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Are You Asking the Right Questions in Your Copy?
It’s a common approach to writing copy. You begin by asking questions. Why? To evoke thoughts in your readers' minds, to stir up emotions, and to get customers thinking in the way you want them to think. But have you ever thought about how you phrase your questions? Are you doing it in a way that will have the greatest impact on your readers or are you just throwing questions on a page?
Behaviorally speaking, not everybody responds in the same way to the same questions. Those with different communications styles will relate in a variety of ways depending on how you phrase your sentence.
D = Dominance
Those who fall in the Dominance category of the DISC profile are described as: in control, powerful, confident, visionaries, and risk takers. These people can be managers, CEOs, high-ranking military personnel, entrepreneurs, and the like.
Those who are considered high in Dominance want to stick to business. They expect the facts to be presented logically. They want presentations to be clear, specific, and to the point.
This group of people will respond better to specific “what” questions. For example, let’s say we’re developing a headline for an ultra-fast printer. You wouldn’t want to write a headline that asks, “How Do You Cure a Need for Speed?” That question is vague; it’s not specific, and it begins with the word “how.”
CEOs, upper management, and others in this category aren’t the least bit interested in “how” you do anything. They are visionaries. They look at the big picture, not the little details. Details are somebody else’s job!
Instead, try rewriting that headline to include the word “what” and to be specific, like this: “What Cures a Need for Speed?”
You can see a similar relation in other behavioral styles (I, S, and C) and the types of questions people in each prefer.
I = Influence
Those high in Influence are generally found in the sales field or other fields that require a lot of people/social interaction. They move fast and want to focus on people-oriented tasks. They love to give their opinions and to be asked for their thoughts on a matter. They love to be the center of attention.
This group responds well to “feeling” questions. Not just about themselves, but also about others. For example: “Remember the excitement you felt when _____?” or “How would your child feel if _____?”
S = Steadiness
Those in the Steadiness group want to be seen as people - not a number. They appreciate logic, a touch of personal interaction, and they are detail-oriented. They are generally slow decision-makers and are not wild about taking unqualified risks. Those who fall into the Steadiness category make up 40% of the general population and come from all walks of life.
People high in steadiness would be likely to respond better to questions beginning with “how.” Possibilities include “How many times have you wished ____?” or “How often do you ____?” They also respond well to questions that make them think, like “Is your copy getting results?” They’ll likely want to know what you can do about it if the answer is “no.”
C = Compliance
When describing someone who falls into the Compliance category, these phrases come to mind: critical thinker, prepared, quality-oriented, incredibly detailed, specific, and slow decision-maker. You’ll generally find these types working as engineers, bankers, accountants, scientists, and the like.
Those high in Compliance will respond best to questions including statistics and questions that force them to look at all sides of an issue/problem. For example, “68% of All Drivers Pay Too Much for Auto Insurance. Are You?” Another idea is “Widget or Thingee… Which Makes the Most Sense?”
Phrasing your questions in a way that allows your target customers to relate only makes sense. When you hit a nerve - people will respond. Asking the right questions… in the right way… within your copy will get you one step closer to closing the sale.
by Karon Thackston © 2004
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