The other day, I was at the supermarket, contemplating what granola to buy (tough decision, I know).
I found one by Eat Natural that looked pretty tasty. So I checked out the ingredients on the back of the box. And just below, saw this little Q & (transparent) A:
They could’ve just had the standard “No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.” But I mean…that wouldn’t be totally honest. Or believable.
Instead, Eat Natural admitted that their granola *wasn’t* actually 100% natural. Which made the positive statement that followed FAR more persuasive.
In The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Jack Trout and Al Ries confirm that “one of the most effective ways into a prospect’s mind is to first admit a negative and then twist it into a positive.”
Still not convinced? Here’s more proof that this really works:
In 1962, car rental company Avis came up with a new slogan: “Avis is only No. 2 in rent-a-cars (but they try harder).”
Within a year of the campaign, Avis went from losing $3.2 million to earning $1.2 million—and became profitable for the first time in over 10 years.
Yup, that’s right. All thanks to a lil’ self-deprecation.
Or look at Listerine. They made themselves known as “the taste people love to hate.”
Notice how in the copy, they first admit that their mouthwash tastes awful. And then use that as proof that it actually works.
SO if you want your audience to trust (and like) you more, you gotta do these three things:
1. Be transparent.
No, I’m not saying you have to reveal everrryyyyyy. little. miniscule. detail. But be upfront about the weaknesses of your product, service or brand. Chances are, your prospects will find out anyway. And when you DO talk about the *good* stuff, they’ll trust you more–and be more likely to buy.
Like Avis and Listerine did, lead with a negative statement (one that *all* of your prospects would agree is negative). Then turn it into a positive.
2. Avoid superlatives or exaggerated statements
Like “this program is the best out there.” Or “This online course will change your life.” Or hell, even just calling your product or service “awesome.”
If you DO make such over-the-top claims, then make sure they come from your customer’s mouth.
3. Swap the vague, fuzzy statements for specifics
For example, if you sell a coaching program, don’t tell your prospect something like “I’ll be with you every step of the way.”
(What does that even mean?!)
Instead, tell them *how* you’ll support them. Is it through 60-minute Zoom coaching sessions 3 times per week? Three months of email support? Accountability meetings twice per week?
The more specific, realistic and transparent your claims are, the more believable they’ll become.
And you know what that means…
(Cue symphony of Stripe notifications)