Today, I want to talk about that 4-star review, why it’s actually a really good thing, and how to use similar reviews to make your sales messages even more powerful…
Robert Marsh’s 4-star review says:
“This is a great little book (just 67 pages) that offers practical advice for writers just starting out… and writers with experience who want to move upstream (or down funnel). There are a lot of books on the business of writing — most not worth the paper they’re printed on, but a few that should be read. This is one of the latter.”
It’s clear what his objection is. The book is just 67 pages. (Though that is the numbered pages and doesn’t include Brian Kurtz’s Foreword or my Introduction. Total length including all front matter is a not-quite-as-skimpy-but-still-small 82 pages.)
But here’s the thing. He’s not complaining about the content, or what you’ll get out of reading it. He actually says it’s one of the “few that should be read” and calls it a “great little book.”
And he gives it 4 out of 5 stars.
This one less-than-100% review both addresses the #1 objection to the book AND adds credibility to all the 5-star ratings…
Every product will raise objections.
The IT training I used to sell was ugly and decidedly non-corporate. Many of the notes covered in the videos were scribbled in the trainers’ bad handwriting on a digital white board, and hard to read. This was being sold against competitors’ training that was delivered via highly-polished PowerPoint presentations.
This was an objection that frequently came up. And in rare cases, it was a deal-breaker. A customer would say they couldn’t get approval from their purchasing department — no matter how good the content — because of the white board versus PowerPoint approach. That was a stupid decision, but it was a real objection.
It came up often enough, but I liked to raise it before the customer did. I’d say, “Our training IS really ugly, yes. But we have some of the world’s best trainers. Folks who wrote the certification exams you’re studying for. And this is like sitting down with them, as they walk you through their notes on everything you need to know. Compare what actually learn, side-by-side, and it’s no contest. You can pick the pretty training, if you want, or you can pick based on what’s actually going to make you better at your job.”
By addressing the #1 objection up front, it put it on the table. It allowed me to speak to it in a way that honored the objection while offsetting it. And yes, I’d eliminate a few people who were really stuck on that one point. But for the most part, it just reinforced all the other valuable things about the training.
Back to my Amazon review. It emphasizes the shortness of the book. That’s the one objection I’ve gotten on it. However, it’s a book that’s absolutely packed with valuable copywriting career advice. And in those 67 (or 82) pages, you’ll get more value than in many books of 200 pages or more.
Plus, unlike most books of 200 pages or more, you can actually get all the value out of it. You can sit down and read it within a couple hours. Instead of that 200-page book you bought 3 years ago and still haven’t finished.
In fact, other testimonials speak to how much they appreciate its shortness, and how fast you can get through it to start applying what you learn. Here are a couple excerpts…
“I bought this guide and consumed it in one sitting… I’m confident I’ll be able to receive higher fees now that I see how Roy does it…” – Eric Bakey, 5-star review
“The best part? You can take the information from this book and turn around and start doing it within a weekend.” – Jacob Yealy, 5-star review
The great thing is that when these 5-star reviews appear alongside that one 4-star that seems to only mention length as an objection, they are even more credible.
There was once a bit of research that tested employers’ responses to recommendation letters for a job candidate. In the two versions, everything was the same except for a phrase along the lines of, “He can sometimes be hard to get along with, but…” The rest of the letter was all about the positive qualities. The letter that included that one damaging admission consistently got more response than the one that was 100% positive.
In the case of a how-to book, it’s perhaps the perfect scenario that the only reason for a less-than-perfect review is “I loved it and would have loved even more content.” Leave ‘em wanting more…
This actually speaks to the perfect testimonial formula…
I’ve written before about how I like the PAISA copy formula — problem, agitate, invalidate, solve. This is my expansion on the classic problem-solution or problem-agitate-solve formulas that have been a mainstay of all selling since the dawn of commerce.
“If there’s a problem, yo I’ll solve it” is effective in selling because, in most cases, people are really only driven to purchase based on needing to solve a problem. It’s what motivates us to action.
But, problems also prevent the purchase. Such as, “Wow, this book is less than 100 pages? What good can it contain?”
If someone is having that problem or objection come up in their head, it has a strong possibility of preventing the sale. Even if they’re just experiencing the objection on a subconscious level.
And of course, I could come out and say, “More value per page and more value per $1 invested than marketing books four-times as thick and four-times as expensive…”
But it’s far, far more valuable for a prospect to read those same words from someone else who was in their same situation, moved forward anyway, and then was satisfied enough with their decision to write a positive-with-caveat review like Robert’s.
In fact, this is a secret weapon I use in sales letters!
Often when I’m working on a sales letter for a client, I’m given a pile of testimonials that I can use. The lazy thing to do is to write the sales letter, carve out a few random blocks for testimonials, and then sprinkle what I got into those different places.
That’s not what I do though.
I read the testimonials carefully. I look for ones that address a problem that might stand in the way of the purchase. I consider where that objection will be raised by the marketing copy. And I strategically place those testimonials alongside the body copy such that they’re addressing the objections right as they’re coming up.
And then to add a cherry on top, I might selectively pull words from the testimonial to create a headline, such as: Must-read little 67-page book on the business of writing.
I always try to honor the essence of the testimonial, while bringing attention to the points that will address the objections I want to overcome.
Done right, you’re actually using testimonials to bring up and address all the objections as the prospect is going through your selling message — so by the time they’re done, they feel like the only option left is to buy!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,