Basic Tools
Basic Tools to Influence and Coerce...

Rule of three

If you ever have to include a list of benefits then always use three. A list of three items is more direct, carries more weight and is more effective (note the three items).

Listing just two has less impact and adding four or five makes the sentence too wordy and reduces its impact.

Rhetorical questions

Rhetorical questions are where you ask a question and then answer it yourself. These can be very effective to guide your reader along your line of thought, to persuade and coerce or to deal and dismiss with any objections.

They must be framed within a logical framework or your reader might not agree with you. As soon as they disagree their attention or support will waiver and may be lost.

You can use a rhetorical question with a shock answer as long as you immediately follow it up with a logical argument and proof.

Feel, felt, found

Feel, felt, found is a powerful tool that can be used to build an emotional bond of shared experience with your lead and then take them to a shared conclusion by apparently taking the same route as you took.

For example, “do you feel confused by pensions and retirement provision? I felt the same and nearly left it too late. Luckily, I found this free report that explained all I needed to know in clear and simple terms that even I could understand.”

Note how the feel would generate a yes response in the target market, the felt not only shares empathy but hints at a fear and consequence of leaving it too late and the found is reassuring with keywords such as clear, simple and understand that lead the reader to the inevitable call to action of downloading the free report.

Corporate name dropping

As people drop names into conversations to impress their friends and colleagues you can do the same to impress clients and potential customers. Keep it to a minimum, otherwise the effect will be diminished, but mentioning a prestigious or well known company will add to your perception as a expert and help build up your standing.

Deliberate repetition

I spend most of my editing time taking out repetition but this time I'm about to recommend it. If you have a key phrase that you really want to push then repeat it again and again.

This is used a lot in speech writing with Martin Luther King's “I have a dream” being the most famous. In this he not only began his speech repeating the phrase “one hundred years later” four times in one paragraph, he then repeated “I have a dream” as bullet points for his main points and then closed his speech with “let freedom ring” five times.

In persuasive writing the repetition could be a rhetorical question such as “would you do this to your business?” or a statement such as “and they wonder why they have no sales”.

Build a yes ladder

The final technique is to end the writing with a series of statements, arguments or questions that will build a series of yes answers. This is known in sales copy writing as building a yes ladder in which the final rung is to get them to buy.

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