I'm a b*tch when I'm hungry and even worse when I'm tired. And ya know what puts me in ultra b*tch mode? Airports….  Almost a year ago, I took an epic trip to Mongolia….don’t worry I’m not about to #travelgram you into oblivion, and really, the destination doesn’t matter anyway. Because travelling—travelling internationally especially—is basically never going to put me in the most agreeable place.    But even in that most egregiously un-agreeable state I was in, I found myself being convinced to help out a stranger.    Now, before I hop into my story here it’s important to understand that when you run a business, no one owes you anything. I know, shocker. But especially when it comes to getting a conversion—be it a sale, an email address, a click…. it’s your job to coach their decision.    Ok keep that in your back pocket we’ll be reviewing later…onto my story.  I was travelling home from Mongolia, which meant almost 48 hours of airplane food and little sleep. So, as you can imagine, by hour 32 (ish) of that trip, I started to resemble Joe Pesci in  Casino.      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     In short, I was not approachable. If someone had even looked at me sideways, I woulda snapped faster than...well...Joe Pesci in  Casino .  So, what happened next was, in retrospect, shocking….I'd just made it back to US, through the insanity of customs, across 4 miles of airport hallway, and to my   second   long-ass security line where we inched along at glacial pace. And then, in the midst of TSA madness, a woman approached me and said:      "Excuse me. May I cut in front of you, because I have a flight in less than 30 minutes and I will miss it otherwise."       Almost without thinking, I said, "Sure!"...I was almost gleeful about it! (What happened to the Pesci-Me?!)  I let her by and watched this same woman move her way forward—doing the same thing to other people in line. No one even hesitated—did I mention this was a TSA line?  Now, a cynical person might say she just chose the right people to ask. But, given my depleted, beyond-grouchy state AND the fact that she pulled it off multiple times, I think there's more to the story.    Let’s break Down why this worked, shall we?  There’s every reason in the world this should  not  have worked. Much like a potential client or sales prospect I owed this woman nothing. And not just me…all of the other people in that line didn’t owe this woman a thing.   So, what was it specifically about her statement that worked AKA—how did she coach us all to make a decision and make it in her favor?   The answer:   a little something I’ve dubbed  “The Law of Because”.    Now, this is far from an original theory. Though I did give it that fun name, credit actually belongs to a Harvard research team led by Ellen Langer who studied this phenomenon in her  famous 1977  Xerox study . In her study, she tested what would make people most likely to allow someone to cut in line at the Xerox machine.    To do that, she had a volunteer ask participants to allow them to cut in line. The volunteer used one of three specifically worded requests and they tested which one most often resulted in the volunteer being allowed to cut. The requests were:      “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine?”      “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I have to make copies?”      “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”     The results?  Version 3 resulted in a 93% success rate, Version 2 was slightly more successful at 94% and Version 1 was by far the least successful at 60%.   So as much as I'd like to say I let that woman cut because I'm just a kind-soul, the truth is probably that I (and a whole bunch of other people in that line) was psychology triggered to do so.   So, here’s the takeaway:   People are far more likely to do something if they feel like they have a reason to do it. And, people feel like they have a reason if you give them one.    What’s more, that little word “because” does something that is at the heart of every sales conversation or piece conversion copy. It breaks up one of the most powerful forces driving human behavior—inertia. And it effectively jolts people out of their zombie-like state into taking an action.   Remember how I said it’s your job to coach the decision? You can do that using this bit of psychology. As Robert Cialidini says in his book  Influence:   “people simply like to have reasons for what they do.” It’s our job to give them one.    So, how do we use “The Law of Because” to increase conversions?   By now, you’re probably like “OK cool…but how in the Sam Hill can I actually apply this to my business?”   To which I would answer, there are innumerable ways, as long you understand that the purpose of “The Law of Because” is to fight against your prospect’s instinct to maintain the status quo and—as always—that you use this tool for good.   Here are some ways that I’ve personally seen “The Law of Because” close a sale, inspire an action, and increase conversions.   1.  Got a sales call? Try ending it with something like this:   "If you want to join this course, be sure to let me know by Tuesday,   because   spots are filling up fast, and I'd love you to be a part of it."    2.  Overdue invoice you need paid, like, yesterday? Try this:   ”I'll need this invoice paid by Thursday,   because   I've got to pay my bills."     3. That last email in a promo sequence? Sneak this line in there:    “Register with this link by tonight,   because   the opportunity won’t be here for much longer.”   One little word. That's all it takes.     Now if you would be so kind… Please like and share this post   because   it would really help me get the word out 😉.

I'm a b*tch when I'm hungry and even worse when I'm tired. And ya know what puts me in ultra b*tch mode? Airports….

Almost a year ago, I took an epic trip to Mongolia….don’t worry I’m not about to #travelgram you into oblivion, and really, the destination doesn’t matter anyway. Because travelling—travelling internationally especially—is basically never going to put me in the most agreeable place.

But even in that most egregiously un-agreeable state I was in, I found myself being convinced to help out a stranger.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Let’s talk sales pages.   You know those long-ass web pages that have a VERY specific job (ahem…to sell your thing). They’re ubiquitous in the online world.  And, when done right, they can be one of the most powerful assets in your business.     Now look, there’s A LOT of things that can make or break a sales page. Strategy comes first, period.    BUT, if you have that in order, you’re getting traffic to your page, and still struggling to see those sales….here’s something to consider.  For the most part, humans are moving along day to day in a state of inertia—hangin' out in their comfort zone. It's business as usual... And, if we’re not stirred to action by something incredibly compelling, why change that?  (You may remember me talking about inertia an  older post . But that’s because it’s so dang important in understanding how to nudge your prospects and coach them toward the sale.)   Essentially, even in the midst of some our deepest pains, problems, bad habits, desires, and wishes, we’re all hangin’ around like this 👇              

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


              We probably know we have the option to make a change, but it’s so cozy here with our familiar little problems. Change requires action. Meh…  Effective sales pages push readers out of that state of inertia. Ineffective ones, miss the mark and lose the reader, essentially spelling your sales page’s doom.    So, let’s talk about what this looks like in real life…    There’s a point in most sales pages  that goes a little something like this:     “Imagine a business that fuels your soul, pays your bills, and has prospects lined up to buy.”      Not bad…but not great either.   Why? Because that’s a “  could   argument”. In other words, the way this argument is framed, says you  could  have a business you love that makes money. Or…you  could  not have that. Whatevs… I t’s hypothetical, maybe attainable—but it’s not urgent.    When it comes to sales pages “coulds” are weaker than than a shitty cup of coffee. They do little (usually nothing) to stir that sense of urgency—that feeling that “I must solve this problem immediately!” Put differently, people read “coulds" and file those problems away, right next to a messy garage or an unsent letter (i.e. to be handled another day).   If you're framing your prospect’s problem as something that  could  change rather than something that absolutely  must  change…you’re losing your reader.    You’re losing the sale.   You’re losing the opportunity to make a change in your prospects life.   Bummer.      So, what would make this argument actually work?    What could we write instead that would shake things up, reach out and grab the reader? Simply taking that “could” and making it a “should”. When we do this, we’re appealing to the reader’s sense of injustice. They’re problem is no longer something that would be nice if it were different—it’s now a must,   an injustice   that needs to be remedied immediately.    That might look something like this…      “You’ve put in 100’s of hours and got that master’s degree—you’re a bona fide expert—but you STILL don’t have a profitable, soul fulfilling business.”       See the difference? The lack of a profitable business is now framed as something your prospect   deserves.   They’ve done all the things right and yet they STILL aren’t seeing results—the injustice!    If you're doing this, you've hooked your prospect and they're now perfectly primed for you to introduce your solution to their problem. Good sales pages are all about understanding psychology of your prospects and with a strong "should " you're tapping straight into some powerful motivation. And when it comes hawking your wares on the Internet, that makes all the difference.

Let’s talk sales pages.

You know those long-ass web pages that have a VERY specific job (ahem…to sell your thing). They’re ubiquitous in the online world. And, when done right, they can be one of the most powerful assets in your business.

Now look, there’s A LOT of things that can make or break a sales page. Strategy comes first, period.

BUT, if you have that in order, you’re getting traffic to your page, and still struggling to see those sales….here’s something to consider.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     For almost as long as people have been around, we’ve been telling each other stories. In the early days, it was stories about where to find the best hunting and fishing grounds (those stories are still around, we’re just a lot less honest about them these days).  Then it moved on to where you could find a certain object that was super desirable. This changed from culture to culture, but it was often something valuable or an abundant food/water source.  As we grew and civilizations developed, so did our stories. Over time, we have been driven to hunt for  lost cities of gold ,  fountains that promise life everlasting ,  lost civilizations  and, even in recent years, the slight possibility that there could be something valuable buried at the bottom of that  hole .     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


        Stories have that power over us. They connect with us on a level that almost seems to run deep into our souls and they fill us with the desire to act. We’re not as driven to chase the possibility of lost treasure as we used to be, but stories still hold that power.  Which is why, if you’re not telling your story on your website, you’re losing out on a chance to connect to your audience on that deeper level and even if your website is sprinkled with CTA’s from here to eternity, it’s harder when you’re not connecting through your story.   How do stories help   I’ve already talked about this a little bit, but to recap, people relate to stories. We take them in and we find a way to relate. We might think of the time something similar happened to us or to someone we know. We might think of a dream we once had to do the same thing. We might even remember a time when we tried something, failed and gave up.  Whatever that connection is, stories help make it happen.  Think back to a job you’ve had where selling was a part of what you’re doing. Maybe you were working at a coffee shop, maybe you were working on a phone store, it doesn’t really matter where it was because chances are, as you’re talking to customers about why they need that product, you’re somehow inserting your own personal experiences into the spiel.  You bring up what it was like the first time you had that coffee or used that phone or tried out that fishing rod. You walk the customer through the experience and you talk about how it helped (or didn’t) and why you think they need to try it for themselves.  This story, however basic it may seem, helps your customer understand how the product will enhance their lives.  You want that connection to happen on your website.  You need to reach out and, through your own life experiences (or the ones that led you to coming up with the product/service/course or whatever it is you offer), reach that person on a deeper level.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Best of all, people share stories that they connect with. Even way back in the beginning people would share the stories that drove us around the world and back again. People who connect with your story (and your business) are much more likely to share your name with others.   What story should I be telling?   This is the tough one.  Our stories are long, complicated things that have a lot of parts to them and, as much as we’d all like think that every part of our story is important, it’s not (to your customers, anyway. It’s important to you).  For example, I do a lot of writing for the outdoors and travel industry and, when I’m talking to people in that industry, I don’t spend a lot of time on the 11 years I spent living in Canada’s biggest city or what life was like for me in high school. I talk about things like sailing around Tonga in the South Pacific, getting lost in the mountains behind my time and I talk about the time I encountered a polar bear.  These are  the parts of my story that resonate with potential customers.  It tells them that I get what they’re selling.  It tells them I get their industry. It tells them I’ve been there, done that.    That’s what you want.   If you’re not sure what aspects of your story to talk about, ask your customers. Reaching out to people who’ve purchased from you in the past in an excellent way to help understand why they decided to go with you, instead of someone else. A short interview or survey asking them what made the hit buy can really help you narrow down the parts of your story that are relevant.  Talk to your friends and family, as well. This isn’t going to be as revealing as talking to your customers, but your friends and family know all your stories. They know what you do. They know why you do it. They know just about everything (unless you’re the kind of person who doesn’t really talk about what you do). They’re going to be the ones who help you connect the dots between product and story.   Where should I tell my story?   The best answer here is  as soon as you can.   The longer it takes you to make that connection, the more you risk losing that sale.  The obvious spot to tell the story is your About Page. This is your chance to not only tell your story, but it allows you to connect it to the service you’re offering and how it’s going to help potential customers.  On your blog is another great place to tell your story. It’s almost why the blog is there. You’re showing of your knowledge, your product and how much you know about what you do (which is the foundation of building authority) and, if you’re smart, you’re weaving your story into that every chance you get. It makes the information relevant to the person and it’s going to make the post more engaging.  If you can find a way to tell your story on the Home Page of your website, do it. Welcome videos are an excellent way to reach out and connect. And being able to see your smiling face as you talk, gives it a personal touch that just can’t be beat.  Finally, if you’re really serious about connecting through stories, get on podcasts and talk about what you do and why you do it absolutely anyone who will listen.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Podcasts (or any place people interview you) will open you up to people you likely wouldn’t have been able to connect with otherwise and opens up doors that might have taken years to open.   You’re more interesting than you think   This is the biggest factor holding people back from telling their stories, they just don’t think they’re interesting.  And, sure.  You may actually be one of the most boring people in the world, but there’s someone out there who is going to find it interesting. You’re never alone,  but if you don’t put your story out there, you’ll never know who the people are who connect.  That’s the fun thing about telling stories.  Once you send it out there into the world, you never know who it’s going to find or who it’s going to connect with.   Douglas Patton is a copywriter and master of storytelling at    PatonContent.com   .

For almost as long as people have been around, we’ve been telling each other stories. In the early days, it was stories about where to find the best hunting and fishing grounds (those stories are still around, we’re just a lot less honest about them these days).

Then it moved on to where you could find a certain object that was super desirable. This changed from culture to culture, but it was often something valuable or an abundant food/water source.

As we grew and civilizations developed, so did our stories. Over time, we have been driven to hunt for lost cities of gold, fountains that promise life everlasting, lost civilizations and, even in recent years, the slight possibility that there could be something valuable buried at the bottom of that hole.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Three weeks ago, I reviewed “ The Confidence Code:The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know ” for my Facebook Live Show,“ Two Bosses Read ”. I haven’t stopped talking about it since.              

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


               “The Confidence Code” is objectively, a good book . The authors have impressive journalistic chops. Katty Kay is an anchor for the BBC, and Claire Shipman is a regular contributor to the likes of ABC, NBC, and CNN. The book is well structured, logical, and artfully weaves in vignettes from successful women across industries, scientific studies, and authentic introspection from the authors.  The book was written as a deep dive into the deficit women have in self-assurance when compared to men—a topic explored by authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in their 2014 article, “ The Confidence Gap ”. When I first read this article, I was 24. I was not yet calling myself a feminist, and  I could barely look a male colleague in the eyes, lest I say something dumb.  ( This lifelong habit would take me 4 more painful years to unlearn. )  Somewhere, deep in my conscience, I knew I wasn’t  that  confident, “But hey”, I figured, “I’m young. It’ll come with age and experience.” But, the more I paid attention to the women around me ( competent, badass women ) the more I saw signs—false modesty, compulsive apologizing, qualifying every opinion—that confidence wouldn’t just  come  to me or to any woman that doesn’t take notice and take charge.   Now, I’m not saying men are, by virtue of having different genitalia, confident.  We all know this isn’t true. We all know cocky, arrogant men; men who wouldn’t know confidence if it dawned wings and walked in a Victoria’s Secret fashion show; and men somewhere in between.  But, there  is  a  statistically significant  difference in how men and women view themselves as measured by multiple different disciplines and studies cited in “The Confidence Code”. And, the outcome of this gap places women and especially women of color, at a huge disadvantage.  The most unnerving part?  Women are just as competent and often  more  educated than their male counterparts.  So, what accounts for the gap in confidence? Well that’s the complicated part. And, it’s the exact question the book sets out to and succeeds at answering. The take away? The confidence gap is the result of a complex interweaving of individual, societal, systemic and even genetic components.  In short, we’ve come a long way but we still have significant societal and individual work to do.   For women, the truths will hit home. Men will also likely see traits and behaviors they recognize in the women they know professionally and personally. “The Confidence Code” takes that which we know intuitively and puts a name—both scientific and editorial—to the experiences of the modern woman. It gives us a language to communicate better about how lowered confidence affects us through our careers and lifespans and makes actionable, evidence-backed suggestions for combating this at the individual and societal level.   I loved reading this book.  I laughed incredulously at new facts ( Dumb Ugly Bitches or “DUBS” is the actual nickname for female students at the U.S Naval Academy ) and nodded, heavy-hearted, at ones I already knew. I saw myself at 24, trying to navigate a world, a game with rules I never really understood. Thinking that if I worked twice as hard, got that master’s degree, put my head down and just powered through,  then  I could feel that deep sense of relief that I was good enough.  Reading this book was like receiving a diagnosis for a mysterious illness.  I now have a name for the way my male professors dismissed me when I spoke up, as if to say “Oh, how cute” or why I felt the constant need to be perfect.  Today, I call myself a feminist. I read and  write about  feminism. I make an effort to speak confidently and with authority. I no longer let sexist sh*t slide because I “don’t want to be annoying”. I surround myself with amazing, competent, women and try to emulate what they put out into the world.  I sure as hell don’t have it all figured out, but like my sisters around me, I’m willing to work twice as hard to learn.   So, the next time you’re getting down because, “Holy sh*t, the world is literally ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’”, just remember to look your colleagues in the eye, accept compliments gracefully, and share your opinion  without  qualifying it. We’ve come a long f*ckin’ way. There’s still so much to be done.  But damn, if we aren’t the most qualified to do it.      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


        Two other books by these fab ladies I can’t wait to check out :       “The Confidence Code for Girls: Taking Risks, Messing Up, & Becoming Your Amazingly Imperfect, Totally Powerful Self”          

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
          
             
                  
             
          
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


       “Womenomics: Work Less. Achieve More. Live Better.”       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
          
             
                  
             
          
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


        P.S.- There are a few affiliate links in this post. If you choose to purchase through them, thank you in advance.

Three weeks ago, I reviewed “The Confidence Code:The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know” for my Facebook Live Show,“Two Bosses Read”. I haven’t stopped talking about it since.

“The Confidence Code” is objectively, a good book. The authors have impressive journalistic chops. Katty Kay is an anchor for the BBC, and Claire Shipman is a regular contributor to the likes of ABC, NBC, and CNN. The book is well structured, logical, and artfully weaves in vignettes from successful women across industries, scientific studies, and authentic introspection from the authors.