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050 The Curious Secret to Building Trust and Credibility
4th June 2015 • Rough Draft • Rainmaker.FM
00:00:00 00:07:43

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Ever wonder how you could get more people to believe you? To trust you? It s easy, actually. And quite odd the way it works.

What s the secret? Never tell anyone more than they ll believe. Sounds like a moron statement, right?

It’s not.

See, the moment your claim passes the point of believability, credibility drops off like a rock. Unless, of course, you introduce the disadvantages first.

Here’s how to do that.

In this 8-minute episode you’ll discover:

  • Brilliant 60s ads selling the ugliest car
  • The wrong way most people discuss the advantages (if they discuss it at all)
  • How the ugly truth creates exclusivity
  • What happens to benefits when disadvantages are mentioned

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The Transcript

The Curious Secret to Building Trust and Credibility

Demian Farnsworth: Welcome, to yet another episode of Rough Draft, your daily dose of essential web writing advice. I am your host, Demian Farnworth, the Chief Content Writer for Copyblogger Media.

And thank you for sharing the next few minutes of your life with me.

So, this is episode 50, and it is brought to you by Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network built on the Rainmaker Platform — a platform that empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales empire.

Because we all know you want to take over the world. At least put a dent in the universe.

The cool thing is you can actually give it your best college try for the next 14 days for free … that s right, you can get your hands on the Rainmaker Platform for 14 days, without paying a dime.

Just visit rainmakerplatform.com to start your free trial. That s rainmakerplatform.com.

Now, onto the show.

Ever wonder how you could get more people to believe you? To trust you? You want people to trust you. It s easy, actually. And quite odd the way it works.

What s the secret? Never tell a man or woman more than he ll believe. Sounds like a moron statement, right? Let me explain why it s not.

The Law of Diminishing Credibility

Pretend for a moment you re an investment advisor.

Even if you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a particular stock will triple in price in the next year, if you have any concern that the buyer might find what you say hard to believe, it s best to leave that information out.

But let s get closer to home.

There s a very popular article on Copyblogger that bugs me to death. It s called “How to Write an Article in 20 Minutes.”

It s an incredible statement, but we, the readers, have a hunch, it could be true. We re just not sure and we want Jim, the author to prove it, which he does.

However, if Jim would ve said forty minutes, we wouldn t have batted an eye. That s not that big of a deal. It s not a powerful promise.

But if he d said fifteen minutes, we d start to squint, wondering if there s a BB loose in his can.

Ten minutes and he s pushing his luck with us.

Five minutes and we know he s a wacko. In fact, we might just read the article to see the freak show.

But here s the deal: Let s say Jim CAN write an article in five minutes. Even if that s true, such hype is going to turn people off. It s best to leave that information alone.

See, the moment your claim passes the point of believability, credibility drops off like a rock. Unless, of course, you introduce the disadvantages first.

Brilliant 60s Ads Selling the Ugliest Car

In the 60 s some brilliant ad men took advantage of this peculiarity. Remember the old Volkswagen sedan with the rag top that hadn t changed in 20 years, the round top one?

One of the ugliest cars ever made.

In addition, it didn t have any extra features that any ad man could talk about. Only in later years did it have a gas gauge.

You could get so many miles on a tank of gas that you simply drove it until you ran out of gas and then switched to a small reserve tank that held more than enough fuel to get you to the closest gas station.

When the Doyle, Dane + Bernbach agency was given this account, they must have groaned. What could you say about the car?

It only had two features: it was cheap to run and it was reliable.

But everyone already knew that. What more could they say about it? Then they hit on a brilliant flash of inspiration: they decided to tell the truth.

How the Ugly Truth Creates Exclusivity

I can imagine every ad man in America coming off their chairs and saying, “You are going to do what?”

Yet, DDB ran a whole series of ads that said, “This car is ugly. It looks like a bug. A beetle.”

“This car is slow. You ll be lucky if you ever get a ticket.”

The results of the campaign? Phenomenal. People loved the campaign and sales shot up.

Simple, pristine truth is an astounding force.

And these ad men had touched on a very important key of persuasion: if you point out the disadvantages first, it makes everything else you say more believable.

Most people would tell you to save problems last. Or not share them at all.

But if you think about it, the strategy above does two things: one, it creates an element of exclusivity. Owning a Beetle Bug is kind of like a badge of honor. It becomes a club you belong to. A cult, if you will.

And second, once those ugly issues are out of the way, you can sell the benefits.

What Happens to Benefits When Disadvantages are Mentioned

See, by positioning the disadvantages first, prospects view the advantages in a whole different light. And it is a whole lot easier to swallow.

This is nothing more than good old fashioned transparency, which is the secret to getting people to believe you. So today s rule of persuasion says this: never tell a person more than you think they ll believe.

In fact, tell them the ugly truth, share with them the disadvantages first, then move onto the advantages and you ll have a captive audience.

Which brings us to a major shift in our focus on copywriting and the online crowd. That shift is not horizontal, but vertical. Straight down, in fact. Into the very belly of effective online writing. I don t care whether you are a journalist, ad writer, blogger, Twitter comedian, YouTuber, or podcaster.

You ll want to know the three critical copywriting steps to getting people to love, buy, and brag about you, your content, and even your product.

But that s for the next episode. Until then, take care.

And hey, by the way, if you like this show leave a rating or review on iTunes. Let us know what you think. Take care.

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