The Pro Copywriting Trick that Gets Prospects to Say Yes

by Scott Martin

Last updated on November 23rd, 2017

If you’re writing copy, you’re not writing. You’re selling. And to sell a product or service, you must understand some basic selling skills.

One of these is understanding your potential client.

You might think you have a decent sense of who they are and you might have some demographic or psychographic data. That’s all fine, but in this blog, I will help you take this data and take client understanding to an advanced level.

The result?

You can get more prospects to say yes… so you can sell more.

The secret to selling

If you’re like me, you would rather have razor wire shoved through your nostrils than spend time with a car salesperson.

But think back to the last time you bought a car at a dealership. Love them or hate them, car salespeople are superb at persuading people to buy. They are especially brilliant at overcoming objections.

Objection: “The monthly payment is too high.”

Salesperson: “We can try a different model or let me talk to the finance person.”

Objection: “I’ve heard this model is unreliable.”

Salesperson: “That’s not what Consumer Reports said plus the car has a 3 year bumper-to-bumper warranty.”

Objection: “I really wanted the model with the heated seats – in red.”

Salesperson: “I’m certain we can locate that car.”

Learn to overcome objections

Car salespeople, who have heard every objection in the book, are also trained to overcome objections. The dealer sits them down in a classroom and teaches them how to deal with the factors preventing the customer from saying “yes.”

After you read this blog, take a couple of minutes, or a couple of days, to make a highly defined list of the objections you hear.

Talk to your salespeople and customer service specialists. You might think you know the typical objections, but these can change over time, so it’s useful to take an “objection inventory” every 90 days.

Pro Tip #1: Review and update your
Objection Inventory every 90 days.

Once you have the objections:

  • You can reorganize the copy and content on your website so you directly overcome exactly why people don’t buy.
  • You can update the copy on your Q and A page.
  • You can write a white paper addressing a key objection.

An example

Lulu is a company that provides self-publishing services. While self-publishing may sound romantic, it’s hard. The company built a strong library of content they created to provide a clear introduction for newcomers.

Why? I’m sure they’ve fielded about a billion really basic questions.

You can see their video tutorials here. Here’s the page.

lulu forums

In a subtle way, they’re overcoming the objections that nascent authors tend to have and are trying to make the process a little easier.

Take an even closer look at this excellent sidebar, where they precisely detail the top objections.

welcome to the lulu knowledge base

In extremely clear language, they tell the reader they will address key concerns. In other words, they’re saying, “We are here to help you understand how this process works—and make it easy.”

Well done, Lulu.

The Next Step

Understanding the concept of overcoming objections is relatively simple. The next step is more advanced—but extremely powerful. And it’s a technique top-level copywriters use.

I call it “creative prescience.”

I define it as: understanding what your potential customer will think once they read your copy.

Here’s how it works…

Imagine you’re sitting in a coffee shop having a conversation with a friend. You’re trying to persuade your friend to go on a skiing trip with you and a group of friends.

You love skiing, you love the destination, and you love putting together fun groups. To be especially persuasive, before you meet, you think about what might keep your friend from going:

  • Your friend has never skied.
  • They’re not keen on outdoor pursuits.
  • They’re a little shy.
  • They’re worried about getting hurt.

So before you meet, you’re prepared to overcome their objections.

You’ve really thought about their fears. But you’ve gone a step further and anticipated their responses to what you’re going to say.

To deal with the natural fears of a skiing newcomer, you will tell them about the beginner’s program. You think they will say, “But I’m just not really athletic.” To which you can reply, “The instructors can help anyone and this ski area has plenty for beginners.”

Let’s take this to the copywriting world

Let’s say you’re selling a manual titled, “Marketing for Cosmetic Dentists.” I know a cosmetic dentist, and cosmetic dentists get bombarded with people trying to sell marketing services and products.

If I’m writing a sales letter for the manual, I’m going to start with my “creative prescience” process. Here’s what I discover about the thinking of the dentist.

  • They see ads and sales letters for marketing manuals about once a month.
  • They’ve bought marketing products in the past that were not very good.
  • They’re really busy.
  • They’ve heard all the claims and promises.
  • They don’t know much about marketing—and are not excited about the subject.

That’s the bad news. But I also know there’s an opportunity to solve these problems.

  • They must find a steady stream of highly qualified (and wealthy) patients.
  • They know they need to market but they’re not sure how.
  • They’ve tried some marketing that was a total waste of money.
  • Social media is a mystery.
  • They get leads – but too many of these are poor candidates.
  • Their website is poor and needs a major overhaul.

Several years ago, when publishers started to market marketing manuals to cosmetic dentists, it was probably easy to write some basic copy that simply stated: “Here’s a manual that will make your marketing simple.”

There’s no way this approach would work today.

However, to break through the clutter and the skepticism, I would start with an angle based on my “creative prescience.”

Creative Prescience: my 3-step approach

  1. I would start with a lead (or introduction) that directly attacks one of the big problems cosmetic dentists face.
  2. Then I would organize the rest of the copy around the objections and the other problems.
  3. Finally, when I’m writing the copy, I ask myself this question after writing each section: “What is the prospect likely thinking about what I just said?”

Simple, right? And it works.

How I do it

Let’s say I write the following copy for the manual.

This manual will show you how to use an “old school” marketing method that cosmetic dentists around the country are starting to use again—with impressive results.

I know the cosmetic dentist is asking, “What’s the method?” and, “Where are the impressive results?”

So, next, I must reveal the method, which is direct mail. Then I must give a mini case study showing how a cosmetic dentist successfully used a direct mail campaign to get some well-qualified patients.

Next, I can use the next logical question to make the sale. I can even write…

If you’re serious about finding those highly-qualified wealthy patients, you may be asking yourself, “How can I get started with direct mail?”

To answer this question, we’ve created a special step-by-step guide titled: “Modern Direct Mail for Cosmetic Dentists.” In this guide, you’ll discover…

And then I get into the benefits.

Pro Tip #2: Before writing your sales copy, take
time to understand where your prospects are
coming from.

Pro Tip #3: As people read your copy, questions
will pop into their head. Try to anticipate
and answer those questions in your copy

An example

Here’s a somewhat lesser-known Gary Bencivenga print ad I believe provides the most perfect example of copy clarity I’ve seen.

But this ad succeeds mostly because it’s so packed with money-making facts and ideas that the reader must be asking, “HOW CAN I GET THIS BOOK?”

Here’s the ad.

how to launch your own business for under 1000

Now let’s take a look at some of the copy in detail.

owning a small business newspaper clipping

It’s CLASSIC tease copy where the reader MUST be asking, “What are all these opportunities?” A reader who wants to make more money (who doesn’t?) must be salivating.

Getting to “Yes”

“Creative Prescience” is advanced, but it’s pretty simple to implement: After you write a section of copy, ask yourself this question, “Is the reader saying yes and nodding in agreement or starting to ask how they can learn more?”

It’s a technique that our friends in the car dealership use. Next time you’re buying a car, notice how the serious salespeople ask questions that lead to a “yes.”

That’s part of getting into the heart and soul of your client or customer—a key to selling anything.

Thoughts? Question? Let me know in the comments.



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Scott Martin

Scott Martin is a direct response copywriter based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has also written or edited 18 books including The Book of Caddyshack: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Greatest Movie Ever Made. Scott provides free resources for marketers including direct response checklists.


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  1. Scott Martin says:
    November 21, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks Bob for commenting. I appreciate it. So much of what I’ve learned about writing has come from your books and your information products. You’ve inspired tens of thousands of writers to take the plunge and become a professional writer. And I’m sure Katie feels the same way.

  2. Bob Bly says:
    November 21, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Everything from Scott I have read on copywriting is valuable, and this article is especially so. Thank you for it, Scott.

    • Kathryn Aragon says:
      November 21, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Coming from you, that’s a high compliment, Bob. Thanks for stopping by.

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