Article by Christian Godefroy

Let’s be honest: a copywriter who is trying to be an effective salesperson is certain to stimulate one, or a number, of these demons, hidden in the minds of all consumers, and always ready to show their ugly heads. If no one has talked about the seven deadly sins in a book about copywriting before, it certainly isn’t because the authors weren’t aware of them. We are all very well aware of the following.

Gluttony forms the basis of the billions of pounds spent each year on industries that produce things like sweets, cakes, desserts, preserves and so on, as well as the billions spent, paradoxically enough, on diet products and all kinds of methods purporting to help people lose weight.

Avarice has made a fortune for banks, stockbrokers, investment consultants etc.

Envy of what the neighbors own is the single, greatest motivating factor of our consumer-oriented society.

Pride sells Cartier watches, flashy and expensive cars, perfumes, clothes, dream homes and thousands of other items that people don’t really ‘need’.

Laziness is the driving force behind mail order sales, and also makes people buy all those gadgets, instant foods, handy tools etc. that are supposed to make life so much easier.

Lust sells X-rated movies, videos, magazines and books, and almost anything else you can imagine. ‘Pretty girls make sales’ as the saying goes, and this is often quite true! Just look at the ads on TV and in magazines – they’re full of pretty girls wearing less and less clothing. If they didn’t sell, they wouldn’t be there!

Anger works best in the area of politics, and can even result in revolutions and social upheavals on a mass scale.

Are we, then, the instruments of Satan because we write sales letters? It is up to you to answer this question for yourself. The only advice I can offer is that if the product you’re trying to sell is a good one and can really help people, then don’t hesitate to rely on the motivating factors which deeply affect the people you’re trying to reach.

We live in a material world (as the song says), in a consumer-oriented society, at the dawn of the 21st century, and even if you want to change the world, you still have to accept the rules that apply and play the cards you’re dealt.

One thing is for certain, the more you know about human nature, the more enthusiastic you’ll become. You’ll quickly realize, as you progress in this field, that people are basically honest, sensitive, enthusiastic, kind, fairly intelligent – and idealistic!

In conclusion, keep the seven deadly sins in mind when trying to sell something, and see if there’s some way you can make them work for you. You can also make use of the host of less deadly sins that all people succumb to at one time or another, but that would take another book to explain!

Christian Godefroy is a Swiss copywriter who sells more than $25,000,000 every year with his sales letters. The above is an excerpt from his book, “How to Write Letters that Sell,” now out of print but available as an ebook at

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