Breaking down resistance

20211013 Stop making your prospects resistant

In this episode of Taleist’s Stand Out Sessions, we go live to discuss what builds resistance in your prospects and how to break down the walls they set up.


Transcript of Taleist’s copywriting FAQ live

Simple ways to break down your prospects’ resistance

Hello, everybody and welcome to the second standout session from Taleist. I’m Steven Lewis, the head of our Sydney copywriting team here at Taleist. I’ve been doing this for a long time. So as you may know if you were here the first time, this is a live Q&A on website copywriting, digital marketing, email marketing, anything you have a question about, I’m happy to answer. We have now turned this into a podcast so you can subscribe. So far, you can subscribe and Spotify.

But by the time you’re watching this recording, if you’re watching the recording will probably be in Apple podcasts and Google podcasts by then as well. So all you have to do is search your favorite podcast app for the standout sessions: Taleist standout sessions. So you can find that at we’ll always have all the links up there as we go.

Speaking of podcasting, hello to Rila, who is watching us live as she drives down the New South Wales coast. So Rila is an old podcasting buddy of mine from a podcast we did together 15 years ago talking about getting into the market early. If you are familiar with the format, I’m going to start off with some tips.

And today, we’re talking about resistance and resistance being expensive. And what I mean by that is that we can create in our sales process online generally, that’s where our expertise is mostly to be found. On a website, you can create resistance. Resistance in the person you’re trying to persuade to do something. And when you create that kind of friction, it makes somebody less likely to do what you want them to do. So we’re going to go through some examples of some what I consider to be silly ways that people create resistance on their websites. And because they’re silly, they’re generally easy to fix. So let me show you what I mean.

So this is an example. This is an example of an eyebrow shaping service. And if you’ve ever seen me up close, you can probably see it in the video. Eyebrow shaping is not something I go in for. But this was an example that came up from personal experience and not my personal experience. And we thought it was a really good example of just resistance being created along the way. So this person, and I’ve blurred out who it is, because it’s not our intention to embarrass anybody who’s not doing something. It’s just to use an example, to show how something can be improved.

So if you imagine this situation, you for whatever reason, these things happen, want to have your eyebrows shaped, You found somebody online, but they have only a Facebook page. So you’re looking at a typical Facebook page, which you know as a customer, could be set up by anybody in any country. There’s no process that Facebook has to stop somebody outside Australia setting up a page saying I’m an eyebrow shaping specialist in Sydney. And even if you look at the map here on the About Us section, this person, you know, the map is showing them in the middle of Circular Quay. I.e as in the water of Sydney Harbour. So that’s a Facebook error. But it’s all little things that are happening to create that kind of resistance. So you come along to the Facebook page. All you’ve got is a Facebook page. All you’ve got is a book now button. And the book now button is going to take you to a website that isn’t a .com or even a .au or some kind of authoritative site where you might think okay, well somebody has at least gone out and registered a site. It’s at a .me site. So again, easy to set up, could be anybody who’s done that. So at this point, you may be having a…

I’m just seeing a little note here that we have lost the Facebook stream. Maybe we’ll be able to sort that out as we go but bad luck if you were watching us on Facebook, we might have to upload the video later. So you’re going away to this person’s website and you might be a little bit nervous about that. So you go and you check out the reviews on Facebook. You want some sense of credibility that somebody is for real so maybe reviews will help you. But again, here we have the reviews, the most recent review is from more than a year ago. So reviews are great. There are 47 ratings of this person they have a five out of five rating, but the reviews are old. The website isn’t one that they’ve, you know, spent any money creating. So all of this could just, you know, be somebody who isn’t for real. So then you click on that, that link to book and you just get a standard booking appointment page. So one second.

So you get to a standard appointment page where you’re going to click and book. But the thing that we thought, you know, created the most resistance here is… I mean, firstly there’s no, there’s not even any branding on this page. So that’s just the name of the person’s business at the top of the page. And then when you click through, you get an appointment session. And then you’re asked to pay. And this is why we thought this was such an interesting example of potentially creating friction.

Now of course, this person isn’t a client. So for all I know they’re the most popular eyebrow shaping person in all the world. Everybody who comes to this Facebook page and this booking appointment website, knows exactly who they are and exactly who they’re getting. And therefore, none of what I’m saying is relevant in their specific instance. I don’t have any of that information. But if this were you and this is how you set up your business. And you didn’t already have dozens of clients clamoring to work with you, there’s a big question in the mind of your reader at this point, in the mind of your potential customer. Are they going to pay now? Some of these services are $700, and you’re not getting your booking until four or five weeks into the future. But even if your booking was supposedly this afternoon or tomorrow, you might not be willing to cough up the $800 in advance right now.

So it’s just an example of where it’s seems efficient. And it seems to make a lot of sense. But potentially, you’re, you know, losing some of the, you know, some of the people who are coming in. And the thing about friction is and I often have this when I’m talking to a client is they’ll say, Oh, you know, but everybody gets through, and I get lots of bookings. But what you don’t know is how many people are not booking, because they’ve had resistance. So just because you have some people booking doesn’t mean you’ve got everybody who could have or would have been one of your customers. So some tips on on how to reduce common sources of friction on a website.

Tip 1: Build value first

The first tip is to build value first. So before you ask somebody to do something, build some value. And this is the website of a client of ours called Kath Walters, Kath is a book coach. So if you have an itch to write a book, and you don’t know how to scratch that itch, because you’ve never written a book before, Kath is the person that you go to. Interestingly, after we’d written this website for Kath, two things happened.

One, she was booked solid for months in advance. So that was a great win for the website. Secondly, she submitted the website to a podcast not unlike this one YouTube video live stream, where they went through and critiqued the website. And one of the things they said in that review, which I vehemently disagreed with, was that there should be a call to action button above the fold. And this has become a knee jerk response that people have when looking at a website design, you should have the call to action button above the fold. But not everybody is going to be comfortable with you asking to marry them. before you’ve even been on a date. First, you need to build some values.

So on this website, Kath is not… Kath is an investment. But she’s an investment that you’re going to want to think about. Because to engage Kath’s services, you’re going to need to spend thousands of dollars. So if you’ve come to this website, it is unlikely that you’re either going to be qualified as a good client or be willing, you know, know that you’ve made a decision that you’re willing to even entertain spending that much money just above the fold.

So first, Kath is building some authority. So firstly, there’s a little bit of an introduction as to what her value is – that you’ll travel from expert to authority and 90 days. There’s a great shot of the covers of some of her clients books so you can see the quality of the product that she’s going to help you to produce. And then you’ve got a little bit of information about calf and and the logos of the authoritative publications for which Kathy has written and then you have a call to action. So Kath has built value before she’s asked you to do something. So that button above the fold. Sure, it might work. For some people, if they’ve been told, hey, you need Kath Walters, and you’ve gone to her website and you’re like, right, that’s the button I need to get in touch with them. Maybe it would work. But for a lot of the people visiting this website, it’s too abrupt and too soon to ask. And you know, that may work against you.

Tip 2: Prioritise the information collected

Resistance Reduction tip two is to prioritize the information you collect from people on your website. There is a real desire to capture as much information from people as humanly possible. You work really hard to get somebody to your website, they’re going to get in touch with you. Gather as much information as you can. But this creates friction. Research shows clearly and time and again, that with every extra form field you add to your form, you are going to lose somebody.

So if you want someone to subscribe to your newsletter, and you ask for their email address, you will get more people than if you ask for first name and email address. Now all of us can type our first name incredibly quickly. So it’s a very small amount of friction, but it makes a measurable difference. So when you put a contact form on your website, you want to think carefully about what information you really want from the people who are going to get in touch with you. Because every extra piece of information you ask for will cause some people to drop out.

So in this instance, we are at Taleist’s contact form. We ask your first name, your last name, your email, your phone number, your company, and for you to put a message in. I thought carefully when designing this form. Do I really need your phone number? Probably not, because you’re sending me an email and you might not want to give me your phone number. But I made the decision that if you are not serious enough about wanting a copywriter, that you’ll give us your phone number in case the first thing we do is call you, then you’re probably not that serious. So it’s a qualifying step. I know I will lose some people. But I think the people that I lose will not be the people, you know, the people that I most want to have. But the way this form is set up is it captures this information. And then once you fill that in, you’re taken to what seems to you, the user, as a continuation of the form, but it’s actually a second form. And that asks you a lot more questions.

Now there are reasons why we want the answers to these questions. And they’re not relevant today. But what this is doing is, before you are intimidated by all the questions that I want to ask you after I know your name, I have your name and I have your email address. So if you are intimidated or put off by the number of questions that I want to ask you, I haven’t lost you completely. I have your details, and I can get back in touch with you. So I’ve reduced the friction by asking the minimum possible number of questions before asking follow-up questions. So if you ask too many questions, you’ll lose the person altogether and you won’t know who they are. If you ask a smaller number of questions in order to get the person’s details, you’ll at least know who they are, so that you can follow up with them and you haven’t lost the sale.

Tip 3: Recognise where past experiences or cynicism might create resistance

Resistance Reduction tip number three is to recognize where past experiences or cynicism in your reader might mean that they come to your website already with resistance. So an example of that would be, this isn’t anybody I know, I just went and had a look at websites that use discovery calls. Because to me, discovery calls and free strategy sessions are common. These are things that people ask, you know, suggest that you do a lot now you go to a website, and you’re offered a free discovery call or a free strategy session. My question is how many people believe that what they’re actually going to get is discovery or a free strategy session, rather than their go to get a sales pitch. Or it’s a qualifying call for the person who gets in touch. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a good reason for having a discovery call, call to action or a free strategy session call to action. But my question would be, are you dealing with the natural, or the cynicism that some people like me will bring to this page. They’re not going to get what you deliver.

And if you look at this page, I thought was a good example. Because three times they asked you to book your call, and all along the same horizontal line, you know. They look in my opinion, pretty desperate for you to book that call. And that kind of energy could be off putting. It could create friction with some people. So if you’re going to ask people for a discovery call or a free strategy session or to get in touch with you in any way that is involving slightly more effort on their part. So this says, Look, you’re going to get in touch with me and we’re not going to reply with an email. We’re going to reply asking you to book a time with us.

So we’re going to ask you to invest something with us because time is valuable. It is an investment. You need to tell me, what am I going to get in this discovery call? What am I going to get out of the strategy session? I get that you’re going to know my details, and you’re going to get a chance to sell me something. But what am I going to get? And this page doesn’t tell me any of that. It just leaves it at, you get a discovery call. I get a free discovery session. Well, what is that?

So I recognize that they are telling me something… recognize through in their copy, they’re telling me what some of the problems are. They’re telling me they guarantee that I will love the strategy session, but they’re not telling me what I will get from the strategy session. So they’re not doing some of the simple things I think they could do to reduce the friction between me reading this page and me actually booking a session.

Another form of creating resistance is the preposterous offer. So this, I think, is a great example. A couple of weeks ago, I was served an ad in, I think it was Instagram. I liked the look of what this product was, it was about 29 US dollars. So it wasn’t a big investment. I thought right, I will buy it. And since I bought it, I haven’t had a chance to look at it, which is pretty common with, you know, lower cost things that you buy. But I have been emailed every day and called by these people. So they got my phone number in the booking process. And they have literally called me and because they’re calling from another timezone, they call at crazy times of day. And then they email every day with, is this still your phone number? Is this a bad number? The ones that have started coming in this week start, woohoo Steven, which is culturally not necessarily a great way that would work in this country in my opinion. It may work in in other countries, but to me, the offer that they keep making me, I’ve spent $29. And now they want to give me some free Private Client training. For $29 for a download, they also want to throw in free private training, to which I reply nonsense. So that’s a preposterous offer. And in my opinion, they will be generating a lot of friction with a lot of people. Maybe not with their ideal clients, but certainly with this client. And I think people who think like me.

So resistance reduction, tip number four, this is the last tip and then I’m going to answer people’s questions. So if you have a question, please feel free to put it in the comment box. I’m not sure if we are broadcasting live to Facebook, which is fine. If we’re not, you won’t be hearing me suggest you put it in the comments box. If you’re live on LinkedIn, you cannot ask a question in the comments box that will show up in front of me here. But you can join us on YouTube where you can do that. If you’re watching a recording or listening to this is a podcast and you go to you can ask questions in advance. And we have some questions that people have asked in advance coming up today. But if you have a question now, I think the easiest way to ask it live is to go over to YouTube and ask that question.

Tip 4: Make it easy when you can

But Resistance Reduction tip number four is make it easy where you can and this is yesterday’s example. So here in New South Wales, we were released from lockdown on Monday. So we had spent 106 days not being able to go to the shops not being able to go out to eat, not being able to go out for a drink. So some of us were pretty keen to get out to eat and drink. And this is a screenshot from my mobile of the website of the restaurant that I’m eating in tonight with my wife, Fleur. And again, I’ve blurred out the name of the restaurant because it’s not my intention to embarrass anybody or criticize anybody specifically, and particularly not anybody who’s had to pretty much close their business for the last three months because of a pandemic. So what I do want to point out is when I went to this website, the phone number is on the website, but the phone number was not clickable. And if I had been asking for delivery from Uber Eats menu, log or deliver through, those logos weren’t clickable either. So this is my final tip, make it easy. When you can, it costs nothing on a website to hyperlink your phone number so that you can click your phone number the same way that you can click any other kind of link.

So where you can make it easy, make it easy. So those are my friction reduction resistance removing tips. I’d love to know what you think if you’re watching live or recording, we’d be incredibly grateful if you would hit subscribe, give us a thumbs up. Go to, ask us a question in advance. But we love comments, thumbs up subscriptions. We’re really grateful and if you listen to this as a podcast, a review would be really much appreciated as well. Now we did get some questions earlier today. So I asked on LinkedIn generally in the mornings, I asked if anybody’s got any questions, and we did get some questions this morning.

How do you balance writing about yourself and your clients?

So this is a question that Louisa asked, which I thought was a fantastic question about the balance between writing on your website About Me and My Services and writing about your clients and their needs. And how do you find the balance? And the balance is 80/20 about your client’s needs. And even when you’re writing about yourself or your services, everything must be relevant to a client’s needs or a problem. So whatever you’re writing, you need to be thinking, how is this relevant to my client? Have I made it clear that it’s relevant to my client and how it’s relevant? And have I told them the benefit to them of what I do?

So I was asked a question last week by a lawyer. We’ve just written a website for a lawyer, and he asked if it was normal, because we kept saying, you, you, you on the website, as if the website was in conversation with the reader. And he asked if that was normal, you know, whether ordinarily we would write in more formal tones or about we the firm as opposed to you the client? And the answer is, if you think about your website as a camera, the camera it should be pointing at the client all the time. So you should be addressing yourself, whatever you write, to the client and the client’s needs. If you are saying we or I or our, you should ask yourself whether you can reframe that to be about you and your. So we, you know, we provide litigation services, for instance, might well be framed as you may find yourself in a dispute, in which case our litigation services will be very helpful. That is terrible copywriting. It’s just an example of how you would flip the camera from we provide litigation services to you need a litigation services, and if you need litigation services, then we can do this, which is to your benefit because.

So try and keep that camera 80% of the time on the reader. And that goes, that includes on your About Us page. So we’ve got a whole page on the Taleist website. So if you go to, and you go to the resources section, and you go to the blog, or you can find it by googling Taleist Write an About Us page, we’ve got a whole guide to writing an About Us page. But it’s about the About Us page lie, which is that the about you page should be about you, but it’s not. You know, lots of people want to say, you know, I love windsurfing, you know, I’ve got nine children. But if that is not relevant to your reader. I mean, if you run a daycare center, and you have nine children of your own, that’s fantastic. That could be super relevant in your bio, your about her section. But if you’re an accountant, and you’re not trying to be Layne Beachley’s accountant, then the fact that you surf is probably irrelevant. So you know, you need to constantly be questioning how is what I’m writing relevant to the person who’s reading this. Because ultimately, your website is all about that person.

Should you A/B test the headline, image or call to action first?

So Neil’s asked, if you were going to A/B test one thing on our landing page, what would you test first? The headline, image or the call to action? So if you don’t know, an A/B test, a strict a strict A/B test is where you change one thing on a web page. And then you show that two versions of the page. You show Version A to say, 50% of people and version B to another randomly, selected at random, the other 50% of people. And then you have a conversion that you want to happen. So generally speaking, let’s say you’ve got a landing page and you want somebody to read that landing page and then buy your book. So what you would do is you would change one thing on that page, you would show the two versions of the page evenly to 50% of people. And then you would see which version got more people to buy your book. And then you could reasonably say well, the only difference was that I changed this thing and therefore that version won and I should now show that version to 100% of people and run another test.

In the way that Neil has framed the question, the thing that I would test first would be the headline. Because if they had, the job of the headline, the one job of your headline is to get the reader to read the first line of your introduction. It’s one job. That’s all your headline is supposed to do is to get somebody to read the next line. So if your headline is not the best that it could possibly be fewer people than you would like will read the second line, or the first line of your introduction. So the first thing that I would test if I was going to test one thing only would be the headline for that reason, because the images of the court, the buttons, and all of the other things are irrelevant if people aren’t reading on down the page. So the headline is what’s most going to decide how far down the page you get.

How do you strike the balance between being too broad or too niche in your messaging?

Glenn asked, How do you strike the right balance between being too broad in your messaging too niche and too finite? And if you’re watching live, and please feel free to ask your question in the comments in the comments on YouTube. And we will be very happy to answer them. And also, if you are watching live or a recording, and you haven’t yet, hit subscribe, like, please, please do so we much appreciate it.

But to answer Glenn’s question, I think you probably, if you think you’re being too broad, then you probably are. The tighter your niche, the better. And when you talk to people who have tight niches like they have communities of people who create online courses, and those people are women. And those people are over 35. And they’re professionals in their background. Talk to anybody like that and they will tell you Oh yeah, but I also get men who want to work with me. So their niche is tight, and their messaging is strong. But they will find that that messaging still resonates with people outside that group, you’ve got a much greater danger of going broad and appealing to nobody.

So if you niche and appeal to nobody, but even I guess maybe you’ve niched too far. And then you have to ask a question about your offer. But better to err on the side of niching too far so that it is very clear to somebody that you are for them, then to err on the side of being too broad. And people will still ask the same question. But you just have everybody asking the question of are you for me instead of some people ask the question of are you for me. That is the danger of going too broad that people will not recognize themselves in your website. And if they don’t recognize themselves, they will not work with you. And remember, lots of people suffer imposter syndrome. So you as the person putting out a website, you’re suffering imposter syndrome, or you’re suffering anxiety thinking of you know, will anybody want what I have to offer? So because you’re in that mindset worried about, you know your own desirability, it’s easy to forget that the potential customer or client is also worried about their desirability to you.

So you go to an accountant’s website and accountants’ website looks really swish and swanky. And, you know, lots of pictures of super yachts and silverfox is driving Maseratis and you think, like, don’t turn over $10 million a year, they, they don’t look like they’re going to be interested in being my accountant. So you want somebody to recognize themselves in your copy. I think we’ve got time for one more question.

How do you get the best results from email marketing?

So this is a question that came from Rania in LinkedIn today. And if your question hasn’t been answered, or you’ve got a question in the comments, we will hold it over to next week. So it’s not too late to ask your question in the comments. Or if you’re watching the recording, or listening to the recording as a podcast, you are welcome to go to and ask your question in advance there. And we will tee it up to answer in a future standout session. But in this standout session, Rania has an email marketing specifically what’s working, what’s not working, and how to get the best results.

Email Marketing, what’s working will depend very much on your audience. So what works for some audiences will not work for other audiences. So for example, it’s common for people to think well, I can’t email too frequently. Whereas there are other people who run extremely successful lists where they email for five, you know, six times a day, a week, or every day, and that works for them. And their audience is excited to hear from them, you know, five times a week or seven times a week. Other audiences are not keen to hear from you that often.

We made a choice at Taleist we were emailing once a week and we stepped it up to twice a week. We did not see a significant drop off in subscribers. So I did have an email from somebody who said your emails seem to come every day, which was interesting because they come twice a week. But he felt they came every day and he didn’t want that and he unsubscribed and that is a temptation to you get one piece of feedback from one person on a whole list. and you take that feedback as gospel. But we have a high engagement rate, we have high open rates. We have low unsubscribe rates, we have a lot of people who reply to me. So every Tuesday and Friday, when the emails go out, I will get one or two people who actually take the time to hit reply, and comment on what we’ve sent them. So it works for the majority of the list. So you mustn’t be afraid to experiment with how frequently you send out your content.

But what in my opinion doesn’t work generally speaking for most of the people who might think will be in my audience, is the overly branded, big banner glossy image. You know, they’re trying to make the emails look like they come from Vanity Fair. And what is working really well in emails and what will always work really well in emails is recognizing that email is intimate. You might be emailing 10,000 people, but that one reader feels that they are in a conversation with you. And that is why people reply to my emails, because even though they know it’s a newsletter, and it’s gone to multiple people that day, I am working hard to build a relationship and it is a relationship. You email me, I will reply, it is a relationship. But it’s personal, it doesn’t have a big banner on it doesn’t have a giant photograph of me. I’m not trying to look like Vanity Fair. I’m trying to look like I’m having as close as possible. One to one conversation with you. And this is something we talk about a lot in our masterclass on email marketing.

So again, if you go to the Taleist agency website, you can go to our training section, which is in the services menu, the online training, and you’ll see that we’ve got a masterclass on running an email newsletter. And what we talk about in that is how to build that personal connection and the benefit of building that personal connection. And the final part, before I wrap up today of the answer that I would give to Rania on, you know, what’s working in email is… I’ve completely forgot what I was going to say, that’s good, isn’t it? What I would say to Rania is what’s working in email is to treat your email list as an asset. And in the master class, we talk about how to do that, because it’s a lot of work to email people twice a week. So there are ways that you can operate smartly. So that that work pays off again and again and again, without you burning, you know, burning through it and finding as a smaller business, it’s impossible to sustain.

So the short answer to Rania is, in my opinion, what’s working is to be personal, to be useful and not super salesy. And behind the scenes, what’s working is to realize that your email list and the emails that you’re writing are assets and to think about how you can maximize the value of those assets. And now I’m going to wrap up. We will look into why we were not broadcasting live on Facebook and disappointingly don’t add 10s of 1000s of people who are burning down Facebook right now because we’re not on it. But remember, you can always find the recording. Certainly at YouTube you’ll find the recording and you’ll find the recording at

See you same time next week

We will be back again next Wednesday at 1pm Sydney time and very much looking forward to answering any questions that you have then which you can ask through the website or join us live and ask in the comments section. Looking forward to talking to you then. Thanks for watching this time. Oh and listening.