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September 10, 2009

The Importance Of Creating Resistance In Your Copy

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“Creating Resistance in Your Copy” is an idea that is alien to most online marketers. After all, online marketers want to believe that everyone should buy their products and services, because the more people buying what is being sold, the more money the marketer will inevitably earn.

Alien Marketing Concept

This concept is so alien that most Internet marketers who see this article will react as if they are “deer in the headlights”. If you are looking at this article with a blank stare – completely bewildered about my suggestion – then you are likely one of many, who are reacting the same way.

Just the other day, I had this conversation with a small businessperson. The person with whom I was speaking was clearly bewildered at the suggestion, and she asked me, “What exactly do you mean by ‘create resistance’?”

I told her that “creating resistance” is the concept of eliminating some of your prospects, before they reach the sales page.

Taking a step back, she said, “What? Why would you want to do that?”

I explained to her what I am ready to explain to you now.

In her case, by the time I finished explaining the idea to her, she realized that she was already doing that – albeit, unconsciously.

Why Would Anyone Want To Create Resistance In Sales Copy?

When you are writing sales copy for a product, there is seldom a need to create resistance in your sales copy. In fact, when selling a product, the need is more often to wipe out, eliminate, diminish or neutralize consumer resistance in your sales copy.

Unless you are creating a product that sells for high dollar and you intend to offer it exclusively to a select number of people, the necessity of creating resistance in product sales copy is almost non-existent.

However, if you are selling a service, the reasons for creating resistance in your sales copy are endless.

For example:

One company we work with is an Internet marketing consulting company. The company provides its services to other businesses based on the billable hour or specific service.

In the case of this company, it does not make sense to talk to customers who cannot spend a minimum of $300 per month with them. As a result, they have created resistance in their sales copy to eliminate the broke, do-it-yourself, home business owner from their list of prospects. As a small consulting firm, it is essential for them to separate the wheat from the chaff quickly.

By requiring an appointment for a free consultation, they direct prospects to a form to be filled out. In that form, they require phone numbers and email addresses, and they request the prospect to be as detailed as possible so that the free consultation will be meaningful.

Another company we work with is a Virtual Assistant Agency. Once again, it is a matter of finding the customers who can actually afford the service. By telling prospects in advance that the minimum billing per month is $1000, the company is able to ensure that the only companies contacting them are those who seriously need virtual assistant(s) to help complete work.

By signing the contract, the customer acknowledges in advance that they should send enough work to the virtual assistant to ensure that the $1000 per month minimum will not go to waste.

Consumers Have A Natural Resistance To Sales Copy

All of the great sales copywriting teachers speak to the notion of “sales resistance” – the natural roadblocks in the mind of the consumer that holds the consumer back from making a purchase.

I actually found it quite interesting in that while researching this article, I could NOT find anyone talking about “creating resistance” in sales copy. The guru’s are only talking about how to “eliminate” or “melt away sales resistance”.

Now, one might argue that the reason no one is discussing the creation of resistance in sales copy is because one should not do it. But I have had this discussion with a lot of people. Although no one is talking about doing it, service providers who have been in business for a number of years tend to deliberately build “sales resistance” into their sales presentations!

Identifying And Eliminating Time Wasters

Once a service business has been in operation a number of years, the owners / managers of those businesses tend to start seeing patterns that frequently cause financial losses to the company.

When as a business owner / manager, you discover that certain customers cost more money than they generate for your business, you will seek ways to remedy that problem. Often times, it makes far more sense not to sell to certain people – the people who have exhibited certain traits that will lead to nothing but lost productivity for the service provider.

If you operate a service business, you will likely have seen similar patterns yourself. In my case, there are certain behaviors that some prospects exhibit that set off red flags for me. I used to ignore those “red flag” moments, but I always regretted doing so later.

The number one red flag for me in my business is the “carrot on the stick” approach offered by some prospects. It goes something like this: “I am going to try this once, and if it works out, I will send you tons of business.”

When I was in college, I used to wait tables in a restaurant. I saw the same behavior even then. People would come in and make grandiose promises at the beginning of the meal, “If you give us great service, we tip really well.”

Don’t believe it for a moment! It is a lie, usually designed to get something for nothing or to encourage you to discount your services, “just for them”.

When I was waiting tables, it did not matter how good of service you gave those guys. You could ignore every other table in the restaurant to give them better service and the tip never exceeded two pennies!

In my business, if you bite the bait, they will take their discount this “one time”, and then they are gone… forever… I know their disappearance is not because my service is less than worthy… I have too many customers who have been with me for years; to believe that my service was the reason those people never came back.

I have learned that the “carrot on the stick” approach is designed to take advantage of people – to take advantage of me.

Once a prospect raises this red flag for me, I kill the free advice and the extra attention that I give to their job. I do the job and let the chips fall where they may – my basic service will stand on its own, without any effort to help the customer get more out of it. I will not let this person waste any more of my time, period. Unless this person comes back for additional service, I no longer spend extra time with them.

Eliminating Time Wasters Is Easy If You Create Resistance In Your Copy

As a service provider, you DO want to eliminate “sales resistance” in your basic sales copy. Once you have tweaked your copy to help the majority of your prospects to overcome their natural resistance to your sales message, then it is time to add some resistance back into your copy.

You want as many people to buy your service as possible, but you also want to discourage those that you know will be a waste of your time and resources.

My friend who has the consulting business allows people an initial consultation to help him and the customer to determine if they will be able to work together and if his consulting company will be able to add value to the prospects business. In his sales copy, he points out that after the initial consultation, all hours will be billable hours. Because he makes his prospects jump through hoops to get the free consultation, he is assured that he is only going to have real prospects at the other end of the phone line during a free consultation. And because his prospects understand that all work beyond the initial free consultation is billable work, they don’t waste his limited time.

The Virtual Assistant does not need to layer on the resistance at the same level. By clearly explaining what one should expect in terms of the service within the first thirty days of the agreement, it becomes self-evident to the prospect that the service is not for the faint at heart. Investing in a virtual assistant can be a bit expensive, but the payoff can also be quite large. By laying out a map of what one can expect from the service, it clearly defines to the prospect what the cost of such a service could be. And as such, it quickly filters out those people who are not a good fit for the Virtual Assistant’s company.

In my case, I don’t provide much sales resistance in my sales copy to my prospective customers. In fact, the only sales resistance in my copy is my prices.

The companies that call me a competitor have lower prices than I do – much lower prices. Although they refer to me as one of THEIR competitors, I really don’t consider them to be mine. My service is so much different from theirs that I find it very difficult to think of them as “MY competition”.

For people who take the time to get educated about my service or to take it for a real spin around the block with a full ten article distributions, my higher prices are often considered a great investment of resources. With the built-in sales resistance in the form of a higher price, my customers ensure that I always serve higher-quality authors – authors who understand that the power of article marketing is in the strength of the content.

I Might Be Going Out On A Limb With This Article…

The fact that I could not find anyone else discussing the value of “adding sales resistance to sales copy” may suggest that I am just a total goof. But I do know for a fact that small business owners in the service industry do deliberately create sales resistance in their copy.

In the conversation that I mentioned in the beginning of this article – the one where I was discussing this idea with a small businessperson, who had her “deer in the headlights” moment – the lady I was speaking with said to me after I explained the concept to her, “Oh, you mean like when I tell my customers that we provide ‘quality’ over ‘quantity’?”

Indeed! Telling your prospects that you provide ‘quality’ over ‘quantity’ automatically tells your prospects that your services may be a bit more expensive, but the quality of the work will more than make up for the difference in pricing.

I know that many small business owners do deliberately build sales resistance into their sales copy, and I cannot blame them for doing so.

I also know that my pricing is a disincentive to some people to use my services. But that is okay too. The publishers who receive articles from me know that I distribute a higher quality article. They may not realize that it is because of the pricing resistance on my site, but they do know that we typically distribute some of the best-written articles available online, from some of the biggest names in their industries.

At the end of a ten-article cycle, most of my customers find that their articles have found publication on websites that have a much higher perceived value in the Internet marketplace. In fact, it is not at all uncommon for me to hear from clients who are happy to share that they have generated several thousand dollars in new sales as a result of an article I distributed for them. Now that is music to my ears…


Bill Platt has owned and operated http://thePhantomWriters.com/ since 2001. If you would like to learn more about his article distribution service, visit his website. To read 100’s of Bill’s Tweet-sized tips for article marketing, SEO, and more, visit: http://thePhantomWriters.com/tips/index.php Bill is also active on Twitter @contentmanager

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