Persuasion & Influence: The Most Important Blog Post You’ll Ever Read If You Ever Wanted to Sell Anything Online

Component #1: Stage of the Selling Process

  • Attention: what's in this for me, why should I give you 30 seconds of my time? (usually a shocking statement, bold claim, promise, or newsworthy statement)
  • Interest: who are you, why should I listen, how does it relate to me?
  • Desire: what is your offer, what does it do, why would I want it?
  • Action: what do you want me to do right now to get it?

A very common mistake I see with sales letters (or with teaching of any kind) is that someone's got this in the wrong order. They're trying to sell something before they've demonstrated the importance of it, or they haven't captured my attention before they began talking to me. Some of them don't have a very clear call to action!

The point is, just look at your webinar presentation and sales letter and make sure that the ENTIRE presentation as a whole follows AIDA. Starts with attention, moves to interest, then desire, then finally action -- the pitch! Every piece of the webinar itself (intro, teaching, and pitching) should follow AIDA on its own and every slide should also follow AIDA -- even if the "attention" part is the headline of your slide, and the "action" is just to continue listening, watching, and participating in that webinar.

Now that we know the order we're going to proceed in, let's look at what tools we're going to use to do the job -- they are pretty interchangeable...

Component #2: Persuasion Tool
(Robert Cialdini "6 Keys of Influence")

I've seen many people try to explain their "system" for selling and persuading, but only explain one small piece. For example, has anyone tried to be your best friend in order to get you to buy from them (likeability)? It didn't always work, did it? On the other hand, if someone presented a trial offer (reciprocity) it made you buy... but not always, right?

These are the six tools you always use to get what you want, whether you realize it or not:

  • Authority: demonstrate higher value, you've got what I want, you know what you're talking about and I should listen to you
  • Likeability: we have common ground, we connect on several levels
  • Reciprocity: you've done something for me (either a literal gift or taught valuable information) so I want to return the favor
  • Commitment & Consistency: I've already agreed with you 20 times in a row, or I've sat through your 1-hour webinar, I want to keep following you
  • Social Proof: others see value in what you have so I do too
  • Scarcity: if I don't act on this right away, I will miss out in some way (won't be able to buy, will have to buy at a higher price, or won't get results if I wait)

I hope you seeing this list makes you realize why you sell to some people and not others. Honestly, some people will buy from you because they feel like they are you (likeability), because they feel the need to give back to you (reciprocity), because others like you (social proof), or just because you lit a fire under their butt to get them to buy right away (scarcity)...

And the way this REALLY makes sense to me is that authority, likeability, and reciprocity are the high-level strategies you'd use over time to sell high-ticket items. You play on your audience's need for certainty, love, and contribution.

While commitment & consistency, social proof, and scarcity are the cheap "gimmicks" that work great for low-ticket impulse buy sales. Think about it. Bucket brigades, hand raising, and multiple facts in a row (commitment and consistency) will give you a boost. Social proof (testimonials) will give you a boost. Deciding to only offer 100 copies or raise the price on Wednesday, will give you a boost!

The point of these six keys of influence: you need to have SOME of each of the six keys. Even if you don't have testimonials are your social proof, have case studies or explain to me how SOMEONE uses your product.

BUT! I think you're going to realize that the next time you create (or dissect) one of your own headlines, the effective ones uses one of these 6 keys as its MAIN driving force, probably with a 2nd a 3rd. For example, look at this headline:

"43 Smart Marketers Create 94 Information Products In Just A Few Short Weeks, Each In A Single Take, Starting With Almost Zero Training!
You Too Can Create Your Own Online Show, Event, or E-Class Just Like Two Guys Who Have Logged 545 Webinars (Totaling 1050 Hours)"

You could look at that and say it's a SOCIAL PROOF headline. Look at what these people did and you can do it too. I would say the secondary tool we used here was AUTHORITY, check out how well we train our students and how many webinars we ourselves have run. Finally, a 3rd tool that's just barely in there is LIKEABILITY -- we run online shows, events, and e-classes and would like you to do it as well.

Component #3: Underlying Need
(Anthony Robbins "6 Human Needs")

Here's where it gets super cool... if we know where we are in our selling process, we know what our end goal is at this point in time (get them to start reading, or to align with us, or listen to our offer, or buy now). That was component #1. Any of those 6 keys of influence will do it... but how do we know WHICH tool to use???

Ahhh... the answer is to know who you're selling to -- what are their needs? If you think about WHY someone buys your course on Facebook traffic, it's might be because they want to help as many people as possible with their training (contribution) or because they want everyone to know about them (significance)...

I've looked at every which way people try to simplify human needs but motivational speaker Tony Robbins was the only one I've found to break it down in a way that I can always remember...

  • Certainty: we need stability in our lives and to maintain what we have
  • Variety: we need new adventures and excitement
  • Significance: we need others to recognize how great we are
  • Love: we need to connect with other human beings
  • Growth: we need today to be better than it was 5 years ago
  • Contribution: we need to contribute to the greater good

Once again, how does this relate? To make a huge generalization, I would argue that most older men desire CERTAINTY the most. They want to be able to pay their bills and not have to worry. Their #2 need is VARIETY -- can't have the same exact day as yesterday. And #3 for them is SIGNIFICANCE. They still need love, growth, and contribution, but they see those things coming almost automatically as a result of meeting those other three needs. (Picture the ultimate "alpha male" -- William Shatner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Jobs, Donald Trump -- they want certainty, variety and significance ABOVE ALL ELSE!)

Likewise, I would argue that MOST older women value those bottom three items the most... love, growth, and contribution. Do you think Oprah cares if she has $2 billion vs. $3 billion? NOT knowing her personally, I would say that Oprah belives in connecting with people (love), bettering herself as a person (growth), and helping others improve their lives as well (contribution) -- and that any certainty (money), variety (her business), and significance (fame) comes as an automatic result of that and therefore isn't so important.

Customer Avatar

You're going to have some Trumps as your subscribers, some Oprahs and everyone in between but once you get to know enough of your ideal customers you're going to discover your "ideal prospect" (Frank Kern and Eben Pagan call this your customer avatar) -- one imaginary person in your mind that adequately represents your ideal subscriber.

You'll figure out their name, age, appearance, what they do, what their income is, what they buy and THEN when you create a sales letter, or write a headline, you're just writing to that single person. And because you know what motivates them (their #1, #2, and #3 ranking needs), which tool you'll use to match those needs (which of the 6 Cialdini keys) -- then all you need to do is figure out which order to use them in! (which is Attention, Desire, Interest, and Action)

Bringing It All Together...

If you look at it correctly, this table will solve all your problems:

CERTAINTYcredentialsfactsmultiple agreeing statementstime limittrustdemonstration
VARIETYyour story or easy avoidancesimplepotential usesdisappearing bonusesbefore & aftertestimonial
SIGNIFICANCEfollow my template or follow in my footstepsrhetoricthought leader fact or quotelimited slotstrialcase study
LOVEpersonalize or call out your audience"I'm just like you"questionprice increasepromise"Who else..."
GROWTHchallengecommon goalwhat ifconsequences of inactionpay it forwardyou too
CONTRIBUTIONI want you on my teamlet's be friendsif-then statementsexclusivityfree infocommunity

Let me show you how to use it. Let's say your customer avatar is a slightly selfish person who values Variety, Significance, and Growth above all else. Let's also say you were selling a low ticket product so you're going to use Commitment & Consistency, Social Proof, and Scarcity to sell your product.

Now, we've decided that it would make the most sense if we opened with Social Proof, used Commitment & Consistency to keep them reading, and ended with Scarcity to really push them to buy right now.

Here's what we have so far:

  • Attention: Variety + Social Proof
  • Interest: Significance + Commitment & Consistency
  • Desire: ???
  • Action: Growth + Scarcity

We want to begin, build and end strong so I've listed our avatar's top three human needs in order as Attention, Interest, and Action, respectively. By the time someone is in the "Desire" stage, we're already explaining our offer to them, so we can put the remaining weakest pieces in there.

  • Attention: Variety + Social Proof
  • Interest: Significance + Commitment & Consistency
  • Desire: (Certainty, Love, Contribution) + (Authority, Likability, Reciprocity)
  • Action: Growth + Scarcity

How does this all come together? Let's consult our chart... for the headline (Action phase) we're going to start with a before and after statement, such as...

"If You're Not Using These Video Sales Tactics In Every Website and Sales Letter You Create, You Might as Well Throw $10 in the Trash Every Time Someone Visits Your Landing Page!
On the Other Hand, Apply This Easy 6-Step Formula and You'll Notice an Increase in Traffic, Higher Customer Response, and More Sales... Which Means More Money For You!"

Now for the "interest" step... significance + commitment & consistency = limited slots.


Filed in: Archive 4: 2020-2023Copywriting

Comments are closed.

Back to Top