Reassurance isn’t a term that’s widely used in copywriting.
Have a quick scan through the index pages of Cialdini’s Influence, Daniel H. Pink’s To Sell is Human or even Ogilvy’s On Advertising and you won’t find any special preference given to the word.
Does that make it redundant?
Does the fact that late greats and modern thinkers alike haven’t targeted the concept of ‘reassurance’ mean that it isn’t something to think about?
I mean, the word reassurance itself is defined as “the act of removing someone’s doubts or fears.”
When it comes to selling, that’s exactly what you want to do, right?
Imagine if you could remove someone’s doubts or fears about buying your product or service?
That would be incredibly usefu—
“Hang on, Fisher!” I hear you shout.
“That’s something I already do in my writing. I spend plenty of time overcoming objections and providing proof as to why someone should buy the product I’m selling.”
Yes. You’re right. You got me. Tackling objections in a direct response sales letter should be done as standard. And providing proof! Well, that’s one of the Four Ps, right? Any copywriter in their right mind would provide proof in their sales argument.
But one minute, let me just ask you this…
In attempting to overcome objections in your current copy, do you look to overcome the objection AND reassure the reader?
Perhaps you consider them one in the same? Many do.
Personally though, I think there’s a very subtle difference.
If you were overcoming an objection about how long the product you’re selling takes to use, you might say:
“Don’t worry; the wonder pump only takes ten minutes to work. You’ll be pumped up in no time.”
Sounds fine, right? (Although I’m not sure what a wonder pump is or what it’s used for? Let’s just run with it for now.)
Here you’ve overcome the objection on a very technical level. You’ve established that the wonder pump is quick to use. Great.
But hold on… you see, there’s still a doubt in the reader’s mind. EVERYONE always says things only take ten minutes.
To further overcome the objection you go on to explain the step-by-step process of using a wonder pump.
You include a video of it in action, showing that it can be used in exactly ten minutes.
You even throw in a few testimonials about how quick it is to use!
This is some SERIOUS proof.
The objection is crapping itself and running for the hills. Surely now it’s well and truly overcome. The reader is sold, right?
The reader watched the video, saw the guy using the wonder pump, saw that it took ten minutes, saw the testimonials and is almost ready to buy, BUT…
Somewhere at the back of their mind is this little nagging doubt: Will it take ME ten minutes?
You see, even showing stone-cold proof doesn’t necessarily reassure a reader.
The subtle difference between overcoming an objection and reassuring a reader
Reassurance is a much more emotional thing. Our need for reassurance arises from deep anxieties that we often aren’t even conscious of.
So reassurance is a personal thing – it doesn’t really have anything to do with the product or service that’s being sold.
Do you see what I mean?
Think of something you’ve spent a lot of money on. I’m talking about a really high ticket item: a top-of-the-range computer, a car or even a house.
I’m sure you went through all the possible objections on a technical level. You reasoned why the specs of the Mac were better than the PC, you had an MOT and service done and went for a test drive, you paid through the nose for solicitor fees and various structural surveys.
Still though – despite having overcome all your objections on a technical level – at some point I bet you sought reassurance from a loved one or someone you trust.
Despite the fact that we have all the proof we need, we still look for reassurance on an emotional level.
That’s the difference.
And it’s that kind of reassurance that I’m suggesting you aim to offer your reader in your sales letter.
Well, you have to almost turn your back on the product or service. It’s essentially irrelevant.
Instead you need to focus your attention entirely on the reader. Specifically you have to focus in on the anxieties they might have about the very act of buying your product or service.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s difficult. As I say, it might be that their need for reassurance has nothing to do with the product itself and arises from the fact that they’re worried what their partner might say.
If you think that’s a possibility: tackle it – remember you’re talking one-to-one, the partner isn’t there right now, so reassure them. Give them the answers to the objections that the partner will surely come up with when they get home.
Or maybe your reader needs reassurance that they can afford it. So deal with that. But don’t just say it’s cheap or that they’re getting a great deal – turn your attention away from the product and towards the reader. Reason the pros and cons of spending the money full stop, not just spending it on your product.
Truly reassuring your reader will make a huge difference to the success of your sales letter, so make the effort…
Think hard about the difference between overcoming an objection with proof and providing reassurance to someone on an emotional level.
In fact, right now, to get yourself thinking about the difference, in the comments below I’d like you to write down the last big thing you had to make a buying decision about and what (or who) reassured you that it was the right decision.
It’ll be interesting to see if your reassurances tie in with the product itself or your concerns about your own circumstances.