One Thing You Have to Do

I reached into the mailbox and there it was – a check for $8,750.

The amount represented a 50% deposit on the base fee I’d agreed to in exchange for writing a webpage for a new client.

Does that sound like a lot of money to pay someone to write a webpage? Not for these guys…

They were paying even bigger bucks on advertising. And that meant every single sales conversion percentage point meant tens of thousands of dollars a month in additional revenues to them.

I don’t normally take on new clients – maybe one or two each year. But this one came to me a couple of weeks earlier with an interesting dilemma…

“Will you look at our existing control”, they asked? (A control refers to the best web page they had for converting website visitors to buyers.) They wanted me to see if I thought I could beat it.

I looked.

The page was already darn good…

You probably know how important a great headline is to the success of a webpage, right?

Well this one had a zinger…

It made a bold, provocative statement almost certain to seize the reader’s attention. There was a clear, compelling promise. There was excellent evidence as to the credibility of the seller.

You could tell immediately from the headline whom the product was for, and whom it wasn’t for. And it made you curious as hell about what was in the text that followed.

I read on and the whole page was filled with clear and convincing prose, organized in a very logical and satisfying progression.

It was dripping with credible reasons why the target prospect would benefit greatly from buying the product. It made a rock solid case that the value of the product far exceeded its cost – backed with plenty of facts and figures.

There was loads of social proof, showing others enjoying the benefits of the purchase.

There were multiple strong calls to action… some appealing to the prospect of gain… others to the fear of loss, should you choose to delay your purchase.

Potential objections were defused. There was an over-the-top guarantee that not only relieved risk, but made it look like the company would go broke if it failed to live up to its promises.

And the copy closed on a wide variety of emotional hot buttons, promising enhanced power… status… safety… independence… even acceptance – when you placed your order today.

I make most of my money on royalties that are based on the increased sales my sales copy brings my clients. So I was tempted to pass on this project.

What could I do to increase sales significantly on a page that was already using every salesmanship trick in the book?

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks!

All of this salesmanship was pushing people away.

What if I were to take all of the great reasons for buying and disguise them somehow?

I took the job.

As soon I received the above-mentioned check, here’s what I did:

  • I catalogued all of the benefits and objection handlers and value justifications and so on that appeared on the existing web page. And instead of presenting them in a direct, matter of fact way, I veiled them in a story.
  • I brought the figurehead for the product to life by telling his backstory. I demonstrated his values and his affinity with the target buyer. And I gave them a common enemy.
  • Then I dramatized the fight between good and evil, positioning the editor as a hero protector, building suspense and anticipation for how the battle would be won.

The content of the web page didn’t change very much. The features and advantages and benefits of the product remained more or less the same. I simply changed the context in which they were communicated.

I figured the act of visualizing the characters and actions of the story would be more engaging to people. And that drawing your own conclusions about the meaning of the story would be so much more persuasive. Rather than having someone trying to ram the same ideas down your throat.

My new client was shocked at how long the piece had become. It was almost twice as many words as their existing control.

But they put it online, splitting the traffic evenly between the two pages. And we waited for the results to come in.

Over the next 30 days the control made 174 sales. And my challenger – despite requiring the reader to traverse almost 3,000 additional words – brought in 291 sales.

67% more sales!

I had created a new control. And the royalty checks rolled in.

The simple story selling secrets have the power to literally transform your financial life – giving you the time freedom… income security… and peace of mind to pursue your most audacious life goals.

[Ed Note: Daniel Levis is a top marketing consultant, direct response copywriter and publisher of the highly acclaimed home study course, Effortless Influence – How to Master the Art of The Sales Story. Register for a free Effortless Influence web workshop. No credit card required.]