What happened to you?
As a baby you were one of the most persuasive beings on the planet.
Out you popped from your mom, a dripping-wet, wrinkled, bawling mess. And yet somehow you had managed to persuade people to love you, feed you, clothe you and change your diapers.
Masterfully, you alternated goo-goo-eyed baby charm with attention-getting cries at precisely the right pitch and decibel level scientifically proven to be impossible for humans to ignore.
As an adolescent you went on to become a master of verbal persuasion, reading your caregivers’ moods, leveraging their psychological weak points and deftly convincing them to give you money, privileges and amnesty from well-deserved punishments.
As an adult, you persuade every day, bending others to your will in a hundred different ways. Like where to go for lunch, what Netflix series to binge, to hire you, to work for you, to cooperate with you, to do a deal with you, to do acts illegal in some states with you.
And then — despite being a finely tuned persuasion MACHINE with a decades-long track record of impeccable persuasion under your belt — you sit to write copy and…
You put aside all the persuasive power you’ve relied on for so long and revert to being a mere scrivener. An old-fashioned clerk or scribe. Pasting together well-worn words and phrases based on tired formulas and templates until the copy sounds like it’s supposed to sound.
But in reality, it’s the same old song and dance your prospects have heard a thousand times before.
Listen, I’m all for formulas and templates that give you frameworks to build on.
But if you’re like so many writers I’ve mentored and coached, you’re ignoring your true power and potential by not writing from your vast persuasion talents and experience. It’s like you own a high-powered super-yacht but you’re attempting to cross the Atlantic in a tiny rowboat.
Let’s put a stop to that right here and now with three ways you can put your “Inner Persuader” to work writing copy — instead of just using it to talk your way out of a speeding ticket or convince your partner to watch Game of Thrones…
3 Ways to Put Your Inner Persuader to Work
1. Hone Your Pitch!
Please, I beg of you as I beg of those I train: Don’t write a word of copy until you can persuade someone one-on-one to take an interest in — or better yet WANT — what you’re offering.
Think about it logically: How in the world do you expect to effectively persuade thousands to purchase what you can’t even persuade one single person to at least be interested in?
So stop hiding behind a desk and go out and start talking to people about what you’re selling!
You’ll get priceless real-time feedback on the best ways to convince people — in person or in writing — to want what you’re selling. You’ll quickly discover:
- What their hot buttons are
- Things they care or don’t care about
- What they find believable or unbelievable in your promises
- Where they are confused
- Where they need more information or explanation
- And, most obviously, where they become bored and lose interest.
And by working to KEEP them interested (and awake), you’ll be generating some of the best copy you’ve ever “written.”
Sure, you can skip this step. Most people do and try to work it all out as they’re writing the copy — without anyone in front of them to give feedback, with only one chance to “get it right” and with their argument, logic and key points not yet worked out. Big mistake!
It’s the old story of chopping down a tree — it’s not how well you can chop, it’s how well you sharpen your ax beforehand that determines how quickly (and even IF) you will conquer that massive tree.
The master of this was Gary Halbert. He used to have his clients tearing their hair out because he would appear to completely ignore writing their copy for weeks on end.
But all the while he was letting his Inner Persuader turn over the copy challenge in his head and constantly testing the results on those around him by trying to persuade them to be interested in the product.
Only when, inevitably, people finally started saying, “Wow, where can I GET that?” was he ready to write.
And at that point he could pretty much write the ad as quickly as his fingers could fly across the keys.
2. Now Just Let Your “Inner Persuader” Do the Writing
After you’ve done the first step and you sit down to write, simply ask your Inner Persuader: “If my life depended on it, what would I actually say to someone sitting across from me for them to want to hear more about what I’m selling?”
That’s your headline. Or your attention-getting opening if it’s a video.
What would you say next after you’ve gotten their interest?
Write that down! That’s your lead.
How would you tell them about the benefits?
Write those down and write some body copy around them.
How would you prove it?
Weave that in.
How would you make it a no-brainer for them to want to part with their money for it?
That’s your offer.
How would you sum it all up? To make it the most important thing they could possibly be doing right at this moment?
That’s your close.
Voilà — your promotion is written.
Copywriting is not rocket science!
Use all the formulas and templates you want. But let your Inner Persuader add the flesh and bones to those frameworks.
3. Let Your Inner Persuader Also Be Your Best Copy Chief
At the risk of putting myself out of a job…
Your Inner Persuader is the best copy chief you’ll ever have.
Read the copy out loud to it.
Start with the headline if you have one.
Is it something your Inner Persuader would feel comfortable saying to someone to get them interested in what you are selling?
Give it the “Hey” test. Pretend you’re interrupting someone you care about to read them the headline. Would your Inner Persuader ever say: “Hey, Fred, did you know that [insert your headline here]”?
Or would it make it (and you) cringe?
Notice how many headlines FAIL this test.
Then notice how the great ones pass this simple test with flying colors:
“Hey, Jane, want to know what you should never eat on an airplane?” Who doesn’t?
“Hey, Bob, did you know that the loudest noise in a new Rolls-Royce comes from the clock?” Wow, that’s interesting (especially if you’re in the market for a classy luxury car)
“Hey, Lou, want to know the five magic words to say to your local bank teller — and walk away with a handful of silver?” You bet I do!
If your headline doesn’t pass the speak-easy test, keep coming up with headlines until it IS something that your Inner Persuader WOULD feel comfortable saying to grab someone’s attention (without setting off their BS alarm) and make them want to know more.
Above all, don’t make the common mistake of simply trying to bludgeon your reader into submission with blunt weapons like fear and greed. That’s something I’m sure you’d never do in person and your Inner Persuader knows would just come off as unbelievable or manipulative.
Instead, use razor-sharp rapiers of curiosity and proof, just as you would one-on-one.
Now go through the rest of your copy. At what point does your Inner Persuader cringe at the hype or the pitchman-like tone. Where does it say, “I’ve heard that before?” Or “I don’t believe you!”
Where does it feel the need for more proof? Or stop caring?
Where does its attention start to wander?
Look, the best copywriters may not necessarily write the best first drafts. You might cringe if you saw some of them, actually. But they ARE the best at making those first drafts better and better until they shine like a diamond.
And this is how they do it.
As you go through the rest of your day (and hopefully the rest of your life), pay attention to how often and in what ways you persuade.
And the next time you sit down to write, make it a whole lot easier on yourself by inviting your Inner Persuader to join in the fun.
Your response rates will thank you!