Psychology of Writing Simple Sales Letter that Sells like Crazy

Lisa R. Parker

Does writing sales letter have a secret? After all sales copy must be designed to sale and no more, no less.

This discourse is about the secret psychology of sales copywriting. In fact, it is not really a secret–or maybe an open secret. First, you must understand the psychology of human thinking. Sales and marketing is woven in human behavior. You must understand that belief powers behavior and behavior turns browsers to buyers.

But before I release the open secret, let’s go back to basics: the AIDA rules:

Attention: you must grab the reader’s attention through persuasive, compelling headlines with benefits that pull the reader’s self-awareness just as bees are drawn to nectar. There are several ways to craft a headline which is beyond the scope of this discourse. The key to grabbing attention is intention–the reader’s ingrain desire based on programming. Whatever gets your attention engages your heart. After you use the headline as a bait, you must hold this attention by sustaining the buyer’s self-interest. You switch with your story (unique selling proposition) under the radar to keep the prospect’s interest.

Interest: This is the reader’s deep seated desire to solve a problem, seek pleasure or avoid effort. Human behavior is influenced by unresolved internal conflicts. We call this the pleasure-pain principle. This is the main reason people buy things even when they hate to be sold. Here-in lies the real secret of sales copywriting. The key is to sell people things by telling stories. It is one of the most powerful hypnotic ways of by-passing human resistance. However, you must tell a compelling and persuasive human interest story that your prospect would be interested in. “Miss-handle” this step and your sales copy will fail to deliver the goods and convert your prospects to paying customers. There is an old copywriting rule that says “stories sell while facts (and figure) tell.” For instance Robert Kyiosaki has made millions by telling his rich dad, poor dad story. Robert uses his story to paint the picture of financial literacy. Remember that your story (your emotional hook or twist) must be empathic and relevant to your prospects self-interest. Humans by nature are selfish and ego-centric. “What is in it for me” is a well known slogan in marketing promotions. You must sell what people are already desiring. Human behavior is such that nobody wants something until someone else wants it.

Desire: Desire is the invisible energy that powers human decisions. It is an extension of the buyer’s interest. If you don’t desire something, no amount of persuasive sales copy will make you change your mind unless you lecture your prospect on the need (could be hidden need). Maybe she is not aware of the need at that point in time. This is where your sales letter may need to expand more on the benefits and lecture the prospect on what they will miss without your goods or services. The emotion of fear acts quicker than greed. Providing benefits or offers the prospects cannot resist is where greed comes in. This ties in with how people make decisions which is based on psychological programming–usually unconscious. People decide emotionally and justify that decision with logic. After helping your prospect make up their minds, it is time to call for action.

Action: The initial steps (interest, attention and desire) are all geared towards taking action–the beginning of closing the sales process. You should not be afraid of asking for action and challenging the prospect to take you on your offers. Most shy salesmen who don’t understand this critical stage all have skinny kids. Your salesman in print (sales letter) is not different. The principle and process of copywriting is the same, regardless of the method. To further sweeten the proverbial pot and to make it easy for the prospect, remove all psychological barriers. Human nature is reward-oriented and risk-evasive. So assume the risk and give money-back guarantees. The longer the period, the lesser the returns. Again due to psychology of human guilt and procrastination. Therefore, in your call for action, also include a deadline. You must force a decision after you’ve made everything clear and simple. Yes, because a confused mind never buys.

In your sales copy expedition, use the simple rules of copywriting and then break the rules by introducing your own story twist based on your uniqueness. The key is to brand and don’t blend. Be yourself and be creative! Variety is the spice of nature. No two copywriters are alike. Some copywriters like Joe Vitale emphasise the benefits more than the problem. Others like Dan Kennedy focus and super-size the problem before presenting the solution.

In a nutshell, sales copywriting is this: find what the prospects want, tell them, make them the offer, remove the barriers and give them a deadline.

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