“Reactance” is a swanky physchological word for manipulation.
The idea of persuasive writing in the last 50 years was to make people believe the impossible by convincing them the business somehow knows their needs.
It might sound like this: “You don’t need to sort through 1500 fabrics to find the sofa you’ve been dreaming of! You only need to shop our mega showroom. You will find all the selection in the world under just one roof. You don’t just want a normal room. You need people who understand your vision and will help you realize it. You don’t want a lot of viable options. You need furniture that is just right, right on the showroom floor. You need chairs that out perform their warranty. You need to find furniture that isn’t in your neighbor’s home. You need a cool home, not a great furniture store.”
Cheap plastic ploys and slick packaged messages simply won’t make your cash registers ring any more. Truth, wisdom, integrity, realness, plain spoken, it-is-what-it-is language will.
There are entire generations of business owners and copy writers who have never done business during times like these.
What Americans define as “valuable” has changed forever!
Living beyond our means, keeping up with the Jones, bagging the elephant, closing the deal and tricking the customer are no longer culturally acceptable.
Don’t believe me? Fine. Keep doing what you’ve always done and tell me how that works for you in 2009 and beyond.
I’m not trying to be a jerk, but our Big Impact sale event might unfortunately be the last sale of your businesses life if your advertising methods don’t change.
I liked your little story about the Christmas shopping experience. Have a hard time understanding all this business about honesty and integrity in advertising. Lots of these folks are probably selling snake oil and kind of like it that way. However if they want to dance they will have to pay the band. At least that is the way it looks to me from reading the business pages of the newpaper. Many folks are standing in line to pay the band. Believe you are so right re: Price and quality product. But oh so many folks want a fast buck these days. Folks like me are going to be selling apples on the corner for a nickel, and the apple will be worth a nickel, and on and on and on.
I am personally driven to be honest and transparent with our customers. However, I have had to repress this desire over the last several years as I have marveled at the level of false promise (50%-70% off our price and don’t pay for 4 years) it has taken to drive business to our store. I understand things are going to change as we have clearly passed a tipping point and the new generation is upon us. But how long will it be before honesty and transparency overcome hype in the consumer’s mind? Are we now dealing with thinking individuals or is it still the folks you see in Jay Leno interviews. My mind hopes it’s the former but my experience, at least with our current customers, says it’s the latter.
I’m certain guys like John Carlton have been very successful writing their long copy, answer every objection, and wear down the customer kind of copy.
For all I know you are equally successful.
PT Barnum assures us there will a market for this sort of behavior for the foreseeable future.
Your comment is about the “deep seated beliefs and needs of the client.”
This is great for getting money from clients, but understanding the felt-need of the purchasing customer and the client’s ability to deliver a personal experience. Roy Williams, Dave Young, Michelle Miller and I have written endlessly about PE.
You can find more detail about Personal Experience here.
Please understand I’m not railing against honest long copy. I’m railing against copy writing hype.
In terms of solutions I would suggest the right hand side of my blog. Our services have been battle tested over 23 years with our own money at retail.
No hype, just real stuff.
From zero to over $100m seems to be enough proof for most.
I appreciate your comment. Please keep them coming.
I like your point. John Carlton says that, “If you can enter the conversation that your prospect already has in their mind, you will have instant credibility.”
The conversation in our prospects mind has no doubt changed in the last few months.
There are a couple of things I take exception to:
– The best copy writer’s start with a deep understanding of not only their clients needs, but their wants, their frustrations and yes, the conversation that is going on in their head. This does not necessarily equate to making people “believe the impossible”.
– Closing the deal is no longer culturally acceptable? Granted there is a negative stigma attached to” sales people” because of mass poor business practice, and there is a difference between slick selling from the back of one’s heels and having systems in place that bring people to your doorstep begging to do business with you. In my mind, the latter is still “closing the deal”.
– I like the ‘edge’ in your post, but I don’t like the pre-supposition associated with that edge. I read your blog because it is interesting, you provide useful frames, new ideas and remind me of old ideas in a new way.
I’m sure that you would agree that your readers are on the high-end of the business ethics scale. Your post pre-supposes that I am doing what I’ve always done and you just exited the conversation I’m having in my head, because I’m not. And I would hallucinate that most of your readers are not either.
You have framed the challenge…now what is the solution?