They don’t believe you.

There are a lot of reasons that sales copy fails to convert prospects into customers. However, that one up there in boldface often flies under the radar.

I see it a lot when I review sales pages for clients.

Even the ones who are pretty good at copywriting.

They can write a great headline.

They speak to their target customer.

They know to sell the benefits, not the features.

Yet this problem, the problem of not being believable, happens even to clients who know a thing or two about good sales copy.

The right elements are there, but it just isn’t believable.

And while I specialize in copywriting for health companies, this is a big problem in ANY market.

Because when your prospects don’t believe what you’re saying, they don’t buy. And that’s true for any product or service, in any market.

The ‘Yeah, Right’ Test

To show you what I mean, take a look at these three sentences:

“I learned from the best. I tested my process. It works.”

That copy is from an actual sales page I reviewed, written for a weight loss program for busy women over age 35.

And it’s a perfect example of copy that is not believable.

If I’m the prospect, I think, “How do I know if any of that is true?”

There’s no proof that the founder learned from the best. That she tested her process. That it actually works.

Now, had those three sentences appeared at the end, AFTER providing proof, they’d be powerful statements. However, in this case, they were just hanging out there on their own, raising all kinds of red flags.

So your prospect reads that and thinks, “Yeah, right. Why should I believe you, Internet scammer person?”

It didn’t pass the ‘Yeah, Right’ Test.

And so the prospect definitely won’t click to ‘buy now’.

Even worse, they’re feeling distrustful now. So they probably won’t buy, ever.

Show and Don’t Tell

So what’s the solution to copy that isn’t believable?

Replace those lofty claims with actual proof.

Let’s look at that same example again:

“I learned from the best. I tested my process. It works.”

So the first part of this is about the founder: “I learned from the best.”

How does she prove that she learned from the best? By saying who she learned from.

Turns out it was Four-Hour Body creator Tim Ferriss and celebrity fitness and nutrition expert JJ Virgin, to name a couple. Not to mention that she herself has a molecular biology degree from UC Berkeley. That’s some major cred.

Okay, great. Now the next part says, “I tested my process. It works.”

But how has she tested it? What were the results? And most importantly, will this work for me?

So to provide proof, she can talk about her story. How she, a woman in her mid-30s with a demanding career and two kids, lost 40 pounds and got in the best shape of her life.

She can also talk about how she’s privately coached dozens of women who’ve gotten similar results. For instance, one woman, a bank president in her late 30s and a mother of two, said, “I hated clothes shopping, and I was out of breath walking up the subway stairs on the way to work each day. With [this] program, I’ve gained a positive relationship with food. I lost 15 pounds in 12 weeks!”

Look more closely at the last two paragraphs. We proved that it worked for the founder, using her personal story. Then we proved that it worked for her private clients, using her testimonials.

So now, let’s put it all together.

Imagine that YOU are a mom in her 30s.

You have a high-power job as a CEO or a CFO or something that starts with a C. You desperately want to lose 20 pounds, however, you don’t have time for special diets and trainers.

You do a Google search, you see two weight loss programs that look promising. You check out the two sales pages, feeling optimistic for once. And all you really want to know is “will this program really work for ME?”

This is where showing-not-telling will make or break a sale. Here’s what you see:

Weight loss program #1:

I learned from the best. I tested my process. It works.

Weight loss program #2:

I was a CFO and a 38-year-old mom of two. When I couldn’t lose weight, I decided to put my molecular biology degree to use and figure out why.

I spent long hours researching medical studies. I also learned directly from celebrity fitness and nutrition experts like JJ Virgin and Tim Ferriss. As a result of what I learned, I dropped 40 pounds. And then I had to spread the word. Today, I’ve coached dozens of private clients, who’ve also transformed their bodies and their lives.

Clients like Sara, 39, a bank president and mom of two. Sara says:

“I hated clothes shopping, and I was out of breath walking up the subway stairs on the way to work each day. With [this] program, I’ve gained a positive relationship with food. I lost 15 pounds in 12 weeks!”

Now, ask yourself this:

Which of those two programs do YOU believe can solve your problem? Which one would you buy?

3 Ways to Remove Doubt & Insert Proof

So, let’s talk takeaways. How can you erase doubt and put more proof into your own sales copy?

Here are three simple ways to do a quick “Yeah, Right” check:

  1. Be specific. Instead of saying, “You’re going to experience an amazing transformation beyond your wildest dreams,” simply state the facts. What exactly is the transformation you’re promising? How many people just like me have you helped? Hint: Anything you can attach a number to will be more believable.
  2. Let your testimonials and case studies do the talking for you. Instead of saying “it works,” let your happy customers prove it. A powerful testimonial formula is: specific benefit customer got (lost 15 pounds) + period of time (12 weeks) + feeling (love clothes shopping, feel positive) + relevant stats (38 years old, mom, bank president) + their name (Yo Mama). Add photos for killer visual proof.
  3. Read your sales copy from your prospect’s perspective. As you do that, after each paragraph, ask yourself, “How do I know any of that is true?” If there’s not enough proof, add facts, numbers, data, media mentions, studies, testimonials, case studies, endorsements, and/or visuals that prove what you’re saying.

Alright, guys. Try this out, then leave a comment below and let me know how it goes!