Admit a negative to vastly increase your credibility

friday, 25 january of 2008

Admit a negative to vastly increase your credibility

by Trey Ryder

When you make a statement that seems to be against your interest, your credibility soars.

In fact, this method is so powerful that one of this past century's most successful mail-order copywriters used the technique in almost every print ad he wrote.

Near the beginning of the ad, he admitted a weakness in his product.  Consumers know that no product is perfect, so this writer's admission immediately increased his credibility.  They thought, finally, here's a person who’s being honest.

From that point forward, consumers believed they could trust whatever this man told them, so he dramatically increased his credibility and his sales.

Here's an example of how this is done.  Think how you would react if you were the person hearing the message.

You and your guest enter a nice restaurant.  You decide to order stuffed pork chops.  Then the waiter leans over and in a soft voice, as if sharing a secret, suggests you order something else instead.  He says this evening’s pork chops aren’t as good as they usually are.  Then he suggests two less-expensive entrees.

Do you believe the waiter?  Of course.  You'd be a fool not too.  Did he increase his credibility with you?  Yes.  Substantially!  From that moment on, you trust everything he says because he made a statement that appears to be against his interest.

Later, if he were to recommend an expensive wine or specialty dessert, would you decline?  Most people wouldn’t.  So although you concluded that he said something against his interest when he recommended a less expensive entree, he might have been setting you up for the kill with the expensive wine.  After all, his tip is a percentage of what you spend.  And the wine will far more than make up for what he seemingly gave back on the pork chops.

Whether being straightforward and honest -- or setting you up for things to come -- the waiter greatly increased his credibility by admitting a negative.

You can use this principle too.

When talking with a prospect, feel free to admit how little you know about an area of law, as long as it’s not your primary practice area.  Then when you offer facts about your background and experience in your primary field, you prospect will believe that you are as strong in your specialty area as you admitted to being weak in your non-specialty field.

I use this method, too.  In my presentation and articles, I point out how specialized marketing has become.  I explain that we now have specialists in insurance marketing, grocery marketing, and high-volume retail marketing.  I explain that we have specialists in different marketing methods, such as catalog marketing and post card marketing.

Then I point out that my specialty field is lawyer marketing and I use exclusively my method of education-based marketing.  By admitting weaknesses in other areas, I'm being honest.  And by claiming skill and specialization in lawyer marketing, my prospects conclude I'm being honest and straightforward there, too.

If you try to make prospects believe that you are well versed in all areas of the law, you won’t succeed because prospects know better.  You're in a much stronger competitive position when you admit how little you know about other areas, and by providing facts about your background and experience that show you to be a highly skilled specialist in your chosen practice area.

© Trey Ryder

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