How to write sales copy for people who don’t trust you
First of all I’d like to add a caveat here: when I say “people who don’t trust you” I mean those who are unfamiliar with you and your work, who may have been burned before by scammers or charlatans promising grand things, SEO magic, life changing marketing methods, and failed to deliver, or those with a natural scepticism which protects them in their business dealings.
I don’t mean that you’ll be able to sell to the ex you cheated on in year ten; if you’ve broken someone’s heart they’re probably not going to be likely to buy even the most phenomenal product from you, simply because you’re the jerk in their back story! Likewise, if you’re a bit of a bad apple and have a reputation for being shady, or you’re a little light fingered around other people’s property, this post isn’t for you (and stop it already!)
This post is for those of us who need to break through the barriers which consistently stop new customers from taking the plunge; overcoming those issues which limit your success, and I will help you to build a rapport and relationship with your target market, and - from that position of trust - enable you to sell your products and services - no cynical manipulations, no truth stretching, just honest to goodness marketing and relationship building.
Of course there are short cuts around these things - you can find all kinds of tricks of the trade from shiny suited young men with spectacular eyebrows online - but I’ve learned, through my professional life, that if I don’t feel entirely comfortable with the thing I’m selling or the methods I’m being encouraged to use, I won’t perform well - and the customers won’t be happy.
Here are a couple of examples; when I was a student I - like most students - had part time work alongside my classes, to support myself through uni. Most of the work I did was in retail. One Christmas period I took extra work as a temp in a popular sportswear shop, where we were all given targets for signing people up to a store card.
There was a bonus for the person who secured the most new sign ups, and the techniques the managers encouraged were fundamentally immoral.
I was pushed to get sign ups by glossing over little details like THIS IS A CREDIT CARD AND YOU WILL BE IN DEBT and additional minor things like THERE IS 30% INTEREST CHARGED ON EVERYTHING YOU BUY WITH THIS CARD. You know, stuff that people might actually want to know before signing up to it…
Anyway, on my very first day in this job I witnessed the supervisor who was training me bully an elderly lady, who clearly had no idea what she was agreeing to, into signing up for this store card, and thus to the debt and interest that came with it. She was very pleased with herself after getting that signature - and when the old lady started to question what she’d actually just signed she was quickly ushered away from the tills with a breezy “you’ll get a letter, it explains it all there!” and the next customer was called forwards.
I was in trouble right from my first customer - because I just would not push those store cards - and I lasted less than a week in the job when I was marked out as trouble by the management for my ‘poor attitude’ - i.e. my absolute unwillingness to lie to customers for the sake of a 50p bonus. Walking away from that job, knowing I needed the money, felt right, even though I had nothing lined up to walk into.
The next example is from within this industry; copywriting. When I started out, as with so many new copywriters looking to build a portfolio of work, I joined a few agencies and boards where people advertised jobs. On these boards there were (and there still are) a lot of shady characters who want to pay (very small amounts) to get fake reviews, falsified feedback and dishonest claims published to boost their reputation and thus their sales.
I was approached more times than I can count to write these shady reviews - pennies paid per review on Amazon, per comment on a website, per lie told - and each time I not only refused the work, I also replied to tell the employer that what they were asking was illegal (as well as grubby) and I found myself banned from a few of those boards as a result; it was frustrating - and there were times where, again, that money would genuinely have been very useful - but I just couldn’t bring myself to lie, to tell people something blatantly untrue, in order to make a sale.
Lies, you see, not only make me feel ashamed and grubby, but they are always, always found out. So if you lie about your products or services, if you fake your reviews, buy your social media following, opt for any of the short cuts, your customers will find out - and you’re going to find things much more difficult fixing a bad reputation than you ever would have found it to build a good one.
An important tip I give to anyone who asks me for business advice (and in fact this also applies to friendships, relationships, any occasion you need to engage with other people!) is that if it feels wrong, and you have to talk yourself into going ahead - whether that’s giving someone a trial, hiring a new starter, excusing bad behaviour or cruelty, essentially making someone’s excuses for them and making allowances which push beyond your personal boundaries - then don’t do it. Walk away.
Yes, of course it’s hard to say no to someone, to turn away paid work, or to turn away someone who could have done some work you need doing - but it’s much harder to remedy a worse situation when you’ve been taken advantage of, or someone doesn’t want to pay for the work you’ve done, or you’re the one wanting to pay but you’re not getting what you asked for.
If that little voice in your gut says a situation feels wrong, listen to it! Your instincts are never wrong.
But what if what you’re trying to do is sell something you know will be a benefit to someone who is just a little sceptical? Or who isn’t familiar with you and your work?
It’s easy. It might take time – but trust me, it’s easy. All you need to do is focus on the honest, genuine reasons why your product or service will help them.
Build rapport, be honest and concentrate on communicating in a way which feels genuine and which gives the facts. There are no tricks, and no short cuts, to building a reputation and growing your brand. Not if you want it to last and you want your reputation to be built on the back of everything you do and say - which, and you can trust me on this, you do.
If you know what messages you want to share, but you’re struggling with how to put pen to paper - or fingers to keyboards - to share those messages with your target audience, give me a call. I can definitely help - and I can write copy that you’re happy to send out into the world to build that reputation you need.
Call 07580 676833 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org today – and let’s talk about what you need to say.