How I Uncovered The 12-Step “Combination” That Unlocks The Sales Vault When You Dial It Into Your Web Site Sales Letters! - Online and Info Product Marketing

How I Uncovered The 12-Step “Combination” That Unlocks The Sales Vault When You Dial It Into Your Web Site Sales Letters!



Marlon's Marketing Minute
December 5, 2009


Marlon here.

Today's issue:


Ex-Researcher Uncovers 12-Step “Combination”
That Unlocks The Sales Vault When You Dial It Into
Your Web Site Sales Letters


You're in commission sales.

You walk up to the door and bang on it.  A young
lady comes to the door, bouncy and bright, hair
in a pony tail, holding a 2-year old.

You blurt out:  “Hi, my name is John.”

“I'm here to explain the tax benefits of the Erisa

What happens?

And THAT scenario shows the absolute poverty of a
concept still taught to this day.

See, there's an old method taught in this business.

It's called AIDA.

That stands for attention, interest, desire, action.

I remember back when I snatched up every sliver of info
I could to learn how to write sales messages that turned
interested people into checks in the mail (before the
Internet came along).

Boy, that puzzle frustrated me to no one.

1.  The only formula about anyone taught was the AIDA

I hear people spout off this stupid formula today. It's a
terrible formula.

Just horrible.

Now, HOW do you get attention?  You got 5 seconds to get
someone to READ the first few paragraphs of your sales letter.

In selling, you have 5 seconds to get the person to decide
to give you the time of day.

How do you do this?

What are the best ways?

What do you say?

What works?  What doesn't?  Why?  No one could ever answer
those questions.

I remember trying to sell stuff at sales jobs.  Like I had
a 100% commission sales job where I'd knock on people's doors
who supposedly had agreed to an appointment.

My attention statement blurted out of my mouth:

“Hello, my name is Marlon. I'm here to explain the tax benefits
of the erisa law.”

I didn't understand HOW to get attention.  What if you put that
on the headline of a sales letter?  It'd blow chunks.

a.  It's not specific enough

b.  What's the benefits of learning about this law?

c.  Is it complicated to understand?

If I knew then what I know now, I would've dropped in a
10X more powerful statement, offered a big benefit and a touch
of social proof.

Maybe you tried selling cookies as a girl scout or magazines for
the band. Or whatever.

“Wanna buy some cookies” isn't going to cut it.

“Would you like to try one of our new mint chocolate chip cookies”
as you hold out the box.  That might work.

Once you understand HOW to get attention and the tested, proven
formulas for doing so that have been working for the last 50
years and still work, this game gets a bit simpler.

I've written about these formulas in other ezine issues and given
examples.  Feel free to dig through all the gold in the archives here.

2.  HOW do you get interest?

Really.  Seriously.  How is it you get interest?

I know. But the formula doesn't TELL you how for goodness sakes.

So here I was.  Knocking on doors of people who didn't want to
talk to me.  That “lead” I had apparently consisted of the date
and time the person told the phoner to under NO circumstances
send anyone out to talk to them!

Somehow, through sheer persistence I'd FINALLY get in to talk
to someone.  The talk revolved around RETIREMENT savings.

How do you get a young, struggling family with retirement benefits
at work to get interested in THAT?

Well, I didn't have an answer to that.

And that's the problem with the formula. It doesn't tell you how.

You wonder why people BOUNCE off your page faster than a jack
rabbit?  Maybe it's because your interest step sucks.  But THAT
formula won't tell you how to fix it.

3.  Desire — HOW do you arouse desire?

Seriously.  How do you do that?

The stupid formula doesn't tell you.  Arouse desire.  It's a good

But how do you do it?

When do you do it?

After how long?

These are really critical answers.

BIG MISTAKE:  Some people STAY in the “interest” stage too long and
never make it to the desire stage.  Or they make it there way too

It's all about timing and sequencing.

A proper formula walks you through how to do this specifically.

4  Action

Yes, we all know you should get action. But again, HOW do you do this?

The formula comes up blank again.

So here I was.

Banging on doors trying to sell a retirement program.  And I'd just
learned about direct response marketing.  So I was trying to put two
and two together.

I read books about copy and sales letters.  Let's say you have
something YOU wanna sell online.  You're a Seeker.  You're hungry.
You wanna break free of the time for dollars trap and trade
products for dollars.

As a result, you pick up a few books or courses.

a.  Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples

This book reigns as perhaps the best book of all time about sales
messages that get people to fork over that stuff in their wallet and
hand it to you.

But it doesn't give an overall, big picture formula.

b.  Dan Kennedy's Ultimate Sales Letter

Dan covers the WRITING process that you go through to write the

But he doesn't give you the specifics of the overall formula in
enough detail you can do anything with.

Very good book. Many people love it.  But no big formula there.

Problem-Agitate-Solve is a good and true formula.  But HOW do you
do those things?

It's just not enough to craft an elegant, super strong and
potent sales message that will YANK someone's wallet out of their
pocket or purse, and suck every last bill out of it.

Not gonna happen with problem-agitate-solve.  It's a great book.
Actually, it's a world-class example of how to write an entire
book that IS a Trojan horses sales pitch and have absolutely no
one know enough about selling to realize they just got pitched.
I recommend the book to everyone, just not to learn a formula for
writing a sales letter.

c.  Gary Halbert

One of the all time great teachers of sales copy and sales messages.
No one taught bullet sculpting better than Gary.

But again, he never taught a detailed, step-by-step breakdown of
how you write and craft a sales message.

d.  $500 or $1,000+ courses

Some of these are good.  I don't know how many actually teach a
step-by-step formula.

So many people get caught in the minute details that they never
paint the big picture.

e.  Ezine articles

There are good tidbits here. But not a coherent formula.

You see people who do NOT have a good formula everyday.

1.  They give price without a bargain appeal.

2.  They have bullet points in their sales letters but don't
understand WHY you put them there, so they don't come close to
accomplishing the purpose.

3.  They skip or omit the reason why part of the offer or

4.  They have an opening paragraph that doesn't follow the
“greased chute” principle.

5.  They don't use polarity bullets

I could go on and on about this.

I remember how much it sucked in the beginning. I had this
crummy dot matrix printer and would write up sales letters and
mail 'em out.

The type had that dim, dot matrix look to it.


I educated in the letters instead of selling.

I'd spend a small fortune printing those suckers up and mailing
them out.

Nothing came back.

Ouch.  That hurt.  More money I didn't have flushed down the

So when I finally stumbled across an actual FORMULA that SOLD
stuff, I can't possibly, conceivably tell you how thrilled
I was.

All of a sudden money poured in like I'd hit the triple high
jackpot in Las Vegas.

True story.

See, in college I researched brief sheets for a current events TV show. So
just stopping without finding the RIGHT answer wasn't and isn't in my

When it doesn't work, it sucks.

When you hit the RIGHT COMBINATION, it's a thing of beauty.
And that's what people don't understand about AIDA.

It's not a combination.

It's like a good thought or an idea.  NOT an ACTUAL combination
that when you dial it in, money comes out.

What kind of a formula i  THAT for people to teach?

I don't get it now.

Never got it.

Cost me more money, time, energy and pain than I can possibly

So when I say my Formula is amazing, I don't know if it's amazing
to others or not.  But it's AMAZING to me.  After you've knocked
on doors trying to sell people.

After you've spent a bloody fortune printing and mailing crap
that doesn't sell jack.

After you've scraped up every bit of info you can afford to get
and your darned sales process STLL doesn't work, THEN you stumble
across a formula or the right combination that unlocks the
stupid vault, how is that anything BUT amazing?

Don't underestimate the power of having the right combination,
formula or sequence of numbers.

The sequence is important.  I see sales letters out of sequence
all the time.

That's why I invented the very first sales letter software program.
See, once I discovered my FORMULA, I was invited to teach it
around the world at over 120 seminars people paid $3,000 to attend.

When you unlock a formula, it commands attention.

That combination is worth a lot of money or has been for me.

But in teaching my formula, I found out people still got the
combination WRONG.

They didn't dial it up in the order I told 'em to.

That's why I created Push Button Letters software — to literally
force people to enter the right combination into their sales letter.

Now, garbage in, garbage out.  You STILL have to enter the right
data, ideas and information.  But it forces you to follow the
right sequence or combination.

It's a tool.  That's all. A tool to help you dial in the right
combination. A brain is still required. And there's a bit of
an art to it.

A learnable art.  But still a bit of an art.

One of the reasons for that is people learn a Formula, whether
it's mine or someone else who thinks they found the right

And they follow the combination without really UNDERSTANDING
it.  You can't just do it like a robot.

If you could, you'd just hire people for a buck an hour to
do it.

There's a certain amount of understanding you need.  And that's
why I created different resources was to try to TEACH not just
the numbers you dial in or the sequence.

But the understanding of what you dial in, when you dial it
in, why you dial it in, how to avoid mistakes when you dial it
in — and so forth.

I don't think a lot of people get that this is a very valuable
combination.  And there's a degree of skill required to unlock
the vault.

Just any old combination or sequence of numbers won't unlock
the vault of sales.

And imagine THIS….

Different people sell a combination of NUMBERS that are supposed
to unlock the sales vault.

Now, they may have never written a true breakthrough sales letter
in their life.

They may never have been paid over $10,000 by a client to write

But they're selling you their combination. Fair enough. They
even stick it in software and call it something kinda like my

But WHAT'S their combination?

Anyone can grab some numbers out of the air and say, “Hey, dial
THESE numbers in.”

But does it unlock the vault?

Your guess is as good as mine!

All numbers, combinations and formulas are NOT created equal.
This is NOT a commodity!

One formula isn't as good as another.

You know, one formula for a cake wins the prize.  Others taste
like junk.

— Lesson of the day —

One of the things I teach is called “the benefit chain.”  This
is where you ask “what's the benefit of that.”  Then when you
answer that, you ask “and what's the benefit of that.”  And
so on 5 levels deep. This way you get to the deeper emotional

Just because it's a formula in a BOOK or written on a piece of
paper or on a website — that doesn't mean a lot.

So that's why I'm writing this. I don't think a lot of people
understand this.

They think one combination, software, book, ebook or sales
letter formula is as good as any other.

They THINK AIDA is a good formula!

Yeah, freaking right!

Go out and sell door-to-door.

Bang on the door and tell people you wanna come in and take up
30 minutes of their time.

Then you'll see why all formulas are not created equal.  All
things you say in your “headline” to get in the door do NOT

If you don't nail that “interest” part, you get THROWN out of
the house.  Been there. Done that.

This is what I have to say about the AIDA formula. I hope this
has been of value to you and eye opening.

For more info on my 12-step formula, refer to other back issues of my ezine or,
obviously, my products. How's that for a shameless plug?

Marlon Sanders
The King of Step-By-Step Internet Marketing and
“The Ambassador of Old School Marketing”


Marlon Sanders is the creator of the Push Button Letters
software available at
and his actual sales copy FORMULA is best taught in the
product at

REPRINT RIGHTS: You have permission to use the above
article without omission and including the resource box.
You have the right to insert your reseller URL for any


Copyright 2009 Higher Response Marketing Inc.
All rights reserved.

TWITTER this and tell your friends:

  • Indeed, not all formulae are createde equal. What may work for a certain person, product or service may not work on another person, product or service. I also learned about this through years of Internet marketing. Finding a mentor to guide you is really very helpful. But you must also know that not everything the mentor did will also work for you. Learn about the different strategies from a mentor and find the ones that will work for you.

  • Bob says:

    I spent 37 years working for the same company. I am retired and trying to get my business (freelance writing, editing, book reviews and marketing) going.

    I am living on Social Security only which makes it difficult to purchase programs and books. Fortunately, I have been able to acquire some complementary things in return for reviews.

    There are so many things and so-called gurus that one doesn't know who to believe. I feel the dashboard may be the perfect tool to help old dogs learn the new tricks needed in internet marketing.

    I will check it out and hope I can afford it someday.

    [Hi Bob, Sean Mize has a free ebook on article writing. Read that and the $300 a day adsense ezine article I wrote referencing a whole thread on Warriors.]

  • Junior says:

    hey marlon

    Ive one real quick question about info product creation. Im in the pickup women niche.

    What if my target audience is mainly from the states? I have exactly no confidence in doing videos, and talking to my customers, as im a chinese and im not exactly the fluent kind of speaker.

    Im passionate about this niche. But im not exactly the "right" guy for my audience, as people percieve pickup artists to be smooth and good at language etc.

    So how can i still produce? Or should i instead switch to a niche that im comfortable with?

    p.s. even so, i have tried and done with writing a short ebook on approaching anxiety… so im still tryin to produce!

    [Hi, I know of people in the same boat who just use freelance sites to hire someone to record their videos. No biggie. Do Chinese guys buy pua products? Asian Playboy and those guys sell to that market. Maybe you change your target audience.]

  • Another great post, Marlon! There IS a formula I believe would work – years of being on the front line, constantly testing, tracking and revising your approach, all while schooling yourself in psychology, sociology, NLP and the use of subliminals…

    Of course, if one doesn't have the 40 or 50 years to invest, I can only recommend they look for another way that's worked over and over all over the world – but then we're back to the Amazing Formula, aren't we? 😉

    [Hey Doug, sorry I've been missing you on Twitter. We're doing a complete revamp on many aspects of my business. We'll have all this knocked out by January. Great hearing from you as always.]

  • I heard those 12 step programs worked. 🙂

    Thanks for breaking it down for us.

    [Hey Kristi, you're funny! Have a formula with a degree of granularity is important. It's really hard to write a letter that's decent from AIDA.]

  • Carolyn says:

    Hi Marlon

    You hit the nail on the head. The other methods do not tell us exactly HOW to create interest or desire, etc.

    Right on!


    [Hey Carolyn, certainly the AIDA formula commonly taught doesn't. Thanks for sharing here.]

  • Bob Kimball says:


    From an Old Dog tryin' to learn new tricks, you've hit the nail on the head. I've been an 'outside' salesman for the greater part of my 64 years and never once have I ever been able to put together a 'formula' or 'sequence' that worked very often. Those who try to shove AIDA down my throat lose my interest real quick, as it's obvious to me they have not walked in my footsteps.

    Bravo for the courage to blast that concept!


    [Bob, there is ALWAYS room for another product on how to get appointments, sell people, close sales etc. This is a very good field if you can come up with a UNIQUE twist or angle.]

  • peter says:

    Love your emails and posts Marlon

    Always full of gold !

    [Peter, is there a way I can be of service to you in one of my ezines? Something you want me to write about?]

  • Denise Jean says:

    Hi,Mr.Sanders,yes I know all of your saying is right,but beying a newbee on all of this,I have to start at the botom right,witch is learning what you teach in the Ultimate beginner guide only wich to get that book or e-book very soon cause it is like your saying the more I wait,the more Im loosing my time on this of wath I want to say please see that I get it fast thank you in advance…………

    [Hi Denise, how are you? Did you order it? If you did and you want immediate access, go to and see if Tim can give you immediate access on Monday. And be sure to read and ]

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