Maslen on Marketing, Structural tools

Why promises persuade prospects

Do you know why people buy from you? It’s not because of what you provide. It’s because of what you promise.

Now, you may not realise you’re promising them something. And if your copy is merely average, there’s a very good chance your prospect will have to dig out the promise for themselves.

But if you’re doing it right, then you are making an explicit promise to your prospect.

So what, we ask, if this promise all about?

I promise to send you the product you ordered?

I promise to honour the discount I offered you?


Your promise goes something like this:

I promise you that a month from now you will have lost up to seven pounds without giving up chocolate.


I promise that the only limits on your earnings will be your own drive and determination.


I promise that your upper body will assume godlike proportions.

Because that’s what your prospect wants.

Fat people don’t want to diet. Or to exercise. Nor do they want a book on dieting or exercise. Nor, deep down, do they want to lose weight. What do they want? Have a think for five seconds before reading on.

They want to be slim.

That’s what you, marketing your revolutionary diet and fitness programme, are going to promise them.

Of course, you have to prove that your promise is going to come true. But that’s later on in your pitch.

Here’s an exercise for you.

Think about your own product. If you have more than one, pick the one that makes you the most money.

Come up with a promise that you could make to your prospect about your product.

This may sound eerily similar to writing down the benefits of a product. It does overlap, it’s true. But whereas our diet programme might offer the benefit of losing weight, that isn’t its underlying promise.

And I’m telling you this because

Promises carry huge emotional weight. Much more than benefits. We grow up making and, occasionally, breaking promises. We know that they are important. They form part of the social contract between individuals, organisations and states.

And that means we can use them to help persuade our prospect of the benefits of our product.

Ethics warning: you do, of course, have to be able to prove it. And if they use your product as intended, your promise must come true.

Write a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



Try Now, Risk-FREE!

Learn to be a copywriter

Watch the first three videos of Breakthrough Copywriting free of charge.

Try the exercises, too.
FREE videos
FREE exercises
FREE for 30 days.