When Dan Kennedy takes on a new client he doesn’t start with the ‘thing’ they are selling. Instead he ask himself, “What would the ideal client find irresistible about this?” The answer to that question suggests the offer that should be made and compelling arguments to back it up.
What Does My Prospect Really Want?
In addition to writing high-converting sales copy, I ghostwrite several books each year and currently have 6 NYT and Amazon bestsellers under my belt. In one sense, everything you set before your prospects whether written, pictorial, or video, direct advertising, or books is selling a product, service, course of action, or an idea.
The secret behind both short-form and long-form success is understanding the difference between the product, service, or idea that you are selling and the outcome your prospect actually wants.
The art of crafting an irresistible offer demands that you look beyond the thing that you have to sell to the emotional outcome it delivers for your ideal prospect and then start adding in anything and everything that will make completing the transaction a no-brainer.
What Would Clinch the Buyers’ Decision?
When setting out to ‘beat the control’ (beat the control = delivering more responses and sales than the existing campaign) in high-end direct marketing, one of the first places to start is with the offer. It’s a well-documented fact that bonuses are often more attractive to prospects than the actual product itself and including (or excluding) certain elements can make or break the sale.
One of the advantages of using an outsider to write your marketing copy is that they can start with what your prospect really wants, not with the resources you have available. It’s like the sales rep (or business owner) whose sales go down when they’re involved in delivery because a successful sale also means a lot more work on the delivery end.
There are logistical limits to what you can actually deliver, but you shouldn’t let that reality define your sales message (at least not at the start).
I was recently working on a marketing campaign where we started with an irresistible offer that all the sales reps said would be the easiest sale in the world to make. As we whittled down the elements based on time, availability, and ease of delivery enthusiasm waned. To my surprise, it was a member of the finance team who pointed out that if we closed the predicted number of sales on the original offer, we would have the resources to deliver the bonuses profitably.
By tweaking some of the original bonuses, we were able to come up with an equally strong offer that demanded less additional effort and the sales teams are currently closing over 90% of their appointments on the strength of the offer.
Addressing Both Your Prospects Logical and Emotional Drivers in your Offer
Sales happen when people have a strong enough motivation to change the status quo. Logical justifications are part of this motivation, but they’re often not enough to finalise the decision so you need some emotional factors woven in as well.
Here are three of the key emotions that you can appeal to which will drive home the rational arguments you make:
- Ambition: this includes desire for power, prestige, acclaim, wealth, envy, and much more. It’s the answer to, “I want this because it will…”
- Fear: often this is related to the possibility of loss (of anything a person values including all the categories of ambition plus health, relationships, opportunities etc.). The classic statement is, “I need this to avoid…”
- Guilt: frequently related to your prospect’s sense of duty and the things that they should or must do, have, provide for themselves or others. The clues lie in statements like, “I must make sure that I…”
Depending on how these are set out these emotions can be used to paint a picture of either:
- The misery people will escape if they…; OR
- The delights people will experience if they…
For maximum impact, your offer should address both sides of this picture.
Creating an Irresistible Offer: 5 Steps to Success
I use this process all the time and was recently working with a solo consultant to refine his offer. Here’s what we did:
- Determined what would make this a no-brainer for his prospects and laid out his perfectly irresistible offer that would cement the vision of what he would create for them and alleviate all their fears;
- Modified some of the elements in the plan to create alternatives that were better suited to his current resources and removed the burden of delivery without significantly diminishing the appeal to our prospects;
- Tested the new offer against his existing one to compare results – if he hadn’t already had an offer we would have created two versions of the offer to compare across markets;
- Tested the offer in different media to compare outcomes; and
- Written the landing page, ads, presentations, and video scripts that would best showcase the offer and optimise lead flow from the first introduction to the actual sale.
If this sounds like a lot of work, then you’re probably dropping a lot of potential sales and nurture opportunities. Refining your offer can make a bigger difference to your conversion rates than just about any other part of your marketing.