3 Psychological Triggers That Make Your Sales Letters Irresistible

Sales letter for target market

The psychological trigger is the bread and butter of good copywriting. If you can control what’s going on in a reader’s mind, you can control their actions and make plenty of sales for your clients.   Listed below are three triggers for writing sales letters that command action and which can help you to get your client’s customers to fall in love with them or their product.  Let’s take a look:

Hot and Cold, Pain and Pleasure

Contrasting pain and pleasure is a great way to sell more products and services for your copywriting customers. People buy products and services to relieve themselves of pain, either psychological or physical, and to move towards pleasure. One way to do this and to get people to buy RIGHT NOW is to use the “hot/cold” contrast between pain and pleasure to turn up the heat in your sales letters.

For example, let’s assume your customer is offering a product which erases cellulite dimples. The reader isn’t considering buying this product because it might get rid of cellulite.  They’re considering it to end the psychological pain caused by cellulite.

You can you target this pain and contrast it with the psychological pleasure of looking great in their bikini through phrases like this:

“STOP being too embarrassed to hit the beach! Sport your bikini with confidence, order ____ right now!”

The pain is the embarrassment and the pleasure is the confidence. Using them together creates a psychological contrast that pressures people to buy right now instead of waiting until later.

The Positive Anchor

A positive anchor is when, in your sales letter, you create an association between the product or service being offered and something which is very positive and pleasurable, yet often unrelated.

Anchors do NOT have to make logical sense to work either. Marketers use illogical anchors all the time. For example, watch a fast food commercial and look at the supermodels eating the 82 grams of saturated fat in one burger.

The product is anchored to the supermodel, creating a positive impression in the mind of the viewer. To the subconscious mind, this creates a positive image of the product because of the person who is eating it. You can do the same thing in your client’s sales letters by linking their offer to something which is known to be positive, powerful or beautiful.

For example, if your sales letter is selling an online accounting solution and you want to brag about how secure it is, you can anchor it to something which the reader already knows to be secure:

“Our ‘Fort Knox Caliber’ security certificate will keep your data safe from hackers!”

Most people have heard of Fort Knox, so the anchor will create a stronger impression of the security of your client’s accounting solution and help to settle the reader’s insecurities.

The Jealous Onlooker Technique

Jealousy is a powerful motivator, and can even cause people to do some irrational things if used correctly. The “Jealous Onlooker Technique” is used and suggested by slike Dan Kennedy.

You simply suggest that the people who have already bought and used the product are in some kind of exclusive club and that if the reader doesn’t buy, they’ll have to be the jealous onlooker.

For example, if you’re writing a letter to sell a home business opportunity for one of your clients, this is how you’d use the psychological trigger of jealousy.

“Some of the people who started this six months ago have already made more than you have in the past five years! So don’t be left behind, sign up now!”


I don’t know anyone who wants to be the jealous onlooker in that situation . . . how about you?

Recap of the Three Psychological Triggers

  1. Hot and Cold, Pain and Pleasure
  2. The Positive Anchor
  3. The Jealous Onlooker Technique

Try these three techniques in your clients’ sales letters starting today. Believe me, once you master these, you’ll be well on your way to becoming one of their favorite copywriters in no time.

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7 thoughts on “3 Psychological Triggers That Make Your Sales Letters Irresistible

  1. sam quest

    Interesting concept. I am going to be putting this to use after I write this comment. I just thought I would let you know that this information is valuable. Why would I need to hire an advertisement consultant when I have you? All joking aside, I have seen this time and time again but never once thought about using it.

  2. Jupiter Ramirez

    Food for thought? I think so! Now this is a great way to influence people without actually influencing them. I like the jealousy onlook technique the most. It’s like keeping up with the Jones’ but revamped. I know for myself that this technique works on me and that is probably why I end up with a lot of crap that I don’t need.

  3. Kelly Smiles

    I once bought a hand gun for protection and the only reason I bought it was because of the name and I never even thought about it until now. This article helps me in two ways; to help me write influential post and to make me stop and ask myself why I am buying something.

  4. Pingback: Stacey Mathis Copywriting Small business marketing and copywriting services tips for the freelance copywriter Don’t Be So Quick to Dismiss Marketing by Direct Mail

  5. Rosa Florence

    After reading this it made me start to think about all those commercials and how they utilize this method. I also use the words buy now and when you purchase. I read somewhere a long time ago that these words and phrases would help to boost my sales and what do you know, it did!

  6. Kale Harmon

    The pain and pleasure method is perhaps one of the most powerful ways to get someone to buy something. I’ve also called it the “create a problem, solve a problem” technique, although you may be pointing out a problem more than creating it. If you can write copy that instantly resonates with someone who has some issue, and ramp up their concern by pointing out associated problems or pains, you have them hooked.

  7. RobP

    Fabulous article about how to get people hooked on whatever product or service you’re offering them. I personally love the “jealous onlooker” method. Most people are so eager to conform and keep up with the Joneses. Also, if you create a feeling of community surrounding the product, they are more apt to develop trust in you and your business.


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