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PS-FAB Versus The Traditional 12-Step Sales Letter

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There are many things applicable to the PS-FAB style of writing that are not covered in my last article on this subject, such as details on resistance, motivation, emotion and other details that I will include here as we compare PS-FAB to the traditional 12-Step Sales Letter. I will point out the common features and differences as they appear.

Note that the biggest difference is that PS-FAB can be applied to any style of writing, and not just sales and promotional copy. Although our focus here and in this PS-FAB article is sales, PS-FAB can be used in varying degrees to keep fiction and informational copy interesting, and to organize structural flow for any writing style.

The objective of a sales letter is to overcome the reader’s buying resistance while using persuasion to encourage action. Whether you’re giving a sales presentation in person or on paper, there is a single process for overcoming the hurdles that lead to buying resistance. These hurdles are manifested in many spoken and unspoken customer concerns, such as:

1. “You don’t understand my problem (or pain)”
2. “How do I know you’re qualified?”
3. “I don’t believe you”
4. “I don’t need it right now”
5. “It won’t work for me”
6. “What happens if I don’t like it?”
7. “I can’t afford it”

The 12-step sales letter must overcome each of these objections in a careful, methodical series of copywriting tactics. I will address these concerns as we get into the details of each of the 12-steps. The 12 steps are:

1. Attract attention
2. Identify the problem
3. Provide the solution
4. Present your credentials
5. Show the benefits
6. Give social proof
7. Make your offer
8. Inject scarcity
9. Give a guarantee
10. Call to action
11. Create a sense of urgency
12. Close with a reminder

PS-FAB incorporates all of these into a different sequential approach. Take a look at how some of the 12 steps fit into PS-FAB.

1. Get attention by identifying the problem
2. Provide the solution
3. Discuss a feature or several features
4. Show how they can be applied
5. Show the benefits
6. Create a Call-To-Action based on the above PS-FAB

At first glance, you might think that the credentials, social proof, scarcity, guarantee, urgency and reminder are missing, but they are not. Credentials, social proof, scarcity, and guarantee are generally incorporated as features, and the urgency and reminder can be included in the Call-To-Action.

Before I get into the 12 items above, let me touch on motivational approaches. Most people (approximately 65%) make emotional buying decisions, so most courses you may take on sales copy writing will focus on this as THE motivational factor, but this doesn't address the remaining 35% of the population, which are focused on the numbers and facts directly associated with the offer.

Think of PS-FAB and the 12-step sales letter as more of an approach or structure for your copy. The numbers and facts are covered in the credentials, social proof, scarcity, and guarantee. Emotions are triggered in the description of the problem, scarcity and the urgency. If you limit your emotional writing to these areas, the copy will be more credible. Studies show that buyers are moving away from sites that make unsubstantiated claims like "Make $50,000 in your first month!!!" toward a very factual focus on real benefits that people can easily understand and accept. People are catching on to claims like these, especially when they have ZERO substance - like any statement that doesn't specify WHAT will be done to earn this level of income. So, think about placing your emotional triggers in the appropriate places just mentioned.

So, let's discuss the 12 items in detail here.

Attracting attention with a quick description of the problem provides an opportunity to place an emotional trigger. Some of the customer concerns associated with 1, 3, and 4 can be specifically in this area too. Look at this statement: "When your computer begins to run slow, you probably have spy ware or some other problem that is easy to fix". This is a problem most of us have experienced, which we can relate to and most will believe. The belief concern also has to be addressed later in that the solution needs to be believable too. The point is that in a single sentence, a readers can identify the with their needs, the belief that it is a problem and the pain immediately as it applies to them.

The solution can tie directly into concerns 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7. Look at this statement: "We have partnered with Google to create a create a spy ware removal application that you can get right now with one click, for just $9!". A Google partnership provides instant credibility, addressing the qualification concern and also the belief that it will work. One click suggests it will be easy enough for anyone to do and if someone has this need immediately, it is obviously available quickly, and $9 is affordable on any budget.

More information will have to be provided to continuously address these concerns, but with just two sentences, we have a great start.

The credentials, social proof and guarantee addresses concerns 2 and 6. Credentials include:

1. Successful case studies
2. Companies (or people) you have done business with
3. The length of time you’ve been in your field of expertise
4. Conferences where you have spoken
5. Important awards or recognitions

Your reader should get the impression after reading this section that “you’ve been there and done that” and can expect the same results. The PS-FAB approach could include these as features.

There are a number of other combinations to be considered too, such as combining the sense of urgency with the problem. For example, "Many people are seeking farm land in the Sandy Springs area, but there is only one farm currently available for sale, and it may not be available tomorrow!". Availability becomes the urgency and is also a part of the problem statement. Think of urgency as a “risk of loss” strategy.

The reminder is more of a way to quantify the offer. It summarizes and provides a new short perspective on what has been discussed and creates a succinct exit used to reinforce the conversion.

You can come up with so many combinations of PS-FAB and The Traditional 12-Step Sales Letter, but we can't cover them all in this article. Just suffice it to say that you should try to combine all of these techniques while addressing the reader's concerns. Always focus on "what's in it for the reader". You will get better with practice, and as you test different versions of your copy, you can tweak them within your sales funnel. Look for more information in the PS-FAB article, which goes into more detail.

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