The ‘Why’ That Gets Prospects to Buy

We’re in an age where copy must work harder to be noticed and break through. The superficial message will be overlooked, and unless it speaks to the heart in a grab-by-the-collar kind of way, it’s lost. So how do you peel back the layers of resistance to deliver the deeper why?

EmotionsWe’re in an age where copy must work harder to be noticed and break through. The superficial message will be overlooked, and unless it speaks to the heart in a grab-by-the-collar kind of way, it’s lost. So how do you peel back prospects’ layers of resistance to deliver the deeper why?

In my last blog I wrote about breaking through to the big idea. Without a big idea, a headline and story become noise.

And without emotion, the big idea may not work.

That’s why copywriters and marketers must work harder to peel back the hardened layers that people add to their personas.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been on the planning team for a musical production coming this July in Las Vegas. There will be about 300 singers from two large choral groups on stage together performing before about 8,000 people.

It would be easy to stand before the audience and sing great songs. But the question we’ve pressed ourselves to answer is this: What emotion do we want the individual in the audience to feel, the moment the curtain comes down?

We’re getting closer to identifying a handful of deep emotions about the impact of singing, but one exercise we used applies to marketers and copywriters, and might be useful to help you identify the deeper emotion of a new message.

Consider the following scenario. At first glance it may seem simplistic, but look past the pure utility of whatever you’re offering to the deeper end benefit can often lead to that clarity of “why.”

A man walks into a hardware store. An employee asks him what he’s searching for.

“A drill,” he replies.

The employee shows the customer to the aisle with drills. Without probing any further, the employee says, “if you need something else let me know,” and walks away.

The employee simply assumed the customer wanted a drill. But what if the employee had known that this was more than drilling a hole? What if it was learned that the customer was building an awning on the backyard of his home? And that he may have needed additional materials or tools for the project?

Or perhaps the employee would have learned that the reason the customer was buying a drill was because he was building the awning for his daughter. Then, she would have a place to sit in the shade on a sunny day, and under protection on a rainy day.

Or, maybe with more conversation, the customer would have revealed that the deeper reason for building the awning was because his daughter was disabled and confined to a wheelchair. And sitting outside was the only time for his daughter to breathe fresh air.

After peeling back the layers, you realize you’re not just selling the simple utility of a drill. You’re in the business of helping your clients and customers get to an emotional satisfaction — of helping them achieve their bigger goal that’s driven by the “why.”

The point of this thought process, and the reason to keep asking “why,” is that even something as simple as purchasing a drill may have a much deeper emotional reason behind the purchase.

When you know the deeper persona of the person you’re reaching, or can imagine their story, your message can get to the core of a deeper emotional feeling that enables the customer to make their decision in a heartbeat.

Gary Hennerberg gives you the detail of his “Seven Pathways from Head to Heart to YES!” in his book, Crack the Customer Mind Code, available from the DirectMarketingIQ Bookstore. For a free download with more detail about the seven pathways, and access to Gary’s videos where he presents them, go to

Author: Gary Hennerberg

Reinventing Direct is for the direct marketer seeking guidance in the evolving world of online marketing. Gary Hennerberg is a mind code marketing strategist, based on the template from his new book, "Crack the Customer Mind Code." He is recognized as a leading direct marketing consultant and copywriter. He weaves in how to identify a unique selling proposition to position, or reposition, products and services using online and offline marketing approaches, and copywriting sales techniques. He is sought-after for his integration of direct mail, catalogs, email marketing, websites, content marketing, search marketing, retargeting and more. His identification of USPs and copywriting for clients has resulted in sales increases of 15 percent, 35 percent, and even as high as 60 percent. Today he integrates both online and offline media strategies, and proven copywriting techniques, to get clients results. Email him or follow Gary on LinkedIn. Co-authoring this blog is Perry Alexander of ACM Initiatives. Follow Perry on LinkedIn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *