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Dear Web Business-Builder,
Last week’s article entitled, Three weird and wonderful little quirks of human nature that can make you richer than Midas in 2009 proved pretty popular. So I figured, hey, why not add a couple more of these gems to your collection?
In that article I talked about leverage … and taking the path of least resistance toward the sale … by harmonizing your sales message with three pre-existing biases we all share as human beings.
Naturally the more of these biases you can leverage the better. So here are a couple more for you to use in your next promotion …
Special rules for special people — I love George Carlin’s humor because it usually had something brilliant to say about human nature.
One of his monologues began with this question: “Ever noticed how somebody driving slower than you is an IDIOT, and somebody driving faster than you is a MANIAC?” Well if you’re honest with yourself, you have to agree. I know I do.
Our own behavior is subject to special rules.
This is especially true when it comes to how we view our accomplishments or lack thereof …
We instinctively attribute our successes to internal factors. Say tomorrow, you write a promotion and get a phenomenal response. Automatically you assume it was due to your brilliance as a copywriter.
Next week, you write another promotion, and it flops. Your failure is obviously due to some external factor. The list was bad or your client’s offer was wrong, or whatever.
Likewise, when we see somebody else knocking one out of the park, we have a tendency to attribute their success to luck. Heck, they were just in the right place at the right time.
And when they fail, well it’s just because they don’t have the brains to succeed.
It feels bad to accept responsibility for our failures. It feels good to take responsibility for our successes. And it makes us feel better about ourselves when we can minimize somebody else’s accomplishments. Sick, I know. But that’s how we secretly think.
And the implications to persuasion are enormous …
Selling is problem solving. And problems by definition imply failure. You are, in essence, promising to take your prospect from failure to success with your product.
The more you can dovetail your communication with “the special rules for special people” bias, the more your copy will resonate with your prospect. Take a look at this piece of copy.
The simple truth is, hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of ordinary people are piling up wealth like there’s no tomorrow and living YOUR dream life at this very moment!
They are NOT smarter … more creative … or more committed to being wealthy than you are. And heaven knows they do NOT work harder than you do!
But people who grow richer by the day do have one, HUGE advantage over you:
They’re lucky enough to have been FREED from the seven savage wealth-killing assumptions that now stand between you and the life you were born to enjoy!
It’s not your fault. From the day you were born, these false assumptions have been repeatedly drilled into your mind by well-meaning people who honestly believed they were helping you.
Put simply, you have been PROGRAMMED to create the life you have now!
- Well-meaning parents, teachers and other authority figures have programmed you with false assumptions about how the world works and your place in it …
- Until now, many of the most important decisions you’ve made have been based on these false assumptions …
- Your current financial situation is what naturally happens to ANYONE who believes what you believe and makes the kinds of decisions you have …
- When you challenge the false assumptions that have held you back … and when you begin basing your decisions on the TRUTH about how the world really works and your real place in it – you will have taken the first GIANT step towards creating your perfect life!
The successes you’ve earned for yourself so far — despite laboring under these crippling assumptions — are proof positive you’ve got what it takes to be RICH beyond your wildest imaginings.
Do you see how the copy panders to the universal human need to judge one’s own behavior and circumstances by a special standard?
We are naturally drawn to someone who assures us that external forces are the source of our problems … that whatever successes we’ve achieved in life are due to our own hard work and intelligence … and that mere luck creates envious circumstances for others.
The Law of Resistance: Anticipating a sales pitch, your prospect’s natural reaction is to resist the force of your attempts at persuasion with an equal and opposing force.
Your budding sales argument can easily evoke primal, emotional forces of self-preservation … causing your prospect to instinctively recoil and erect a defensive shield around his or her mind fortress.
You may have the most well-reasoned sales argument in the world — the ultimate no-brainer — but if it barely penetrates their defenses how can you possibly succeed? Your prospect shuts down and you’ve lost before you begin.
On the other hand, the simplest of pleas, fully heard, can win.
Why do we resist?
In a word: FEAR.
… Fear of the unknown
… Fear of having to think something new
… Fear of being proven wrong
… Fear of being cheated out of our time and our money
… Fear of being mislead
… Fear of looking foolish in front of our friends and family
These are just a few of the common fears that exist in almost every theater of persuasion. Plus, every sales situation has its own unique fears that stand between your sales argument and a fair hearing.
How will you neutralize them?
The secret is to persuade without it feeling like persuading. In Scientific Advertising, Claude Hopkins admits that he gave away more free samples than anyone else in advertising, and claims to have learned this secret while selling silver polish door to door as a young boy. He discovered a Trojan horse which he used repeatedly throughout his career to ride right past his prospect’s perimeter defenses.
This is no big secret. Still, I’m amazed at the lack of finesse I see being used with this approach, even by information marketers who should know better.
Have you seen these info-product pitches?
Come to a free teleseminar or webinar, or watch this canned content and discover the latest secret. So you go, and instead of demonstrating their credibility covertly through the information they promised, they proceed to beat you over the head with all of the reasons you should listen to them.
This is like walking up to a person of the opposite sex with whom you desire a romantic relationship and proceeding to tell this person how many lovers you’ve had and how experienced you are in bed. How lucky do you think you’ll get?
Resistance goes through the roof when you are too direct too early in the sales cycle. Fear erupts and your attempts at persuasion feel like a life-threatening assault. Your power to persuade is not something you can force on your prospect.
The secret to neutralizing fear and resistance is to take your power and hand it over to your prospect.
Consider the following Zen parable:
A traveler finds himself lost, wandering in the jungle for many days. Finally he comes upon a grass hut, the home of a lonely hermit.
Exhausted and starving, the traveler remembers hearing stories of the ornery and aggressive hermit he must now confront — or die.
If the traveler threatens the hermit with his machete and demands food, the hermit will probably resist, go for his own weapon, and a fight will ensue.
The traveler could end up murdering the hermit. He could be killed or wounded himself. At the very least he would be burdened with some seriously bad karma for the rest of eternity. So what does he do?
The traveler walked up to the grass hut, and knocked at the door. When the hermit opened the door, the traveler greeted him with a friendly “Hello”, handed the hermit his machete, blade last, and asked, “Can I trade you my machete for some food?”
Shocked, the hermit took the machete.
“I’m very hungry.” the traveler said. Feeling safe with the traveler’s machete in his own hands, the hermit invited the traveler in and a meal was prepared.
And after they ate, the hermit handed the traveler his machete, pointed him in the direction of the nearest village, and sent him on his way.
By empowering the hermit, the traveler got what he wanted. And by empowering your prospects, you can too.
Forget about trying to beat them over the head with an obvious, overt sales pitch, (especially after enticing them with a promise of free information). Show them your competence and the many benefits of your product through demonstration rather than coming right out and telling them. Respect and acknowledge their intelligence by allowing them to draw their own conclusions.
When Claude Hopkins got inside the home and the housewife could see for herself how skilled he was at polishing the silver and how effective his mother’s formula was, it was proof positive he knew what he was talking about. There was no need to brag or boast.
The secret to neutralizing resistance is to make your sales points indirectly. Show your prospects things that lead them to the conclusions you want them to make, rather than coming right out and telling them what to think.
Gradually, as their resistance comes down, you can become increasingly direct.
Until next time, Good Selling!
Editor, The Web Marketing Advisor
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