you can learn it, change your attitudes about it, and translate it to ‘selling by media’ and copywriting. I talk more about how to do this, click here to read on.



Dan Kennedy is internationally recognized as the 'Millionaire Maker,' helping people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes. Dan's "No B.S." approach is refreshing amidst a world of small business marketing hype and enriches those who act on his advice. For more money-making marketing tips, tactics and strategies, go to

26 Responses

  1. Love the nuggets you share, Dan…thanks so much!

  2. Tony Hilsden says:

    Thanks for this and all the information that is provided…it is almost overwhelming and to a degree confusing.
    I have just enrolled in the MTBN series and also am working my way through Magnetic Marketing.
    With all the individual “offers” that continually come out, confusion is created, because I am sure that a lot of the subject matter is or was presented as being covered in the MTBN course. The swipe files, templates etc etc…
    As I said, I am working my way through the subject matter….Oh for a comprehensive index..

    Right now I am looking for 2 things…some swipe file material that can be tweaked which would allow me to write approach and follow up personal letters to house owners,especially older ones on larger sized blocks, to encourage them to consider selling or partnering with my small property group, in redeveloping that site, moving into a new home, without having to move away from the neighbours and to have sufficient funds for a comfortable lifestyle, as or in retirement as a bonus.

    Can you direct me to any useful information?

    The second line is email marketing, for the business represented by my website. I note that there are many in the adjacent Blog categories, so I will head there and see what can be found…

    Thanks for the wealth of material….I am yet to find an article on “How to clone oneself”…



    • Tony, your business sounds fascinating and timely. I would love to learn more about this redev concepts. Sounds like an “aging in place” solution that postpones the need for a nursing home?

  3. jack says:

    Can your sales copy work in freight forwarding which is highly commoditised?

    • Darren Teale says:

      Ask your self these questions.
      Who is your customer? I mean in detail who is your ideal customer? What do they look like so, you know them when you see them. What do they like? What do they do? what are their fears? what keeps them up at night?
      What is the specialized problem do they have that you can solve? Be precise what is the problem your ideal client has I say this because when you put your marketing together this is the person that when they read it they need to think he is talking to me. I find it helpful to have a picture in my head when I put a sales letter together.
      How do you offer that is different to your competitors? You may not do it any different to them but they may not mention it in their marketing.
      What can you do differently then your competitors?
      What guarantees do you or can you offer?… that no one else in your industry is already using (Build you UPS)

      To answer your question yes, direct marketing sales copy/ scripts work to separate and make you standout from the crowd.
      Look at coffee as a commodity why pay $6.00 for it when you can get it for $2.00 just down the road Yet in the Australian market which Starbucks is just entering we already full of ma & Pa interdependent coffee shops at lease two in every shopping center then we have drive through coffee shops locally we have five different franchised shop that seem to be spaced only miles apart on major roads and more than ten franchised coffee shops like Starbucks already here yet each store that has opened so far has worked.But, hey maybe we are a nation of caffeine addicts.

      You are definitely in the right place if you want to learn who to standout the product that was that light bulb moment was the power of copy unleashed and the one that really had me asking the hard questions was the Ultimate Marketing Machine. And I’m selling security screen doors and I don’t need to tell you how full that section is in the yellow pages.
      If you are lost then GKIC has a team that can advise you on the products that can help you the best I have spoken to them on numerous time and find them always happy to help.

  4. David Hunter says:

    When I talk with prospects in real estate, they all say the same thing… “they’ll never read all that wording on that postcard/sales letter.”

    I then ask them, “Have you ever read a book? What do you think it is… junk mail? It’s a 300 page sales letter that sells the next book.”

    Then they start to get the picture. :-)

    • Ash Waechter says:

      Great answer! I always tell me client, “Why do you think blogs are so popular? Because people do actually READ! And the longer the blog post, the more it’s read and circulated.”

      I really do like your answer about the book. I will use that the next time.

  5. David Lurie says:

    Thanks Dan, as always you ring home the truth. As a direct response marketer (in training) & online lead generation expert I relish the idea of getting better at writing copy.

    Since 2003 I have been making a six figure + full time income online….and in 2016 I want to set the foundation to 10x that income to make a million dollar + yearly income.

    Stay tuned Mr Kennedy


    David Lurie
    Digital Marketing Coach
    Melbourne / Australia

  6. Mike Searles says:

    ​”The ability to organize words that motivate people to buy is a SUPERPOWER.” ~ Dan Kennedy

    I have this quote in my email signature… because D.K. taught me the ‘superpower.’

    Life changing!

  7. […] Still The Best “Big Darn Secret” I Use To Make Serious Money […]

  8. Marie Jones says:

    Putting hard efforts for making serious money is good but if you are not providing ‘result-getting performances’, it’s not really worth it. Always work in such a way where you can give some result oriented things, otherwise you cannot make serious money like people are making in 6 digits and moreover than that.

  9. Adam says:

    It does not matter whether your clients are the CEO or the broom pusher…everybody buys the same way. They all go through the same process. They all go through the same emotions.

    This is such a huge point, and one that I think a lot of people forget quite often. People might view things differently because of their position, but they ultimately make a decision based on their emotions. Great write up!

  10. Anka says:

    Yes, words have power. The power to handle emotions. Most people believe business is rational. It isn’t. We only rationalize our buying decisions we make based on our emotions. We buy an expensive thing to feel good and significant and then we explain the reasons why – it is better, it is made of more durable components, it will last more etc etc
    Why people pay for a car 10x its “normal” price? As my marketing teacher said: “What is in an expensive shampoo’s bottle? It is a high margin!”. Tell a story, make a promise and people buy your product! Promise them they will look great and they will give you 10x the money they could pay to your competitor.
    Yet the key is not what you tell them but how you tell it. And here comes the power of words.
    Thank you, Dan, for this reminder!

  11. Thanks Dan. I always learn something from your teaching. I’ve read several of your books and learned a lot from them. But, I always need to go back over the material and practice, practice… I need to go back over my copy and “edit”, but it’s hard to know what is working and what’s not.

  12. Dan, you are the master! I have studied everything you teach for years and I have learnt so much from you. The market to message match concept makes it very easy for me to explain to my clients why they need to think about their client’s very carefully, especially when it comes to SEO and social media.

    Thanks mate.
    David Lurie
    The Local SEO Guy

  13. So true Dan. Copy is of the utmost important and can truly make you stand out. Speak to the desires of your prospective customers instead of promoting yourself. Confusing at first, but makes so much sense once you ‘get it.’

  14. Adam says:

    Awesome post Dan. I wanted to let you know I just recently finished reading The Ultimate Sales Letter and wanted to say thank you for that. It was so easy to read, but just packed full of great ideas. I look forward to reading more of your posts and books!

  15. Amit Jain says:

    golden nuggets, Dan.

    Well said, money comes in from result oriented performance only. And to capture customers attention till conversion, it is necessary to have excellent sales pitch/copy.

  16. Ash Waechter says:

    As a freelance direct response copywriter, I take these words to heart. And it really is amazing how many businesses think, “But we’re different,” when they really have the same problems as everyone else. Sometimes, I fall into that trap, so it’s nice to hear a few words of wisdom from the master of direct response copywriting.

  17. Anikajos says:

    I like your post..

  18. SEO Durham says:

    And I thought I was the only one agonizing over my choice of words, writing copy is hard work and I think it’s fair to say a good copywriter will never be satisfied. Excellent post, thanks for sharing!

  19. C T Mitchell says:

    Can you advise the best way to become reasonably competent in copywriting. I understand improvement comes with time

  20. Bu qiymati mazmuni nima! :-)

  21. Nice written i like it too much man!

  22. Ertai says:

    Thank you

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