MSP Copywriting – Part 10

MSP Copywriting - 18

As a quick recap from last time, we looked at issues such as linguistic bonds, reframing negative statements, embedded commands and compliance. In this section, we’ll finish off with the overall ‘interest’ and ‘desirability’ parts of a sales letter before moving on to calls to action.

Likeability, Intimacy & Personal Revelations.

I’ll start off by suggesting that you almost certainly already know that people buy from people they like, know and and trust. Getting people to know and trust you have been covered in other material about having continuous communication and ensuring you have plenty of credibility and social proof. However, getting people to like you is certainly worth exploring.

Dr. Robert Ciadlini wrote his famous (excellent) book about ‘Persuasion’ and also a follow-up book called ‘Pre-Suasion’ which I highly recommend reading. In short, if people like you, they’ll be a lot more likely to do things that you suggest. Well, of course that’s fine when you’re in a meeting with them but how do you do it in your sales copy?

The answer is that it’s about writing engaging copy by being personable and relatable and telling stories that resonate, and crucially they must express genuine care. Remember – people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Write as you speak to create a conversational tone and open yourself up to your prospect by being truthful with them and this means occasionally revealing that you are human and make mistakes. Show them that you are not infallible, you have flaws! Offering personal revelations about you create trust and so use this wisely and your copy will be a lot more powerful.


You’ll have noticed that if someone is either nervous or trying to show off or trying to bluff, they sometimes use unnecessarily long words or jargon. My suggestion is that if your audience is composed of technical people and you’re explaining to them the technical services you provide then fair enough, use the jargon that they’d expect. However, using jargon to try and impress people is rarely effective and usually doesn’t do much to endear people to you or make you likeable, which is what you want.

Always Make the Company Personal – No Matter How Big It Is.

Similarly, people that ordinarily speak perfectly normally for some reason use corporate-speak as soon as they write copy for their websites or sales letters, making them sound as if it was written in the Victorian age. My advice in general is keep it professional but not overly formal and I’m certainly not suggesting you ignore punctuation and grammar. I’m simply suggesting that writing in corporate-speak won’t help you sell, it’ll probably get in the way of trying to establish your personality.

In summary, write like you speak or, more accurately, write like your ideal clients’ speak and make it personal because after all, a company is made of people. Unless you’re writing on behalf of royalty or an entity like the foreign office, never think your company shouldn’t  appear ‘personal’, even if your MSP is a large enterprise. For example, think for a moment about Richard Branson or Elon Musk. Do they have small companies? Do they make their communications impersonal? They clearly don’t and I’d suggest neither should you. Use everyday language – aim for a 12 year old. In fact if you have a handy 12 tear-old, you ask them to read your copy out and see if/where they stumble. At the risk of repeating myself, develop your own style and personality and speak like you’re talking to your friends.

Making Your Prospects Feel Like They’re Part of A Group.

We’re a pretty social species and people like to belong to groups of like-minded people. Birds of a feather and all that. Consequently, your sales and sales copy could do worse than make people feel as though by having your product/service that they will be part of a specific group – Apple are really good at that as a company.  It works particularly well for high ticket items.

My company MKLINK is all about being part of a group of MSPs. As another example, the CRM company Salesforce hosts their annual ‘Dreamforce’ conference, which has become more than just a corporate event—it’s a cultural phenomenon for industry professionals.

There’s no reason why an MSP can’t have an annual event for their clients. In fact I’d go further and suggest that it’s a very good idea – especially if you can add value by introducing prospects and clients to one another and I would definitely mention this somewhere in your sales copy, somehow.

Neutralise Negatives and Overcoming Objections.

Everything in life comes with positives and negatives. and everybody knows it. So even if you provide the best products and services in the world, there will be negatives, it’s just a universal law. You shouldn’t hide from the negatives because people will be thinking about them anyway – remember the Zeigarnick effect.

The best thing to do is to handle objections in advance. If you are speaking with people face to face then you can handle objections as they arise.

On a website or sales letter, you can’t deal with negatives as they arrive but you can pre-empt them. So, think of as many relevant objections as you can and write them down. Then think of how you can neutralise those negatives with one or more reasons and reframing if necessary. Then in your copy, use everyday language to pre-emptively eliminate these objections and wherever possible re-frame any negatives that you can with a positive spin. And if that’s not possible then just address it as best you can.

When people are thinking about buying something, the process has been likened to having your prospects walk down along a long corridor and they need to close all the doors along the way until they get to the last door you want them to walk through and buy your product. Remember, people likely won’t buy from you until they have all their concerns addressed and that means being a bit brave and overcoming all their objections so that they can’t scupper your sale.

Fear & Desire (Towards-Thinking and Away-From Thinking)

It’s well known that people react to 2 main stimuli: to gain pleasure (i.e. “towards” thinking) or avoid pain (“away-from” Thinking). Someone looking to buy a sports-car is most likely in “towards” thinking mode. Therefore the sales copy for a would likely reflect that. But when someone is looking at different antivirus solutions, what kind of mode do you think they’ll have?

In general, your prospects are coming to you to solve a problem and therefore their thinking will likely be in the “away-from” mode. So you can use words like, solve, fix, avoid, leave-behind, drop, stop, get-away from and suchlike. As an aside, my understanding is that “away-from” language” in a “towards” type sale will annoy the prospect, while “Towards Language” in an away-from sale has no particular impact, i.e. it’s neutral.

Thus, going back to the example of the sports car, saying to the prospect looking to buy a sports-car “this car has advanced airbag protection and extra-reinforced chassis …” will likely frustrate the potential buyer as he’ll probably be thinking about the cost in terms of speed and performance and it’s not giving him the towards-pleasure experience he craves. However, saying “This car can do 130 miles per hour” to someone considering buying a small, family-safe Volvo will most likely have zero (neutral) effect.

I’ll leave it to you to decide how appropriate a sports car analogy is for people selling managed services!

That’s it for this section, for next time … we’ll be looking at starting to the close the sale.


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Mike Knight