Years ago I ran across a little book called “Autosuggestion and Salesmanship” first printed in 1923.
This book surfed the wave that was created by Emile Coue’ and his use of autosuggestion (self-talk/visualization in today’s lingo).
Anyway, the first chapter of the book deals with the power of imagination on persuasion. I’m going to re-print two of the examples here that touch on copywriting.
While “old and dated” in language, they do illustrate the how a copywriter who causes his readers to create compelling pictures can get the prospect’s imaginations working for him or her.
The first example compares the approach of two tire salesman. One who sold by force of will. The other who sold by appealing to the imagination.
1) I want to sell you some tires.
2) You need our brand
3) The price is right
4) Our tires are better than any of the tires you are selling now.
1) “Really Mr. Brown, in a fine store like yours you could sell a lot of our tires.
2) Lots of people use our tires only. You don’t realize that you’re losing sales by not carrying them, because many customers look in the window or at your tire stock when they come into to buy a spark plug, and not seeing our tires, they simply go somewhere else when the need for a tire arises.
3) in a store like this I wouldn’t be surprised if you could make $75 a week net profit on our tires alone.
4) Some of the best customers in town buy our tires–The White Taxicab Company, The Brown Bus Corporations, and a very large number of chauffeurs. and they all pay full price, because they know that the tire is worth it.”
Now the sentences were numbered for purposes of comparison.
Will Power Salesman sets out to enforce his will on the prospective customer. Most dealers resent this. Dealer mentally says, “You’re not going to make me buy some tires!”
Imaginative Salesman deftly presents a very acceptable picture to the dealer–that of selling a lot of tires, instead of buying a lot of tires. Notice the difference. Buying tires suggests expense, selling them suggests profit.
“Will Power Salesman makes a strong general claim with which the dealer may disagree. No picture or image is suggested by this sentence.
Imaginative Salesman talks of Profit, and presents another Picture–that of possible customers about whom the dealer had not thought before.
Will Power Salesman is assertive about Price. Price alone means little. No Image is projected on the dealer’s mind.
Imaginative Salesman presents a definite Picture of the Profit possibility. You can form a mental image or Picture of $75 in Profits where you can’t picture the abstract word “price.”
“Will Power Salesman makes a final effort to dominate the dealer by knocking his other goods–and probably only arouses antagonism and ill will.
Imaginative Salesman presents another agreeable and easily visualized Picture–that of possible customers who buy many tires at a time, and larger size tires on which there is naturally a better profit. The succession of agreeable Pictures has stirred imagination to a point where the sales is extremely probable.
Okay, let’s move on to the second example. This one of how to advertise a used car in rough condition. The dealer tried to sell if for two months by cutting the price down. But finally sold it in a day when he ran this ad that appealed to the imagination of the buyer…
“We’ll hate to see this go… We have a 5-year-old P– car now in our Used Car Department. This car was given by one of New York’s famous millionaires to his son for a wedding present. Five years ago people on Fifth Avenue turned around to look at it a second time. It’s not so much to look at now, but it has been all over North America and in England, Holland, France, Belgium and Italy. The engine still runs sweet and strong and both the owner and ourselves would like to see that this car gets into good hands. No, we can’t print the former owners name here; we’re pledged to tell it only to the buyer. The price is very attractive.”
One fun final example…
Two shoe-shine boys stood on the corner soliciting business. One shouted, “Wanna Shine?” The other called out, “Get your Sunday Shine!”
Can your readers picture the promise of your products and services? Can you give the products you sell a “Sunday Shine”?