PERSUASIVE MARKETING writing on wooden puzzle on a yellow background.

10 Scientifically Proven Methods for Selling More Stuff with Less Work

It's the ultimate marketing fantasy: you press a button, send an email, and money pours into your bank account.

But, before that can happen, a lot of work must be put into things like finding or creating the right products for the right audience, locating that audience, and then convincing them to buy what you want to sell.

Which brings us to today's topic: how do you persuade people to buy? How can you make persuasiveness second nature to you, so that no matter what you do – write an email, a sales letter, or a blog post – your copy moves the reader closer to purchasing?

There is no one magic switch or formula to learn to be more persuasive, but there are a number of tactics that have been scientifically proven to persuade people to do what you want.

This isn't mind control at all. It isn't hypnosis or some other dark art. It's simply a scientific fact that people are hardwired to respond positively to specific tactics and methods that anyone can learn and apply to get what they want.

1: Here are three simple words that have broken sales records.

You've probably seen those late-night infomercials, right? An overly enthusiastic audience, a few catchy phrases, a sort of celebrity endorser, and numerous calls to action to pick up the phone and order the product.

However, by making one minor change to their script, one of these infomercials shattered all previous sales records. This change had the immediate effect of convincing people that the product was being purchased in large quantities by others. Regardless of what the average person tells you, social proof goes a long way toward convincing them to join the party as well.

What kind of evidence was used in this record-breaking infomercial? Were there testimonials? Experts? A distraught product user who claims the product saved her life?

Nope. It was far more straightforward and elegant than any of those. In fact, most people who picked up the phone and dialed had no idea why they felt compelled to do so.

They simply did it.

When you're watching an infomercial and the host says, "Operators are waiting, please call now?", what do you imagine? - Rooms full of bored operators who read magazines and file their nails while waiting for the phone to ring? If they're not getting a lot of calls, the product must be doing poorly.

However, when the phrase "Operators are waiting, please call now" was changed to "If operators are busy, please call again," sales increased dramatically.

Now the image conjured was of operators rushing from one call to the next, barely keeping up with demand.

There is no implication of scarcity here. Nobody claims that there are only 1000 units available. There is no mention of a deadline or time limit. All they're saying is that you might have some difficulty getting through.

Despite this, a single change shattered sales records.

How can you put this to use? If you're selling an information product online, here's an example:

"Please be patient while my assistants verify your order and send you the download link if they are overburdened."

When you find ways to demonstrate that demand is high without explicitly stating it, demand will rise.

That's why emails like "Whoops, we crashed the site with this offer" drive so many people to the site to see the offer that caused the site to crash. People want in if they believe there is a high demand.

2: The Benefits of Avoiding Ego Testimonials

Assume you're selling a "how to make money" product. Your ideal customer is someone in their 30s to 50s who earns $50,000 per year in a dead-end job, is tired of working, and wishes they had more time to do what they want.

Your product is fantastic, and industry professionals adore it. Your fellow marketers give you glowing recommendations. These are people making six, seven, and eight figures a year in your industry. Their names are well-known, and you are confident that their testimonials will persuade your target audience to purchase your product.

Except... they probably won't.

Keep in mind that your target market is attempting to break into online marketing. They are currently employed and earning $50,000. Your prized testimonials are from millionaires who work from home.

Moreover, numerous scientific studies show that people are most influenced by others who appear to be similar to them.

Assume you have a testimonial from Suzy Q. of Akron, Ohio buried on your sales page. She tells an enthralling story about being broke and working 60 hours a week in three different part-time jobs. Your program was her last hope on this planet, but she trusted you and bought it. That was a year ago, and she's not only quit her jobs and paid off her debts; she's also bought a house and is working on her lifelong dream of opening a shelter for senior and disabled dogs and cats.

That's the kind of testimonial you should include in your sales copy. Your prospect can identify with Suzy Q. and her predicament, and they can see themselves achieving her success. Another millionaire's testimonial about how this program will help the 'little guy', on the other hand, will simply not resonate with your ideal prospects.

3: Why Do You Only Talk About The 'Yes' People?

There are people who say yes and people who say no in any situation.

For example, in a recycling campaign, mentioning the percentage of people who DON'T recycle is unlikely to sway others. Instead, they'll point to those who don't recycle as proof that they don't need to, either.

Another example: mentioning how many people do not have their own part-time business and instead rely solely on their job for all of their income will not entice readers to purchase your work from home program.
What evidence do we have?

Public service announcements citing the number of people who pollute, litter, do not recycle, and so on have almost no positive impact on the problem. In some cases, these campaigns have exacerbated the problem they are attempting to address.

For example, a campaign emphasizing how people produced more litter than ever before, or a campaign emphasizing the number of people who did not vote in the previous election, will result in more litter and fewer voters this year.

However, if you can show the majority of good people taking the desired action while portraying the few outliers negatively, you can see a significant increase in compliance.

Assume you want to encourage people to take a specific action, such as subscribing to your newsletter, and you're sending traffic to your squeeze page from a specific website. If you can say that the majority of the readers of that website who come to your page subscribe to your newsletter, your conversions will almost certainly improve. Conversely, mentioning that only 20% sign up and how unfortunate it is for those who do not will not only not help conversions, but will most likely hurt them.

4: How to Avoid Persuasion Backfire

Here's an odd fact: we will do things subconsciously just to be average.

You don't want to be too smart or too stupid because the other kids will pick on you, do you? This is something that is ingrained in our minds when we are young, and we never get over it.

What happens if a scientist monitors your power usage and then gives you a report card stating that you are using LESS power than the average?

If you are like the participants in the study, you will begin to use MORE power. That is the unfortunate news. The good news is that people who were previously using more power will now begin to use less power.

We have a desire to be average, which can work against us in business unless:

Unless you praize those who outperform the average.

Do you have customers who spend more, engage more, and refer more business to you than others?

Then, when you tell them they're above average, make sure you PRAISE them for it.

Those participants in the power study who used less power than the average and received a smiley face on their report card continued to use less power. Those who did not receive a smiley face began to use less power.
And, as crazy as it may sound, one little smiley face made all the difference? Yes, it most certainly did.

Praise your top performers so that they can continue to perform well. And, if possible, do it in a way that demonstrates to others that they, too, will be praised if they join the ranks of your elite followers.

5: Here's Why Restricting Customer Options Increases Sales

Isn't it true that the more options you give your customers, the more likely they are to buy? After all, if you provide a wide range of options, everyone should be able to find the product that's just right for them... right?

No, it does not.

Researchers discovered that the more options people have, the more difficult it is for them to make a decision. When people are unable to make a decision, they make no decision at all.

Take, for example, jams. The researchers set up a table in upscale supermarkets and distributed preserve samples. The display contained 6 flavors at times and 24 flavors at other times.

Thirty percent of those who approached the table with six flavors purchased jam.

However, when the same table held 24 flavors, only 3% of visitors made a purchase! Isn't that insane? But we're not here to debate customer logic; rather, we're here to learn what customers naturally do (and don't do) so that we can make it super simple (a real no-brainer, if you will) to buy from us.

How many choices do you have? Rather than confusing your customers with a plethora of options, consider removing redundant or less popular items to increase your customers' motivation to buy.

When Head and Shoulders reduced the number of shampoo variations from 26 to 15, it immediately saw a 10% increase in sales. (One wonders if a further reduction would increase sales even more.)

Some businesses may be able to further streamline customers' decision-making processes. Assume you have ten different informational products all about building an online business. What if, instead of presenting these products as ten separate items to purchase, you presented them as a SERIES of products, numbering them in order of what a person needs to master first, second, and so on. Think ofc a Kindle book series to get the idea.

People can buy your products out of order if they want, but giving them this format can reduce their decisions to a simple yes, they'll start at the beginning and work their way through. This would also be a great way to create a membership site, giving members access to one new product each month in chronological order.

6: Why Are Your Bonuses Never "Free"?

If you don't frame your gifts or bonuses correctly, they can backfire. In one study, the perceived value of a bonus that was previously sold for full price on the website was immediately reduced by 30% because it was offered for free as a bonus.

People wonder if a bonus is out of date, out of style, has a flaw, or if there were simply too many of them made and they aren't selling.

When offered for free as a bonus to another product, even information products are dismissed as having little value.

Worse, when you try to sell that product again, people won't believe it's worth what you're asking because you gave it away with another product last month.

However, if handled correctly, the right bonuses can increase sales.

The key is to ensure that your prospect understands how valuable this bonus is.

Never say something is free, such as, "Receive a free program on '27 ways to drive traffic.'"

Instead, say something like, "Get our $300 course on '27 ways to drive traffic' at no cost to you."

Emphasize the course's VALUE. Provide a link to where you are currently selling the course for that price. Tell them how many people have PAID $300 for it in the last 6 months to demonstrate that it is still valued at $300.

Never, ever give something away for free. Instead, demonstrate the worth of the product or service you are providing at no cost to them.

I realize this may appear to be splitting hairs, but you already know that giving away junk bonuses does not increase sales. Giving away valuable bonuses when the prospect suspects they are junk does not work either.
Just keep in mind that proving the worth of your bonuses is just as important as proving the worth of your product.

7: How to Increase Sales of Your Flagship Product Without Trying

Assume you have some entry-level products, a couple of mid-level products, and one flagship coaching program that costs between $1000 and $5000.

Do you want to know how to sell more of your high-priced program without even trying?

You'll take advantage of a consumer quirk in which buyers are always looking for the middle-of-the-road product. When a customer is deciding which product to purchase, they want the best of both worlds. They want a great product that meets their needs, but they don't want to spend a fortune getting it.

Consider cars: A new car buyer could get the cheapest of the cheap cars and still get where they want to go. However, because it is the cheapest of the cheap, they are likely to be dissatisfied with it, and they are aware of this. They could also buy the most expensive, most luxurious, or fastest car available, but they don't want the astronomical car payments.

As a result, the vast majority of new car buyers opt for something in the middle. It's a workable solution.

The same thing occurs with your high-end coaching products. Someone wants to learn from you, and they have the option of purchasing the $97 ebook, the $397 one-time payment online course, or the $397 per month personal coaching. Given that scenario, many people who would prefer personal coaching will instead opt for the $397 online course. After all, it's far superior than just an ebook, but it saves them a significant amount of money when compared to $397 per month for several months to obtain the personal coaching option.

You, on the other hand, want to sell more of your $397 monthly coaching, so here's what you do...

... and while this may frighten you, trust me when I say it works.

You're going to make an even MORE expensive program, one that makes $397 a month look like a bargain.

For instance, $2997 for a three-day, ten-hour-per-day in-person session at your location.

They will not only need $2997 to get in, but they will also need to pay for airfare, meals, and lodging, bringing the total to close to $4,000. They'll also need to devote three days to the session and possibly two more for travel.

Whoa. By comparison, $397 per month appears to be an incredible BARGAIN, doesn't it?

Try it, and I'll bet you'll need to raise your monthly coaching rate after a few months because you'll have more students than you can handle.

Seriously. This is completely effective.

8: How to Use Fear Effectively in Selling


according to the children's story, Chicken Little.

But was Chicken Little successful in convincing people to act?

Nope. It also wasn't because the sky wasn't falling.

It's because Chicken Little didn't tell people what they needed to do to stay safe from the falling sky.

According to research, fear motivates the audience to take action to reduce the threat, but only when the audience is told what to do.

If your message does not tell them exactly what to do, they will likely deal with the fear by denying it applies to them. People prefer to feel empowered rather than helpless. Informing them of a danger but failing to provide a path to safety is a sure way to lose sales.

Assume your headline reads, "Why Your Retirement Fund is on the Verge of Going Bankrupt." You'll lose them if you don't quickly add something like, "And the #1 Way to Prevent this Calamity from Happening." They won't read the rest of your sales letter because they don't want to deal with the problem unless they know a simple solution is on the way.

You can paint as dark, terrifying, and frightening a picture as you want, as long as you let them know there is a way out of this mess. Give them a glimmer of hope from the start, so they know that no matter how terrifying the details are, there is a way to avoid danger and come out on top.

9: How to Make Sales Even When People Don't Like You

You've probably heard of the law of reciprocity. It is easier to get something back in return if you first give something to the other person.

A social psychologist conducted an experiment in which participants received a can of Coca-Cola from a stranger. Later, the stranger tried to sell them raffle tickets without mentioning the can of soda.

Those who received the gift spent twice as much money on raffle tickets as those who did not. Most surprisingly, it didn't matter whether people liked or disliked the person giving out the soda and selling the tickets; they still bought twice as many as those who didn't get the free soda earlier.

This means that the law of reciprocity is independent of likability. So, what's the point, you might ask? Consider how STRONG a law has to be, how deeply ingrained and hard-wired it is into our subconscious that even if we don't like the person, if they give us a gift, we are compelled to reciprocate.

One thing to keep in mind is that as time passes, the gift recipient becomes less likely to reciprocate. In other words, a gift or favor is more valuable in the days following its receipt than it is in the weeks or months following its receipt.

Human nature causes us to wonder, "What can I get?" or "Who can assist me?" But, now that you understand how this law works, it's better to ask, "What can I give?" and "Who can I help?"

In online marketing, a classic example is the new marketer who asks a seasoned marketer with a large email list to mail for him and then wonders why he never hears back. Before asking for a favor, the new marketer should do something for the seasoned marketer, such as promote her on social media.

If you want excellent service at a restaurant, begin tipping as soon as you arrive. If you need a special (ie: LARGE) favor from a customer service representative, start with something small, thank the rep for his assistance with the small task, tell him you'll put in a good word for him with his boss, and THEN ask for the big favor.

Make it a habit, or even a game, to see how many times you can GIVE before receiving. Try giving WITHOUT THINKING OF RECEIVING. Give your audience what they want. Give to people who are movers and shakers in your industry.

I know this isn't news to most people – you've heard it all before. But... are you doing it? Few of us give as much as we could to others.

And the law of reciprocity states that the more you give, the more you will receive.

10: Here’s Why You Might Want to Call Your Audience Names

Okay, I know you're smart, and you've already deduced that I used a clever title.

It's difficult to get something past someone as intelligent and discerning as you, my loyal reader, so let's get right to it:

A week before election day, they surveyed a large number of people for a scientific study. Randomly selected survey respondents were told that their answers indicated they were above average citizens who were more likely to vote, while the other half were told they were average citizens.

What were the outcomes? Those who were told they were better than average citizens were 15% more likely to vote the following week.

Perhaps all of these "get out the vote" campaigns would be more effective if they told people what great citizens they are rather than trying to persuade them to vote.

Years ago, they conducted studies with children. The teacher told the class that blue-eyed children performed better on tests than brown-eyed children – and that's exactly what happened from then on. The blue-eyed children worked hard and performed better, whereas the brown-eyed children appeared to give up.

The teacher then informed the class that she had it backwards – the brown-eyed children had consistently outperformed the blue-eyed children on tests – and the brown-eyed children now outscored the blue-eyed children.

You might think we grow out of believing these things, but scientific studies show that we don't. If you want your children to pick up after themselves, tell them how proud you are of how neat and tidy their room is. If you want your spouse to be more loving and thoughtful, brag to friends about how loving and thoughtful they are (while the spouse is within earshot).

And, if you want your customers to do something, tell them ahead of time that they are the right people for the job, whether it's taking action, investing in themselves, helping others, or whatever it is you want them to do.

It's not magic, and it won't work on everyone every time, but if done correctly and honestly, it will increase your conversion rates.

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About Kavi

I've been living the online solopreneur lifestyle for over 20 years. I began as a freelancer back in 2000 and have since created my own software company, hosting service, produced information products, and engaged in affiliate marketing.

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