Sales Hustle is now Sales Transformation
Oct. 4, 2021

#164 S2 Episode 33 - From Ripping Out Carpets To A Copywriting Wizard with Cole Schafer

On this episode of the Sales Transformation Podcast with Cole Schafer, founder of Honey Copy, a creative copywriter and all-around great guy.


01:40 Where it all started for Cole and how he got into copywriting

06:11 How to become a better copywriter and overall get better at your craft in the world of sales 

15:36 Short copy vs long copy and what serves what best based on Cole's mindset

21:07 Some tips and techniques on how you can improve your copy

24:32 How to connect with Cole and follow his newsletters and so much more


08:05 "Something you can do is actually record yourself pitching the sale to someone, playback the recording. And kind of like write down the bits and the pitch that sounds really really solid. Like oh s*** like two minutes in, you know, I really made a good point here. Write that down in an email, have a notes pad of all your one-liner pitches, and just perfect those."

09:27 "Earlier on in my outreach, something I found that by writing really solid cold emails. If I did it right, and we had a decent exchange, by the time we got on the phone, it didn't feel like a cold lead anymore. It actually felt like a warm lead like we had built up some rapport."

19:12 "I do think that there's an amount of thoughtfulness that goes into taking the time to crunch down your words, to cut the fat, and just get directly to the point. Not a lot of people wanna do it because they don't have that kind of time."

20:23 "I try to play a game where I highlight all the copy, look at what the word count is, and see if I can cut the fat by like 25%. Because the copy's always going to get better and you can always find 25% of the fat you can cut out. And I think generally speaking the copy's gonna get better if you do that."

21:31 "Make your subject lines close to ridiculous. Especially if it's a cold email where people are just getting smacked with dozens of cold emails every day. The last thing you want to do is to try and make the cold email sound 'sales-y."

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[00:00:00] In the world of sales, you either sink or swim or breakthrough to the next level. My name's Colin Mitchell, and this is sales transformation, a new kind of sales show designed to bring you through the epic life-changing moments of elite sellers. So you can experience your own sales transformation.

[00:00:24] All right. Welcome to another episode of sales transformation, and as always, I've got an awesome. For you today, I'm going to be talking with Cole Schaffer. Uh, he runs a small writing shop called honey copy, uh, where he works with brands of all shapes and sizes on writing words that read like poetry and sell like, oh, I'll go fee.

[00:00:44] Oh, here we go. Okay. Twisted me up there, man. Some creative copy. Uh, so we're going to dig into Kohl's experience specifically, and we're going to talk a little bit about the work that he does and how copywriting could [00:00:59] help sellers and maybe some things that they could do to level up their skills in that arena.

[00:01:04] Cole, welcome to sales transformation. What's that man, I am excited to be. Awesome man, you got a bike hanging there and you background, are you a, are you a cyclist? Uh, I'm not a cyclist, but I'm a big fan of kind of older school, uh, things I drive a 89, uh, range Rover and that's not me bragging. It was. It has about 185,000 miles on it.

[00:01:30] So it's, it's by no means like spic and span, but yeah, there's something about vintage stuff. And, um, I saw that by, or my dad saw that bike at this like little yard sale and it was sound for 50 bucks. And so I got new tires on it and yeah, I liked to ride it around here in east Nashville from time to time.

[00:01:50] Nice looks cool. Love it makes a good conversation piece for sure. Yeah. Uh, so just give me [00:01:58] the quick version here. Like where did it all kind of start for Cole and what's your sales experience been? And then let's kind of dig into the juicy stuff of, you know, how sellers can use copywriting to sell more crap.

[00:02:10] Yeah, man. Absolutely. So I, uh, I got into copywriting. Um, I kind of fell into it. I was, uh, working at a small ad agency in my hometown. This was, I mean, probably about 5, 5, 6 years ago. And I hated my job. Absolutely despised it. I'm not cut out for the office life. And so I quit. Um, and I got a job tearing out carpet.

[00:02:40] Um, so I'd go into these old apartment buildings, tear out this nasty carpet. Um, and I got paid, uh, cash to do that, which was sweet. Cause at the time, you know, I was young and probably wasn't as worried about taxes and stuff like that. Uh, and. Yeah. So I would tear [00:02:57] out carpet from like 7:00 AM to three, 3:00 PM.

[00:02:59] Get off work. I'd start to write a reach out cold email, a bunch of different brands and businesses and say, Hey, do you need someone to write your blogs? Do you need someone to, I was just constantly pitching myself. Um, and eventually after doing that for a while, I got to this place where. I didn't have to work construction and tear out carpet and do a bunch of odd jobs.

[00:03:21] I had gathered enough business that it supported me, um, outside of, outside of all of that. So I kind of put my, the blue collar work behind me. Um, I love so a couple things about that, right? So you had a job in the office that you hated. Uh, but th the alternative was to go rip out carpet, like, so, but you were willing to make that sacrifice.

[00:03:45] To be able to do something, um, that was yours. That was your own that you enjoy doing on your terms, right? Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I think that, you know, [00:03:56] Something I'll say too is, uh, there's. There is something about like my, a lot of my, my grandfather and his grandfather, they were blacksmiths.

[00:04:05] And so there's sort of a long lineage of, of blue collar workers in my family. And, um, you know, there's, there's a lot of, of beauty in that. And it was funny how, like, I almost prefer to do that versus working the desk job that a place I, I kind of despised. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, my first job was, was, uh, lugging around furniture.

[00:04:28] Right. Nothing sexy, but like I was young and I got to be outside. Lift heavy stuff and stay in shape. And I didn't mind it much. Uh, but for me it was, you know, when I got my first sales job, that was like my way out, it was in the office. But when you're in sales, it's a little different. Like you, you, uh, you kind of run your own business within the business, you know, and as long as you're putting numbers up on the board, people [00:04:55] don't really bother you too much.

[00:04:57] I don't, I don't view sales as a. A desk job by any means. And I'll put an asterix there and say, Hey, if like that's what you want. And, and you, you, you prefer to kind of work the standard nine to five, like more power to you, you know, but sales definitely is kind of a, my dad's a real estate agent. He's been for two decades and, um, it's cool to see him.

[00:05:21] Uh, he's been really successful in it and he makes completely his own schedule, you know, As long as salespeople are, are selling, you know, they, they probably have a ton of. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, in, in, in, you know, salespeople or entrepreneurs, I mean, if you want to be an entrepreneur, like sales is the number, I would say this all the time.

[00:05:43] It's the number one skill that you should learn, unless you're an awesome copywriter like yourself, and you can use the magic of words, you know, to get people interested in learning more [00:05:54] about what you do. But even in that case, you got to have both skills, right. So I kind of want to, uh, You know, switch the ch you turn the chapter here a little bit and just kind of dig into like the, the, the copywriting work that you do, how that could help, you know, sellers in their content or writing blogs or reaching out to prospects.

[00:06:16] Like, what are some things that people can do to like, sort of flex their copywriting? Sure. So I think that's kind of a, maybe a two-part two-part answer. I mean, first and foremost, to, to become a, a better copywriter, you just have to write a lot, you know, you just have to, to ride a lot and, and I'd say for most salespeople, they're probably.

[00:06:38] Riding a lot of emails and probably doing cold outreach that way. And following up with clients that way and something I would just encourage them to do is, uh, w w where they might generally use cliches in their emails, you know, like, [00:06:53] um, you know, I feel like something I get all the, all the time is I hope this email finds you well, you know, try to say something different and drives me nuts.

[00:07:00] Yeah. Try to try to say something a little bit different there, you know, uh, at the end of the email, something I really struggle with is, or I shouldn't even say struggle with, I've gotten in the habit of like always writing cheers, comma Cole, you know? And I'm like, what the fuck am I cheersing? Do you know why?

[00:07:16] Like I caught myself the other day thinking, why am I. Cheers, like cheers to my clients. Like just say, thanks or don't even say anything, just say coal. And so I think one way to be a better copywriter just in the world of sales is, um, kind of look at the phrasing that everybody uses. You know, that I hope this email finds you well, uh, you know, the, the, the jargon.

[00:07:40] And just say something very, very different, you know, instead of, I hope this email finds you well, um, you know, say something funny about like your day and, and just creating like more of a personal [00:07:52] tone, like in your emails without, you know, losing that professionalism, you know, that is, is important to a degree in sales.

[00:07:58] And then I'd say like another tip is, um, you know, read a. For a lot of times, I think for salespeople, especially, they're amazing when it comes to verbally selling something, but then when they have to sell it via text, you know, or through the written format, there's, there's kind of a, a divide there a little bit because they're just two totally different skills one's written and one's a verbal communication on something you could do is like actually record yourself, pitching the same.

[00:08:27] To someone playback the recording and then kind of like write down the bits in your pitch. That sound really, really solid. Like, oh shit. Like two minutes in, you know, I made a really good point here. Write that down. Like in an email have, have a, have a notes pad with like, All of your one-liners or your sales pitches and just perfect those.

[00:08:48] And so you can start verbally and then you can pull them [00:08:51] out of your recording and actually like write them in, in two things will happen. One, um, just naturally, like your copy is going to take on a much more conversational tone because it's coming from a place of like actually saying it verbally. But then I think like with that too, um, you'll be able to translate, translate some of that sales magic to your copy.

[00:09:12] Um, because it'll literally feel like someone. You know, like that you're the PR the receiver will feel like someone speaking to them. So that's how you, that's how you get better. Um, I think how sales copy can help people, um, especially like sales people is, um, when I'm, I remember like earlier on in my career, when like now a lot of them are.

[00:09:33] My leads are inbound. So people will find me through SEO or sign up for my newsletters. And then by the time I'm on the phone with them, they're already a hot lead. Um, but earlier on in my career, when I was having to do a ton of cold outreach, something I found was that. [00:09:50] By writing really solid emails, really solid cold emails if I did it right.

[00:09:54] And we had a decent exchange by the time we got on the phone, it didn't, it, it didn't feel like a cold lead anymore. It actually felt like kind of a warm lead. Like we had built up some rapport. And so I would just view. Uh, I would view copywriting and writing email specifically, not as a, um, as part of the job, you know, but as like a really great opportunity to, um, put yourself in a great position to actually close the sale.

[00:10:22] Um, once you get on the. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, so many good things in there. I don't even know where to start, but, um, let's just go back for a second, right? The idea of like recording you, you, your pitch, um, you could even like transcribe that, right. And then like pick some nuggets out of there and maybe like tune them up.

[00:10:42] Um, I think that's, that's, uh, that's something that I've never considered that I think is a. Place for people to [00:10:49] start. Um, so thanks for dropping that tip really appreciate that. Um, and I love the piece of where you're saying, you know, that because of your copy or your newsletter or the content or the things that you're doing, um, People are such more of a warm lead when you actually have a conversation with them, which is such an important piece, because it's really common for a seller to have a conversation, whether that's, you know, a discovery call or a zoom call or whatever, in the beginning of the sales process.

[00:11:24] And then the follow-up after that conversation is some highly templated, corporate cliche. Piece of crap that you're like, whoa, that is not the person that I just had a call with. Right. You know, it's a huge opportunity because I think prosper. Really are looking for like some consistent [00:11:48] consistency, like who you are online, who you are when you meet and have a conversation who you are through email.

[00:11:54] There needs to be some consistency there. And when there's not, it's like a big red flag. Totally. It totally is man. And, you know, um, I, uh, listened to this amazing podcast called how to take over the world, which is a really douchey title, but it, it it's, it just is great content. And basically this guy looks at like some of the world's greatest leaders, like, um, Phillip degrade and Napoleon Bonaparte and Julius Caesar.

[00:12:23] And what, something that a lot of them had in common was that they were prolific, um, Letter writers. So they're constantly writing letters to two other people, just staying like, just, just trying to inspire them, trying to stay connected, trying to get stuff done. Um, and I think that there's something to be said about bringing that into sort of.

[00:12:44] The modern day, a little bit is not [00:12:47] viewing your emails is like, Hey, I'm going to just copy and paste this template. You know, that I'm sending to everyone, but instead viewing literally every single email that you're sending to, uh, I don't like, I don't love the word network, but let's just say prospects or people that you're doing business with viewing every single email is almost like.

[00:13:06] A something that's authentic strictly like an authentic conversation between you and that person. Um, and I just think that if you're willing to put in that little extra work, um, yeah, you're just going to build a longer term, uh, relationship with them. And I found like with my own. Getting a, getting a hot lead in doing a quick project, making a couple grand.

[00:13:28] That's awesome. But where like most of my money comes from, uh, are the relationships that, that I've had for three and four years where we haven't done just one project, but we've done seven projects over the course of three years and they've referred me to this person and that person. And so I think it's just [00:13:46] really important to, yeah.

[00:13:47] Obviously CA cast a wide net and hopefully work with a bunch of different people. But, but really like try to, to prioritize, prioritize the conversations you're having with like your, your, your heavy hitters. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there's an opportunity for, you know, to deliver such a great experience at the become, you know, super referral partners, centers of influence, super fans, whatever you want to call them, people that are willing to recommend you to their friends.

[00:14:18] Um, you know, that's, that's a, that's a bigger win than a one-time one-off project, you know, from somebody. And I think that. In that like followup of like, after the call, where a lot of times, you know, what, whatever phase of the sales process that you're in typically. You know, your cadences, you have a call and then there's like an, if you're, if, if you're, if you're a real sales [00:14:45] professional, like if you're really doing things right, and some people don't even do this, but there's typically a up there in between the next steps or the next call, right.

[00:14:54] You're going to do like a post mortem of, of like, Hey, here's what we talked about on the call. Here's, you know, clear next steps. Here's some notes. Here's some of my recommendations. Here's how we can move forward. Whatever that looks like. There's an opportunity to shine there. Right. And, and, and, and with bad copy or template ID, you know, uh, marketing crap that, you know, somebody put in a folder for you to use, isn't going to do the job.

[00:15:23] No, absolutely not. So, and I know there's like, there's been, you know, I, I'm not a copywriting experts, um, in just genuinely curious your opinion on this. Um, but there's, there's been sort of, you know, where there's still a lot of people that write this sort of long form copy. Right. And then there's, you know, short [00:15:44] copy.

[00:15:45] I believe there's places for both in different things, but I'm curious to see what your opinion is on like short copy versus long copy and sort of like what were those, you know, serving best. Sure. So I, I tend to feel that shorter is better. And so anytime actually, like anytime I'm writing a. Email where the sales email might be longer.

[00:16:09] You know where we're saying it's stretching for 3, 4, 500 words. I always add in a little TLDR at the top of the email. Basically summarize the entire email and two to three sentences, because I just think like you, and especially in this day and age where the people you're reaching out to they're on Twitter, they're on Instagram.

[00:16:30] They're an email they're on, they're on LinkedIn. Like they're on LinkedIn. They are. Constantly being pulled in and out of meetings. Like you just have to have a tremendous amount of respect for their time. And not that I don't [00:16:43] think there's a time or a place for the long two, 3000 words, sales, email, or sales letter.

[00:16:49] Um, but I think. Nowadays with people's attention spans being a little bit. Well, I'm going to just say much, much shorter. You're better off having a two to three sentence long email with a very specific call to action at the end. Like let, like, are you available Tuesday at this time? You know, or, um, we talked about doing the demo.

[00:17:11] Let's do the demo at this time. Like having, having a very specific call to action at the end of that, I always think that that's going to perform better than doing something much, much less. Yeah. I mean, I know even just from my own experience in sending, you know, campaigns, or even just the S the junk that I see show up in my inbox.

[00:17:32] You know, in, in most cases, if it looks too long and it doesn't catch my attention like right away, I'm not [00:17:42] even reading it. It's going straight, straight to the train, straight to the trash. Yeah, I'm right there with you. Uh, I get a lot of young, you know, younger writers that reach out to me that are maybe in college or a year or two out.

[00:17:56] To pursue a career in copywriting and they have all the time in the world and they're enthusiastic. And they write me these emails that are like 500 words long. I'm expecting that I'm, that I'm going to read them all the way through and, and something like, I try to remind people to think about. You know, let's say you place.

[00:18:16] I think everyone should have an, a number in mind of like how much their hours worth, you know? Um, for some people that might be $500 for others, that might be $50, but let's say like your hour's worth $50. Right. Um, and someone's reaching out to you with an email that's 400 words long. It takes you 10 minutes to read another 20 minutes to respond.

[00:18:38] Basically what that person is expecting is [00:18:41] saying, like, you're paying me 25, you're literally paying me $25 just to listen to me. And it's just, it's kind of pretentious when you think about it. And so when you look at it that way you start having a much greater respect for the people that you're reaching out to.

[00:18:56] And so, like one of the, um, lessons I always teach like young copywriters when they reach out to me with a super long email is I'll say. Right at me again, hit me with two to three sentences and give me a very clear idea of like exactly what you want me to help you with. And it's, it's amazing how, um, I will either never get an email back from them or the ones that I do will take the time to make it shorter.

[00:19:20] It's like that famous line by. Uh, I believe it's like Blaise Pascal. It's like if I had more time, I would've written a shorter letter. Um, I do think that there is an, a, an amount of thoughtfulness that goes into taking the time to crunch down your words, to cut the fat and to just get like directly to the point.

[00:19:38] Not a lot of people want to do it because they [00:19:40] don't have that kind of time. Um, and so do you, do you typically have a process where like you write a longer version and then. Settle with a smaller version that sums up sort of like what you've written or do you just go straight to like a shorter version, short copy, you know, two, three sentence type of, uh, email when you're, when you're yeah, I mean, it totally, it totally will depend on the process.

[00:20:06] Like sometimes I'll write an email and generally, like when I'm writing the email, sort of my dimensions I'm having a mind is I'm gonna use, um, 12 point font. And I'm never going to draw the email out longer than a single page in Google docs. And that, that includes like the, the subject line, the preview text, the actual email itself, the spacing in the email.

[00:20:30] Like I never want that to go longer than a single page. And if it ever goes longer than it means I've, I've gotten way too long winded. But from there, like something I try [00:20:39] to do is I try to, um, Play a game where like I a highlight all the copy, look at what the word count is. And then see if I can cut the fat by like 25%, because it's always going to get the copy is always going to get better.

[00:20:53] If you there's, you can always find 25% of the fat you can cut out. Um, and I think generally speaking, the copy is going to get better if you do. Mm, I love that. That's a, that's a great, um, tip on a process to sort of cut it and look at it and preview it. Um, but yeah, so you're, you're thinking of everything.

[00:21:12] What's going to be shown in the preview for the subject, the preview, the space, everything. Totally. Yeah. And what are some, I mean, what are some, uh, techniques or tips that you have for people that are like looking to catch people's attention early on like first line of the. Uh, like first-line of the email.

[00:21:34] Yeah. I mean, there's a couple of different like ways people think like go hyper [00:21:38] personalized, be relevant mix of both. Be funny, you know, be bold. Like, I don't know. What, what have you seen? That's worked best in the work that you've done. So I would say make your subject lines. Uh, close to ridiculous. You know, I mean, I think that like, especially if it's a cold email where, where people are getting just smacked with dozens of cold emails every day, the last thing you want to do is try to make the cold email sound salesy.

[00:22:07] Like you're better off just writing in the cold email, like blue sky in, and like make that the subject line because that's going to get open more than, um, Claim your demo, you know, or something like that. Like, people are just, we've, we've sorta been conditioned to turn off when we feel like there's like some crazy sales speak going on.

[00:22:27] Um, but then in the actual email itself, like after you say hello or what's up, or however you feel like you want to communicate with your, with, with the [00:22:37] recipient, you know, I think anything other than I hope this email finds you well. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think first sentence. But I like going for a, a short, for a sentence, you know?

[00:22:50] So like three to five words, there's, there's kind of this idea in copywriting, it's called the slippery slope. It was thought up by this guy named Joseph Sugarman. And the idea is that, um, a sales page or a sales email, or a piece of copy should kind of act like a slippery slope where. Um, as someone's kind of walking by slope, if they just take a small step over the edge, they slipped down further and further to where like they're kind of lost down the page.

[00:23:16] And how you do that in sales copy is you might make the first sentence really easy to read. So maybe three words you might make the second sentence forwards, or five words you, you short and you make short sentences. Get the purse person into the copy. And then as you get further into the copy, you can [00:23:36] sort of draw out your, your sentences a little longer as you're making points and all that.

[00:23:42] But I found that like short sentences that are punchy, that are interesting, that are. Uh, usually kind of function as a sort of hook to just like, get the reader in there, whether it's an actual reader of like fiction or something, but it also works with like a reader who, who might like be a decision maker at a company.

[00:24:02] Yeah. And do you have a process that you followed for like coming up with that, like punchy short three to five word hook? Um, no, not, not necessarily. I mean, I think at this time, I've been doing this long enough that it just kind of comes up naturally. Um, but I would just encourage people that if, uh, look at like the last seven sales emails they've sent read the first sentence and then a good practice would be, how can I say this same [00:24:35] exact thing in three to five weeks?

[00:24:37] Yeah, no, I love that awesome call. It's been awesome having you on. I learned a few things myself really appreciate it. Um, I know there was tons of value in here for the listeners. So what is the best way for people to get in touch with you to get into your world, uh, or find out about what's going on?

[00:24:55] Sure. Yeah. So, um, best places just honey, copy. Uh, dot com. And once they get there, they can kind of poke around the side. There's a ton of like free information. Um, definitely check out the newsletters tab in the far right hand corner. Um, there's a couple of newsletters there where I'll be in touch if you subscribe to one of those.

[00:25:17] Um, and then I'm also like pretty active on Instagram, just Cole, Shaffer. Um, but that's more like creative poetry, uh, maybe more kind of creative advertising type of stuff. Still really interesting. Just like less, less to do with. Okay. Awesome. We'll drop those links there in the show notes [00:25:34] for everyone. If you enjoyed today's episode, please write us a review, share the show with your friends and as always we're listening for your feedback.

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