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Add This Line To Your Web Copy To Book More Clients
So you and your friend Suzy are hanging out one afternoon, and you tell her “I’m having trouble falling asleep at night.”
Imagine one of two responses:
A) Suzy says “Oh, try SleepNite! It makes me fall asleep quickly with no yucky side effects, I love it!”
B) Suzy says “Oh, try SleepNite! It makes me fall asleep quickly with no yucky side effects, I love it!”
And then you look down and see that she’s wearing a SleepNite t-shirt, in front of her is a SleepNite pen and clipboard, and it’s pretty clear that she’s on the SleepNite promotion team.
How would you feel in scenario A vs. B?
In Scenario A, it feels like a regular recommendation from a friend. Hey, if it works for her, maybe it’ll work for me.
Now, in Scenario B, it’s not like you’d automatically think “oh, SleepNite is a lousy product, I shouldn’t buy it ever.”
But if you knew Suzy was part of the SleepNite team, you’d also suspect she has reasons other than friendship for touting it. That she might neglect to mention details or exceptions that might make it sub-optimal for your situation.
It could even be a great product. But the simple fact that she’s part of the business makes you a bit more suspicious as to whether it’s truly ideal for your particular sheep-counting sleep problem.
We all know that no single product is right for everyone on the planet. We question unchecked enthusiasm, because we know “results may vary.”
The lemon-sour news of the day: The same wariness about Suzy also applies to your photography business.
You can wave your pom-poms through a hundred chants about how great your business is – and it may all be TRUE.
But people will naturally push everything you say through a “skeptic” filter because they assume you have a vested interest in hiding the footnote-y details. Not that you’re flat-out lying, but they might suspect that you’d give the same pitch to everyone you meet, regardless of their individual situation.
People like to think of themselves as exceptions anyway, but it’s also the case that no service is right for everyone, even if a business owner tells you theirs is.
The lemonade-sweet news is that there’s something you can do about it.
You can’t pretend you’re not selling photography.
But there is one simple thing that makes any argument stronger:
Add a concession.
A concession, simply, is an admission that the argument you’re making isn’t bulletproof – there are exceptions.
Jump back to scenario B. You know Suzy represents SleepNite, but what if she says this instead:
“Oh, try SleepNite! It makes me fall asleep quickly with no yucky side effects. I mean, it doesn’t always work for everyone – especially when the sleep problem is coming from things like other medications. Some people find that it doesn’t work unless you take it 2 hours before bed, which can get annoying. But I like it because when I wake up I don’t feel groggy, and it has helped me get some sanity back.”
Concessions help you in two big ways:
1) Your willingness to point out caveats and alternatives makes you more trustworthy.
If Suzy were nothing but a SleepNite shill, huckstering up some business, why would she take the time to point out the problems that might dissuade you from buying?
She probably wouldn’t. Therefore you’re more likely to listen.
Adding concessions shows you have a more nuanced grasp of the issue at hand. You understand there is no miracle bullet cure, but you do think it has value and you think it’s worth trying. Which makes us more willing to try.
2) Avoiding the problems makes your client argue the opposition’s case.
Say Suzy just said “It’s awesome! Try it!” and left it at that.
You: “Well I heard it reacts badly with some medications, and you have to take it two hours before bed.”
Suzy: “Yeah but I haven’t had those problems, it’s only a few people, etc etc.”
You: “Well what if I’m one of the few people?!”
See what you did there? You started arguing the opposing case – and the more she argues back, the more you’ll probably dig in and become convinced you’re right.
It’s a little something known as “the backfire effect” – the more you argue with someone, the more convinced they tend to be that they’re right.
So don’t let you client get the chance to bring up the exceptions. Bring them up yourself, acknowledge their reality, then circle back to why your service remains a legitimate option.
I’m not saying you should ramble on about all the problems of your business.
That’s silly. We’re not talking about casting doubt on your professionalism.
Rather, we’re talking about enabling your prospective client to decide whether you’re right for them. By being open about who your services will or will not fit.
Concessions might take the form of a simple acknowledgment:
I can’t help you with ____, but I can help you with ____.
“Our lifestyle newborn photography doesn’t involve the baby lying solo on a soft background – though we do appreciate that kind of art. Rather, we focus on the quiet interactions of a new set of parents, the way a newborn settles lightly on daddy’s arm after eating, and the way a house changes when a new member is brought home.
If a prospective client comes wanting a classic beanbag pose newborn shot, you might feel compelled to explain why you don’t do that kind of work. And then that puts them in the position of arguing back.
Simply acknowledging that yes, there’s a lovely alternative, then gives you leeway to redirect them back to the benefits of what you do shoot. They’ll see that you’re committed to a certain kind of vision, and makes it less likely that they’ll badger you for alternatives.
If you’re targeting a feisty, rapid fire “tell it like it is” business client:
“Sorry, we don’t do simple business headshots in front of bookcases. We’re here to highlight your team’s best qualities in action – which probably doesn’t involve sitting still doing nothing.”
A business owner might see your portfolio and think “Well I’ll just email and see if they can do some classic headshots.” Your pre-emptive website acknowledgment that that’s not what you do (because you’re too busy showing them off in other ways) both turns away the “wrong” kind of client and also strengthens your argument for why your unexpected approach benefits them.
Be aware that the goal here isn’t to put down other kinds of businesses – just to acknowledge that you’re not one size fits all, and that’s the point.
They can quit wasting time thinking about what you don’t do, and focus back on what you have to offer.
And for someone who truly is excited about what you offer, it reaffirms that yes you’re not right for everyone – but you’re peach perfect for them.
You might not absolutely need a concession, but consider it.
Anytime you go on for pages making the case for something, people will instinctively start to look for holes, issues, or reasons not to trust you.
It’s a simple rule of persuasion that if you acknowledge up front there are other ways of doing things, but yours is great because _____, then whatever you put in that _____ seems more credible and exciting.
Chew on it.
Did you enjoy this post? You’d probably love Irresistible Words, a course on pulling and persuading through writing.
The first half of the course ends the face-palming “what do I write?!” when you try to connect with clients through blogging or web copy.
The second half? All about marketing and landing the client. Making the writing work for you so you can take a break from hustling and focus more on the parts you love.
When I taught this course last summer, I held my breath a little when waiting for people to turn in their first assignments – and was bowled over by the transformations.
The tools allowed a completely new side to emerge. Freshness abounded. Stories came to light.
Click here to see how Sarah Prall, one student in the course, changed after just one week (it’s a 1-page PDF).
Consider how you might have connected to the photos differently with her revised post. And don’t worry, the goal isn’t to make you sound exactly like her – it’s to make you sound like you.
Of course, like any piece of education, Irresistible Words is not the perfect fit for everyone on the planet.
(Hey look, I’m adding a concession!)
Here’s a good test to see if Irresistible Words is right for you:
Check out this blog post: The 7 Minute Website Writing Makeover.
If you try the exercise and:
1) You completely freeze up and can’t write a single word, feel paralyzed and don’t know where to begin, then a course with some one-on-one coaching is probably better for you. And great news – I’m teaching one after the holidays! Woo-hoo.
2) You think “hey, that was helpful!” – then this course will blow your mind.
3) You squinch up your face while writing, and feel a little silly, but yet – you see the value and are willing to try it a few times to create something you like – then this course will gently push you forward. Face it: You have to write things this next month anyway, might as well learn more tricks to make the way easier.
Truly, Irresistible Words is the most important thing Psychology for Photographers will ever release. This isn’t about chalkboards and English class – it’s about simultaneously improving most of your business with one shiny skill set.
I hope you’ll check it out next week!
Need a reminder to take a look?
Get on my email list (and grab a free copy of How Clients Make Decisions About Money while you’re at it).
UPDATE: Irresistible Words is here!