How to find ideas for sales stories (even if life is “boring”)

During the April launch of CopyHour, I was searching for a story about a solopreneur who had used CopyHour to help build a six or seven figure business.

I’m not trying to brag when I say that I have plenty of examples, but I wanted a really good story, and preferably one from a female entrepreneur.

I found myself running out of time one night before the launch and had almost decided to give up & just include one of the same stories I’ve included in prior launches.

But then it hit me… I had in my notebook on my desk, CopyHour’s Big Idea for the launch: "Hard-wire six and seven figure copy into your brain". And I was searching through the CopyHour Facebook group, looking at old posts, and there she was: Sarah Mueller.

"Sarah is the perfect example," I said to myself but then I thought, "Oh, I don’t really know how her story about CopyHour fits into the Big Idea."

So what I did was go watch an interview I did with her 5 or 6 years ago. Almost immediately, she mentioned that she’d been struggling and had come close to quitting her blog and business.

Then she kept talking and together we basically figured out that CopyHour had given her the confidence and skills necessary to not just keep going, but to scale up and into seven figures.

I almost couldn’t believe my luck. This story just seemed to fall into my lap.

Of course, it’s not actually luck – this is exactly the sales story telling system I’ve built for myself (mostly unconsciously) over the past decade. What I’ve taught you this week allows me to quickly and easily find and write stories (sales specific stories which are different than regular stories)
An extremely common question I got on Tuesday when I sent a survey out was:

"How do I find ideas that can be turned into a sales story?"

One subscriber told me that they’re working a day job and that their life is insanely boring so they have no stories.
I can fully relate and emphasize with the question and situation.

Here’s how you push forward and find sales stories even if you’re not living an "exciting life".

Step #1: Get crystal clear on your Big Idea.
"A Big Idea is one super sexy benefit that your product has, that your competition doesn’t have… or doesn’t seem to have."
When you have a clear benefit staring at you, that also means you should clearly know what your target market’s problems are.

So pick one problem. Just one.

(If you absolutely can’t settle on a Big Idea you’d like to test, just pick one benefit that your product gives a customer. It doesn’t have to be big or different than your competition.)

Now you have:

  • Your Big Idea

  • One Problem

    If you look back at the story to start this email, you’ll notice something. (There’s nothing for sale in this series but I wrote it like a sales transformation story.)

  • The story is about me.

  • My problem is that I couldn’t find an idea for a story (and that’s my market’s problem too).

  • The Big Idea is that this method you’re reading right now will help you easily find and write sales stories.

    So what I showed you to do is:

    Step #2: Take your Big Idea, one problem, and run it through the Transformation Framework.
    This second step is about intimately understanding this framework from yesterday:

  1. Before (problems)
  2. Transformation (your product)
  3. After (Big Idea Achieved)

    The real secret here is going out and finding problems that your market has.

    When you’ve found those problems, tell them the story of how you solved that problem or how one of your customers solved that problem.

  • Go look at your testimonials.
  • Look at product forums.
  • Review customer phone calls you’ve recorded.
  • Go ask ChatGPT.
  • Go on YouTube and see what problems other marketers are solving for your market (audience).

    What problems are your customers saying they’ve having?

Those are all stories waiting to be fleshed out with the Transformation Framework.

I need to pause here to remind you: There are lots of different types of stories you can tell, but I’m teaching you how to write stories that sell the most.

For example, you could take a universal problem, like getting frustrated by traffic during your commute, and talk about how your product solves frustrations. That might work — but what I’m saying is that that connection isn’t nearly as strong as if it’s a problem related to your product.

And that a story about easily correlated problems will sell better.

After you’ve exhausted your Transformation Framework stories…

Step #3: Figure out where you are in the sale sequence.

In a previous email I gave you the example of a story I wrote about a Reddit post I found. That post helped explain how I justify purchasing products. It was was told at the end of the launch sequence, in the Close.

Here are some sections I like to include in the Close of a sales sequence.

  • a. [Optional] False Close (Bonuses)
  • b. [Optional] Urgent Qualifiers
  • c. Price Presentation
  • d. Ordering Details
  • e. Guarantees
  • f. Options
  • g. Scarcity
  • h. CTA
  • i. [Optional] FAQ

    Basically, what I did to find that story was look at the sections of the Close.

I knew my price was $500. So then I started to think about how a customer would try to justify a $500 purchase (just bc it’s clear to me that you’ll make 10x/100x/1000x in return doesn’t mean my customer will see it that clearly).

With Price Presentation you want to establish a value for your product that is higher than what you charge in return.
This made me think: what have I spent $500 on that was a) worth every penny and b) wasn’t worth $500.

It’s amazing what taking the time to run these thought processes through step-by-step will do because that immediately helped me remember Reddit, and the posts I see people make about "life changing purchases under $X."

From there I just needed to tell a quick story about how I found those posts, the lesson learned, and how exactly it applies to my product, or the section of the close in the sales sequence.

Here are some questions to get your sales story juices flowing.

a. [Optional] False Close (Bonuses) – What’s the Big Idea of the Bonuses you’re offering? Use the process above.

b. [Optional] Urgent Qualifiers – What’s a time you weren’t a good fit to achieve something?

  • What’s a time you bought something you didn’t think you needed?

    c. Price Presentation – What have I spent $X on that was a) worth every penny and b) wasn’t worth $X.

    e. Guarantees – What’s a time when you or your customer took a risk and it paid off?

    f. Options – What’s a time you did something again and again and got the same result?

    g. Scarcity – What’s a time you bought a product because it was scarce or rare?

  • When’s a time when time ran out?
  • When have you made quick decision that ended up being the best decision?

    If you follow the emails from this week, and then the process explained in this email, I can almost guarantee you’ll be able to generate sales stories quickly and easily.

    The problem you’ve likely had with generating stories is more related to your thinking that all stories must "entertain" rather than sell.

    We are in business to sell, and the types of stories I’ve described are the ones that really sell.

    These "stories that sell" will work particularly well in emails, but you can also use them on sales pages. I wouldn’t recommend them for (new) audience building on social media.

A final note: this process becomes easier and easier each time you run through it until you’ll be able to write these stories almost unconsciously, and you’ll see stories in nearly every situation (no matter how boring it might seem on the surface).

I hope you found this series helpful. When you use it to write something that helps you make sales, do me a favor and let me know.

Have a great weekend!

– Derek