The question is:
“Is using a marketing sales letter that uses the sales copywriting tactics of direct response marketing compatible with the non-manipulative methods of high probability selling process?”
This question was asked by a reader in a comment on this blog, and I decided to write a post about it.
The short answer is: NO.
The most common sales copywriting tactics are completely incompatible with High Probability Selling (HPS). And for most copywriters, even the fundamental purpose of copywriting is incompatible with HPS.
One copywriter explains the difference in purpose between copywriting and other writing in his article, “81 staggering lines in literature“:
“Unlike writing, copywriting exists to get the reader to do something, buy something, sign-up for something or share something.” He goes on to say, “copywriting exists to elicit an action in the reader.”
In High Probability Selling, we DO NOT attempt to get anyone to buy. Not even a nudge one way or the other. We do try to be as clear as possible about what it is that we are offering, and we do try to get the prospect to make an immediate decision about whether they want that or not. But nothing intended to influence that decision.
So, what about sales copywriting? What would that look like if you wanted to make it completely compatible with the methods and principles of High Probability Selling?
Here is what I think sales copywriting would look like if it were to be compatible with HPS.
- Informative, without attempting to influence or impress the reader. Our primary purpose is to provide the information that someone might want in order to make a well-informed decision.
- Honest, full disclosure of what is relevant.
- Balanced, revealing both pros and cons.
- Neutral, objective (factual), transparent. No exaggerating.
- Concise, direct, to the point.
- Short and simple, easy to read. What it’s about should be immediately apparent to the reader, as quickly as possible. If details are necessary, put them further down the page.
- Focused more on what a customer receives (The Get), and less on what the seller does.
- Features (what the customer gets immediately) are more important than benefits (potential later outcomes).
- No pressure. No pushing, not even a nudge.
- Provide options.
- Ask for a decision. One of my favorite ways to do this is, “What do you want to do?”
My opinions on this are based on years of conversations with Jacques Werth (founder of High Probability Selling) and others, plus my own thinking and experience.
What are your thoughts and experiences about this?