Gil-Ad Schwartz

 

“Takes the science of writing persuasive advertising that SELLS for any product or service, and makes it simple.”

Scott Murdaugh,
Marketing Strategist
Springfield, MO
MakeStuffSell.com

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“Gil-Ad Schwartz could very easily become the next Gitomer for the Advertising world. His style brings to the forefront common sense that relates direct to profits.”

Kim Kalan,
VP Marketing & Sales
Route 29 Caramels
Golden Valley, Minnesota

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“I’ve long said that the best copywriters also make great teachers, with that rare ability to make key points so clear and easy to understand -- they seem obvious... Gil-Ad Schwartz proves that point, presenting deep concepts with a practical, easy-to-grasp approach.”

Alan Carr, Author,
Carr’s Copywriting Checklist for Professional Copywriters

Methodology

How do I consistently deliver breakthrough results?

Before I launch into my explanation, there’s something you need to understand:

As you’ve probably gathered, part of the purpose of this whole website is to give you information which will allow you to decide whether or not you want my help. And, because I practice what I preach, you’ll find much of my methodology in use throughout. If nothing else, I’ll be showing you my methodology in action here on this page.

For example:

One aspect of my methodology involves explaining to your clients exactly how you make good on your advertising promises. It’s a way to increase transparency and build trust. When your clients understand the precise way in which you propose to deliver the promised benefits, it’s easier for them to believe that you’ll follow through and give them the results they’re looking for.

Here’s what I’m saying:

Part of my methodology involves explaining your methodology. This means that I’m going to be explaining to you what I do… while I’m doing it. So, at times, things might get a little meta and confusing.

If I’m going to keep this page clear and easy to follow, some portions might be a bit clunky. In other words, this will not be a super-smooth, super-sleek presentation. For that I apologize — but I wanted to make sure that, ultimately, I convey to you all the information you need in order to make a decision. I hope you’ll bear with me.

Embracing reality

The simplest way to sum up my methods is to say that I am fiercely, relentlessly, brutally realistic. I abhor magical thinking — any idea which suggests that, if you just apply some mystical theory, you’ll… somehow… end up with a valuable brand and plenty of customers. Before I implement anything, I need to see the connection. I need to understand how one thing will lead to another.

A focus on substance

When you advertise, you’re trying to persuade real people to spend real money or real products. This means you must communicate real ideas to them.

These days, sound bites and clichés get tuned out. They’re like white noise. As clients become increasingly immune to advertising, it becomes more and more important to ensure that you avoid meaningless ad-speak. In an ad, every word should communicate a real message. Every sentence should advance the sales pitch. Nothing is more pathetic than an ad which looks impressive but which, when you take a second to think about it, doesn’t actually say anything.

I can’t begin to describe to you how ruthless you have to be. Decades of conditioning have led to a situation where, as soon as people start writing ads, it’s like someone switches off a part of their brain. They start spouting words like “passionate” and “finest” and “excellence.” These words mean nothing. They’ll never persuade your clients to spend money with you.

The psychology of persuasion

In a nutshell, persuasion can be split into two steps.

The first step — the one which is the sole focus of traditional advertising — involves triggering a desire for your offer. You must make sure that the client wants what you’re selling.

Like Yin and Yang, there are two components to desire, and two reasons driving every purchase decision.

(1) There’s the emotional reason. Your emotional brain is like an innocent child, motivated by the pursuit of pleasure. You sell to the emotional brain by appealing to deep-seated psychological needs, like safety, recognition, and enjoyment.

(2) Then, there’s the logical reason: the reason you give your inner accountant to explain why the purchase was justified. You sell to the logical brain by showing that the purchase is a good investment and will save time, money, or effort.

That’s the first step in the persuasion process: triggering desire.

The second step — the one which is largely ignored and which can boost your response up immeasurably — is to neutralize the resistance which pops up whenever your clients know that you’re trying to persuade them. This resistance is natural and unavoidable. You can’t make it go away by pretending it doesn’t exist. You can only deal with it head-on, by addressing the root causes.

People resist because they feel threatened. They feel threatened whenever they feel that they’re losing control. The harder you try to persuade them to buy your product, the more they fear you’re trying to override their willpower.

You want to be truly persuasive? You must ensure that the client feels in control of the interaction.

Let’s go meta for a moment. Consider the situation you and I find ourselves in right now. It’s kind of funny. Here I am, supposedly the World’s Greatest Maverick Advertising Genius Extraordinaire™ (or whatever it says on my LinkedIn profile these days) — and there you are, wielding 100% of the power. You can leave my website with a single click, and there’s nothing I can do to stop you.

So, given that I’m vulnerable and powerless, and you’re completely in control, what does that say about me? Does it say that I’m a fraud, because I can’t force you to read the rest of my pitch and ultimately buy my products and services?

Perhaps.

But if we look at the situation realistically — something I’d always recommend — then you’ll see that I’m just stating a fact. I can’t reach through the screen and grab you by the collar. I can’t physically restrain you. Saying that you’re in absolute control is nothing more than a straightforward observation.

Many advertising agencies, and books, and consultants all like to speak of “powerful” advertising. They describe advertising which will “compel” your clients to reach into the wallets and throw money at you. It’s a magnificently attractive image, and it sure drives a whole lot of book sales and advertising contracts.

But let’s be brutally honest, shall we? “Power”, in this context, is a fantasy.

I have no power over you. All I have is foresight. All I have is my ability to empathize, to understand your needs, and to give you facts which show you that you have an incentive to give me your money.

Here’s an example of such a fact:

We’ve already established that you currently have 100% of the power in our interaction. But that power you wield over me — the absolute power to accept or reject — is the exact same power that your clients wield over you whenever you advertise to them. And what you say to them in your ads determines whether they exercise that power in your favor… or not.

Here’s another fact:

I’ve explained to you why most advertising fails. Where you go from here is up to you, but one thing is quite clear — you can’t buy back into the conventional advertising wisdom. That ship has sailed. Like it or not, you now must make a choice. You can either (a) reach the conclusion that everything I say is wrong… or (b) rebuild your advertising from the ground up, this time with a focus on salesmanship, persuasion, and realism.

Do I care which of two options you choose?

Of course I care: otherwise I wouldn’t be pitching for your business. You see, I can help you. I want to help you. If it were up to me, we’d start right away.

But how we proceed from here is entirely up to you, and there is nothing — nothing — that I can do or say that will ever compel you to choose one course of action over another.

Let’s go meta again.

Notice something interesting:

The more I wholeheartedly embrace the vulnerability of my position, the more alluring my offer becomes. That’s because, unlike most attempts at persuasion, I’m not challenging the idea that you’re the one control. This means you have the space to relax… and assess for yourself whether or not you can trust me. Of course, explaining to you that this is what I’m doing ruins the effect a little, because it casts me in a slightly more calculating light than otherwise.

I told you this would be a clunky presentation — but I wanted show you my methods first-hand, not just tell you about them. If you go back and ignore the concurrent meta-commentary, you’ll see that the result is positively magnetic.

The way to get the sale is to build trust

I’ve already mentioned this once, but it’s an idea worth repeating: trust is the new currency of persuasive advertising. The reign of over-the-top promises is over. These days, consumers are paying more and more attention to the believability of a message.

With this in mind, it makes perfect sense that, in order to be persuasive, you must remove the pressure and hand control over to the client. Here’s why:

The key to building trust with people — narcissists and sociopaths notwithstanding — is to demonstrate that you trust them. This, to a greater or lesser extent, triggers a reciprocity of trust. If I can show you that I trust you, I can inspire you to trust me in return.

But you can’t demonstrate trust without vulnerability. It’s impossible. Consider a hypothetical example:

Let’s say I invite you down to my office to chat about advertising over a civilized three-martini lunch. Halfway through the meal, I realize it’s time for me to take my AD/HD meds, so I excuse myself from the table. As I leave, I tell you:

“By the way, all my priceless trade secrets are in my locked safe. It’s taken me years to compile these documents. I trust that you won’t read through them.”

And off I go to pop some Ritalin, leaving you alone with my locked safe.

Riddle me this: have I in any way demonstrated that I trust you?

“Not overwhelmingly,” is, I think, the generous answer. If anything, I’ve demonstrated that I clearly don’t trust you.

Now consider the alternative scenario. As I leave the table, I say:

“By the way, all my priceless trade secrets are in a manila folder on my desk. Please don’t look at them.”

See the difference?

Now, I have shown that I trust you, because I’ve put you in a position of power. You could look through my folder if you wanted to. Without safes and locks to protect me, the fact that I’m happy to leave you with access to my prized folder can only mean one thing: I trust you.

The result of this is that you’ll find yourself trusting me more than you did before I left the table. But that’s only true when my trade secrets are on my desk. It doesn’t apply when they’re in the safe.

A demonstration of trust requires vulnerability. You can’t do it from a position of power. If you’re in complete control of the situation, the so-called “trust” you display is meaningless.

There’s another reason why showing your vulnerability is so important:

From the clients’ point of view, paying you money puts them in a vulnerable position. For all they know, you could underdeliver on your promises, or become boorish and unprofessional, or run away and join a travelling circus. They’re at your mercy. And that’s only a position they’ll put themselves in if they trust you not to abuse their vulnerability — the way you trusted them not to abuse yours.

This is how relationships of trust, both personal and professional, form between real people. And I’m all about advertising which communicates with real people. That, in a nutshell, is my methodology. It works for me, it works for my clients, and there’s a chance it could also work for you.

Would you like to find out?

Gil-Ad, I’m still not sure if you’re a genius or a lunatic, but you certainly have my attention. Tell me about your consulting services >>>

“Gil-Ad’s advice is direct and actionable... His insights on salesmanship, customer- (not company-) focused ads and measurable results are refreshingly simple.”

Chris Williams,
MBA (Harvard)

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“Concise and credible... takes much of the confusion and clutter out of what good advertising is all about.”

Tim York, CEO
Unistraw Int’l Ltd
Sydney, Australia

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“The letter Gil-Ad wrote for us got a 6% response rate and brought in over £23 for every £1 we spent on the mailing. It is -- by far -- the most successful fundraising package in the club’s history.”

Philip Young,
Secretary 2011-13
Oxford University
Pistol Club

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“[15-minutes of advice] like a college course in sales copy.”

Will Atkinson
Texas-based online entrepreneur

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“You are amazing in your copy, I love the [headline idea], that is light years ahead of what I had and that was just off the top of your head. Wow.”

Edward W. Smith, MBA
New York

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