How to Talk to Your Prospect to Build a Winning 3-D Image and Promo — Without Ever Talking to Him


Will Newman

If I know your age, gender, income level, education, and other demographics, do I know you? Really know you?

Of course not.

What if I can find out your “psychographics?” The types of books you read. The magazines you subscribe to. Your political affiliation. Your hobbies. Do I know you any better?

A little better. But do I really know you?

Of course not.

So how can I get to know the real you?

There's really only one way to do that. And that's to talk to you. The same goes for your prospect when you're writing a promotion.

When you're trying to draw a meaningful, 3-D image of your prospect, demographics and psychographics start you off. (Click here to read our discussion of these crucial parts of every successful promotion.)

But if you want a really good image, you must “talk” to your prospect.

How can you talk with a prospect you’ve never met?

Well, you don't really have to talk to your prospect. What you want to do is listen to him … to his actual words. To learn his hopes, dreams, fears. To learn what he feels about why he needs your product to improve his life.

And that is easier than you might imagine.

Your best prospect is as close as your computer …

Some of the best places to find real words from real people about your copywriting topic are Internet discussion groups.

Type in “[topic]” and “forum” (without the quotation marks) on your search engine of choice. (I use Google.) For example, if you’re writing about a supplement that regulates blood sugar, you’d type in “diabetes” for the topic.

You’ll come up with a wealth of sources about diabetes … written by people with diabetes or with loved ones with diabetes. These forums get to the heart of what people are worried about, what they hope for, what they fear …

I’m a 24-year old diabetic patient. A few days back, I got knee injuries. Diabetes with knee injuries are so horrible. I'm taking joints supplements with diabetic remedies. Are there any side effects with this kind of medication?

This one entry gives insight into what diabetics might be thinking. If I were writing copy for this product, I don't think I would've come up with the expression "so horrible." But this man who’s suffering from diabetes told me how he feels.

I got this quote from 30 seconds of work. Imagine what you could learn from digging deeper and reading more.

Another valuable source for hearing your prospect’s words are in expert Q&A sections on your client’s and competitor’s websites.

Don't worry about the answers. The questions are what give you huge insight into your prospect's inner life.

But the Internet isn’t the only place to “hear” your prospect’s own words.

Your client has already spoken with your prospect …

Ask your client’s customer service department for customer letters. Your prospect speaks directly to you in these letters.

AWAI members in the COS Leads Targeted Learning Program study a wildly-successful promotion based on a testimonial. Kent Komae read a letter from Maureen Carron and fashioned his long-running Mountain Home Nutritionals control around it.

Don’t stop at the testimonials. Ask to see all the letters … even complaints. You gain insight into what your prospect wants from the product as much as you do from testimonials.

Let's say I know your demographics and psychographics. I've read letters you’ve written to a company complimenting them on a product similar to one I’ll be selling in my promotion. I've gone online and read what you said in online forums.

Now I'm getting a strong enough sense to draw a pretty good three-dimensional image of you as my prospect. But there's still one person who can flesh out that image better than anybody else.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about what we've talked about today. Comment below to let us know.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


Click to Rate:
Average: 4.7
Published: August 17, 2016

8 Responses to “How to Talk to Your Prospect to Build a Winning 3-D Image and Promo — Without Ever Talking to Him”

  1. Will wrote: "Type in “[topic]” and “forum” (without the quotation marks) on your search engine of choice. (I use Google.)"

    ...this bit of advice could not have been more timely. I'm just getting started as a B2B writer, looking to create some content for my website. I've been stumped, though, with how to figure out what type of content would be of value to my future clients. Now I have a way ahead!

    Thank you, Will!

    Gary HurtubiseAugust 17, 2016 at 5:13 pm

  2. Great stuff! I'm finally learning how to really get to know your prospect. I know this will help me with my writing.

    Guest (Melvin)August 17, 2016 at 7:56 pm

  3. This is a good one. It gives me insight into big things that I am working on.
    Many thanks.

    Guest (Lawrence Amos )August 17, 2016 at 9:41 pm

  4. Am looking forward implementating this indirect talk to prospect strategies.l know it will be fun.

    Thanks wills.

    Guest (Wilfred)August 18, 2016 at 8:03 am

  5. Head slapping brilliant Mr Newman!
    One of the best AWAI articles ever.
    Thank you!

    [FROM WILL: Your comment made me chuckle. Don't slap your head too hard. You don't want to give yourself a headache.]

    Guest (Annie)August 18, 2016 at 12:35 pm

  6. Hey. I have been selling and working with business clients for over 35 years. But I got some great new information about learning about their prospects here. Thanks!
    I also check out the reviews for my client. I actually have a tool for this, but just looking at their Google+ or Google My Business profile will get you some. This will get some specific information about the client's customers and how they relate to the customers.

    [FROM WILL: I'm always pleased to hear that!]

    Ron from the PhilippinesAugust 21, 2016 at 7:30 am

  7. Very insightful I am a teacher and a graphics and post production man,new in copy-writing.Am inspired to make a move on this one and your article is an eye opener.Through your candid observations I seem to know what to look for as I embark on this wonderful venture.

    Guest (MIKE NYAGA)August 23, 2016 at 8:55 am


Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)