Now we’re getting into the ol’ sales voodoo…
… I had a reader ask me for a part two to an essay I was regretting pretty much as soon as I was writing it.
Well, over Thanksgiving, the family watched The Wizard of Oz. And — spoiler alert — there’s a moment at the end where the dog, Toto, pulls back a curtain off to the side in the hall of “The Great and Powerful Oz.”
Turns out that this big hologram with fire and smoke — the “Wizard” the inspires fear and respect — is all an illusion. And that the real Wizard is nothing more than a bumbling old man with a lot of showmanship and a little wisdom.
The reason the last post (linked in the question below) and this one are a little hard for me to write are because they are “pulling back the curtain” posts…
They threaten to reveal the innermost secrets of the world’s top copywriters.
Some of those secrets will make you uncomfortable. File them alongside all those other things you don’t really want to know: how sausage is made, what really happens in war, and what really goes on inside any government including your own.
That said, if you truly understand what you’re about to read and apply it with the highest level of ethics and for the purpose of helping your prospects make a decision that’s truly in their best interests…
Then you absolutely MUST be using these secrets, because they are the secret to winning in even the most competitive markets!
Remember, since it’s Monday, I’m answering YOUR most pressing questions. About marketing, selling, copywriting, business-building, and more.
To have your question answered in an upcoming Mailbox Monday issue, send it to me at [email protected].
Hey Roy! How you doing? (insert New Yawk accent)
I got a banging question for you. One that you talked about recently and figure this would be great for people who are interested in conviction-based copy…
Here we go.
The other day you spoke about how some of the best ideas for sales letters you got come up from “The Conspiracy Theory” angle. [From Roy: That was in the article Research secret of A-list copywriters…]
That sounds great and all… but… what does that research process look like?
Is it a matter of going on Google and typing question and after question which comes as a result of the initial research that you do?
Or is it something else?
I’m looking to connect the dots but I only have one dot and was wondering how someone who knows this like the back of their hand goes around doing it.
Best of wishes,
Because it is critically important to understanding this process, I just want to make sure you understand the “Conspiracy Theory” angle that’s being referred to in the question.
Have you ever watched or heard a “conspiracy theorist” going on about one of their conspiracies?
Here’s the thing: like any group of humans, some are completely off-their-rocker and disconnected from reality, but others are incredibly smart and and almost impossible to argue against due to the extreme depth and breadth of their research.
Those at the “disconnected” end of the spectrum end up giving the whole group a bad rep. Those at the intelligent end, not so much. In fact, they’re often proven right in hindsight, and what was conspiracy becomes known fact. Their willingness to connect the dots led to them making a conclusion before anyone else could see it.
That’s your goal.
Get a conspiracy theorist who’s well-read, and they’ll have in-depth research with everything checked, verified, and backed-up in triplicate, supporting every aspect of their theory. The same thing for a good copywriter who is coming up with a selling narrative based on this approach.
Which brings us to…
How to create “conspiracies” and then prove them right…
I can’t go into too many details on this, because it’s a very recent launch. But early testing does suggest I beat the client’s control with this, so it’s not only a good example, but it’s a nice little “conspiracy” in terms of generating results…
I was talking to the editor for a financial newsletter, for which I’d been asked to write a new customer acquisition campaign.
In my head, I ran through the many kinds of investment-specific promotion types. Was a macroeconomic or political-themed promotion a fit? Was a single-stock story a good choice? Or perhaps we could build a promotion around his stock-picking system?
I was asking a bunch of questions. And because he’s both a good financial newsletter editor and someone with a ton of experience in the investments field, he was giving me a bunch of fodder.
I probably could’ve run with any of the three promotion types listed above.
But he said something that jumped out at me.
Not quite an exact quote but here’s the gist of it:
“At any given time, there are only 30 or 40 stocks in the entire market that are actually worth INVESTING in.”
The idea was that lots of stocks can go up. You can speculate on all kinds of specific stocks making money in the short term.
But when it comes to the kind of investing where you could make a good profit this year or hold it for a decade or more and probably have even more profits after buying at today’s prices…
There are very few that fit that criteria.
And over the last three decades, this particular analyst had specialized in identifying these stocks. In fact, he’d even built out an entire computer-based system to identify these top stocks. And had a history of investing in them, that included some of the most profitable investments so far this millennium.
Everything lined up for this idea of “invest in only the top 30 or 40 stocks, and ignore the rest” approach.
Thing is, this really isn’t that unique. It’s not all that special of an idea.
Nearly all newsletters have to maintain a limited portfolio. As do all investors. It’s the nature of the beast. You have to focus.
And, presumably, all the other editors and stock pickers out there also think they’re only picking the top stocks. After all, they’d never admit to picking a portfolio full of the “not-the-best” stocks.
So I had to go bigger. I had to find a bigger, more exciting idea.
In short, I had to PROVE that my client had THE method for identifying the top stocks, and had access to some proprietary or exclusive information that could back that claim up.
And so, to a degree, I did exactly what Manuel suggested…
Google, my friend, what do you have for me today?
And I dug…
And I DUG…
I couldn’t just make an empty claim.
I needed some dots that I could connect.
I thought, what would help me make my case? What could I present that would prove that I somehow understood this better than everyone else? What, if it were true, would make the rest of my sales argument rock-solid?
I dug more…
I captured as much of the various research items as possible. I didn’t have a case yet. But if anything seemed relevant, I kept it. (Evernote!)
Here’s the thing: if it’s relevant and you keep it, it might have a place later and it’ll be easy to find it.
I didn’t just turn to Google, as helpful as that was. I looked elsewhere.
I kept going.
This client had written books, so I read those.
I dug into other prominent publications that I thought might help.
Then, I turned to the client. They’d already given me a ton of helpful information. But I went deeper. I scoured this guy’s social media accounts, where he regularly posts things that are interesting to investors.
Then, I found a boring academic study about stock performance.
But, for some reason, this guy had thought it was worth tweeting.
So I dug into it.
As with most academic research, I started by reading it backwards.
That is, to figure out if it’s relevant, I skip forward to the Conclusions section.
There it was for me, practically in flashing lights.
Basically, most stocks won’t make you money over any extended period of time.
Specifically, this research looked at nearly a century worth of data. And found that only 4% of stocks actually performed better than holding treasury bonds for the same period of time you would have held the individual stocks.
Then, the kicker. On the second-to-last page of the study, a list of 30 stocks that over a 90-year period were responsible for nearly a third of the total wealth creation from the stock market.
Now, this hasn’t been out there quite long enough for me to be ready to reveal how I turned that part into copy, but I will tell you that was my BIG DOT to start connecting.
That was our proof…
That if you focus on the top 30 stocks, you can enjoy astounding wealth creation power.
Then, I simply had to connect that from the academic research that explained the top stocks in the past… To the client’s system for picking the top 30 stocks right now.
So I asked important questions…
What did those companies have in common? How can I relate that to my client’s approach to picking stocks?
What was the impact of those stocks’ wealth creation? How does that apply here and now, not just over 90 years?
What justifications do I have or can I come up with that can align my client’s approach with this research?
Then, into the client research…
What examples does the client have of wins that are suggestive of being able to pick the top 30 stocks?
Once I’ve found that one big dot, then I aim all kinds of different proof points (dots) at it, and start connecting.
The question I’m asking:
What series of beliefs does my prospect have to come to in order to believe this to be true, enough so that they’re ready, willing, and able to act on it right away?
And basically, I go out and find those.
Here’s a little hint. And this applies in just about any field. If you want something to be true, you can find research to support you.
If you don’t know this, you’re at the risk of misleading people because you believe that just because you found support for you’re belief, you’re right.
(In fact, our brains are wired this way. Psychologists call it confirmation bias. We look for things that support our assumptions, and ignore even glaring evidence to the contrary.)
If you know that any truth can be confirmed, first off, you have a much better grasp of reality. You know that even when something looks rock-solid, it’s often only a matter of time before it’s completely proven wrong.
But also, you have the capability of using that knowledge to lead people toward a specific outcome that you believe will be in their best interests. (Use it to blatantly and intentionally scam them and you can rot in Hell!)
So, this guy has a good investing track record. He says there are only 30 stocks worth investing in at any given time, and he’s identified a method for picking them. I find a piece of research (with his help) that supports the 30 stocks claim, and that I can tie to his approach. I connect all the dots, and…
Here’s where the client as well as their legal department checks everything, all my research, and makes sure everything is verifiable and something they’re willing to stand behind if questioned…
And then we test it, and…
He sells more newsletters.
The subscribers follow an approach that has a reasonable chance of getting them winning investments they’ll be happy with.
I add another control to my portfolio.
And we’re all happy!
I hope this brings some clarity to the process.
It really is about as simple as this.
You decide what you’re going to say. You decide what points you need to make for that to be true. And you find a way to back up those points, with all the proof and credibility you can muster.
Done well, this is what creatives massively-successful promotions. (And not just in financial publishing. It works especially well in the publishing field, but can apply on just about any topic, in any industry.)
And if this is a topic you’re really into, you’re going to love the NEXT training from BTMSinsiders. I started recording last week. It’s called Proof, Credibility, and Believability: 26 ways to instantly increase your selling power. It’s about all the little dots that you can connect to your main selling argument to maximize your believability and response. It’s on the coming soon page and will be added to the BTMSinsiders All-Access Pass for immediate access, as soon as it’s available. When you sign up today, you’ll get access to all the current training, plus all additional training for as long as you maintain your membership.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,