The “Gun Across the Chest” Method for Copy That Closes the Deal

The “Gun Across the Chest” Method for Copy That Closes the Deal

Reader Comments (38)

  1. Brian,

    Great post. When people read, questions pop into their heads. It’s just how we work. How we think. So, if you can address those questions/objections right when they’re having them, it’s incredibly powerful. They get the feeling you really understand them – that you can relate. Pretty soon the level of trust rises and they’re more ready to hear the rest of your message.

  2. Yep, you gotta anticipate your readers’ questions and answer them to their satisfaction …

    yesserie, you do!

    In blogging? I don’t think blogs really have anything to do with how to handle objections in the written word, do they?

    In anything that’s written and designed to SELL something, this rule applies BIG time, though.

    Gotta keep that pistol in plain sight, always at the ready!



  3. Your advice on handling objections is good. Your advice for handling guns is not so good.

    I’m picking nits, but as a competitive shooter with a drawer full of award medals, I have some expertise in this area. So I’d not advise anyone to sleep with a gun in their hand or on their chest. An accident waiting to happen. Also I wouldn’t advise pointing a revolver at your nose with your finger on the trigger as the girl in the photo is doing. Safety first. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Dean, gun-handling advice noted. I actually heard the expression in a progressive country song last night, and had to use it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Although I recently heard of a police officer who shot herself in the wrist with a gun underneath her pillow. That’s why I try not to mess with them at all!

  5. Well, they used to call it “alt country” and now they’re saying progressive… but no, I don’t think ELP or ELO are big influences (funny comment though).

    It’s basically a euphemism for “country music with a brain” or “country music not made in Nashville.”

    You know, like Hank Williams (the first). ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. BuckshotGeorge:
    What are you thinking? George Jones singing “Brain Salad Surgery” or ELP singing “A Few Ole Country Boys”? Egad. Just shoot me now.

  7. That album had a few really solid tunes on it. I think if they had removed the stuff that wasn’t good, it would have been a solid 10-song album. Did you get the new one yet? What I heard sounds like a vast improvement over the last one.

  8. Wow. You’ve given me something to think about.

    I am guilty of burying the “gun” through wades of information.

    So…hmmm. You’ve challenged me to find a way to deal with objections upclose and personally.

    Thanks for the challenge!

  9. I just heard “Okie from Muskogee” for the first time yesterday (thanks to Pandora) – had to turn it up so the rest of the office could enjoy it. We had a good laugh.

  10. We don’t make a party out of lovin’;
    We like holdin’ hands and pitchin’ woo;
    We don’t let our hair grow long and shaggy,
    Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.

  11. This is a great analogy. It gives me a new perspective to think about while writing. I’m new to this blog and have really learned a lot from reading old posts and comments.

  12. Mike:
    The story on Okie is that Merle wrote that song from his father’s perspective not his own. For some reason that song makes folks in the office laugh but for Merle’s dad that was probably the ONLY way to look at hippies. Hmmm…

  13. Sleeping with a gun across your chest is bad, because: a) it isn’t likely to stay there;
    b) it’s an accident waiting to happen;
    c) it’s in plain sight, telling the bad guy it’s there;
    d) all of the above;

  14. What is the Bugliosi line we talked about a long time ago? I don’t remember the words exactly but I think in court, as the prosecutor, he would always introduce the defense’s main arguments before they could – even if he couldn’t refute them – so they wouldn’t be as impressive the second time. It gets rid of those *GASP* moments that can destroy your credibility.

    Great image though. I think that’s why your posts tend to have a certain power that some of the guest ones lack.

  15. This is good useful advice, and I’ve found that it can really freak people out. A lot of us seem to live in this fluffy pink cloud universe where if we don’t say anything bad about our product/service/etc., no one else is going to think of that criticism. Alas, that is not reality.

    Was it Merle himself or a friend of his who told the story on Fresh Air that Okie from Muskogee was basically written as a parody of how the Normals looked at freaks like Merle and his friends.

    That is an interesting strategy, Ryan. Hm, I like that, will have to think about how I can use it.

  16. I haven’t listened to Fresh Air in a long while. Hmmm… I don’t really think of Merle as ever being a hippie freak. I don’t even really think of him as criminal either. That was marketing. It was petty theft or something silly. Like that Rodriguez guy that stole a goat…

  17. The questions section is a good idea – as long as the โ€œclicksโ€ donโ€™t pull them off the page.

    Chad, exactly. That’s why on Teaching Sells we used javascript.

  18. Pre empting objections is hard. The good thing about online copy is that it costs nothing to edit at any time. We can constantly tweak in a way that with printed copy becomes expensive very fast!

  19. Brian
    You guys did a great job of doing this on and my brother and I did the same on our site that we modeled after being in your program. I am not making shameless plug for your program but saying it works great.

  20. At the risk of being the sole dissenting voice, I think that there is a potential downside. Yes, you want to answer objections as they are asked, but at the same time you don’t want to suggest those objections (another advantage salespeople have over copywriters — they know when to shut up based on body language.)

    I was just writing some copy for a client of mine, sort of a glossy brochure-type sales folder for a general contractor. I started writing about reliability and completing on time and under budget. Which seems reasonable — one of the top things on everyone’s mind when hiring a contractor is “will this renovation be done when they say it is, and will it be on budget?”

    I took it out because the glossy pictures of this high-end contractor should give a professional look and feel — so much so that you don’t need to say “reliability” in words. In fact, after reading the draft I realized that suddenly you are putting the possibility of a blown completion date into the potential client’s head when everything leading up to it implicitly makes the client feel like reliability is a given.

    I guess my point is here that you need to be careful when trying to answer *every* objection. You don’t want to raise awareness about possible objections while you are at it…


  21. Hi, Brian –

    Great post!

    When I’m writing web copy, I always keep in mind the fact that users primarily visit web sites to perform tasks and get answers to their questions.

    So simulating a dialogue and answering usersโ€™ questions up front makes perfect sense.

    Thanks for all of your insightful posts!

    – Rebecca

  22. Graham,

    You make a good point; however, I think for longer sales copy it’s important to address them all. On a brochure, not so much. As usual it depends on the audience and the goal. With longer copy they have a lot longer to think (if they’re actually reading it all) so you better think it’s a good idea to anticipate their objections.

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