How Effectively Can You Put Yourself in Your Customer or Client's Shoes?

11 replies
The answer to this one question, more than anything else, will determine how many zeros you have in your bank or PayPal account.

You can study the greats, hand-write sales letters that converted and utilize all the tricks-of-the-trade that most top copywriters pile on until chickens fly (a significant distance that is…)

…but if you don’t know how to identify and connect with the emotions/circumstances that your target, target, target audience is FEELING… you’re dead in the water, no matter what you do.

So stop doing whatever the hell it is you think you SHOULD be doingand ask yourself:

How can I more effectively put myself in my prospect’s shoes?

How can I grab their attention by painting a picture that connects with their fears, hopes, sensibilities…

And most importantly,

…Interrupts the same ****, different day” mentality keeping them locked in experiencing the redundant and unexciting circumstances YOU SOLVE with your product or service?

Because whether you’ve transparently acknowledged it or not…

Every prospect looking at sales copy wants change.

It’s your job to demonstrate you know what they’re feeling to make them read about your solution.

But it’s also your job to describe the change that makes them press the buy button.


I said many times to copywriters that I talk with off the forum that they’re better writers than I am.

And they are better writers.


The reason why I generate conversions for myself and my clients lies more in my ability to connect with people’s emotions, understand their circumstances (that trigger their emotions) and seductively articulate why my solution is the answer to their prayers.

My wife calls me The Mentalist.

Ever seen that show?

If not…

The main character is a guy (working as a consultant for the cops) that can immediately sum up the character and psychology of people who may or may not be involved in the crime they’re investigating.

His ability to understand people and their behavior solves more crimes for the CBI Unit than regular, plain old cop work.

In fact…

He’s so well-attuned to what people are thinking, hiding and scheming that he conducts himself in a smug, cocky, and even arrogant manner.

He’s that good.

You need to be that good too.

And you can get there…

…But not by just studying copywriting books and marketing methods.

You need to understand what makes people tick.

You’ve got to get in people’s heads.

You’ve got to demonstrate you can put yourself in people’s shoes BEFORE your sales copy is ever going to be as effective in generating conversions as you dream about.

You have to prove, in your copy, that you know what your audience is feeling and experiencing if you’ve got any chance in hell to take them to the Promised Land. (You know, buying your product or service.)

That means…

You need to study psychology, spirituality, religion, philosophy, NLP, quantum physics, etc., if you’re ever going to know HOW to identify what your audience is thinking, feeling, wanting and capable of believing.

But perhaps even more so,

You need to understand what makes YOU tick.

After all…

If you aren’t aware of your own character (including your beliefs, judgments,
mindset and dreams…)

…how the hell are you supposed to expect yourself to see those components in other people?

The bottom line is…

Copywriting skills are just one (important) aspect of being able to put yourself in people’s shoes… and close sales.

You need to become an expert in human nature (yours and other peoples)
…and then (and only then) will you FINALLY see the kind of conversions you aspire to produce.


Starting today…

I want you to start trying to sum up the people you come into contact with.

It’s not a matter of being right or wrong.

Not yet.

You’ve just got to start thinking in this way so the truth of what your own prospects are feeling can become more and more obvious to you.

Mark Pescetti

P.S. My ability to accurately observe people is a skill I’ve been actively building upon since I was a little boy. It doesn’t happen overnight. But man, it’s an ability that will make you more money than you’ve ever produced before in your entire life. That much I promise you.
#client’s #client’s #customer #effectively #put #shoes
  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    I've been a student of human behavior since I was a small child. It's served me very well. I watch and listen. I've written a lot about a concept I call predictable patterns. I first noticed this trading stocks. But low and behold, predictable patterns are everywhere. Recognizing predictable patterns in people is a copywriter’s (any good writer, actually) secret weapon.

    There may be copywriters or even content writers who are slick enough to adapt to any market and turn out great work. I'm not one of those. It's funny, someone from the main board just PM'd me wanting to know how to market a particular app for a smart phone. I have no idea because technical stuff isn't my thing. I'm sure there's a hook that will relate to some emotion such as vanity, exclusivity, pride, envy, intelligence or any number of emotional push buttons.

    But without doing a bunch of research I wouldn't know which one to lead with. I don’t really know much or care much about gadgets so I’m not really hip to what’s hot or cool or whatever in that market. And… I’m not that interested in getting up to speed on it.

    I think we all have certain intrinsic aptitudes for particular things. And, I do know my strong suits. The thing that makes those aptitudes useful is, as you've pointed out well, to recognize and exploit them in your writing. That makes you a powerhouse. And if you're willing to be flexible and adapt what you know to things outside your areas of expertise, well then, you'd be unstoppable.
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  • In Ad Magic, Brian Keith Voiles talks a lot about empathy being the most important quality in copywriting. He mentions his empathy for others in this interview around 1:30:

    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
    This is a core component of the way I write copy. If you were to compare it to fiction, the prospect is the reader, the seller is Spade, and the product is the Maltese Falcon. That is to say, the most important aspect is the way the reader is going to relate to the teller of the story. The product is a MacGuffin, almost incidental.

    I have a worksheet that I use to develop this material for use in a salesletter, but it's basically a questionnaire, where you answer a bunch of questions about the prospect to arrive at a good customer avatar. But then you ask the opposing questions about the seller persona as well.

    An example is -

    Buyer: Who are you that you are unfortunately destined to have this problem the product solves?

    Seller: Who are you that you were uniquely qualified or positioned to solve the problem the prospect has?

    Having the customer avatar and the seller persona developed in this way creates a kind of lock-and-key connection where the prospect that matches the profile will feel an immediate rapport and camaraderie with the seller.

    I then use this to present a "magic mirror" scenario where the seller's past = the prospect's present, and the seller's present = the prospect's potential future (but for the purchase of the product).

    Fair warning: It's possible I'm arguing with you because I have nothing better to do.
    Join my free copywriting group on Facebook:

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    • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
      I have a prep file which covers the feelings, emotions, fears, hopes, desires, hot buttons as well as the avatar and big promise the copy is supposed to be delivering, the fork in the road etc etc...

      I get a lot of this information from the copy questionnaire, and if I'm not happy with the response, I'll have a Skype chat with my client. My prep files are EXTREMELY detailed (this was one thing my coach would always comment on) and can take up to 10 hours putting them together - in fact, I'm almost anal about them because I know if I have a good prep file, I'll have some solid copy.

      At the moment, I have two video scripts I'm doing - both in the weight loss niche, but two completely different takes on the niche. So, even though weight is something I struggle with, I'll be interviewing family and friends who have weight issues to see what THEY come up with.

      Perhaps their fears and worries may be different to my own. The point is, even if you know something inside out, it's always better to get someone else's perspective (actually, ask a few) just in case you've missed something.
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      • Profile picture of the author staceythewriter
        Arfasaira, that's a good point. Just because you are a member of the group for which you are crafting copy does not mean you don't have to research the group. I just did a branding project that targets ethnic mothers in NYC, a group I, personally, know well, yet I was glad I conducted the research and interviews because I learned a lot about concerns and buying triggers I could not even relate to. Never assume you know the whole market or everything about prospects just because you are a member of that target audience.

        Stacey Mathis
        Stacey Mathis Copywriting
        The Copywriter's Highway to Success
        Twitter: @staceythewriter

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  • Profile picture of the author staceythewriter
    Being a copywriter is like being a forensic profiler. You have to know what makes your target prospect tick; what keeps them up at night; what's that one element that would make the stoic consumer cry, laugh, spend, read further, click here . . . before you can begin to attempt to reach them. And then you have to walk around inside your product and the world of its brand and unearth that stimulant. And now, in today's consumer-controlled marketing environment where you are more likely to have to engage your target audience, as opposed to simply persuading them - being the profiler is even truer.

    Stacey Mathis
    Stacey Mathis Copywriting
    The Copywriter's Highway to Success
    Twitter: @staceythewriter

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  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    Good point, Mark... glad you brought this up because it really is a big part of success in copywriting.

    When i see a hyped-up over-the-top amateur copywriter using every adjective in the book, I cringe.

    But when i see a copywriter who writes with empathy, compassion, and understanding... i sit up and take notice.

    If you want a good idea of how to write with empathy and compassion, Brian Keith Voiles is a master.

    But also, study Eben Pagan/Craig Clemens copy for their men/women dating products... absolutely oozing with empathy and compassion.

    This entire "writing with empathy and compassion" is SO important, it's the main reason I started sending surveys out to customers and clients... asking them why they bought a product or service of mine.

    when they replied back and put, in their own words, their motivating factors and reasons for buying... this helped me understand their situation and get inside their heads a little bit.

    when 300 or more people send you answers as to WHY they bought something of yours... you really understand their mindset and their thinking... so this is the best way I've ever learned on how to put yourself in their shoes... just ask them why they bought
    and ask them to be very specific and thorough... give me your emotional reasons, etc...

    that one method of surveying my customers took my copywriting to a completely new and profitable level... probably more than anything else i've done.

    always remember... people don't buy products or services... they buy what those will do for them.

    so why not just ask them why they bought... so you can actually see where they're coming from and then use that in your marketing to others like them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
      Originally Posted by shawnlebrun View Post

      always remember... people don't buy products or services... they buy what those will do for them.
      Nail... meet head.

      What a lot of copywriting clients don't understand, think about or even take seriously is that the mindset of whomever they hire to write their stuff matters.

      I've met veteran and newbie copywriters alike that are so aggressively good with the fundamental techniques of selling...

      ...but horrendously lack ANY dimension in their ability to understand the psychology of their target prospect or demonstrate awareness about what would get people to enthusiastically press the buy button.

      So the copy might seem good on one level, but completely miss the emotional x-marks-the-spot.

      This goes WAY beyond empathy.

      You're not just recognizing what other people are feeling, because you'll be limited in your perception (of their experience) by your own degree of self-awareness.

      Read that last sentence again.

      Being a copywriter who can sell means using the growth you've experienced (in your own life) to deepen your empathic sensitivities and accuracy.

      Mark Pescetti

      Do You Want To Make 5 and 6-Figures A Month As A Freelance Copywriter? My Copywriting System Has Made Over 600 Million Dollars. Discover More

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  • Profile picture of the author geegel
    Another way to look at it can be resumed like this:

    "Only sell what you know"

    The best way to put yourself in someone's shoes is... well... to literally go there. I know that specialization has been given a bad rep lately, but I think it is the only way to truly be great.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
      Originally Posted by geegel View Post

      Another way to look at it can be resumed like this:

      "Only sell what you know"

      The best way to put yourself in someone's shoes is... well... to literally go there. I know that specialization has been given a bad rep lately, but I think it is the only way to truly be great.
      Not necessarily true at all.

      Last year, I made a company 7 figures in the financial investment markets.

      I knew NOTHING about it. NOTHING. (Did I say NOTHING?)

      It's the most money I've ever made a single client.

      I spent weeks on Skype with these people learning about what they do.

      And the more I understood who their prospects were and why this company provided an amazing solution to the rampant obstacles their audience experienced, en-masse...

      ...The more effectively I got in their shoes.

      But here's what REALLY allowed me to talk directly to the target audience:

      I got to personally speak with some of their clients (who told me their stories.)

      These were people who went from having portfolios that were worth piss all... to generating some real wealth.

      Truth be told...

      I didn't even want to take on the project.

      They pursued me (referred by another client.)

      I was intimated as hell by it.

      I was honest that I knew nothing about what they did.

      I didn't understand the language (and still don't, for the most part.)

      Yet I DID understand the emotions their prospects were experiencing.

      That enabled me to clearly communicate their solution.

      And man...

      I FELT for these people.

      Especially when I realized a lot of investors were regular 9-5 workers who were simply looking for some sense of financial security... and REAL hope.

      But ultimately...

      It was my money mindset approach that worked.

      It was my awareness' about the raw emotions MOST people feel about money that generated conversions.

      And just to respond in another way...

      I have a harder time selling for stuff that I'm closer to, sometimes, than markets I know very little or nothing about.

      There's a psychological reason behind this too.

      But I won't bore y'all.

      Mark Pescetti

      P.S. Man oh man... I wish I could put the project I spoke about in some sort of portfolio. Do you know how hard it is to write the best stuff of your life and NOT be able to show anyone? It bloody sucks!

      Do You Want To Make 5 and 6-Figures A Month As A Freelance Copywriter? My Copywriting System Has Made Over 600 Million Dollars. Discover More

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  • Profile picture of the author WinstonTian
    I agree with what you're saying Mark,
    but for me, I believe more in
    interactions with actual clients,
    customers and staff. You're digging in
    a whole piece of soil, and panning for
    gold...and one reason why I prefer
    this over trying to visualize (it works,
    just a preference) is that your mind
    is unable to hold restrictions on
    what kind of information you're
    receiving, removing personal bias.

    Of course, skills like reading their
    body language, and learning how to
    probe are essential if you were to do
    this... Using open-ended instead of
    binary questions... Using "why", "how
    is that" and a lot of other ways to dig

    Of course, based on analytical data,
    you need to know how to place that
    into the same context that your
    prospect faces when they meet your
    sales copy.

    Great post.

    Winston Tian

    The Beginner's Doctor

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