Bartering is different from selling.

The biggest difference is that people barter away things they don’t want in exchange for things they do.

Compare that to sales.

When you’re selling, you’ve got to get your prospects to part with their MUCH LOVED dollars and cents.

So bartering and selling are different…

…But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a TON from barterers.

Learn, young copy hacker, these 5 sales lessons that Antonio and Steve of A&E’s Barter Kings have mastered… Tweetable


LESSON 1: Know What Your Prospect NEEDS, and Use the Word “Need” in Your Copy
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: There is no better copywriting technique than simply PUTTING IT ON THE PAGE.

If you want to say to your prospect that they need to stop wasting so much time on answering their own phones when your app / service answers phones for them… then say it!

Put exactly that on the page!

You Need to Stop Wasting So Much Time Answering Your Own Phone

Don’t “wordsmith” it!

(Grrr to all “wordsmithers” in the copywriting world.)

In this snippet of Barter Kings, barterer/salesman Antonio uses this technique on his prospect James. Notice how, as soon as James starts objecting, Antonio pulls out the “need” message, the seeds for which he planted as soon as their convo started. [highlight]All videos open in new windows…[/highlight]

Sell like the Barter Kings

ANTONIO: “So you [highlight]need[/highlight] this bike then.”
JAMES: “I do, I do [highlight]need[/highlight] it.”
(chatting, James objecting)
ANTONIO: “James, when we spoke on the phone, you said that you not only [highlight]needed[/highlight] the exercise, but your doctor said you [highlight]need[/highlight] the exercise. I brought the best bike knowing that this would be exactly what you [highlight]need[/highlight]. I definitely think your health would benefit from it.”
JAMES: “This stuff right here I don’t need as much as I [highlight]need[/highlight] that bicycle.”

Watch and learn how to use “need” here


LESSON 2: Fight Back Against the Power of “Loss Aversion”
LESSON 3: Use “Future Pacing” to Help Prospects Imagine Themselves Using Your Product
Okay, two lessons in one here.

First, let’s define the terms above.

Loss aversion is a decision-making principle that holds that people are more afraid of losing what they have than they are excited about gaining something new. Loss aversion is one of the key culprits in cart abandonment; when faced with the prospect of actually exchanging one’s hard-earned dollars for a thing that 1) they haven’t held, 2) they may not get real value out of and 3) is not already in their possession, people freak out and bail. Not good.*

Future pacing is a persuasion technique that helps consumers connect with a product by getting them to visualize themselves using your product.

Barter King Antonio uses both rather masterfully in this clip:

PROSPECT: “I’m just not seeing the value [of the board].”
ANTONIO: “How often do you use that thing?” (pointing to the compactor he wants)
PROSPECT: “Y’know, it’s been sitting for probably a year.”
(Antonio starts doing the math.)
ANTONIO: “It seems like you’re having a hard time letting go of something that serves you no purpose. And this thing would serve you all kinds of purposes – ”
PROSPECT: “I’m just having trouble letting go.”
ANTONIO: “Don’t let go, Mike. Embrace your new board. Embrace your new life with your new board. I can pretty much guarantee that once you’re on this board and you’re out at the lake, you’ll never think of that dirt compactor again.”

Watch the master Antonio at work here


LESSON 4: Demonstrate!
We all know that the reason county fairs hire demonstrators and companies invest in 2-minute TV demos – or half-hour infomercials – is because the very act of demonstrating a product sells it WAY more effectively than simply putting the product on a shelf with a sign and a price tag.

Dem. On. Strate. Your. Product.

In the web world, that usually means putting a video on your site.

This demo does not have to be fancy.

Until you figure out what your demo should be, why not split-test a bunch of low-budget video demos on your site? The could mean pitting a narrated screencast of your software at work against a recorded video of a demontrator sitting at a computer using your software.

Once you see which of your demos people respond better to, then you can polish it up a bit.

I have a whole chapter on demos – including script templates based on Billy Mays’ demos – in Copy Hackers Book 5. (Save 50% until Aug 31.)

Check out how Steve the Barter King turns this pretty rough barter experience around by demonstrating to his prospect just how easily and quickly his problems can be solved.

See how Steve turns things around at the 1:40 mark


LESSON 5: Believe Your Own BS
One of my favorite movie lines is from the film Quiz Show, when a game show producer tells a contestant who’s being fed the answers, “Don’t start believing your own bullshit.”

But the thing is, up until that point, his entire job was to believe in the lie he was selling.

(That will make a lot more sense if you’ve seen the movie. And you should see it.)

Now, don’t get me wrong.

I don’t believe you should be lying or selling a lie.

What I do believe is that, if you feel you have a product that is worth exchanging money for, you should believe in that product through and through. (Or change it until you do.)

The problem SO MANY startups have is that they believe in the OBJECTIONS more than they believe in the SOLUTION.

The Barter Kings don’t have that problem.

They go into a room knowing they’re trading up. Their job, then, is to do whatever it takes to convince their prospect that, regardless of the perceived ‘market value’ of the item they’re trading, THIS trade is the answer to all of their problems.

Because people aren’t thinking logically when they buy.

(But you already knew that. People buy emotionally.)

People just want a solution to their problems.

Think about how much you’d pay to have a rotten tooth pulled it you were on a deserted island and a dentist drifted along. You have to believe that you ARE that dentist drifting along to save the day.

And that, my friends, is a huge mindset shift that is at the deep, glowing, fiery core of turning visitors into customers.

Get inspired to sell harder than you’re used to by clicking here



5 sales lessons that Antonio and Steve of A&E’s Barter Kings have mastered… Tweet this

There is no better copywriting technique than simply putting exactly what you want to say ON THE PAGE. Tweet this

Future pacing helps consumers visualize themselves using your product. #persuasion Tweet this

Demonstrating a product sells it WAY more effectively than simply putting it on a shelf with a sign and a price tag. Tweet this

Do you believe in the OBJECTIONS more than you believe in your SOLUTION? Tweet this

* Loss aversion can be used to help your business. For example, you could limit trial cancellations by tracking what each user actually does with your trial – from importing contacts to connecting with Twitter followers to saving 30 minutes per week on X – and repeating back to them what they’ll lose if they give up on you now.