Little words, big problems

Little words, big problems

Certain words, even tiny ones, can make a big impact in the mind of customers. Use the wrong word, and you can easily scare off interested prospects.

For example, I rarely use the word “Buy” in sales letters or their online equivalent, landing pages.

As a longtime copywriter, I know the “B” word carries a lot of baggage. It can cause some eager shoppers to hesitate just long enough to ask themselves, “Uh-oh. They want me to BUY? What exactly am I getting myself into?”

The solution? Substitute a different word. One that’s not so… intimidating. For example, I usually use the phrase “Order now” instead of “Buy now.” Do you feel the subtle difference in seriousness (or as the politicians call it, gravitas)? To “order” seems pretty harmless. “Buying” feels more serious.

“Contract” is another intimidating word. Even scary. This came up yesterday during the copywriting class I’m teaching at USM. After all, a contract is serious. It’s something you need a lawyer to look over. That’s why savvy salespeople, especially for big-ticket items like cars and homes, will downplay its significance. Call it an “agreement” or just “the paperwork.”

Don’t ask them to “sign” it either. Just hand them a pen and casually say “I just need your OK.” Or “I need you to approve this” or “Just give me your OK and we can get started right away.” The pen says it all. The buyer knows what to do: sign on the dotted line.

Bottom line: Don’t risk scaring away potential customers by using loaded words like “buy,” “contract,” or “sign.” Look for kinder, gentler ways to say it.

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