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

Welcome back… In this next chapter of Powerful Written Persuasion Techniques we’re going to cover the concept of using pre-suppositions and pre-framing in our copy.

Over the years I’ve read dozens of books and articles about pre-suppositions, and the definition(s) of what they are. But the definition I’m using today is a little different from most that I’ve seen.
(Of course I’m leaving myself wide open to be criticized by English teachers and grammarians. But we’re talking about sales copy here. And academic rules don’t always apply in this theater)

So for the sake of this post, we’re going to combine pre-suppositions and pre-framing together.  And defined it as “casually implying a statement as a given fact, so we can bypass our readers critical skepticism and have our message more readily accepted.”


OK, I admit that definition is a mouthful. But rather than trying to break it down, I’d rather just show you what I’m talking about…

So if that works for you, let’s just dive right in. Shall we…

4. Pre-suppositions and Pre-framing

Basically, we’re looking at pre-suppositions and pre-framing as it relates to “setting the scene for our reader,” allowing them to more easily accept what we’re about to say next.

We can do this by inserting casual statements, to gain subtle agreement from our audience, without sounding like we’re trying to convince them of anything.

One quick way to incorporate this into your writing is by using “matter of fact” statements followed by a question:
Here’s a simple example of how this might look:

Let’s say we’re selling life insurance. We could casually insert a statement with a question. Something like this…

“As a caring provider for your family, you already know that life insurance is one of the most important things you can own to protect your loved ones, in case of your untimely demise.
So the only question is… How much life insurance would you need to buy today, to be sure your family is taken care of tomorrow, if something tragic happens to you?

Our free insurance calculator allows you to…”


So the pre-supposition / pre-frame in that paragraph is that our reader is a caring provider, and they already know how important life insurance is for the security of their family. We’re not even going to dwell on that fact, because it’s already a given, and all they really need to think about is “how much” life insurance they need.

Once they start thinking about “how much” they need, then they’ve already agreed that they need it. So we just need to focus our copy on convincing them to buy it from us.

Are you starting to see how powerful this subtle technique can be for pulling your reader into your copy?
(Just for the record, I’ve never sold life insurance. But that doesn’t matter, because the concept of pre-supposing and pre-framing works the same no matter what you’re selling)


I think we have time for one more quick example… Would you like to see another one?


Ok, let’s say we’re selling (oh, I dunno… let’s go with… coffee)
We can add something like this to our copy (assuming it’s all true, of course)…
“Coffee connoisseurs from all over the world know that coffee beans grown in the high mountain regions produce the finest coffee this world has to offer. And they’re willing to pay the highest price to enjoy the best.
But you don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy the finest coffee we offer from the mountains of Columbia, because right now our expert coffee bean growers are offering you their finest gourmet coffee for an incredibly low introductory price…”

Do you see the pre-frame / associative power in that copy?
We haven’t actually said that our coffee is the same stuff that people pay big money for, but the best stuff is grown in the mountains… and ours is grown in the mountains… so we’ve associated our coffee with the best, most expensive stuff.

Now we’ve pre-disposed our audience to framing our coffee in the same group as the expensive stuff.

Some people might say this association is a bit deceptive. But is it really? After all, we are offering the best coffee we grow, and it is grown in the mountains. And since individual taste is subjective, maybe our coffee is the best tasting to a lot of people. There’s nothing dishonest about that.


OK, I could go on showing different examples, and variations of this technique. But this post is getting a bit long. So I’m just going to wrap it up here with this summary statement…

When writing your copy… Ask yourself how you can use pre-supposition or pre-framing to imply something about your offer, and have your reader casually accept an awareness of your product, in a way that allows them to readily accept what you’re about to say next.

It’s a pretty cool (slightly advanced) technique, and when you do it right, it almost has a hypnotic quality to it.

In the next post of this series on Powerful Written Persuasion Techniques we’re going to delve into “micro commitments”. How they work, and why they work.

I don’t know how you feel about it, but I’m sure looking forward to seeing how that one comes together.

So until next time…

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

All the best,

<<< Powerful Written Persuasion techniques – Part 3 (consequences of inaction)

Powerful Written Persuasion techniques – Part 5 (micro commitments) >>>

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