The Four Things Your Prospect Wants the Most
Updated: Oct 14, 2021
When your prospect starts reading your copy, what is it they want to know more than anything else?
Is your price cheaper than the competitors’?
How to place an order?
How quick is delivery?
Do you offer a guarantee?
Sure. All that.
But most importantly, they simply want to know,
“What will your product or service do for them?”
It sounds like a simple question—maybe even a stupid question.
But it's neither stupid nor simple.
Because the answer you give, and the way you give it will make all the difference for how long your prospect keeps reading and whether your prospect buys.
So what do prospects want exactly?
Vic Schwab was one of the 20th century’s greatest copywriters—he spent 44 years in advertising testing, tracking ads, and reviewing top-performing ads.
Based on human psychology, which hasn’t changed very much since the 1960s, he identified four categories of things a prospect would want a product to do for them:
Help them gain something
Help them be something
Help them do something, or
Help them save something
Just try to be helpful
Help them do something
It’s worth fleshing out the category of “do” because it seems to rank highest out of the four.
And to help them do something, prospects look for the following eight things your product should do for them right now.
(Spelling out any of them will increase your chances of making a sale while some products or services may fit more than one of these categories.)
What everyone wants is to:
1. Express themselves—write a book, compose music, wear a t-shirt with their favorite rock band on it is an extension to expressing personality.
2. Keep others from dominating them—a boss, a bully, a teacher, a parent, a government or an idea.
3. Satisfy their curiosity—sharing hard-to-find knowledge works well for info products, for example.
4. Win the admiration of others—an admired influencer does something with a certain product. The people being influenced want to buy it just so they can do the same thing and be admired the way the influencer is.
5. Appreciate beauty—doing an art appreciation course, for example.
6. Acquire and collect things—some people are collectors. How many versions of the same item can you spot around your desk?
7. Win the love and affection of others—dating sites.
8. Improve themselves—self-improvement courses, learning a new language or DIY.
Classic examples of helping someone "do" something
Read the full page here
John Caples’ 1927 classic headline ticks the boxes of two of the prospect’s basic needs.
One, is to express their personality—to perform in front of people is the world’s greatest form of expressing one’s self.
Two, is social reward and admiration—when you play well, people stop laughing and applaud you.
Who doesn't need that?
Here’s something Vic Schwab wrote.
No, he did not write the book, “How to win friends and influence people.”
Dale Carnegie did.
But Carnegie was smart enough to hire one of the world's great copywriters to write the title and the chapter titles, which helped sell the book.
Back in the old day of physical bookstores, people picked up the book, looked at the table of contents, and got excited just by the chapter titles.
The focus, at this time, is on the brilliance of the book title.
The only person who wouldn’t be at least a little interested in the book would be... a sociopath?
It neatly promises a couple of things from the list of eight.
One to be admired and two, to improve yourself.
The book has sold over 30 million copies because the strategies work…
Read how Mac becomes a new man here
Look at this sales letter in a comic strip form, “The Insult That Made A Man Out Of ‘Mac’” which ran in newspapers and magazines for years.
Starts out with a skinny kid, Mac, on the beach.
He gets bullied and his girlfriend walks away. He takes a home study course and he bulks up. The next time he goes to the beach, he sees the bully and he beats the bully to the ground.
Now his girlfriend, Grace, loves him. She blurts out in panel nine, “Oh, Mac, you are a real man after all!”
The first thing the product (which is a course) does for Mac is to show him how to resist domination — to beat up the bully who humiliated him in the past.
That bully ain't dominating anyone anymore
The second thing it does is wins the affection of others—namely his girlfriend.
Takeaways from the classics
The last ad highlights the importance of making your advertisement blend in with the content that readers are already absorbing.
If it simply looked like an ad, people never would have read it.
But because it looked like a comic strip—and readers were already reading a comic book—they’d still pay attention to the ad even though they’d read it three or four times previously.
If you send somebody from one platform to a website (from Facebook, or YouTube to your website) one thing to keep in mind is,
What kind of content are they consuming?
If they're on Facebook, reading stuff, send them to a sales page with written content. If they're on YouTube, watching videos, send them to a video sales letter or a page on your site that has a video.
Always match what they're already consuming.
If you pick only one category, pick this one
The category of “do” seems to rank highest among the four.
Most online courses would, for example, have one version of that offer—they're going to teach you how to do something, and most of that would fit into one of the eight items on the list.
But don’t just stop there
There's one more thing that you need a lot more in your copy, as well as letting prospects know what your product will do for them.
Many times business owners suffer from the curse of knowledge. You know so much more than your market, and assume they know it, too.
So without reeling your mind back to where they are, you fly over them and miss a lot of opportunities to connect and get them interested in a sale.
Sometimes, telling prospects what your product will get them help, save, gain or do something simply isn’t enough.
You must spell out the value. Don’t assume it will be obvious. The value is why it matters.
A copywriter could say their copywriting will help you publish a better website.
And that’s great. You’ll have a pretty good idea of what that’ll mean for you.
But why does the said copywriter expect their client to do the work of figuring out what that means and what its implications are?
They need to say exactly how someone will free themselves from having to write their own copy again, regain time for running the business, focus on work, raise their prices and sell more.
Spell it out for your prospects: if you do this, your action will lead to that transformation.
Sell the value first and the transformation a close second.
Check back soon for the other three categories and how you can use them to convince your prospects to say an enthusiastic yes.