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How to Sell Anything With Words–Including a Used Ceiling Fan

In: Creative Writing for the Internet

I'm about to cry.

I'm about to cry because I am so filthy proud of one of my former copywriting students.

When wrapping up our last conversation on writing take-'em-to-their-knees product descriptions, I left her with a challenge:

Look around your room. The first three items you see? Sell them to me.

The rationale, of course, is that if you can learn to effectively sell the most commonplace items, you can sell anything.

For our purposes we're talking about selling through words, of course, but this applies to any type of selling.

It's an excellent exercise—go ahead. Look around your room. What would you say to someone if you had to sell them your used air conditioner? Your old threadbare carpet? That 1920's record player? A chipped coffee cup?

As always, it's about taking whatever you're selling, and creating an emotional experience out of it—one that's in line with an emotional experience your target audience is seeking to have.

And my student? Fucking nailed it. Here's what she wrote.

1. Ceiling Fan

You took your time picking out the perfect house.

The 1967 Italian hardwood floors reminded you of that one summer you both nestled up during a rainstorm underneath a disheveled, little hut off the coast of Venice.

104 hours of seductively smitten, clothing-optional gratification.

You knew immediately he was the one after he whispered I’m completely yours at 4 o’clock in the morning when he thought you were asleep.

You weren’t.

And you smiled because

Instincts matter.

The tiniest details matter.

You haven’t settled yet, so why would you settle for just any run-of-the-mill ceiling fan in your adorably, perfect sanctuary for two?

Our Monte Carlo Centrifico Ceiling Fan is the perfect mix of unmistakably sensible and devilishly spontaneous.

It says I’m here for you + I dare you not to love me.

Because you thought perfection was impossible to find.

Until now.

 

2. Mirror

“You look nice” isn't going to cut it.

Save nice for your grandma’s sweater and that pink ballerina outfit you wore when you were 7.

Now, look yourself in your Seville Glossy Red Mirror and say you’re sorry.

Because no one ever felt smoldering, sexy, or stunning looking nice.

Well, maybe Beyonce.

But you’re not Beyonce.

You’re you and guess what? That’s more than enough.

Because you don’t need to sell out stadiums or make millions to feel like a million bucks.

You just have to strut like you do.

So tell the world who you are.

And let the others have nice.

 

3. Chest of Drawers

You play it cool in your fitted jeans and cotton tee-shirt. You're down to earth. Practical. Level-headed. Unassuming.

But your vintage French boudoir knows better.

The secrets those outfits could remember should only be whispered in the strictest of confidence. Secrets that would provoke a loosening of the tie and a flush of candy-apple red.

Introducing Vanguard’s line of Milk Mirrored Dressers.

It’s not the secrets you put in; it’s the ones you’re willing to take out.

And since your guilty pleasures deserve to be treated with the utmost care

From start to storage…

This secret’s on the house.

We’ll leave the rest up to you.

Go ahead.

Peek inside.

 

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