If you’re a service-based entrepreneur, selling your services is part of the job description. But for some of you, just the word “selling” and “sales” can make your skin crawl. Maybe you’ve had some bad experiences with salespeople, or perhaps you feel like your personality is a barrier to being a good salesperson. We all have our reasons for our reaction to the concept of sales. However, the bottom line is this: if you provide a service, you have to sell it. And more than likely, that process needs to involve sales copy.
Before we get into it, let’s define sales copy:
By definition, sales copy is simply the text you use to persuade someone to purchase your services. Not so scary.
In practice, sales copy is that perfect concoction of words that identifies your ideal client, their pain points, and the solution they need (you, of course). And it can be really tough to nail.
I’m not going to sugar coat it for you and tell you there’s a magic formula to getting your sales copy right. There’s a lot that goes into it writing great sales copy, and that complexity is exactly why I have a job!
But, if I had to give you ONE word that would help you write better sales copy, it would be EMPATHY.
Why you need to write with empathy
Empathy is “the ability to recognize, understand, and share the thoughts and feelings of another.” Our capacity for empathy is what allows us to see things from another person’s point of view, and it’s key to building healthy relationships.
What does empathy have to do with sales copy? Well, everything really.
You’ve probably heard that in order to write great sales copy, you have to get into the head of your ideal client and understand what their pain points are. Once you understand their problem, you can articulate it in your sales copy. Your ideal client then reads this copy, identifies themselves in it, and says “wow, that’s me! Sign me up for whatever this gal is selling!”
For the most part, I agree with this method. But I think it’s incomplete if you don’t incorporate empathy. If you are simply articulating the problems your client faces—with no regard for their emotions and humanity—then you might actually ALIENATE the very person you’re trying to attract. THIS is the type of sales that makes us feel icky. You’ve probably experienced it—maybe at a car lot or some type of high-pressure sales pitch. The salesperson attempts to persuade you by addressing your pain points, but they do so in a way that is entirely off-putting, and maybe even insulting.
Here’s an extreme example: My husband and I went to a timeshare sales pitch (I know, I know. But there was a free 2-night stay and $100 gift card involved if we made it to the end). The salesperson got increasingly frustrated with us, and at one point he said, “Imagine your daughter were to pass away. How would you feel if you hadn’t taken her on vacation?”
I’m sure you’re surprised to hear we did not purchase that timeshare.
If that salesperson had had empathy, he would never have made such a heartless and fear-based comment. He would have thought to himself, “Losing a child is a parent’s worst fear. It’s totally inappropriate for me to bring something like that up in a discussion over vacation homes.”
Okay, so let’s bring it back to sales copy. Yes, you need to address your audience’s pain points. HOWEVER, you need to do so in a way that connects and empathizes—not in a way that attempts to SCARE them into buying from you.
Empathetic Sales Copy in Practice
I’ll give you an example. Let’s take the concept of not having enough time. This is a common pain point for many people, and it’s relevant to a variety of service providers (business coaches, virtual assistants, etc.).
Here’s some sales copy that addresses the pain point without empathy:
Are you struggling to juggle business and life? Constantly feel like your business is going to fail because you don’t have enough time for it all?
Yikes. While these might be valid points, they appeal to my fears, and the message lacks empathy. By bringing up the failure of my business (possibly someone’s biggest fear), this copy attempts to scare me with the prospect of becoming a failure. It might be accurate, but it’s icky.
Here’s the same concept, incorporating empathy:
Are you struggling to juggle business and life? Feel like your to-do list is long but your time is short? Friend, I’ve been there. It can be so difficult to manage all the moving pieces.
This copy addresses the same pain point—lack of time—but in a way that is friendly and understanding, not menacing. It then immediately establishes a connection by saying HEY, I’VE BEEN THERE TOO! This allows the reader to breathe a sigh of relief, because you’ve acknowledged that you’re both in the same boat. Now, your audience can drop their defenses and really hear what you have to say.
For me, writing empathetic sales copy solves two problems. First, it helps my audience feel understood and valued—not pressured. And second, it helps me feel good about what I’m selling, because I’m coming from a place of genuine care and consideration—not from desperation or arm-twisting.
Can I help you sell with empathy?
Is this post speaking your language? If you’re a service-based business owner who wants to sell your services with empathy—but you don’t have the time to DIY your copy—I’d love to chat! Send me an inquiry or schedule a free clarity call here.