A number of years ago I came to understand that the act of buying toilet paper was a major lesson in the art of being a good businessman and a great marketer. Crazy, right!

I can honestly say that the lesson here was one of the great insights that I have learned on my professional path to high level marketing and sales success.

And it goes like this: “You’ll never be a great marketing or sales professional until you realize that when you go home, at some point, you’ll need to go buy toilet paper too!”

Translation: At some point in time we all are consumers, every one of us. So the lesson is that in order to be really, really good at marketing and sales we must also remember that we are also consumers. Which in application means that we must learn to critique any marketing materials, advertising copy or sales scripts as both the expert and the consumer.

We create these materials (or pay someone to create them) with the intent to use them to sell our product or service to our prospective consumers. But the difference in good copy and materials that wins awards and copy and materials that really entice the consumer to buy is usually a result of application of the true “acid” test.

The “Acid Test” is simply the act of stepping back, putting on your CONSUMER hat and critically looking at the material and asking yourself, “Would I buy that?”  If you as the consumer says NO then you should accept the fact that it’s not strong enough and go immediately back to the drawing board.  If it’s cute or funny but doesn’t really sell your product, admit it and start all over.

It’s such a simple act but it’s amazing that few business people, marketers, sales professionals and such do not use this powerful technique. There are some variations on the question that include:

  • “Would I buy that?” Simply put, do you get the value proposition? Does the offer make the least amount of sense? Be honest!
  • “So What?” Just look at the material and if the words SO WHAT come to mind, you need to start over. Read the material a couple of times. If the material makes you laugh but on the second reading you ask find yourself thinking, SO WHAT…then it’s time to work on it again.
  • “WII-FM” (What’s In It for me?) If you now catch yourself saying SO WHAT, WHATS IN IT FOR ME, then you really need to step back and start afresh. Great copy or sales material should never leave a doubt about what is being sold and the value to the consumer.

The bottom line is that without these simple checks and balances you could waste a ton of budget on marketing and sales materials that don’t work…and they don’t work because they don’t relate to what the consumer wants. And, it all could have been avoided if you just remember that you too are a consumer.

I hope this simple thought helps you on your personal and business growth journey. I have to stop writing now….I have to go to the store!


If you need help with producing marketing and sales materials that work, call or write me today. As a Master Business Coach, this is what I do and I’m open for business.

As always,


Danny Creed

Real World, Transformational Business Coaching

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