No is a very powerful word.

It’s one too easily spoken, as any parent of a small four-year-old will tell you. It’s also detrimental to effective copywriting and sales, because it’s an absolute brick wall of resistance.

The minute a potential customer says no, you’ve either lost the sale, or you have to pull out some pretty convincing arguments to sway them back to a yes. Chances are you’re not going to make it.

It’s much harder to change a person’s mind when it’s already made up.

Here are practical tips on how to turn a potential customer’s no into yes, where you’ll learn specific resistance you’ll face and how to magically turn it into sales.

First, Address the Doubts

To believe that people are going to land on your page and immediately say, “This is exactly what I need,” is a belief best left to amateurs. (Of which you are not one, because only smart people read this blog.)

Everyone has doubts. You have them, I have them, your potential customer has them.

Now, no one enjoys having doubts, because they make us feel worried and uncertain and unsure. That’s not a good place to be, and instinctively, we know it. So we seek reassurance that erases our doubts and takes them away.

We look to be confident. When we feel confident, we feel able to make good decisions that are right for — which include, of course, saying, “Yes, this is exactly what I need.”

So address those doubts in your copywriting. Put them on the table right from the start. Show people that you know their concerns and worries, and give them the appropriate answer that provides reassurance.

This doesn’t mean raising questions that weren’t there to begin with. What it means is acknowledging potential questions and concerns and responding to them appropriately before the potential customer picks his own response.

The Best Example: Your Local Garage

Here’s an example of how you can address a potential customer’s doubts:

Let’s say your garage mechanic tells you that repairing your car will cost you $800. You can bet that you’ll have buyer resistance, and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll say, “This is exactly what I need!”

It’s far more likely you’re already trying to figure out how to get out of paying that amount.

Then your mechanic says, “I’m sure you’re wondering how necessary it is to repair these parts.” And he proceeds to tell you exactly how unsafe your car becomes if you don’t have them repaired — and if you have kids, he points out, their safety means everything.

Then your mechanic says, “Now I know you’re probably wondering whether you can wait a while. But let me explain why that’s a bad idea.” He goes on to show how much more costly repairs will be if you don’t get this fixed soon.

By now, you’re not thinking about how to get out of the repairs. You’re into thinking about where you’ll get the money to pay for it all. You’ve already started moving from no to yes.

The mechanic doesn’t really know what’s going through your mind, but what he’s doing is covering his bases. He’s presuming you might have doubts, he’s assuming which doubts you might have, and he’s addressing them before you even voice them aloud.

If he guesses wrong? No problem — call it extra bonus arguments. You know, just in case. And if he guesses right? Then you haven’t had to say a word, and you have all the answers you need.

Be that proactive in your copywriting. Assume the arguments, address them with confidence, reassure your potential customer and you’ll be turning no into yes before you know it.

How do you feel about addressing doubts in copywriting? Are you great at dismantling arguments? Do you hate forking money over to garages? And how reassured do you feel when your doubts are addressed?

The Copywriter’s World is One Filled With Battle

It’s your copy against the consumer, and his defensive shields are strong — so very strong. Each time you valiantly knock down an argument he’s presented, another flies up, as if the consumer creates them right out of thin air.

Dean Rieck once wrote, “Selling is simply offering the right product to the right people at the right time in the right way. You aren’t forcing your customer to say yes; you’re taking away his reasons to say no.”

The consumer holds all the power, the final decision, the last word. But if you’ve done your job copywriting job well and taken away all his reasons to say no, the only word he’ll have left to say is, “Yes.”

How do you take away his reasons to say no? Here are five ways to do just that:

“I Don’t Need This.”

When people tell you they don’t need something, what they’re really saying is that they don’t want something. There’s a huge difference between need and want.

Take the lowly car, for example. We don’t need more than a basic box with wheels that gets us from A to B, but we consistently buy vehicles that offer far more luxury, bells and whistles — and we pay dearly for them too.

Turn needs into wants. Tell people why they want this. Get down and dirty in desire, play up how much their life will change for the better and let them visualize how fantastic their future will be. You’ll be changing “I don’t need this” into “I want it so bad I can taste it” in no time.

“I Can’t Afford This.”

Let’s face it. When people want something — really, really want something — they find a way to make it happen. They stretch their budgets or go without for a few weeks or tighten the bootstraps until they’re straining. They’ll even go into debt, all just to get what they want.

But you need to make sure they want it, and then you need to make this purchase a priority above other wants they have. Show them the benefits of buying, and convey that the value of what you’re selling is worth the price.

Make the offer too good to pass up. Make it unmistakably clear that turning away now means losing out in the long run. And make it a priority — they can’t afford not to buy.

“Mmm… Maybe Tomorrow.”

If someone’s not feeling the need to check out your offer today, there’s been a misfire on the urgency front. You can guarantee they won’t be back, because out of sight is out of mind. Or, maybe they actually want to think over their decision to be sure it’s the right one for them (which is fine), but leave them thinking too long without following up, and the result is that they just plain forget.

Or something more important comes up. And there’s no money left for you.

Convey the need to consider the offer today. Set a deadline or create scarcity with limited offers. Give rewards for fast action with a special price or an extra-value bonus. And if you can’t do that, drive home what happens to people if they wait — prolonged pain, extended misery and longer unhappiness. Who wants that?!

“I Don’t Really Know Who You Are.”

This really means, “Why should I buy… from YOU?” And this baby is a big one these days, with all sorts of unknown people cropping up as overnight experts without the backup to prove their cocky claims. No one wants to risk wasting money on something that’s not very good or useful.

Show people you’re trustworthy by showing them the credentials, skills, background, history and testimonials they need to believe you know what you’re doing. Downplay the wing and a prayer that got you where you are today, talk up what qualifies you, even if it’s your first sale, and hush up with the expert claims.

Experts don’t need to tell people they’re experts; it shows.

The Value of No

If you don’t get the sales you hoped for and your copy converts horribly, don’t despair. There’s a positive in every negative, which means there’s a yes in every no.

There’s a learning experience in why your potential customer didn’t buy, and you can take the opportunity to climb into your prospect’s head and find out what went wrong. That lets you improve your copywriting, your offer, your business and your sales.

Which means less people say no next time.

So go ahead and find out why people didn’t buy. Send out a survey or even personal emails that say you’d like help so you can improve and offer better products or services. Their feedback is valuable to you, so ask for it. Open your mind to what people tell you, and receive the feedback with a willingness to learn from it.

Be objective, and be respectful of the person’s decision not to buy. You’re not going to change their mind; they’ve said no already, and this isn’t about pushing a sale. It’s simply about learning what didn’t work, and how to make it work better the next time.

Ask people what might have swayed their vote, too. By knowing what might have tipped the scales of sale in your favor, you’ll have a good idea of what to add to your next piece of copy — and you’ll just get better and better.