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A Spectacular, Flaming Dud

I have a client who is eternally optimistic.

He’s not annoyingly so, but it’s clear to me being optimistic is a part of his personality.

It’s not manufactured. It’s just an admirable quirk of his.

And he’s in the personal development space, so it works for him.

However, this was a character trait that did not reveal itself fully until well into the relationship.

I rather enjoy it and him, except when it gets in the way.

Recently, I wrote some copy for him that spent a significant amount of time “twisting the knife”, emphasizing the pain points.

I can be rather ruthless about the pain, but I ease into it rather slowly and methodically so I don’t scare prospects off, kinda like an American Horror Story episode.

Of course, I don’t want to leave readers in pain, so I shift to “painting the dream” when talking about the benefits of the product.

At the height of painting the dream, I future pace like nobody’s business.

I want prospects to fully appreciate how their lives could be literally transformed by the product.

It took awhile, but I finally got done writing the copy and sent my client the Google Doc of it.

Surprisingly, it came back with more than a few comments.

Now, I don’t mind comments, in fact, I encourage them.

I want the copy to sing and I believe collaboration to be integral to success.

We’re in this together.

In other words, it ain’t about me or what I want. I don’t have an ego in this.

So I start reading the comments and basically, my client doesn’t like the pain elements.

“It’s too negative, Matt.”

So I have a conversation with him and it’s not that I twisted the knife too much.

It’s that I twisted the knife – AT ALL!

My client ONLY wants to focus on the pleasure side of the persuasion equation.

Not the pain. Can’t have any pain.

And I save my little Google Docs file because I think we’re gonna need it later.

And I do a massive rewrite on the copy, focusing only on the benefits.

(I’m getting paid a generous % of the sale so it behooves me to do so.)

The new copy is always positive. Forever optimistic. All pleasure, no pain.

My client LOVES the copy.

“It’s the best copy I’ve ever seen.” he says.

Shows it to his staff. They all love it.

So they run with it and guess what happens?

It’s a spectacular, flaming dud. Like one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX explosions.

“WTF just happened?” my client laments.

We had a long talk. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was sad it happened.

At the end of it, I dusted off my twist-the-knife copy and my client grudgingly agreed to test it. Just once.

And low and behold, it converts. Not just good, but great.

“WTF just happened?!” my client exclaims. He’s so happy.

I had a facts-of-life conversation with him.

“People are drawn to you because of your optimism. No doubt. But people are motivated to buy from you… to trust you specifically… not because you’re a great, optimistic guy, but because they have a problem in their life they believe you and ONLY you can solve.

That’s how I positioned you and their problem. We have to twist the knife to motivate them to action.”

It was a teaching moment as they say and the experience cemented our relationship.

Pleasure is awesome. Like you, I love it when I can steer people to a solution. BUT…

We need to make the problem evident, painful, and the need to fix it, immediate.

There are lots of ways to do it. Stories. PAS formula. Etc.

But it always needs to be done IF you want to make a sale.

Talk soon,


P.S. If you’d like me to review your copy, hit me up.

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