We’ve had some interesting weather here in Norfolk this summer… blazing sunshine and blue skies one day, and then chill north easterlies and cold drizzle the next.
One of my very favorite spots is Blakeney, on the coast, where I go sailing to enjoy my own little piece of paradise!
My enjoyment is heightened even more when I consider what’s just around the corner… chilling November frosts, followed by the biting winds of December, and brittle, frozen grounds that usually last well into the new year!
Why am I telling you this?
Well, the contrasting emotions that are evoked in the two paragraphs above are particularly striking because of the way that the human mind works. We all handle the information we receive by framing it in relative terms. We have a completely instinctive compulsion to compare almost everything we encounter with previous experiences and scenarios.
We’re sub-consciously thinking, “What’s that like?” and “How’s this different?” That’s just how our minds work. We relate things to each other to gage similarities and contrasts.
And it’s this comparing and contrasting that gives YOU a massive opportunity to amplify the selling power of every aspect (i.e. the features and benefits) of the products or services you are selling.
How buying decisions are made …
During every purchasing decision, your prospect is sub-consciously going through this routine of comparing and contrasting the differences between their current situation (where they are faced with a problem or need) and the situation that you are promising after your product or service has solved their problem and delivered the result they desire.
This difference between the before and after a situation is then compared to the price you are asking, and if the perceived gain far outweighs the pain (the price) then the sale will almost certainly take place.
This is why, (unless you are competing solely on price) it is always best to detail every last feature, advantage and benefit you have to offer before you reveal any pricing details. This ensures that the contrast between the cost versus the value you deliver is maximized and is easily appreciated.
The power of contrast can also be used to frame the way you present your prices… For example, imagine picking up a bag of potatoes. It feels heavy. Now pick up a sack of potatoes first, and then pick up the bag. Now the bag feels pretty light.
That’s why in some retail outlets, salespeople are trained to show shoppers the most expensive items in a line of products first. This makes the mainstream items seem relatively cheap. Such is the law of contrast.
Examples of Comparison and Contrast in sales messages
Towards the end of a letter and email message that I wrote for a campaign promoting my book ‘Success I Recession’…I said:
“You’ll quickly transform your business from run-of-the-mill to runaway success, from marginally profitable to cash-rich, from industry support act to industry headliner.”
Why did I create these contrasts?
Because contrast creates interest, attention, surprise, desire, impression. It heightens awareness of the situation you are describing. It forms sharp images in the mind and makes it easier for readers to remember the point you are putting across.
Contrast leaves a powerful impression on your reader’s mind.
As you read my message, I want you to clearly imagine your business staying as a run-of-the-mill performer if it is not marketed with the direct response strategies I explain in the book. Then – immediately — I want you to imagine what it will be like when your business becomes a runaway success!
I want you to feel the thrill of lifting your enterprise from a marginally profitable position (which is always frustrating and draining on the emotions)—to CASH RICH! Aahhh—what relief! What joy! What opportunity!!
“You’ll quickly transform your business from industry support-act to industry headliner…”– I say this because I want you to understand that your dreams of building your venture to a position of importance and leadership within your industry – and of gaining the recognition and respect, even envy, of your peers — is indeed readily achievable!
Do you think if I said “You’ll transform your business to a runaway success, to cash-rich, to industry leader” — without using the contrast — it would have the same effect?
The contrast helps to create a sharper, more vivid impression in your mind.
Here are four final prompts for you to consider:
- Contrast your prospect’s life with, and without, your product.
- Compare the value of your product to much more costly alternatives.
- Contrast the benefits of your product with the drawbacks of the status quo and/or other alternatives.
- Compare your prospect’s current situation with other painful, undesirable, and unflattering objects or circumstances.
Contrast and comparison are powerful tools that allow you to add considerable punch to your messages.
So, do you want sales copy that has all the impact of beige-colored wallpaper, or the persuasive pulling power of a train stuffed full of cash?
Let me know if you’d like a (friendly + free) review of your latest sales copy. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org