The 3 things nobody wants to buy from you (sorry not sorry)

3 things I'm not buying.jpg

I’m on a lot of email newsletter lists and there are 3 things people constantly want to sell me...and they’re 3 things I’ll. Never. Buy.

I’ll never buy them especially since the price tag is so bloody VARIABLE. I’ve seen it sold for as little as $1 going up to millions of dollars.

In some cases these 3 things are covered by health insurance! You’re already paying those hefty premiums (or else you’re on the national health system or something), so you might as well get what’s yours.

At least when you purchase through a healthcare provider, someone somewhere involved in this purchase has a medical or advanced degree. An expert.

Personally I like buying from the experts (don’t you?).

The three things are confidence, clarity, and peace of mind.

A man walks into a bar...

Just kidding. A man goes into a store and announces, “Hi, I’d like to buy some confidence.”

Set aside for the moment the preposterous idea of buying confidence, or paying for it.

What is that man even looking for? Is it a:

  • $1 pack of gum so his breath is wintergreen fresh?

  • $9 stick of antiperspirant so he doesn’t have sweat stains on a first date?

  • $5,000 double-breasted Italian-tailored suit in navy?

  • $440,000 arm-mounted jetpack because doesn’t everybody want to fly?

All of those things can sure make someone feel confident!


But I buy those things because I want those things. Not “confidence.”

On the flip side, a man walks up to a customer...

...and says, “No! Put down that suit, my good friend! What you really need is confidence!”

That’s how I feel when I get some of these emails.

“I just wanted to hire someone who could help me grow my business. Can you help me with that, or are you just hell-bent for leather on this confidence thing?”

Especially if the price tag for all this confidence and clarity comes with a bigger ticket price. Whether I’m paying $2,000 or $20,000...I want to have more than a feeling to show for it.

Of course, confidence and peace of mind are important

When I hire a service provider, I sure as hell better feel confident and clear and have peace of mind for all that.

But. But but. You know what actually gives me that confidence?

Actually owning and using the thing.

“No one will see me sweat.”

“Damn I look good in this suit.”

“I’m going to blast off right from my backyard!”


When I hired my business attorney, it was a cover-your-butt move on my part. I wanted someone to protect me and my business.

But I still didn’t want to buy peace of mind.

I wanted to buy, “Someone-to-review-contracts-for-me.”

And that’s what she does! And yes I absolutely feel peace of mind because I have her in my corner.

The truth of the matter? Those are just lazy shortcut words

They’re lazy shortcuts and they’re failing you.

No person can simply read “confidence / clarity / peace of mind” and believe it.

You have to make them feel something, friend.

They have to feel deep in their bones that you are trustworthy, not just read the words “I’m trustworthy.”

Recently I wrote an entire blog post about selling excitement.

But, the way to sell excitement is to make your customer feel like an exciting person and you can’t do that just by listing “excitement” in your sales page bullets.

Maybe you’ve heard the adage: “People don’t buy drills. They buy holes.”

Right now I have the pleasure of taking a class with Liz Scully and she took it even further: people don’t buy drills OR holes. They buy the ability to hang pictures. Hanging pictures makes their house look nice so their mother-in-law can’t complain at Thanksgiving.

I agree.

But first, before anything else? What they want is the damn drill. Give ‘em the drill.

BONUS: My buddy Rachael Kay Albers of RKA ink covered this topic in an episode of her Awkward Marketing show: "The Surprising Copywriting Mistake That's Costing You Clients."


Image purchased from iStock.

Jenn Whinnem