Sales “scientist”, Elmer Wheeler was an absolute master of understanding how buyers think and understanding how  to really connect with a buyers’ hopes and fears, conversationally.

In the following article, Mr. Wheeler talks about “penetrating the cloud”. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether we are walking down a street or scanning through a newspaper, we are all walking around in a fog. It’s then the job of an advertisement, to penetrate that fog. If it doesn’t, your advertising dollar has been wasted. If it does, you have captured their attention and you’re one step closer to generating a sale.

Here’s an excerpt from our “College of Copywriting” Freelance Copywriting course where Elmer Wheeler talks about this in detail …

“As you walk to work your mind is fleeting from thought to thought and your eye from object to object – you are doing what is known as “daydreaming”. You see everything – yet see nothing!

Your mind is miles away. You are building castles in Spain. Automatically you tip your hat, automatically you dodge a streetcar, and instinctively you walk around people who may bump into you. You are awake yet sound asleep! You are in a daze.

Suddenly somebody uses a “Tested Selling Sentence” on you. It penetrates the “cloud”. You come to life – down to earth. You are all eyes and ears. The “sizzle” captured your attention.

We must learn the secret of getting our worlds into another person’s brain – by the haze and past the daze – for the prospect may be looking at us, eye to eye, yet his mind may be miles away. As Richard Borden says, “you must have an ‘Oh hum crasher’ for your prospect!” You must crash his “Oh hum” – his yawn – you must use words that dash by his daze.

“Stop, look, and listen” means nothing today to people; they look at it, yet every day people are being hit by trains. It is not a good split-second “daze crasher” anymore because we have seen it too often.”

Wheeler then goes on to share a story about “The Medicine Man”…

“The medicine man can open his business on any street corner, and within three minutes he has customers. Why? Because of the words he shouts into the crowds, words that capture your ears, that turn your eyes to what he is doing. Ten-second sales messages.

His leading questions are:

“Do you feel tired at times?”

“Do you feel like giving up?”

“Does your back ache at four o’clock every afternoon?”

“Do your feet hurt you every night?”

“Can you see that bird on the top of this building?”

“Can you jump over a fence three feet high?”

“If you can’t then step right up here gentlemen, and let me show you something that will put pep into your old blood, that will make you feel like a day in spring, a trip throughout he mountains as refreshed as an ocean breeze.”

The medicine man is trading on your fears and on your desires alike with leading questions that get him the answers he wants. He is hitting your basic buying motive … self-preservation!

You step up to his portable store. You are all eyes and ears. You are skeptical – but not for long when this orator begins to play on your emotions as the harpist plays on the strings of a harp. His words are music to the ears of all “sufferers,” especially of imaginary ills.”

See how effectively this dialogue penetrates the cloud?

What questions can you be asking in your sales presentations and in your direct mail pieces and advertising, to penetrate YOUR buyer’s cloud?