It’s the ultimate marketing dream: Press a button, send an email, and money comes pouring into your bank account.
But before that can happen, a lot of work needs to go into things like finding or creating the right products for the right audience, finding that audience, and then convincing them they want to buy what you want to sell.
Which is where we jump in today – how do you convince people to buy? How can persuasiveness become second nature to you so that no matter what you do – write an email, a sales letter, a blog post – your copy brings the reader ever closer to buying?
There’s no one magic switch or formula to learn to be more persuasive, but they’re many tactics that have been proven through scientific study to persuade people to do what you want.
This isn’t mind control. It’s not hypnosis or some dark art. It’s simply a scientific fact that people tend to be wired to respond positively to specific tactics and methods that anyone can learn and use to get what they want.
1: Here Are Just 3 Little Words that Break Sales Records
You’re probably familiar with those late-night infomercials. There are an overly enthusiastic audience, a couple of catchy phrases, a sort of celebrity endorser, and plenty of calls to action to pick up the phone and order the product.
But one of these infomercials shattered all preexisting sales records by making one tiny change to their script. This change had the immediate effect of convincing people that others were buying the product in droves. No matter how much the average person will tell you otherwise, the social proof goes a very long way to convincing them to join the party, too.
What kind of proof did this record-shattering infomercial use? Was it testimonials? Experts? A sobbing product user who said the product saved her life?
Nope. It was much more elegant and straightforward than any of those things. And in fact, most people who picked up the phone and called had NO idea why they suddenly felt compelled to do so, either.
They just did it.
When you’re watching an infomercial, and the host says, “Operators are waiting, please call now,” what do you imagine? Are there rooms of bored operators reading magazines and filing their nails while they wait for the phone to ring? The product must not be selling too well if they’re not getting that many calls.
But when “Operators are waiting, please call now” was changed to, “If operators are busy, please call again,” sales skyrocketed.
Now the image conjured was of operators going straight from one call to the next while barely keeping up with the demand.
Notice there’s no implicit scarcity here. No one is saying that only 1000 units are available. No one is saying there is a deadline or time limit. All they’re saying is you might have a little trouble getting through.
And yet, this one change shattered sales records.
How can you use this? Here’s one example if you’re selling an information product online:
“If my assistants are swamped, please be patient while they verify your order and send you the download link.”
When you find ways to show that demand is high without implicitly stating it, demand will indeed increase.
That’s why those emails that say, “Whoops, we crashed the site with this offer” send so many people to the site to see the offer that crashed the website. If people believe demand is high, they want in.
2: Here’s the Payoff for Not Using Ego Testimonials
Let’s say you’re selling a “how to make money” type of product. Your ideal customer is someone in their 30’s to 50’s, earning $50,000 a year in a dead-end job, tired of working, and wanting more time freedom to do what they want.
Your product is excellent, and industry professionals praise it like crazy. Your fellow marketers give you glowing testimonials. These are guys and gals pulling in 6, 7, and 8 figures a year in your niche. Their names are super well-known, and you are sure their testimonials will convince your target audience to buy your product.
Except… they likely won’t.
Remember, your target market is trying to break into online marketing. Your prized testimonials are from work-at-home millionaires. They are currently working a job and earning $50,000.--
And numerous scientific studies show that others most influence people they perceive to be just like them.
So, let’s say you’ve got a testimonial buried on your sales page from Suzy Q. of Akron, Ohio. She gives a riveting account of being broke and working 60 hours a week in 3 different part-time jobs. Your program was her last hope on earth, but she trusted you, and so she bought it. That was a year ago, and now she’s not only quit her jobs and paid off her debt; she’s also purchased a home and is working on fulfilling her lifelong dream of opening a shelter for senior and disabled dogs and cats.
That is the testimonial you should feature in your sales copy. Your prospect can relate to Suzy Q. and her plight, and they can envision themselves having her success. Conversely, another testimonial from a millionaire about how this program will work for the ‘little guy’ will not resonate with your ideal prospects.
3: Here’s Why You Only Talk About the ‘Yes’ People
Some people say yes, and people who say no in any situation.
For example, in a campaign to promote recycling, talking about the percentage of people who DON’T recycle will make others jump on board. Instead, they’re going to use the people who don’t recycle to validate why they don’t need to do it, either.
Another example: Talking about how many people don’t have their own part-time business and instead rely on their job for all of their income will not induce readers to buy your work at home program.
How do we know this?
Public service announcements that reference the number of people who pollute, litter, don’t recycle, and so forth have nearly no positive impact on the problem. And in some cases, these campaigns have made the problem they’re targeting worse.
For example, a campaign that talks about how people produced more litter last year than ever before or a campaign about the number of people who didn’t vote in the last election will result in more litter and fewer voters this year.
But if you can show the majority of good people taking the action you seek, while the few outliers are shown in a negative light, you can see a tremendous spike in compliance.
Let’s say you want to encourage people to take a particular action, such as subscribing to your newsletter, and you’re sending traffic from a specific website to your squeeze page. If you can say that the majority of readers of that website who come to your page subscribe to your newsletter, it will almost certainly improve your conversions. Conversely, if you were to mention that only 20% sign up and what a shame it is for those that don’t, it not only won’t help conversions, it will most likely hurt them.
4: Here’s How to Beat Persuasion Backfire
Here’s a weird fact – subconsciously, we’ll do stuff to make ourselves average.
Hey, you don’t want to be too clever or stupid, or the other kids will pick on you, right? This stuff is ingrained into our minds when we are young, and we never get over it.
What happens if a scientist monitors your power usage and then gives you a report card and tells you that you are using LESS power more than average?
If you’re like the people in the study, you will start using MORE power. That’s the bad news. The good news is people who were using more power will now start using less power.
We need to be average, and this can work against you in your business, unless:
Unless you praise those, who are doing better than average.
Do you have customers who spend more than others, engage more than others, refer more business to you than others?
Then when you tell them they are above average, be sure to PRAISE them for it.
Those in the power study who were using less power than average and received a smiley face on their report card continued to use less power. And those who didn’t get a smiley face started using more power.
And I know how crazy this sounds – one little smiley face made all the difference? Yup, it sure did.
Praise your top performers, so they continue to be top performers. And if possible, do it in a way that shows others they will get praise, too, when they join the ranks of your elite followers.
5: Here’s Why Limiting Customer Choices Increases Sales
Doesn’t it seem like the more choices you give your customers, the more likely they are to purchase? After all, if you offer an extensive array of choices, then everyone can find the product that’s just right for them… right?
Researchers found that the more choices people have, the harder it is for them to make a choice. And when people can’t decide, they do not choose at all.
Take jams, for example. Researchers set up a table in upscale supermarkets offering samples of preserves. Sometimes the display contained six flavors, and other times contained 24 flavors.
Of the people who approached the table with six flavors, 30 percent bought jam.
But when that same table held 24 flavors, only 3 percent of visitors made a purchase! How crazy is that? But we’re not here to debate customer logic, but rather to find out what customers naturally do (and don’t do) so that we can make it super easy (an absolute no-brainer, if you will) to buy from us.
How many options do you offer? Rather than confusing your customers with a wide range of options, you might consider removing redundant or less popular items to improve your customer’s motivation to purchase.
When Head and Shoulders reduced its variety of shampoo variations from 26 to 15, it immediately experienced a 10% increase in sales. (One wonders if a further reduction might improve sales even further.)
Some businesses might be able to streamline customers’ decision-making processes even further. For example, let’s say you’ve got ten different informational products related to building an online business. Instead of presenting these products as ten separate things to buy, you made it a SERIES of products, numbering them in order of what a person needs to master first, second, and so forth. Think of a book series on Kindle, and you’ll get the idea.
People can, if they choose, purchase your products out of order, but giving them this format can reduce their decisions down to a simple, yes, they’ll get started at the beginning and work their way through. This would also be an excellent way to build a membership site, allowing them access to one new product each month in chronological order.
6: Here’s Why Your Bonuses Are Never “Free.”
Giving gifts or bonuses can actually backfire if you don’t frame them correctly. In one study, the perceived value of a bonus currently being sold on the website for total price immediately went down 30% because it was offered for free as a bonus.
People wonder if a bonus is obsolete, out of style, has a defect, or perhaps there were too many of them produced, and they’re not selling.
Even information products are disregarded as having little value when offered for free as a bonus to another product.
Worse yet, when you try to sell that product in the future, people won’t believe it’s worth what you’re asking because last month you were giving it away with another product.
And yet, the right bonuses can increase sales if handled correctly.
The key is to make sure your prospect understands this bonus is valuable.
Never say that it’s free, like this: “Receive a free program on ’27 ways to drive traffic’.”
Instead, word it as, “Receive our $300 course on ’27 ways to drive traffic’ at no cost to you.”
Emphasize the VALUE of the course. Tell them how many people have PAID $300 for it, especially in the last six months, to show that it is still considered worth $300. Provide a link to where you are selling the course right now for that money.
Never give anything away for ‘free.’ Instead, show the value of the product or service you are giving away at no cost to them.
I know this might seem like I’m splitting frog’s hairs, but you already know that giving away junk bonuses does not make sales. And neither does give away valuable bonuses when the prospect thinks they might be junk.
Just remember that it is as important to prove the value of your bonuses as it is to prove the value of your product.
7: Here’s how to Sell More of Your Flagship Product without Trying
Let’s say you’ve got some entry-level products, a couple of mid-range products, and one flagship coaching program that costs maybe $1000 to $5000.
Would you like to know how to sell more of your extensive, expensive program without really trying?
You will take advantage of a consumer quirk with buyers always looking for middle-of-the-road products. When customers consider which product to buy, they’re looking for the best of both worlds. They want to get a great product that fits their needs, but they don’t want to spend a fortune to get it.
Look at cars: A new car buyer could get the cheapest of the cheap cars, and it will probably get them to where they want to go. But because it’s the cheapest of the cheap, they likely won’t be satisfied with it, and they know it. Or they could buy the most expensive, most luxurious, or fastest car, but they don’t want the astronomical car payments, either.
And that is why the vast majority of new car buyers get something in the middle. It’s a compromise.
The same thing happens with your great coaching products. Someone wants your teaching, and they have a choice to get the $97 ebook, the $397 one-time payment online course, or the $397 per month personal coaching. Given that scenario, many people who would love to have personal coaching will instead settle for the $397 online course. After all, it’s far better than just an ebook, but it saves them a lot of money compared to $397 every month for several months to get the personal coaching option.
You, however, want to sell more of your $397 per month coaching, so here’s what you do…
… and mind you, this could scare you a bit, but trust me, it works.
You’re going to create an even MORE expensive program, one that makes the $397 a month look like a pittance.
For example, $2997 for an intensive three-day, 10 hours a day in-person session at your location.
Not only will they need $2997 to get in the door, but they will also need to pay for airfare, meals, and accommodations, bringing the total to something closer to $4,000. Plus, they’ll need to devote three days to the session and possibly two more days for travel.
Whoa. All of a sudden, that $397 per month seems like an incredible BARGAIN, by comparison, doesn’t it?
Try this, and I’ll bet that with a couple of months, you’ll need to increase your monthly coaching rate because you’ll have more students than you want to handle.
Seriously. This flat-out works.
8: Here’s the Right Way to Use Fear in Selling
“OH MY GOSH, THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!”
Or so said Chicken Little of the children’s story.
But was Chicken Little successful in persuading people to take action?
Nope. And it wasn’t because the sky wasn’t falling, either.
It’s because Chicken Little didn’t tell people what to DO to be safe from the falling sky.
Research shows that fear stimulates the audience into action to reduce the threat, but only when the audience is told what to do to reduce the danger.
If your message doesn’t tell them what to do, they will likely deal with the fear by denying it applies to them. People don’t want to feel helpless. They want to feel empowered. Telling them of danger but not giving them away to safety is a sure way not to make sales.
Let’s say your headline says, “Why Your Retirement Fund is About to Go Bankrupt.” If you don’t quickly add something like, “And the #1 Way to Prevent this Calamity from Happening,” then you’re going to lose them. They will leave your sales letter without reading the rest because they don’t want to deal with the problem unless they know a simple solution is in sight.
You can paint a picture as dark, frightening, and scary as you like, as long as you let them know there is a way out of this mess. Give them that glimmer of hope from the very start, so they know that no matter how scary the details are, they have a way to avert danger and come out as a winner.
9: Here’s How to Make Sales Even if People Don’t Like You
You’ve heard about the law of reciprocity. If you give something to the other person first, it’s easier to get something back in return.
A social psychologist did an experiment where people received a can of Coca-Cola from a stranger. Later, that stranger tried to sell the raffle tickets without ever mentioning the soda can.
Those who received the gift purchased twice as many raffle tickets as those who didn’t. And most surprising of all was that it didn’t matter if people liked or disliked the person giving the soda and selling the tickets; they still bought twice as many as those who didn’t receive the free soda earlier.
This means the law of reciprocity transcends likability. So what, you might ask? Think about how POWERFUL a law has to be, how ingrained and hard-wired into our subconscious it is that even if we don’t like the person if they gave us a gift, we are driven to reciprocate.
One thing to notice is that as time passes, the gift receiver becomes less inclined to reciprocate. In other words, a gift or favor is worth more in the days after it is received than in the weeks or months.
Human nature has us asking, “What can I get?” or “Who can help me?” But knowing how this law works, it’s better to ask, “What can I give” and “Who can I help?”
A classic example in online marketing is the new marketer who asks the seasoned marketer with a large email list to mail for him and then wonders why he never hears back. A better strategy is for the new marketer to do things for the seasoned marketer, such as promoting her on social media, before asking for a favor.
If you want excellent service at a restaurant, start tipping when you arrive. If you want a special (i.e., LARGE) favor from a customer service representative, ask for something small first, praise the rep for the help with the small task, tell him you’ll put in a good word for him with his boss, and THEN ask for the big favor.
Make it a habit or even a game to see how often you can GIVE before you receive. Try giving with NO THOUGHT of receiving. Shower your audience with what they seek. Give to movers and shakers in your niche.
I know this isn’t anything new to most people – you’ve heard all of this before. But… are you practicing it? Few of us give to others as much as we can.
And according to the law of reciprocity, the more you give, the more you shall receive.
10: Here’s Why You Might Want to Call Your Audience Names
Okay, I know you’re smart, and you’ve already figured out that I got a bit clever with that title.
It’s not easy to get something past someone as intelligent and discerning as you, my loyal reader, so let’s get right to it:
In a scientific study, they surveyed many people a week before election day. Randomly chosen, half of the survey respondents were told their answers indicated above-average citizens who were more likely to vote. The other half were told they were average citizens.
The results? Those who were told they were above average citizens were 15% more likely to vote the following week.
Perhaps all these “get out the vote” campaigns would better tell people what great citizens they are rather than trying to talk them into voting.
I remember studies they did with children years ago. The teacher told the class of students that blue-eyed children did better on tests than brown-eyed children – and from that point forward, that’s precisely what happened. The blue-eyed children tried hard and did better, while the brown-eyed children just seemed to give up trying.
But then the teacher told the class that she got it backward – the brown-eyed children consistently did better on tests – and now the brown-eyed children outscored the blue-eyed children.
You might think we grow out of believing these things, but according to scientific studies, we don’t. If you want your children to pick up after themselves, tell them how proud you are that they keep their room so tidy. If you want your spouse to be more loving and thoughtful, brag to friends (when the spouse is within earshot) about how loving and thoughtful they are.
And if you want your customers to do something, tell them in advance that they are exactly the kind of people to do it, whether it’s taking action, investing in themselves, helping others, or whatever it is you want them to do.
It’s not magic, and it won’t work every time on everyone, but done correctly and sincerely, it will improve your conversion rates.
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