Persuasive Writing to Influence Outcomes

Do you ever get stopped on the street by punters trying to tout something?

I’m talking about those people who pounce on you offering a free drink in a bar, or desperately trying to get you to sign up to a charity where you pledge your firstborn son by mistake, because you didn’t read the small print. Because of ploys like this, people who come to your blog are naturally going to be wary as soon as they sniff out that you might be trying to sell them something. There they are, surfing about in their lunch hour, and all of a sudden you pounce like a tiger asking them to buy your services. Really, what they were looking for was a pleasant read to while away some time before going back to the grindstone.

Let’s face it, if they wanted you to provide a service, they’d ask you for it, right? So how in the world are we supposed to persuade people, and sell, without sounding like a desperate second hand car dealer? Here’s the low-down on some useful tips…

Be honest

There’s absolutely no point in trying to sell if you lose your readers at the first hurdle. People can spot scams or evasiveness a mile off, so don’t even try to pull the wool over your prospective customer’s eyes. A little bit of honesty goes a long way – if your product has a pitfall, outline it. Weirdly, this natty technique will aid your sale, rather than impede it.

Here’s an example:

“We are not the cheapest gardening service in the area. However, we mitigate this through outstanding service and attention to detail, meaning we are an economical choice in the long run.” Admit it – you’ve warmed to these guys already, right? There’s something really engaging about admitting weakness…and then mitigating it.

Offer something worthwhile

Price your products and services sensibly. Check out your competitors, and see what they are offering. If you can’t beat them on price, work out what you can add that sets you ahead of them. What makes your company unique? If you were your own customer, what would you be looking for? Work out how you can satisfy your customers with your proposition – and then deliver it.

List the benefits

Potential customers respond brilliantly to sales pitches that explain exactly what the features of the service or product are, and how it will enhance their existing proposition. Be very specific when describing your product. List features, and explain exactly how these features translate in to direct benefits. An example of this would be: “Hiring us to do your garden will save you time, which in turn allows you to generate revenue by focusing upon your business.” People like logic – show them how their lives will be improved through your service, and they will respond.

Make the decision-making process easy

Think about your proposition from the perspective of the customer. Detail exactly what you would want to hear, if you were making a purchasing decision. Be direct, and don’t overestimate your reader. They have a matter of moments to make a call – make those moments count by putting everything they need to know in front of them, succinctly.

Offer something for free

Everyone likes getting something for nothing. Persuade people to buy, by offering something for free. Most decent people feel morally obligated when they receive something for nothing, and yet everyone likes a bargain. It may sound cynical, but cash in on this sense of obligation by offering a service which leads naturally on to a purchase of some kind.

Don’t push too hard

Your readers will instantly become alienated if you hammer the point home too hard. Take it steady when it comes to the hard sell – people are capable of making their own decisions. All you need to do is outline the benefits of your proposition, and let them work the rest out for themselves.

Acknowledge other options

There is something charming about the disarming honesty which leads people to acknowledge their competitors. The chances are, people who purchase from you are aware of the pros and cons of other options – don’t be afraid of acknowledging them, as it will let your reader know that you are aware of your market, and your own place within it.

So how in the world do you persuade people, and sell, without sounding like a desperate second hand car dealer?

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