Have you ever bought something simply as a result of it being the best compromise you could find?
Most of us have.
You wanted something else but it wasn’t available in the right colour, size, brand or flavour?
The thing is, sometimes we think we have a choice but it is actually an illusion.
Let me explain by way of my favourite erudition instrument.
You got it; by telling a story.
Once upon a time there lived a curious minded king who offered the prize of a solid gold apple in return for the person who could tell him the perfect lie.
Many people throughout his realm came and tried but no one succeeded.
Until one day a mysterious elderly beggar turned up to court holding a big empty jug.
He asked the king to fulfil his old promise of refilling the jug with the gold that the beggar had once lent him.
Unsurprisingly the king was shocked and said he had never set eyes on the man before in his entire life.
To which the beggar responded ‘So in that case I must be telling a perfect lie?’.
Immediately the king knew he was stuck. He realised he had been completely out smarted.
Either he had to fill the jug full of gold, or accept that the beggar had told him the perfect lie and award him the solid gold apple.
We call this a ‘double bind’ and it can be used very effectively in copywriting and sales pitches.
The ‘bind’ sentence is one that appears to give the reader options and the illusion of choice, whereas in fact it only gives someone a limited choice of controlled options.
I am not talking about those snarky opt in boxes you get on some websites.
You know the sort of thing: ‘Sign up if you want lots of traffic’, ‘Don’t bother if you want to live in a cardboard box for the rest of your life’, but I am talking about providing two valid choices.
This one or that?
Do you like the blue chair or the green one?
Which pair of shoes do you prefer, the black ones or the brown ones?
In sales this is very powerful.
Because once you get your prospect to make a choice, the sale is all yours.
Do you give people choices on your website? (For example, a range of services perhaps?)
But always remember; too much choice confuses people (it’s a phenomena called the ‘Paradox of Choice’ and it even has its own formula, it’s called Hick’s law), so 2 to 3 options is much easier for most of us to comfortably manage.
This is useful to know when writing copy, especially if you are providing a range of offers such as a price package, and why it is often limited to just 3, i.e. Bronze, Silver and Gold!
Something to think about.
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Eleanor Goold is owner and founder of Kreativ Copywriting a forward thinking and friendly writing, copywriting and content creation service. She also has her own branded website EleanorGoold.com where she provides business owners with smart ideas, copy tips, and blogs about the art of storytelling. She is co host of The Anti-Social Chat Show and is also creator of The Utterly Compelling Email Copywriter online course.