The Supreme Marketing Advantage (Copywriting Tip #6)

Copywriting Tip 6 Trust

Quick Copywriting Tip #6: Trust is EVERYTHING.

I got a bunch of hate mail a few weeks ago. Actually, the Vice President of one of my clients got hate mail…because of something I wrote.

Here’s one of the notes:


The sales reps were upset that they had to deal with a barrage of emails like these.

The VP, whose name was on the offending message, had mixed feelings. Sales were through the roof (relative to the norm)…on a product that’s somewhat difficult to sell. But “potential buyers” were upset with him.

As I said to the Mr. Vice President, “The people who complain are probably never going to become paying customers anyway. This kind of reaction is how you know you’re doing it right!

Direct response involves forcing people to pick a side and being willing to lose some people along the way — if you’re doing it right.

“I’m glad I didn’t get involved with you…”

Let’s focus for a moment on the angry, all caps email I shared above.

The final line brings a crucial issue to light: you need to get good at gaining people’s TRUST.

This guy suspected that he couldn’t trust my client – and the marketing message that pushed him over the edge proved (in his mind) his suspicion was correct.

We all face this obstacle. But we don’t always use trust as an opportunity.

In the copy I wrote, my client came across more as a salesperson (which he is) than an expert or leader (which is is). And it’s hard to trust salespeople.

Everything in the message was true. Honesty isn’t enough to make people trust you. It’s just the beginning!

Earning the kind of trust that makes it easy (or at least easier) for prospects to become clients takes work.

Pillars of Proof

At a conference in Denver earlier this month, Patrick Bove, Senior Copywriter at Stansberry Research described 5 Pillars of Proof you should be using to defeat skepticism and win trust from your should-be clients. Here’s a very quick overview from a mind-blowing session:

Financial Copywriter Patrick Bove Stansberry

Proof of Character

  • Who are you? Why should I believe you?
  • What’s your track record? What achievements can verify your expertise?

Proof of Story

  • How do I know you’re not making this stuff up?
  • Are there 3rd party sources that verify the point you’re making?

Proof of Catalyst

  • Why is your story important to me NOW

Proof of Product

  • Demonstration: Don’t just tell me about your product. Show me it works.
  • Who does it work for and when? Who is it not right for?

Social Proof

  • Testimonials, case studies, etc.

Notice how testimonials are great, but they’re just not enough to convince people anymore. If you want to make trust your supreme marketing advantage, you’ll have to go much further.

The good news is, your competitors aren’t doing any of this. Once you start implementing these ideas, you’ll probably be light-years ahead.


Check out the other 13 Quick Copywriting Tips here.


Cialdini Agrees with My Persuasion Theory

Conversion is always an internal change. To borrow the words of Jeff Sexton, “all persuasion is self-persuasion.”

You use your words to paint vivid, evocative images in the minds of your prospects…their response will correspond directly with their desires, motivations and priorities…

You base your marketing messages or sales pitch on the quest they’re on, the vision they have for their lives and the way they see their place in the world…

You do your best to be convincing…but those who become your customers are those who convince themselves that you can deliver the results they want.”

Other than Jeff Sexton, I haven’t heard any other expert say that persuasion is always ultimately self-persuasion. But I tell you, it’s the truth.

And whether he knows it or not, Robert Cialdini agrees with this assertion. If you analyze the 6 principles from his book Influence, you’ll see what I mean. Check it out.

Reciprocity – When someone does something for you or gives you something, you feel indebted to them. You want to pay them back, because you don’t like to feel like you own anyone anything. Reciprocity is the desire to rid yourself of that feeling.

No one makes you feel the need to reciprocate, but when they take the first step by giving you something, they start the process.

The outcome is pretty predictable.

Consistency – We all want to stay true to the statements we make. We have an inner desire to maintain consistency to things we say or write. We convince ourselves that it’s important to do what we say we’ll do. We have an even bigger problem deviating from what we proclaim ourselves to be. If I say I’m an art collector, I better start acquiring some nice pieces!

Our desire to be consistent with the positive things other people think about us (or what we want them to think about us) can be even more compelling.

Social Proof – Everyone wants to be seen as an individual. But at the same time, we have a deep-seated desire fit in somewhere. There’s safety in numbers, right?

A lot of times, we really want to do something and all we need to gain the confidence to pull the trigger is the knowledge that other people (just like us) have done the same thing safely and with satisfactory results.

Liking – I like you. It gives me pleasure to buy from you. I enjoy the feeling of supporting you or your cause, feeling like I’m helping you succeed, etc.

So, naturally, I can persuade myself that doing business with you is a good idea. Even if I don’t really need what you’re selling. Or, if I have to choose between two vendors, I’ll often pick the person I like better instead of the cheaper choice or even the one with higher quality.

How many times have you done that?

Authority – We’re designed to trust people in positions of authority. It starts when we’re kids obeying our parents and believing everything they tell us. Even as we get older and gain autonomy, we never fully get rid of this disposition.

We protect ourselves from making bad choices by defer to people who know better than we do. Self-preservation is a powerful desire.

Scarcity – Missing out on something you could have had is a horrible feeling. We don’t want to feel that. We’ll jump through all kinds of hoops to avoid that feeling. That’s why scarcity or urgency works in marketing.

Sometimes we make a choice more to protect ourselves from this feeling of missing out on an opportunity than from the desire for the object itself.

The evidence is plain. Persuasion is always, at its root, self-persuasion. And although he’s never said it, Robert Cialdini agrees with me (and Jeff Sexton, of course).