consequences of inaction

Powerful Written Persuasion Techniques – Part 3 (consequences of inaction)

OK, if you’ve read part 1 and part 2 of this series on Powerful Written Persuasion Techniques, then you already have a basic understanding of Appealing to a persons identity in your sales copy and Invoking Emotions in your sales copy.

This time we’re going to talk about showing your reader the consequences of not taking action.

Why is this technique so powerful?

Because as most of us already know, there’s really only two ways people are motivated to do pretty much anything…

Either towards pleasure… or… away from pain

Now I’m personally a big fan of writing copy that’s uplifting, and that shows people a brighter future when they accept my offer. (mostly because people are exposed to enough negative news all day, and I don’t want to add to all the negative energy)

But, I’m also fully aware that most people are more motivated moving away from pain, rather than towards pleasure.

To put it in a simple terms… people will pay a few bucks for the promise of good health… But they’ll give you their last dollar to cure a painful disease they already have.

That’s why showing people the consequences of inaction becomes a powerful motivating force, and a powerful persuasion technique.

So with that in mind…

3. Show Them the Consequences of inaction

Showing your audience the consequences of inaction simply means showing them how they’ll lose out by not doing what you suggest.  In other words, what pain or discomfort will they experience if they don’t take action?


This doesn’t mean you should make threats. And I certainly don’t recommend just pounding them with negative consequences, or you run the risk of having them associate “you” with those negative feelings. And if that happens, then your screwed. Because they’ll be motivated to move away from YOU (because you’ve become a source of pain)

But what you can, and should do, is show them some of the negative results of not choosing to take the desired action you want them to.


Do you want to see a quick example of how this could work?

OK, let’s say we’re selling a self improvement course and we want to show people the consequences of not buying it.

Here’s a quick example of how that might look:

“Our home study course has helped thousands of people just like you achieve incredible success in their lives. And we’re certain it can help you do the same.
If you’re not currently living your life on your own terms, then you owe it to yourself to let us help you create the life you desire.

Don’t put this important decision off any longer. This is your life we’re talking about, and your future is right in front of you.

So which scenario would you rather experience 30 days from now?

Would you rather see dramatic, positive changes already manifesting in your life? Or would you rather still be sitting there, wishing and hoping things will somehow get better…”


So in this example, most of the copy is a message of hope (which is the way I prefer it) but we also start to bring in the consequences of not taking action.

From there we can amp up the emotion a bit more, and bring in a few more negative consequences of not taking action.

Just remember… don’t dwell on the negatives for too long, or make them too powerful. Or you’ll run the risk of chasing your audience away.

Whenever possible, we want to incorporate “both” types of motivation in our sales copy (moving towards pleasure, and moving away from pain). That way we can show our audience a brighter future, and the consequences of not moving towards a towards a positive solution. (ideally, our solution)


OK, I need to get back to work now. So let me just wrap up this post with a thought for the day…

When you’re writing your sales copy, ask yourself… “How will my reader lose out if they don’t act now? Or, what are the consequences of inaction?” Once you figure that out… make sure you show it to them, in your sales copy.


In the next part of this series on Powerful Written Persuasion Techniques I’m going to present you with the sneaky little concept of pre-suppositions and pre-framing. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to craft that one, just yet. But I guess we’ll find out together.

So get ready for that one, and I’ll see you there…


Here’s to writing more persuasive sales copy… more often.

All the best,


<<< Powerful Written Persuasion techniques – Part 2 (invoking emotions)

Powerful Written Persuasion techniques – Part 4 (pre-suppositions and pre-framing) >>>

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