Most people wouldn’t put honesty and advertising in the same sentence.
It’s not surprising though. If you’re trying to sell a product that has some unfavorable or even just flat out bad features, you’re naturally going to hide it.
Everyone does it. It’s something we all do whether it’s advertising or something like networking with others.
But what if you didn’t have to hide it?
What if there was actually a way to use copy to turn your product’s worst features into your into some of its biggest selling points?
There is actually. In fact, there are multiple ways to do it.
All of which aren’t really that hard to do.
And in this post, I’ll teach you some of my favorite ways to do just that so you can apply them as soon as tonight if you wanted too.
Why Your Next Winning Ad May Come From Your Product’s Worst Features
Imagine having 3 boxes.
2 of those boxes are filled with all the good, positive things having to do with your product. All the great features and benefits, all the stories, and everything else you wouldn’t hesitate to place on your latest ad.
The third box though, is filled with all of your product’s worst features. Maybe your product looks ugly, maybe the price is super high, maybe it only contains 1 feature when your competitors products contain 10…etc
Almost all ads will contain the stuff in the first 2 boxes filled with all the good and positive things. This is the right thing to do, obviously.
However, by not mentioning your product’s flaws, you’re missing out on an entire box worth of things you can potentially “judo-flip” into a positive or use as a “red velvet rope” to allow only your best customers to purchase.
In fact, some flaws are so “perfect” that they can be turned into entire sales hooks that differentiate your product and get you more sales than if you were to focus on just the obvious positives.
Magic Baloney: How A Marketing Legend Turned An Ugly Product With A Stupid Name Into A Best Seller
Joe Sugaman, one of America’s real marketing legends, had a problem.
He had to sell a product called the Magic Stat Thermostat. One of its big benefits was that it was really easy to install. It also had six setback settings, it sensed temperature, it was simple to set, and more.
The positives of the product were so great, he even said it was “probably the most consumer-oriented, technologically-advanced and most sophisticated thermostat ever developed on the face of the earth and in our galaxy for all times ever.”
However, there were 3 objections he would need to answer head-on if he was to gain the trust of his customer.
The three objections were it’s name (Magic Stat Thermostat), it’s plastic case (which made it look cheap), and the fact that it did not have a digital reading.
So instead of hiding it, he decided to make a whole ad that started with all of the horrible facts about it and then transitioned into how he loved the product.
As you can see, his headline was “Magic Baloney”, which was an obvious play on it’s real name, the Magic Stat Thermostat.
The subheadline then goes into how bad the product. However, it’s important to note that he ended the subheadline with “until an amazing thing happened”.
This creates an open loop that softens the “rant” angle and builds curiosity as to what that “amazing” thing happened.
Then, as you keep reading, the first 2 paragraphs go head-first into a rant:
“You’re probably expecting our typical sales pitch, but get ready for a shock. For instead of trying to tell you what a great product the Magic Stat Thermostat is, we’re going to tear it apart. Unmercifully.
When we first saw the Magic Start, we took one look at the name and went, “Yuck.” We took one look at the plastic case and said, “How cheap looking.” And when we looked for the digital readout, it had none. So before the salesman even showed us how it worked, we were totally turned off
So there it was-at first blush a real loser. But wait…”
From there, the rest of the ad was about the amazing features that made the Magic Stat Thermostat the best thermostat in the market.
So while most thermostat ads at the time were hawking their best features, this ad started the complete opposite way to gain attention and THEN talk about how it was a great product.
This is just one way to turn bad features into selling points though, so if this example doesn’t apply to you, then no worries. There are plenty of ways to do it.
However, lets first get into the actual process.
How To Find And Turn Product Flaws Into Selling Points In Just 2 Steps
Step #1: List out every reason why your customer would NOT buy your product
These are called objections.
Every product has them because people are skeptical.
Even your best potential customers will always try to find a reason not to buy because most would rather not buy than feel stupid, made fun of, or even be scolded later for making a bad purchase.
So write them all down. They could be small or major. They can be about actual function, or aesthetics. They can be about anything that can possibly enter the mind of your prospect.
Step #2: Ask yourself what’s the “hidden benefit” to the objection
What’s the positive or optimistic way to look at that particular product flaw?
Is there a group of people who would actually view that “bad feature” as a positive for them?
Is there some emotional or psychological trigger that could make what would normally be a bad feature actually desirable?
Is there anything you can compare it too so people can make the connection?
Why does your product have this flaw? Is there a logical reason why your product has that flaw that they just don’t realize?
12 Examples Of Product Flaws Turned Into Selling Points
Below are 12 specific examples of how to do this. Feel free to use them for your own purposes. However, keep in mind that they are just one of many ways to do it.
They were also made with assumptions in mind. If the selling point isn’t accurate, don’t use it. That’s lying, which is not only illegal, but damages relationships faster than anything else.
So use this list as mostly a source of inspiration.
- Short book? It’s a no-fluff book.
- Huge book? It has everything you need to know about [X topic]. It’s like the Encyclopedia Britannica of X.
- High price? This is not for cheap, discount buyers. This is only for people who want the best of the best.
- Price too low to believe it’s high quality? We were able to cut costs in manufacturing while keeping the quality and are now passing the savings on to you. Here’s how [show how you were able to do that]
- Short on features? Most products out there try to be good at everything, but end up being just “ok”. Instead, we’ve been able to build the best product for [specific problem] by focusing only on the top [#] features that matter most.
- Bloated with features? Our product has everything you ever need for [X problem]
- Is it big, physically? Show it off and impress your house guests.
- Is it too small? It’s bite-sized (literally or figuratively)
- Does it taste bad? It’s like the broccoli of X. You might not like the taste, but it’s good for you.
- Video not edited? It’s 100% raw and uncensored. No edits, no nothing. Everything is all there.
- Product has bugs? It’s in beta.
- Product not made yet? Pre-order and be the first to get it when it comes out.
What If There Is No Way To Turn It Into A Selling Point?
Sometimes, it’s just not possible to twist a bad feature into a selling point.
So what do you do? Go back to hiding it?
Not so fast.
First, you have to figure out how important that objection is to the consumer. If it’s a low level objection that most wouldn’t care about, then you don’t have to mention it.
If it’s a medium or high-level objection however, you need to talk about it. Don’t hide it because it’ll either prevent a sale when they read your ad, cause a refund, or lead to a customer so unsatisfied that they’ll never buy from you again.
So don’t hide it, but at the same time you don’t have make it a sales hook for your entire ad if you don’t want to.
Just let people know, on your ad, about the flaws that would affect their satisfaction with your product if they didn’t know about it until after they bought and used it.
This way, you minimize losing possible long-term relationships and the bad word of mouth that usually comes along with it.
Answering objections is one of the most important things you can do when trying to sell something and having the skill to turn any flaws into selling points is part of that process.
No, don’t use it as an excuse to lie or to intentionally have a subpart product. Nothing can replace having a good product that exceeds all expectations.
However, every product, no matter how great, will have objections about it. And now you know how to “judo-flip” any flaw into a positive any time you want.
Try it out on your next sales letter and see how much better it becomes.