Even if you’re not a sales expert, you can probably tell when you’re face to face with a true sales professional. The pro finds a way to persuade you to buy while the amateur is satisfied with simply telling you about a few features and inviting you to ‘have a nice day’ as you walk out the door.
Let’s say you’re in the hardware store and there’s a big section filled with gleaming grills. The pro salesperson sees you eyeing the grills and makes an introduction. After discussing the features and benefits of a grill that’s nearly the size of a coffin, you look at the price and go weak at the knees. The salesperson spots that you can’t or won’t pay $4,995 for the grill and asks a simple question.
“What’s your budget?”
The pro then shows you some grills that are more in line with your price range and also mentions special financing options. The pro also makes sure to discuss the value the most expensive grill provides.
“Yes—that’s our most expensive grill. But if you’re serious about entertaining lots of people, keep in mind it’s the only one that can serve 50 people at the same time.”
The true sales professional quickly determines why you’re saying ‘no’ so he can effectively determine how to make you say yes and purchase a grill—even if it’s the more modest model that only costs $1995 (before accessories and warranty).
Copywriting is salesmanship. Well, it should be.
In most cases, the copy we see on websites resembles an amateur salesperson who doesn’t know how to sell and can’t close. Expert web copywriters understand sales, and they write to sell. A key tactic used by expert web copywriters that you can implement in your website’s copy is predicting your prospects’ objections and ensuring your copy overcomes them.
David Ogilvy, before he wrote copy and started one of the world’s most successful advertising agencies, sold AGA cookers door-to-door. The AGA cooker is a massive (and expensive) cast iron stove and oven combination. Ogilvy wrote a sales manual for the other salespeople: The Theory and Practice of Selling the AGA Cooker. He took the lessons he learned as a salesman, applied them to marketing and advertising, opened his own advertising agency and built a billion dollar advertising empire.(One of his homes was actually the Chateau de Touffou in Bonnes, France.)
A professional web copywriter will research a product or service thoroughly; part of his ‘due diligence’ is finding out what keeps people from taking the next step in the sales process. If the copywriter is especially astute, he or she will interview the company’s salespeople to learn as much as possible about prospective customers and what turns them off.
Let’s say a web copywriter is writing copy for a company that sells commercial vacuum cleaners to factories. The copywriter learns that factory managers almost always get serious sticker shock and that they love the vacuum cleaners’ performance, but hate the way they look.
So, when writing for this customer, the copywriter explains the following:
If you’re writing copy for your own website, make a list of what keeps prospects from buying from your company. Ask yourself, “What do prospects not initially like about our company, products, or services?”
You can mention objections on the home page, in product descriptions, and especially on the FAQ page. In fact, you could even build an entire FAQ page or blog post series around objections.
When you learn how to overcome objections, you’ll be able to apply pro-level sales skills to your website, and you’ll be much more likely to persuade readers to buy or, at the very least, hand over important information you can use to build your database of prospects.
The next time you’re in a store or you’re buying something, see if the salesperson is a pro or an amateur. If it’s the former, notice how they persuade you by identifying your objections then overcoming them. You’ll start seeing patterns in how pro salespeople overcome objections.
Take these patterns and your newly found knowledge and apply them to your company’s website to ensure you’re being just as persuasive. Then watch your online leads and sales increase.