I learned this tip from market traders

Have you ever been to one of those market stalls where the trader creates a buzz and draws a crowd?

When I was a child, we visited a few and bought all kinds of things, from kitchen utensils and crockery to bedsheets and towels. And the only ‘remote control’ car I’ve ever seen that was operated via a wire!

I digress.

Those traders were experts in well-rehearsed, persuasive patter.

They were experts in something else, too: Momentum.

This is how they drew that crowd in the first place and kept them there until the end.

How a market trader pitches

This is how one of those pitches went.

Introducing the product

He started by making some noise to create some interest and draw people closer.

“Have I got a product for you today!”
“You won’t to want to miss out on this one!”

Then he introduced the product: a manual potato chipper that cuts your potatoes into perfect chunky chips.

Demonstrating the product

“Look how easily this slices your potatoes — you can do it with one hand.”

To prove it, he invited one of the mums to try it and show how easy it was. Social proof, right there.

“And it’s easy to clean. Just run it under the tap. Good as new.”

His demonstration countered two, presumably common, objections:

  • That it would be difficult to use; and
  • That it would be difficult to clean.

Showing the end result

At this point, he produced some cooked chips so that everyone at the front could try them. And they all seemed very emphatic about how good the chips were.

“You’ll never go back to frozen oven chips. And there’ll be no more queuing at the chippy. Because these chips are fresher, tastier, healthier and better for your family.”

By this point, the crowd had grown and people were interested in buying the chipper.

Making it irresistible

Now for the clincher: the price. How much was he selling them for?

“These chippers retail for £20.”
“But I’m not going to sell them to you for £20.”
“I’m not going to sell them for £10.”
“I’m not even going to sell them for £7.50.”
“Because, ladies and gentlemen, today — and for one day only — you can buy this chipper for just £5.”

At that price, it was difficult to say no to. And suddenly the air was full of hands, with folded £5 notes between their fingers. My dad was somewhere among them.

What can we learn from this?

The trader’s pitch was a masterclass in selling and, although it was in person, it included many of the techniques we use in our sales letters, on our websites and in our marketing campaigns.

But what’s really interesting to note here is the momentum he created in the lead up to making the sale.

He was focused and stuck rigidly to his message — and he kept it flowing so people didn’t get bored and walk away.

One of the main problems I see on websites that aren’t selling or bringing in business, is a break in the momentum. It’s a bit like the engine cutting out before the racing car gets to the finish line. And there are several ways this can happen.

How the momentum is broken

Here are a few examples.

Ineffective landing pages

Imagine this.

You see an advert that compels you to click on it. The company has succeeded in creating the buzz. You’re interested and you want to find out more

But, instead of a customised landing page that’s designed to continue your buyer journey, you arrive on the product page of the company’s website.

There’s no continuity from the advert to the landing page, which immediately kills the momentum.

If you want to find out more, I wrote a whole other article about creating landing pages.

Diversions and interruptions

To sustain momentum, you need to stay focused on your sales message — like the market trader did. If you deviate your audience’s attention from that message, any momentum you’ve built will be gone.

You’ll lose your momentum if you:

  • Go off on a tangent
  • Add extraneous or irrelevant details
  • Talk about things that you think are important, but which are of no interest to your audience
  • Litter your landing page with distractions.

Incomplete information

If a reader reaches the end of your pitch and still has questions, this could deter them from buying.

Presume that before they’ll make a purchase, your audience will need all their questions answered and all their objections quashed. Then make sure they are.


The market trader’s pitch was perfectly rehearsed, which meant there was no room for waffle.

Waffle happens when you:

  • Mindlessly repeat yourself
  • Labour certain points
  • Find long and meandering ways to say things that could be said quickly and succinctly
  • Fill your content with meaningless rubbish that nobody cares about.

If you kill the pace with this kind of waffle, you kill the momentum for the sale.

Poor delivery

Your copy should flow smoothly into the minds of your audience. It should make them feel like they’re immersed in an experience, rather than just reading words.

But if your delivery is poor, it can be hard work for your audience. They might find themselves stumbling over badly constructed sentences, or having to re-read certain parts just to make sense of them.

Anything that stalls your audience like this will destroy your momentum.

No available action

You’ve read all the copy, momentum is high and you’re ready to buy — so, naturally, you click the button that says ‘BUY NOW’.

But instead of going through to the payment screens, you end up on the contact page. Because you can’t actually buy the product online, you have to call the company. And if you’re outside hours, that’s not even possible.

A dead-end like this is a momentum killer and will send your customer to your competitors.

How to build and sustain momentum

  1. Target your ideal customers: Pick them up by posting your content in the right places
  2. Generate interest: Attract customers using the best and most appropriate method for your business
  3. Focus: Craft your sales message and stick to it — do not deviate or distract with unnecessary details
  4. Avoid mindless repetition: This counts as waffle
  5. Be clear: Your copy should make good sense and be easy to read
  6. Be comprehensive: Pre-empt any questions and answer them — if more questions arise, amend your copy and answer those too
  7. Talk benefits: Unlike the features of a product, the benefits are always clear, easy to understand and won’t cause readers to stumble
  8. Be predictable: Send your customers where they’re expecting to go — do not throw them a curveball
  9. Deliver what you promise: ‘Buy Now’ should mean they can buy it immediately — even at 3am in their pyjamas.

Is your website converting enough visitors into customers?

If the answer is ‘no’, maybe I can help.

I’m Jenny Lucas, a freelance copywriter and website specialist based in Leicester, UK.

If your website isn’t performing as it should, I’ll help you figure out what the problems are — and show you how to fix them.

And if you need killer sales copy for your site that builds momentum for a sale, I can help with that too.

Photo by Matt Glover Photography

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