Be careful, the following story may offend the sensitivities of some people. And I’m not saying this to shamelessly grab your attention. It is the truth…
Here’s what happened.
The woman you see in the photo is Stella Liebeck.
She was a 79-year-old woman who lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
One afternoon in February 1992, Stella went to the airport to drop off her grandson.
Then she went to buy a coffee from McDrive, before heading back to her car.
And … since she wanted to add milk and sugar, and there was no cup holder …
…she put it between her knees to try to remove the cover.
Other than that…this cover ends up brutally separating it.
Can you guess what’s next?
Hot coffee (82°C…) was spilled on the old lady’s clothes and burned her skin for 90 seconds.
16% of his skin had second-degree burns and 6% had third-degree burns.
She was frozen for four weeks, and Stella had to undergo a skin graft.
After the accident, she was permanently disabled…
…to the point that she only weighed 38 kilos. instead of 50.
So much for context.
Now you’re wondering, “Okay, but what’s the deal with the $2.7 million?” »
This is where the fun stuff begins
Stella asked MacDonald to reimburse her for $11,000 in medical expenses.
However, this brand refused and decided to pay him only $800.
(Not very nice, really…)
Disgusted by what just happened to him…
They revolted against these terrible sequences…
He got angry at this company that ruined his life..
Stella decided to file a complaint against McDonald’s.
The concern is that the lawsuit was not won.
The old lady was still responsible for his injuries.
But everything changes when…
…the director of quality control at McDonald’s said two fatal words
The judge had just called him to try to shed light on the case.
But this guy is coldly interfering, focusing on the numbers.
He said that McDonald’s sells millions of coffee a day…
…and that cases like Stella are “statistically insignificant”.
The jury was shocked by this cruel lack of empathy.
Brand was ordered to pay $200,000 in compensation and $2,700,000 in punitive damages.
(Furthermore, for the little anecdote: the amount paid was so skewed that this trial has often been cited as an example of a “harm culture” in the United States.)
Why am I telling you this sordid story?
If I tell you this story, it is because there is something very shocking about it.
Didn’t you notice?
Well, I’ll tell you what it is.
Thanks to the emotion, the judges ruled in favor of Stella.
While the judge is usually assumed to be rational.
Which brings me to the next lesson:
There is no’spirit without Pity.
That is, if you are seen as cold and insensitive, they will not go your way.
Let’s take the example of the above story:
The quality control manager handled the situation rationally.
And not emotional.
As a result, he was seen as a ruthless beast.
It is the same in sales.
If a marketer addresses people who are having difficulty without showing that he understands their pain…
…no one will want to buy from him.
We’ll start thinking that it’s only there for sale.
He doesn’t care about his customers.
Treat them like an automated teller machine.
On this subject, Aristotle also said
“A style is appropriate if it expresses feelings and characters, and if it is in proportion to the things which are its object.” (rhetoricThird book, ch. 7, 1408a)
In other words, to convince someone to listen to you, you have to do it Relinquishing appropriate feelings.
Let’s take an example.
Do you trust a seller says:
“If you are not able to invest in yourself, and if you do not have at least 10 hours per week to dedicate to your work, leave this page. It is better to remain employed “
or who says:
“I imagine that you have already put a lot of money into training. But unfortunately, you were sold lies every time. Unacceptable promises. Beautiful speeches. Moreover, you wasted a lot of time. : / I understand your pain. »
I, personally, would go more towards the second.
Not you ?
The first is aggressive and guilt-inducing.
While the second is beautiful.
(And, as you know, the empathy bias is a persuasion weapon.)
Let’s say you sell a weight loss product.
And you want to break the price objection on the sales page.
Is it better to announce the price directly?
Or is it better to say something like:
“As you can imagine, I can charge 1,500 euros for this product. Because it’s not just a flat stomach. It’s also compliments, signs of attention and better self-esteem. But… I realize that my end can be difficult. That’s why I offer you this product at 37 Euro only.
You found the idea.
By giving up the appropriate emotions, you create what Theo Rossi calls
The European Commission is a case where you become your potential friend.
(While 5 minutes ago he did not know you from Eve or Adam).
This allows you to:
- create trust;
- dismantling the objection “I do not believe you”;
- Attract the reader’s attention.
Instead of ignoring people’s feelings, seeking to manage it.
Is the potential customer fundamentally skeptical?
👉 Tell him he is right to be careful.
Is your prospect lazy?
👉 Tell him that laziness can be an advantage.
Does fear consume your potential customer?
👉 Tell him you were too.
I’ve used this strategy often for my copywriting clients.
Each time, I tried to anticipate the behavior of a potential customer.
To see what he’d think if you said that instead.
to know him a prioriHis biases…
Know your objections…
The results were always there.
For example, about a year ago, I was able to get a 42.15% conversion rate on a landing page.
(The average rate is 9.7% as per a statistic from Unbounce)
He was in health, and this is what he looked like:
In this place, people have already tried a lot of solutions.
But often these solutions do not work.
Or people end up gaining weight.
So… if we come to the market with a promise like:
“How to lose weight permanently with this new method”
Nobody will believe it.
Simply because people are nervous and skeptical.
So… you have to put:
- Strong evidence.
- Unique mechanism
Just like you did on this capture page.
Now just imagine
Imagine if you could anticipate the likely behavior?
Imagine if you could literally direct his actions?
Until he finally gets his credit card out at the end of the sales page?
yes I agree.
It seems impossible to say.
However, if you know the state of mind of your potential business, it is possible.
For this reason, I meant this article:
How this woman earned $2.7 million in coupons
It’s to grab your attention and “force” you to read me.
Because if I say:
How to sell more through passion
You probably haven’t read me yet.
Because I know this kind of headlines is boring, corny, and corny.
So I’m talking about the same thing.
But not in the same way. 😉
Did you like this little article?
Feel free to tell me in the comments!
Then know I have a special newsletter, where I give this kind of marketing advice every week (link in bio 👇)
With that, I say see you soon.
Take care of yourself.
About the author
Hello ! I’m Maxence Delabry. Copywriter since 2020, I’ve been able to discover behind the scenes of big business. I reveal their secrets (to quickly build a large email list, for example), in my own newsletter.