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An Internet Marketing Secret: Using Tie-Downs to Increase Sales
If you could get your prospective customers nodding their heads in agreement with every major point in your sales copy, that would be likely to increase your sales, wouldn't it?
If you could get people saying "yes" to almost any marketing statement of your choosing - long before they even get to the close - that would be valuable to you, right?
Did you find yourself agreeing with the last two questions? You've just experienced a sales technique called "tie-downs." One very old direct sales principle is to get people to say yes to multiple little questions. This gets them agreeing with you and also gets them used to saying yes. Psychologically, they will then be more likely to say yes when you ask for the sale. One sales technique for achieving that is the tie-down.
Why use a technique from direct sales in direct marketing? In a famous advertising and marketing story, Albert Lasker was a junior partner at the Lord and Thomas advertising agency in 1905 when he read a note from John E. Kennedy declaring that Kennedy knew the secret of what advertising is. Kennedy, a former Canadian mounted policeman, was new to copywriting and not yet known in advertising circles. But by an interesting quirk of fate, this was the question Lasker had been trying to figure out. Lasker met Kennedy, and Kennedy declared that the secret is, "Advertising is salesmanship in print." Lasker and Kennedy went on to revolutionize advertising and marketing forever with those words, and Lord and Thomas became one of the most famous advertising agencies of the day.
No matter how many people are visiting your website and reading your marketing material, you are still talking to only one person at a time. You are still selling one person. This sounds like a simple concept, but many advertising and marketing people still don't get this secret. That means that if you understand this, you have an advantage in Internet marketing. You understand that advertising is salesmanship in print. And you know that you just need to talk with this one person and get their agreement to purchase your product. And with the power of the Internet, you can do this with dozens, hundreds, even thousands per day.
Tie-downs are one of the first tools to add to your new salesmanship toolbox. A tie-down is a short phrase that can be added to a statement to turn it into a question. You use a tie-down to turn a point that you want to make into a question that your prospect will agree with. It's one way of getting your prospective customer to start saying yes long before you go for the close.
A few examples of common tie-downs include:
If you have been marketing for very long, you have heard about the concept of "features versus benefits." Features are what your product has or does. Benefits are why your prospective customer would want those features. What will your product do for them? For example, if you have something that is metal instead of plastic, metal might be a feature. But the benefit might be that it is more durable, longer-lasting, or unbreakable.
A common practice on web pages that are written as sales letters is to use a bullet list to present features or benefits. Let's just imagine a couple bullet points for some imaginary "tie-down creator" software. Most people would write the bullets as features. A couple features might look like this:
- Creates tie-downs automatically
- Adds tie-downs to the end of every statement in a list of statements
Not very exciting bullets, are they? (Wow... there's an example of a tie-down that I want you to say "no" to!)
Now let's imagine how someone might write a couple bullets as benefits:
- Get your prospective customers nodding their heads in agreement with every major point in your sales copy!
- Get a prospect to say "yes" to almost any marketing statement of your choosing - long before you get to the close!
That's an improvement over writing the marketing bullets as features, isn't it? But although that might get their interest and even get them thinking of how they could use the product, it doesn't build agreement yet. Let's try wording them a little differently:
- If you could get your prospective customers nodding their heads in agreement with every major point in your sales copy, that would be likely to increase your sales, wouldn't it?
- If you could get people saying "yes" to almost any marketing statement of your choosing - long before they even get to the close - that would be valuable to you, right?
Would you agree those bullets do a better job of building both interest and agreement? (And did you catch that example of a tie-down at the beginning of a sentence?)
Now for your homework. It's time to go look at your website with a critical eye, while this article is still fresh in your mind. Are you selling features or benefits? Are you using tie-downs on marketing statements where they would help build agreement that will lead to sales? If not, you know what you need to do!
Copyright 2005 Mike Adams
Mike Adams has been building web sites and playing with Internet marketing since 1996. Visit his site for Internet marketing tips, tools, news, articles, and resources: http://www.timberway.com/
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