How to Make More Sales: A Peanuts Story

What do you think it is that causes prospects to drop out of your sales process at the final hurdle?

Why do you think they abandon carts, or have you pulling your hair out as you watch interaction recordings where their cursor hovers over the “BUY NOW” button for a few tense seconds before they leave the page?

You might put your hand up and say “the offer is poor”, “the guarantee isn’t good enough”, “they just aren’t ready to buy”, “I haven’t qualified my leads properly” or “the copy sucks!”

Any of those could be true – but what I want to talk about today is one of THE major blockades to any purchase that we, as marketers and salespeople, too often overlook…

Something laid bare in a brilliant analogy by the equally brilliant Dan Kennedy.

That blockade is FEAR.


You’re a Mug, Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown Happiness Sales and Copywriting

The thing is, people want to buy. It satisfies a number of emotional needs in various ways.

Think about it – people go browsing around their city’s shopping districts every weekend just for leisure… they sit at home watching shopping channels, absorbed in infomercials… they hang around the mall for hours just for fun.

You probably do at least one of those things, yourself – and that’s nothing to be ashamed of, because buying makes us happy. “Window shopping” is a thing because we get pleasure from it. “Retail therapy” is a thing because it makes us happy when we’re feeling down.

People want to buy… but before they can do that, they need to believe….

Believe that you aren’t going to screw them over.

I Want to Believe Sales and Copywriting

They want to believe. But they’re afraid to, because – just like poor little Charlie Brown – they’ve had the ball pulled from under them on countless occasions in the past.

As salespeople, we consistently underestimate the degree to which prospects have suffered this indignity time and time again.

So when it comes time to put your copy together, you hit all the bases – get your big promise nailed, weave a nice lead and hook ‘em in. You lay out some excellent deep benefits and raise the curtain on a seemingly impossible-to-refuse offer.

And if you’re doing it right, you’re also making sure to overcome objections.

But are you overcoming the right ones?

This question is especially important because we tend to view the buying process of our own product or service as taking place entirely within a vacuum.

When considering objections, we might fall into the trap of relating them ONLY to the product or service that we’re promoting – and not in the context of a consumer who is already agitated, beleaguered, or outright pissed off by their previous experiences with purchases that failed them.

Yet despite this now ingrained negative bias, they’re on your sales page, or they’re reading your letter.

They want to buy.

But they need your reassurance that the ball isn’t going to be pulled away yet again. And that isn’t done solely by some all singing, all dancing “guarantee” on the page.

Why is that? I’ll get to that in a minute…

But first, let’s see what Dan himself has to say about this:


Why does anybody you nurture through your marketing process get all the way to the point of sale and not buy?

Why on Earth does anybody go to an auto showroom – they’ve printed out the thing they want, they go to the car showroom. They’ve already thought through how they’re going to pay for this…

They go to the showroom to test drive the car they’ve already picked out, that they’ve already made the decision that they’re gonna buy, and they don’t buy it.

How can that be?

Why don’t they buy? They desperately want to buy… and yet, somebody manages to un-sell them.

How can that be?

It’s because we underestimate the number of times that the football’s been pulled out from under them. And we don’t understand the impact that it has had deep in their psyche.

And so, therefore, we don’t do everything that we can and should do to convince them that this time, the person won’t pull the ball away.

Charlie Brown Falls, Sales and Copywriting


This is what you’re dealing with, before you’ve even gotten to the point of discussing your particular offer. Are you doing everything you can to tackle it head-on?

Your prospects are entering the sales relationship with the expectation of betrayal. They’ve put their belief in products, services, systems and people many times in the past – and been betrayed a great number of them…

They lack confidence in others. They lack confidence in themselves – in their abilities to actually make good decisions. They fear and hate being made to feel stupid, gullible, like they’ve wasted time and money…

And they especially hate being embarrassed when others see that they’ve been taken for a ride.

Now here they stand… ready to use that fear and hate at any moment to convince themselves not to buy from you.

You are not selling in a vacuum.


Getting Your Customer to take the Punt

Firstly, it bears repeating: Never underestimate how hard it is to overcome the painful context that being sold to holds in your prospect’s mind…

And address how they feel – not the situation itself.

Frame the conversation in the context of their thoughts and worries, not of the immediate act of buying. Take the frame of reference out of the immediate moment, and into their emotions.

Remind them of the reasons they’ve been disappointed in the past, and assure them that these problems have been solved by you. Whatever it is that’s let them down with similar products in the past? You’ve got it nailed.

Then get specific. What part of your particular offering makes it different – provides that no-fail solution?

Let them see it, and let them feel confident once again. Remind them that the past is the past and this is now. Mistakes of the past don’t dictate even more in the future.

Rub their shoulders – tell them that yes, finally they’re making a good, informed decision. Wipe away the self-loathing and let them see that this is the time they’re going to land their foot on that ball – this is the time for a successful kick… and everyone they know is going to see it and cheer.

Remember that they WANT TO BUY. Give them the excuse.

This is something that in recent years has been fulfilled, in the Internet Marketing world, by the use of “social proof” elements – testimonials, for example – and “no-quibble” refund guarantees.

But today, these have reached “plug ‘n’ play” status. They’re a templated section to be slapped into place on your sales page – part of a formula that’s so consistent it hardly stands out anymore.

And yes, even these gold-plated, bulletproof guarantees are worth nothing if they aren’t lived up to – requests for support or refunds going ignored, unanswered or refused in the same old pull-the-ball-away manner that we’ve talked about…

Just another element to be pre-judged by negative bias.

Because of this, a guarantee in isolation is worthless. These, too, must be contextualised and assured.

… And let’s not even talk about the shady practice of using professional testimonial givers from Fiverr or even your own copywriter (seriously) for testimonials on your sales page.

Yes, folks – that shit happens. Seen it first hand, and it’s scummy behaviour of the highest order.

The solution to this?

Well, first off – and this should go without saying – be ethical.

Next, inject yourself into the copy. Be warm, be genuine and be reassuring. Let your copy bring your REAL persona to the fore – an approachable, friendly and professional vendor that prospects know they can trust to do right by them, whatever the outcome.

Quit focusing entirely on the context of selling your product, and make a genuine connection with your reader – not just in the guarantee section.

Then you just might find those “BUY NOW” hovers turning into clicks.

‘til next time,

Gareth jones - - Jones Copywriting - Signature



Gareth Jones

Gareth Jones is a freelance copywriter and journalist based in Nottingham, UK. With close to a decade of experience writing content and copy within the film industry, and a background in Enterprise IT administration, he specialises in conversion copywriting and case studies for the Tech, Gaming and Software/SaaS industries. He's also a dab hand at generating leads for locally-focused SMEs through Facebook ads, connecting business messages to their target audience, increasing response and driving revenue. Contact him today and boost the impact of your marketing -- he might look angry, but he's a very friendly bloke. Honest!

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1 Response

  1. 05/07/2016

    […] previously wrote about the contemporary problem with “guarantees” in internet marketing and how they’re bolted […]

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