SFM Ep16 – How To Improve Your Positioning With Damaging Admissions

In this episode we’ll discuss the incredible power of telling people your weaknesses, also known as a damaging admission. It’s counter-intuitive but works like a charm. These days consumers are looking for someone to trust.

This strategy allows you to be that trustworthy advocate for them while increasing your positioning, conversions and revenue…

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Hey, this is Jeremy Reeves and I want to welcome you back to another episode of the Sales Funnel Mastery Podcast. In this episode, we’re going to talk about ‘Damaging Admissions’. If you don’t know what Damaging Admissions are, that’s a marketing and copyrighting technique that’s essentially where you actually purposely show weaknesses in your product or service. And you do that for a couple of specific reasons. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

It’s actually a really powerful technique. I know if you’ve never heard of it before, it might sound a little bit strange. And if you have heard about it, I think it’s a good reflection back on what you should be doing. A lot of times, no matter how advanced you are, it’s good to come back to the basics. This is actually one that I really don’t see many people doing. And it’s a big mistake because it really can add a lot of power into your selling persuasion and your overall marketing.

Before I get into that, I just want to throw it out there – I am in the process of trying to find one or two websites to buy, to add to my portfolio. So if you have any websites that maybe you don’t really have the time for, let me know. I’m in the process of looking around, trying to find somebody that I can trust to buy a website from.

What I do, as you know is take businesses, and take them from point A to point B. I do that sometimes with websites, where I buy them and then fix them up and either keep them for the cash flow or re-sell them at a higher price. So if you have any websites that you have and you’re looking to unload them – you need a little influx of cash – let me know. The email is [email protected].

Just give me the overview of the business. You don’t have to give me anything really specific. Just give me like the URL, what it’s about, how it works, how much time you put into it on a weekly or monthly basis, a general range of how much money it’s making (that kind of thing), if you want to throw a price out there, anything you’d look to get for it. It’s just so I kind of have some background info on it.

And then if I’d like to pursue it, if it sounds like something that might be interesting, then I’ll write you back. And then we can go and look and get specific financials and all that kind of stuff.

So, with that said, let’s talk about Damaging Admissions. Like I said, Damaging Admissions are basically something that you do in your copy. It could be email copy. It could be on your website – ‘About Us’ pages are a good place to put stuff like this. It could be within a sales letter – that’s also a good place to put it. So, basically anywhere that you are trying to make a sale or anywhere you’re doing any kind of marketing. It could even be in your ads, if you’re running magazine ads or something like that.

What you do is, you essentially tell something about yourself, about your product that at first glance appears to be a negative. It appears to be a bad thing. And I’m going to give you a couple of examples of this, just to get your juices flowing.

So, at first glance it appears to be something that’s actually a negative. And people are like, ‘Wow! Why would they say this about themselves? They’re actually showing me that they’re not perfect.’ (That’s actually something else we’re going to talk about.) And then you come back and say, “However, that’s actually a good thing because… blah, blah, blah.’ And again, I’m going to give a couple of examples of this at the end.

The reason you want to do this, number one, it increases your trust and your authenticity. It shows that you’re integrity-driven. Somebody who isn’t trustworthy, somebody who doesn’t have integrity, isn’t going to give you the truth. And people see this as, ‘Okay so he’s telling me the truth about A, which in turn means that he must be trustworthy. He must have authenticity. He must be genuine and authentic.’ So it increases all of those factors.

I’m working with one of the top fitness experts in the world right now. I just finished their copy for them so it’s going into design mode now. And that should be live in probably six to eight weeks, something like that, because the design takes a while.

We went back and forth for a couple weeks actually just hammering down, getting every single tiny little sentence and phrase and word in his sales page, so that there was absolutely zero hint of ‘disingenuous’. (I don’t really know if I said that right. It’s morning now so forgive me.) –Absolutely no hint of him being inauthentic and non-trustworthy. So every single tiny little piece of copy in there was showing him to be authentic and trustworthy. That’s the position they’re going after there.

The whole theme of the copy was wrapped around them finally being that voice that you can trust, and that’s going to take care of you, and isn’t going to throw you around the ringer like all the other weight-loss programs have. This person instead is that one person that’s really going to be helpful and genuine and honest with you. So we had to make sure that in the copy there was absolutely no hint whatsoever of him being inauthentic or anything like that.

That’s why I’m thinking about Damaging Admissions because we put some of them in the copy. So number one, it increases your trust and authenticity.

Another thing is it actually shows who your offer is not for. And I’m going to show you some examples of that. I have five examples for you. Okay, so you can use this to show who your offer is not for. So if you have an offer, if you have a product or service, then what you should be telling your audience who it is for and who it is not for. When you do that you attract the people that it’s for and you actually push away who it’s not for.

The more you push people away – the people that it’s not for, not your target audience – the more you’re going to attract those that it is for. It’s kind of like magnet. The farther you repel it, there’s one side you repel and the other side you switch around, and it clashes together. It sucks you in. And that’s kind of how you can think of this. Okay so it also shows who your offer is not for, and by doing that you attract those who it is for.

Another thing is that it shows your weaknesses on purpose. With the Internet, with forums, with people talking, with social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), all these different things, everybody knows your weaknesses anyway. There’s no weakness that you can have in your business that people will not find out about. It’s impossible because people will do research now.

They go on Amazon. They go on their Facebook account and ask about your business. They go on Twitter and they search different trends on your business – They Google fifteen different things to find out. People are essentially trying to make sure that you’re not going to rip them off. They want to make sure that if they do business with you, it’s going to be worth it, it’s going to be a positive experience for them.

So, everybody knows your weaknesses anyway, so there’s really no point in holding them back anymore. And when you do this strategy of Damaging Admissions, when you follow it and you put it in your copy, and you show your weaknesses, not perfect, people trust you more. Because, nobody thinks you’re perfect anyway. Everybody knows that means there’s no perfect solution. As much as I would like to make my service a perfect solution, in reality it’s not.

It’s impossible for any one person or one company to be perfect for anybody. There are always going to be weaknesses, even if they’re small. Maybe you have the smallest weaknesses of your competitors, but everybody has weaknesses. Everybody has points that aren’t perfect. And nobody thinks that you’re perfect. Nobody thinks that, except maybe in niches like the Internet marketing where they think the Guru is perfect.

In reality, nobody thinks you’re perfect anyway so there’s no reason not to do this. Let me give you a couple different examples of this. Number one is the Ninja Blender. I bought a blender, and you may have heard of the Ninja Blender. I think it’s on the infomercials. I heard from a couple different friends- I was saying that my old blender was crapping out on me, and I wanted to do smoothies and that kind of things. So I started talking to friends to see what blender was good.

I found out from a couple different friends that the Ninja Blender was really good. So I got that. The first time I used it, I sliced my finger a little bit because the blades on it were so sharp. I didn’t realize it, and I grabbed it. There’s a little compartment in the middle of it that actually spins the blades that chop everything up. I grabbed them – not hard at all. I barely even grazed them. I didn’t slide my finger.

All I did was come, if you can imagine holding a knife and just touching it with the inside of your finger. You’re not slicing it, just kind of poking it almost. That actually sliced my finger open when I did that. So I was thinking, ‘Oh my God! These blades are so sharp that it sliced my finger.’ And you can actually use that. You can spin that as a selling point.

You can do some kind of copy saying, ‘You have to be careful’, Be careful, the blades are so sharp, it should be handled with care so you don’t cut yourself’. That’s a way of turning a bad thing into a selling point.

The second thing is being too busy. So if you communicate that you’re in demand, it’s attractive to people. It’s kind of the forbidden-fruit type of mentality. I can tell you for example – I think it was the last podcast or the one before that – when I said that I was too busy and I could not take out anymore work. I got inundated with people that wanted to do business with me. I developed like a waiting list. I didn’t say that to get more business. I really was and still am really, really busy.

But, especially if you’re in the service industry, people want to know that you’re busy because it means that you’re in demand. It means that other people are trusting you, and that that person should trust you too.

If you’re in the service business, you can talk about the times that you’re really, really busy. Or, you could put up a waiting list or something like that. And that communicates that, ‘Yea it’s a bad thing that you’re too busy, but it’s a good thing because there’s a reason that you’re too busy.’

The third one is being too expensive. There are a lot of people – Think of like a Rolls Royce. They can do a lot of Damaging Admissions regarding pricing… or Ferrari, or Bentley or any of the really high-end cars. It doesn’t have to be a car, obviously.

But no matter what you are, whether you’re a consultant or you sell or you’re a website designer – whatever it is that you do or you sell. Maybe you sell weight-loss equipment that’s really expensive. That is going to be a bad point to some people. But it’s going to be a really big selling point to other people that want to go out and spend a lot of money. They feel that the more money they spend, it makes them feel better knowing they bought the top-of-the-line thing.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the ads for, I think it’s called the ROM. There’s a piece of weight loss equipment that is $15,000 for one machine. And even with treadmills, you can go out and you can spend $800 on a treadmill, or you can spend $6,000 on a treadmill, depending on how fancy it is.

For me, I think it’s kind of worthless spending a lot of money on a treadmill because you step on it and run. I mean, it’s a conveyor belt. You could probably make your own for a hundred bucks or something like that. But, a lot of people like all that fancy stuff. They like to look at the GPS on it. And they have little screens on there, and they have little TVs built in. There are all kinds of fancy gadgets for treadmills so that’s just one thing.

You can actually write your copy in a way that if you’re too expensive, that’s actually a good thing. It helps you attract. Again, it comes back to the attracting and repelling. If you’re selling a service that’s really expensive, and you talk about the fact that you don’t want the cheap thing because cheap doesn’t work, and you have to put enough money to make things work, and that kind of thing – you’re going to repel anybody that wants to go cheap. And you’re going to attract people that want to spend more money.

And the reason for that is because people that want to do business with you, people that want to spend that want to spend that money, are going to agree with you. They’re going to resonate with you and they’re going to be bobbing their head up and down as you’re saying that, because they agree with you and that attracts them to you.

Number four is having damaged products. A lot of offline businesses can do things like – and this doesn’t actually have to be offline, you can do it online too. So for example, here I have two examples in this. One is a fire sale. So you’ll see a lot of times, places like furniture stores will do fire sales, or rain-sales or hailstorm-sales.

What happens is, let’s just say they get flooded. There is a half-inch of water on the floor and it got the very bottom of the furniture wet. So they can’t sell that at full price because technically it’s damaged. Even though maybe it’s not really damaged, you wouldn’t be able to tell, or it didn’t hurt the integrity of the structure of the actual furniture. It’s not going to break. It doesn’t change the look or anything like that.

They still can’t technically sell it for full price because it got water on it. So they can have a flood sale or something like that. It’s the same thing with fire. Maybe the flames never even touched the furniture but the smoke got in it. So maybe it’s going to smell like smoke for a couple weeks, and they can have a big sale – a fire sale.

Another thing is if you sell any type of physical product like, let’s just say, an information product that’s in its physical form. I have one client that sells a beauty product. It’s like a beauty organizer. So if people return those to him, he can resell those at a lower price point, of, say 30% off, and say these are used. There might be tiny little scratches on them but we’ve polished them up. They look fine but technically they were used before so we don’t feel right selling them at full price.

You can have all these kinds of sales based on these damaging admissions, okay.

And the fifth one is – if you remember the car rental company AVIS – their big thing was, we’re number two so we try harder. So that was their damaging admission. And it helped them go from, I think it was like number ten or something like that, to number two in a short time. (And don’t quote me on the number 10. I forgot what it is off the top of my head.) But they ended up at number 2. And I know they essentially went from the bottom of the pile to number 2 at the top because of that.

So they’ve really gained a lot of market share because of that slogan that they came out with. ‘We’re number two so we try harder.’ It really got them a lot of business. I actually heard that they had that for 50 years and they just finally dropped it. So maybe it was wearing out, maybe people didn’t care anymore. But for the time that they did use it, it really helped propel them to the top of the market.

They said, hey you know, they are number two. It was essentially communicating the fact that number one gets lazy. So, yea, we’re number two but since we’re number two, we have to compete more. We have to try harder, we have to fight like a tiger to make it work and to really keep our positioning.

Those are a couple examples of damaging admissions. I hope this helps. I hope it helped you figure out a few different ways to plug it in your copy again. You can put this in your emails. You can put it in your videos. If you do podcasts, you can talk about it in your podcast. You can put it in your sales copy. Basically any point that you’re trying to make a sale.

And it could be even like a pre-sell in your actual marketing, and not your selling. So, you can put it in your ads. You can put it, you know, when you’re talking to people on the phone. If you focus a lot on SEO and doing stuff like guest blogging, or writing articles, writing blog posts, press releases, offline like in magazine columns, anything like that – you can put these damaging admissions and kind of slip them in there.

It’s a really subtle way of selling to people, especially if you know your target market and you know what they’re going to respond to. It’s a really subtle way of doing this and increasing your positioning, which helps you increase your prices, it helps you increase your conversions, all that kind of good stuff.

So, I hope this helps. I hope this really added a lot of value to your day. And I will talk to you soon.

About the Author Jeremy Reeves

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