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Persuasion Point 6: Sales Letters - Persuasion & Favour Reciprocation

Sarah Jamieson - Friday, March 28, 2014

This  blog is adapted from a series of articles I wrote with my colleague James Atkinson entitled: SEO Strategy: Buyer Persuasion Points


Your sales letter or verbal sales pitch is an important culminating point of your reciprocal relations, persuasion strategy, and sales process.

Sales letters are the last of the major persuasion points that I show in my previous eight blogs – that is, my series beginning at Buyer Persuasion Points.

Selling to prospects with whom you have built a relationship - is much easier than a “cold call” prospect reading a sales letter.

By the time your prospects reach your sales letter you should have addressed a number of issues and ensured that you have established TRUST.

In this next series of blogs I want to review all of the persuasion psychology techniques mentioned in my colleague’s and my series of articles on Persuasion Psychology.

The sales letter itself is where you can really use those ideas - to make sales.

Persuasion process begins when you first meet your online prospect. See Seller Persuasion Actions. Then, you must use every possible avenue to state your persuasion message – in blogs, videos, web content, social networks, email campaigns and so on.

Then, last of all – you complete the persuasion process in your sales letter.

Your sales letter should NOT be written as a document in and of itself. It is really the last page of a series of documents all of which have a purpose which culminates in the sales page.

And of course, the whole educative, social, and eMail process should be consistent and work as a whole.

All prospects – no matter whether they arrive at your site through search engines, a social site, or PPC - should be presented with a message consistent with that search medium’s needs but also consistent with your overall persuasion strategy.

That is, don’t present sales messages IN your social network and search content– but rather guide your prospects to the sales pages through email and persuasion principles.


Favour Reciprocation

It’s quite possible that your prospect’s journey to the sales letter has been initiated by some form of FAVOUR you have done for your prospect. We are all deeply conditioned to treat favoursor gifts as something we must reciprocate - so it does not hurt to have your prospects feel that they owe you a favour.

Reciprocation is a valuable tool in getting prospects to the sales letter.

You can do so via all sorts of gifts and free samples. Helping a prospect in some way or giving them a personalized service of some kind should engage the reciprocation rule in a strong way.

If you’ve done a favour for your prospect he or she will feel indebted to you - until that favor can be repaid with one of their own. This often means buying something from you.

With some prospects, the feeling of indebtedness is quite unpleasant and can often trigger a LARGER repayment than the initial small gift would suggest. How you trigger indebtedness in your prospects is a matter for you to think about long and hard.

Another way to employing the reciprocity principle is by making a concession to your prospect.  Concessions work in a simple way. It may well be that the initial offering to your prospect is quite high priced – but you can offer your prospect a “personalized special” which is a very steep reduction.

The smaller less expensive offering can be presented as a concession. The concession activates the feeling of obligation to reciprocate. Of course, your lower-priced product may actually be the target of the sale all along.

If prospects are then presented with a lower price - that price can be presented as a concession – which should activate the reciprocity rule.  So, think about how you present pricing – before the prospect gets to the sales letter.

Show Expensive Items FIRST

There is extensive proof and data that showing the most expensive price FIRST results in higher sales if a less expensive alternative is later provided.

If you have two expensive items and an expensive item is offered first, a lower-priced article that is seen immediately afterwards is perceived of as considerably less expensive.

With the internet, it’s super easy to test different versions of a concession – for example, does a 30% discount produce more sales and profits than a 15% discount?

You can have many different sales letters for the same product – just create a special link for each concession as it’s created. It’s a win for you because if the prospect buys at the higher price then you’ve done well.

You can also employ the concession persuasion principle in your ultimate pricing on the sales letter. You could start out with a somewhat exaggerated but still plausible price – from which you then “retreat” by offering a discount – over say the next day or so or other time limit.

There is also plenty of data to show that concessions on the part of a merchant increase customer’s satisfaction with the purchase. Thus reducing product returns.

The favor reciprocation principle is easy to misuse and so it should be exercised in an ethical manner.

In the next Persuasion Point blog I look at “Commitment and Consistency in Sales Letters”. 


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