Never Deceive Your Prospect … BUT …
Never deceive your prospect.
Your clients and your long-term successes depend on being able to develop a trusting relationship with your prospect-turned-customer. And this cannot happen if you deceive him.
However, there are times when a bit of verbal “sleight of hand” (excuse the mixed metaphor) is best for you and your prospect.
How’s this so? You know what you’re offering will benefit and please your prospect. In some way it will fulfill his wants, hopes, needs, and desires. It will make him richer, healthier, or happier. (Or all three.)
But you also know if you launch into your copy directly, you risk having your prospect categorize what you’re offering before you have the chance to get him hooked on its unique benefits. “I know what this is all about,” he says to himself.
When that happens, you face an uphill battle to convince him your product is special.
More than just a flight …
Let’s see how this worked with a classic, very successful promotional letter, by making you the copywriter who’s been hired to write a promotional letter selling a round-the-world flight.
It’s an impressive round-the-world flight … unlike any other round-the-world flight ever before offered.
But if you sell it directly, your prospect could think you’re really just trying to sell a flight around the world.
How do you do it? How do you make this excursion more exciting and more enticing? How do you keep your prospect from glancing at your letter and tossing it aside because it’s “just another travel ad”?
Not with hype.
Here’s how Hank Burnett did it over 40 years ago. He didn’t try to sell a travel excursion. Instead, he renamed the excursion an “expedition” …
As Chairman of the Admiral Richard E. Byrd Polar Center, it is a privilege to invite you to become a member of an expedition that is destined to make both news and history.
It will cost you $10,000 and about 26 days of your time. Frankly, you will endure some discomfort, and may even face some danger.
On the other hand, you will have the rare privilege of taking part in a mission of great significance for the United States and the entire world. A mission, incidentally, which has never before been attempted by man.
More than just a stock dividend program …
Let’s say your job now is to sell subscriptions to an investment newsletter. Your client wants you to highlight a particular stock dividend program they feel is compelling.
But you feel – and so will your prospect – that this is just another stock scheme.
How do you do it? How do you keep your prospect from immediately categorizing your pitch … and your product? How do you make your pitch more intriguing and more compelling?
Not with hype.
You do it by not selling a stock dividend program.
Instead, you transform what looks ordinary, predictable, and easily understood into something new. Different. Exciting. Let’s see how the copywriter transformed the uninspiring idea of a stock dividend program into something unknown and exciting by renaming it …
Closed to New Investors for the
Last 6 Years —
Now Open Again …
The “Chaffee Royalty Program” That Turned
Every $1 Into $50
Doing nothing while collecting royalties has to be one of the best — and easiest — ways to get rich.
For instance, David Sengstack does nothing and collects royalty paychecks of $2 million per year … just because his dad was smart enough to buy the commercial rights to a song you’ve sung a hundred times, “Happy Birthday to You.”
Michael Jackson does nothing and collects royalties every time a Beatles song plays on the radio (he bought the rights years ago). But Paul McCartney — now a billionaire — does nothing and collects even more on the 3,000 song rights from other artists that he owns.
If you’ve never heard of the Chaffee Royalty Program, you’re in good company. The copywriter made it up. He took an ordinary concept and used the same strategy as Burnett did with the Admiral Byrd letter to make it more appealing.
Mark Morgan Ford calls this strategy “transubstantiation.” (Or sometimes “neologizing.”) I personally like the first term because of its mystical aura.
But be careful. Transubstantiation is more than a simple renaming. When you use this strategy, you must get your reader to believe he’s reading about something new, different, exciting. Not something renamed and warmed over.
You have to take the renamed, repurposed idea and carry that change throughout the entire letter.
If the copywriter of the Chaffee Royalty Program letter had revealed what he was talking about around the fifth paragraph, the prospect would have immediately felt – rightfully – that he’d heard it all before. He would have felt – rightfully once again – tricked and betrayed.
And he would have tossed the letter.
So, here are three simple “rules” for making transubstantiation work for you …
1. Find a concept very similar to the one you’re trying to make more exciting. For instance “expedition” for “excursion” … or “royalties” for “dividends.”
2. Re-craft your original concept from the new perspective. For example, the copywriter of the Admiral Byrd letter maintained the feeling of danger, excitement, and discovery throughout the entire letter.
3. Don’t reveal the connection back to your original concept until you have the prospect convinced to act. If even then.
Transubstantiation is not deception. By renaming what your product does, you’re giving your prospect the opportunity to learn about its many benefits.
And you’re giving yourself the opportunity to make a sale when you might not have gotten one.
P.S. – If you would like to read the complete Admiral Byrd letter, it can be found here.
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First of all, I apologize for my bad English (yes, I made this comment in google translator)...
I wanted to congratulate the author of this content, I'm Brazilian and I'm inspired by American copywriters!
Guest (Wallace DelArco) –
Thank you, Wallace,
I appreciate your taking the time to comment on this rather old but still relevant article. I'm glad it resonated with you.
Good luck, best wishes, and much success, Will
Will Newman –