It’s cold today. Snow has fallen all day in our Illinois rental, causing me to bundle up a little bit more tightly as I sit at the computer and research new markets and write copy for clients. And while I’d rather sleep in and bundle up with some hot chocolate, I know that the bill collector waits for no one.
While working, I had the pleasure of listening to older episodes of the Pysch Insights for Modern Marketers. Psych insights is a podcast by John Carlton and Kevin Rogers. The episode of choice was all the way at the beginning – episode 1. The topic was “Con Men, Persuasion, Manipulation, Ethics…” . Basically, John Carlton’s rant on how us newbies don’t understand classic salesmanship. Some of it is
Basically, it’s John Carlton’s rant on how us newbies don’t understand classic salesmanship. One reason cited is that classic salesman… the hardcore, door-to-door kind who could talk his way out of anything…. hardly exist anymore. Another reason is simple ignorance on the part of us poor millennials.
John argued that if you know everything else but don’t know sales, you won’t succeed in business.
Remember, people are bored to tears in their daily life. “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation”.
The pair also talked about:
It got me thinking about a video I made the other day entitled, “The #1 Mistake You’re Making in Your Marketing”. Entrepreneurs aren’t selling in their marketing because they aren’t treating their marketing as a sales conversation.
What I’ve found is that entrepreneurs and marketers start their message at themselves and what they want to say, rather than starting with market research and what the buyer wants to hear.
Essentially, most modern marketing lacks rapport.
In Neuro-linguistic Programming, rapport is the act of getting in sync with the person you’re speaking with or writing to. This works because people like those like them. People respond better when they feel the other person “gets them” and is “on their wavelength”.
In NLP, rapport is built when two people are matched in:
In therapeutic settings, rapport is built so that the therapist can then lead the patient toward a new mental model. Until that rapport is built, the individual’s defenses are up and their mind is sealed as tight as a trap box.
Here’s a video to help you learn more about rapport, if you’re interested in that sort of thing:
Rapport breaks down the barriers so that two individuals trust each other. And trust is the key component in sales. You know this to be true because it’s how you determine who to buy from based on trust. Recommendations and referrals work so well because you trust the word of the person doing the referring. Their credibility is transferred to the person being referred.
The same thing applies to “proof” measures such as writing a book, landing an article or guest post in a magazine or other credible publication, or having testimonials and case studies which match the buyer’s situation.
Your job as a salesperson is to
It’s a push-pull sort of thing. Remember that you’re on one side of the table and your buyer is on the other. How do you get your buyer to your side of the table?
The first step, I believe, is rapport and empathy. You want your buyer to truly believe that you understand her and have her best interests at heart.
If you believe, as I do, that copywriting is “salesmanship in print”, then it’s imperative that you learn how to sell. At the end of the day, our measuring stick as copywriters is whether or not our ads convert. Whether that “conversion” is from prospect to buyer (a sale) or browser to audience member (email opt-in), the goal is still conversion. As a direct response copywriter, your sole job is to write ads (landing pages, PPC ads, insert ads, emails, sales letters) that convert.
You’ve got to be able to sell.
I shouldn’t feel surprised at t his point, honsetly, but it always amazes me when I see entrepreneurs who do everything but sell in their copy. They’ll educate, sure. Yet when it comes time to sell they shy away and practically apologize for having to ask for money. It’s flabberasting. Don’t be that guy.
So how do you build rapport in copy? There are three main methods. I’ll briefly describe each in this post. There are people who specialize in each of these so I’m not going to rehash a ton here.
The first thing you’ve got to do is create vivid imagery that matches where the buyer is now. In your headline, you’re going to have to do more than bore them to death. For most buyers, the direct offer of “Get My Widget for $50 Off!” won’t work. You’ve got to woo her a little bit. What does she wake up wanting – and can you describe that in a sentence?
How anxious women overcome their fear of rejection and immediately begin selling like a seasoned pro… without sleazy tactics, expensive funnels, or cold calling
Your description of the problem and your buyer’s current situation must match what’s already in her head. One example I saw recently that jarred me was an author who discussed a “nightmare story” where he lived off his credit cards for a year. Now, I’m in student loan debt up to my ocean blue eyeballs. I would love to be able to live off my credit cards and have that kind of cushion. But I don’t. So his “worst case” scenario didn’t at all resonate with me. (For great examples of nightmare stories, look at stuff written by Jon Benson or Chris Haddad. They are bad asses at it.)
The better you’re able to describe the problem as your buyer experiences it, the more rapport you’ll build. They’ll think, “This person gets it! YES! I’ve thought that so many times.”
Ramit Sethi actually uses that sentiment as a test of the copy his team produces. Do readers respond with “that’s exactly what I’ve thought?” If yes, then they know they’ve nailed down the buyer language.
The next step is to be able to define their ideal situation as your buyer sees it. So, don’t sell the life on the beach if the buyer just wants to be able to quit his day job. Again, you’ll attract more people by creating visually enticing and emotionally stimulating scenarios than if you focus only on features and services.
Another way to quickly capture your reader is through a story. John Carlton is the master at weaving stories in from headline to close. (Many of his headlines are a mini 3-part story, for example.) He’s careful to craft stories that buyers can identify with. Often, he’ll go even further than matching and create a guy who’s more broke, more desperate, more handicapped than the buyer is. The question then becomes “if it worked for that guy who’s 10X worse off, it should definitely work for me!”
Jon Benson did the same thing in one of his weight loss VSLs. He described how he literally stole junk food from a gas station in order to fuel his late-night binge. Now, most of us have never stolen food to fuel our cravings. So even overweight individuals would shake their head, knowing that this guy really had it bad. Their usual defenses of “this won’t work for me” begin to fade as they compare their plight to the obviously worse-off story subject.
When you create these stories, be sure to watch the language you use. That is, listen for key modality differences and make sure you’re mixing it up.
In your copy, you want to use an even mix of words, phrases, and cliches that fall in line with:
Your story should hit all of the senses. You the copywriter likely have one sense you rely on more than others. If your buyer (or client, for that matter) prefers a different sense, how well do you think your copy will resonate. Not well is the answer! Vary the modalities so your copy resonates with everyone. I like to do an editing pass after I’m done and point out places where a modality-specific verb or phrase would be a better fit.
That’s all I have for today. Remember – rapport is the first step to sales. And copywriting is just sales performed en masse.
Until next time,
PS – Did you find this helpful or informative? Do you have questions? Want to rant about this topic? I welcome feedback! Please a) comment below and b) share it with those in your circle who’d benefit.
I can’t afford this.
Your [product/service] is out of budget.
You are too expensive.
I’m going to go with a cheaper option.
If you’ve seen or heard any of these, then this post is for you.
Here are the sobering, heart-stopping truths about price psychology…
When I first started freelancing, I had a hard time selling myself. I kept getting caught up in the usual things that tripped me up… namely, I kept focusing on me and my skills, my experience, my background.
Thing is… no one cares about that. No one cares about me personally. They don’t care how I do my copywriting, or what I used to train for it, or any of that stuff.
They don’t care about the technology.
They don’t care about the tools you or I use.
They don’t even care about the superiority of a method.
The only thing your customer wants to be sold on is how great their life will be post-solution. They don’t want to know how you did it, really. Even if they’re buying a how-to guide, they don’t want to hear you talk about how you produced that lead magnet using a voice-to-speech software and then published it via a premier publishing company and then shipped it via Samcart. They don’t even care if it’s 30 pages or 150. They want to know how well whatever it is you’re offering will tie into their results.
There are three things you must prove:
So if your entire pitch was about you…
…how you would technically execute the solution
…your years of experience or certifications
…how much passion you have about the job
Instead of about your prospect’s end result…
…the kind of life he will live using your product or service
…how easy he would solve his problem using your service (as shown through testimonials)
Then you are likely losing sales.
There are only three reasons that people have when they use price as an excuse.
Sometimes, people will look into your service because they do have a problem, but they’re still in research mode.
They don’t know anything about you or your price or what you do.
Sometimes they’re just looking.
They may not be ready to buy. So if they say they can’t afford it…maybe they literally cannot afford it.
Or maybe, they’re not your ideal buyer.
If you’ve built out a buyer persona and you’re targeting a specific customer, then your price will fit that buyer persona. By definition, a person who cannot afford your service is not your ideal buyer. Period.
Stay top of mind with this person (through retargeting, lower-price hands off products, and regular email marketing) but DO NOT lower your price because then you’re lowering your value.
They will not value you more because you gave them a discount.
Therefore, do not lower your price to win a sale.
If you really think this project or customer is a good fit, the best thing you can do is to continue to offer proof.
Offer hope that will get them thinking about their life after hiring you. Plant that seed.
Let them see your product as a sure investment in their future.
So let’s say someone cannot afford a product, but you know that they will make the money back quickly. If you can absolutely guarantee that they’ll make money, make sure that you’re reducing their risk so it’s a no-brainer that they will no matter what make that money back very, very quickly. Make sure you’ve highlighted your guarantee. Offer them payment plans.
But don’t ever, ever reduce your value by discounting.
Some prospects want results without investing anything. They expect the moon but don’t respect anyone else’s time or energy. They’re soul-sucking vampires.
These prospects haven’t done their research about what you do or how you help.
They don’t know how much work it takes to become an expert in X like you have.
They don’t know (or care) how long it takes you to do what you do.
And they certainly don’t want to invest in their own end result.
So they want to 10X their income but don’t want to put in the 10% it’d take up front?
In my mind I’m thinking…sorry, they must not want it that bad.
Let’s take a look at my own story, shall we?
So far I’ve invested $12,000 in my copywriting training, in website building, books, etc. I want to be a full-time copywriter that makes millions for my clients more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my whole freakin’ life. Is $12K worth the seven figures I’ll make? Hell freakin’ yes.
Your prospects should be the same way. If they want the moon, they better be willing to pay for a rocket ship.
If you see these prospects…RUN.
These types of clients and customers are terrible.
The best thing to do here is not sign them up.
And if you can, figure out what attracted them in the first place and disqualify them faster and earlier in the sales process.
The good thing about reason number three is that it’s in your control. Unlike the other ones which rely on your prospect, this one you can fix.
So if you’ve built a buyer persona and know your prospect well…. You shouldn’t have this problem.
If prospects who have the budget and value the outcome are not choosing you it’s because you haven’t sold yourself well.
What do you do?
Go back through all of your sales materials, your website, and your proposal and pull out every selfish, I-focused bit. Pull out all the feature-only content and rewrite it so that every “feature” has a so what attached to it.
Because remember, people buy for emotional reasons and justify with logic.
Honestly, this is why copywriting is so freaking hard and is so expensive. Copywriting which pulls the emotional strings and sells without turning someone off is very, very difficult.
Your pricing tells the world more than you think. It tells the world what you think of yourself. And it tells the world who you help.
If you believe actual core that what you do is valuable and will benefit your customer then it is your obligation to sell it and if you believe that what you do is valuable and you will charge a price that is commiserate with that value when you charge to low you’re saying that you don’t believe that it’s any good.
If you’ve never made more than $1000 a month in your entire life, you’re going to feel shame selling a product or service for $1500 or $3000 or $10,000. Have you only made $250,000 as an entrepreneur? You’d likely choke at pitching a $350K project.
Your price reflects your own inner barriers if you let it.
This is why most of the top names in the industry raised prices incrementally….
…and also why each of them will recommend mindset books such as “Think and Grow Rich” and what-not to new followers.
Your mindset is everything.
Pricing fails happen when you get stuck on yourself.
Most people price to please themselves instead of the prospect.
Let’s say you sell to enterprise customers:
Do you think a company like Microsoft or Dell is going to take you seriously when you charge $150 per white paper…. Instead of the $1500-$7000 the industry charges?
Or $15 per hour to consult on business marketing?
The answer, of course, is no.
Your client knows that if you really understood the market….
and really understood the amount of work it took to produce a white paper….
And you really knew what a good white paper could do for a company’s lead generation efforts…
That you’d charge a good rate for it.
While you personally might not be able to afford to hire someone at $3000 to write a lead magnet, it doesn’t mean that your prospect can’t.
By focusing on you and your limitations instead of who your prospect is, what their budget is, and what their expectations are, you are missing out.
Your pricing must reflect the your ideal buyer’s expections.
Note, that you won’t meet everyone’s expectations. You shouldn’t!
Your goal is to sell someone very, very specific buyer a very specific outcome. That outcome… that happiness… has a price tag.
Find it, prove it, and then own it.
Remember, your price is not about you.
Let’s go back to the example of Microsoft. If you are a white paper writer, your market is pretty wide. Companies of all sizes need white papers written:
Now, if you price at $10,000 white paper you are essentially saying that you only work with clients who have a big budget and who get big revenue out of the lead magnet that you generate. You’re also saying that you’ll only work with clients who deeply value and need what you produce.
See how that works? It’s not about how hard or easy it is for you to write it. It’s about the results and how your customers perceive you.
Your price should be one way that you disqualify bad leads so you can qualify good ones.
Your price is a marketing strategy. Use it as such.