“That Won’t Work On Me”
It’s amazing how people think that persuasion and sales don’t work on them.
There are a ton of reasons that people will go for – I’ve heard so many I’ve long since lost track of all of them.
And back when I was young at the copywriting game, I used to believe it. Maybe there were some low responders who just weren’t susceptible to persuasion.
Maybe there were some people who couldn’t be sold to, and maybe some of these reasons people were giving me were pretty legitimate and compelling after all.
That’s what I used to think.
But then, the more I thought about it, and the more I got clients who would say, “Our market is this… can you help us?” and the more I said, “sure” and found a way… the less compelling any given reason was.
It’s not like a switch went off in my head one day – there was no “Eureka, I can convince anyone to do anything!” moment… but instead, the toy soldiers fell one by one.
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And here’s what you need to know.
The TL;DR for this topic is that it works on everyone.
It’s Not About “It Works/ Doesn’t Work!”
The other day, I met a girl and was explaining to her what it was I did. Not well, I might add – we talked about this before.
But the topic got on to psychology and triggers, and I go through a couple of examples and then we get one that works.
“So, if you see something that other people are buying, are you more likely to buy it?”
“Even if it’s the last one in the store?”
“No… I would let the other person have it.”
When you’re new to copywriting and business guru wisdoms, you recognise the above as social proof. And the newbies among you might say, “Ha! She doesn’t know but social proof affects us all!”
And that’s where the nerds are at on most forums. They get on the one hand superiority complexes about their super-secret-guru-wisdoms, and then on the other hand, they spend hours fighting over “whether copywriting works anymore” whilst also writing topics like, “How can’t I make any money with copywriting!!??”
But we don’t do this around here.
Instead, we just assume that for the girl we’re talking to, social proof isn’t a trigger.
“So… have you bought anything in a sale?”
And if I were smart, I’d always start with that question, because who doesn’t buy stuff in a sale?
Unsurprisingly, the answer is, “Yes” and then we move into talking about how for some people, a limited time offer makes them more likely to buy things than others.
And we say everyone is unique, and everyone has different reasons for doing things.
So what’s the lesson here?
It’s Not An On/Off Switch, It’s A Series
Many copywriters fall into stumbling blocks when what they’re doing isn’t working.
They know the letter of the law: scarcity, triggers, psychology, call to action, AIDA… but they miss the deeper level.
It’s not about getting the right trigger. It’s about taking your person on a journey until you get the thing that works.
In terms of our example conversation, I could have been like the nerds on Reddit’s Entrepreneur section, and told this girl, “no, actually, even though you think social proof doesn’t work on you it obviously does because evolutionary biology blah blah blah…”
And there are people that do that. Unsurprisingly, their arguments aren’t very convincing.
Instead though, “OK, so social proof isn’t working… no big deal, let’s move on to the next example.”
And it’s not about a big list of triggers. It’s about the mindset.
We’re Not At War With Our Targets
The whole persuasion thing isn’t about convincing, tricking, conniving or exploiting anyone.
If you think like this, you’ll come across as unnatural, and this is where the “copywriting is just cheap, scammy sales tactics come from.”’
Instead, think in terms of a conversation in which you give the reason. If that’s not compelling, you give the next reason. If you understand what triggers are, eventually you’ll find them.
And then the objections melt away.
Almost Any Objection Can Be Overcome Or Walked Around
So back to our introduction.
“Copywriting doesn’t work on me” is a lie.
It works on everyone. Even copywriters. Especially on copywriters.
I’ve heard other copywriters say, “Well I’m a copywriter and I can see it coming from a mile away…”
And… they’re thinking in terms of that combat and warfare analogy. Jesus Christ; have some perspective.
Copywriting works on me. I see it coming. I know it’s happening. I don’t care. I quite like it when someone employs copywriting because I want to be given a list of reasons to buy something.
It’s like… if a beautiful girl comes up to me, says, “Hey, can I buy you a drink because I’m really lonely, and then can you come back to my place because it feels so empty now I’m single…”
I think two things:
- Is this a scam and am I going to be robbed and murdered?
- This girl is seducing me
And if I take the “too cool for school business guy” route, I say, “Sorry love, I know you’re trying to persuade me to sleep with you and I’m just not easily persuaded because I know all those sneaky tricks!”
But, you know…
The reality is that if your targeting is correct, people want what you’re giving to them. You are doing them a favour by giving it to them in a manner which they’re going to be persuaded by.
And if one thing doesn’t work, you take a step back, figure out another possible avenue and take that one. Repeat the process until it works.