If you’ve ever studied copywriting, you’ll know that fear is a powerful motivator. People are always looking to avoid pain.
Experts say that when you’re trying to sell to someone, you’ll get a better response if you focus on people’s fears. People are more likely to buy something if it helps them get rid of a pain point than if it results in a positive outcome they’ve already experienced. This is why you see so many presentations that are doom and gloom in nature.
For instance, if this was my selling strategy, I might tell you, “If you don’t get a newsletter now, you’ll lose all your customers and be bankrupt!” If I could make you believe that statement, you’d do just about anything to get started with us and not lose your business, wouldn’t you?
Despite the fact that 100% of business owners say they want more referrals, telling you that starting a newsletter will get you those referrals isn’t enough to get you to drop everything and beat a path to my door. You’re more afraid of going bankrupt than you are excited about the possibility of implementing a new referral source.
The Power of Fear
The amount of power that fear has in our decision-making process is absurd, but I don’t want this to be an article strictly about copywriting. Instead, I have a serious question for you. If fear controls the majority of what we buy, what else does it control in your professional life?
Seriously. Think about it. What big decisions are you allowing fear to make for you? What are you not doing because you’re scared?
One of the most important things I’ve discovered during my career is that it is helpful to write down your fears. Once you have defined them, you can answer the following questions to help you work through your fears.
1. Why are you scared? Be real here. You’re the only one who is going to read this.
2. What impact is this fear currently having on your life or business?
3. Reality check: Is this fear justified, or are you blowing things out of proportion?
4. What will life be like 10 or 20 years from now if you don’t confront this fear and overcome it?
I’ll give you a personal example.
The fear: I’m scared that I’ll one day lose everything I’ve built and be poor again.
Why? I was very poor growing up, and as a teenage dad, I wasn’t exactly swimming in cash. Despite owning businesses, I went through phases during most of my 20’s where I had plenty of money, and other times I was so broke that I couldn’t afford bread and milk. The thought of struggling like that again makes me very fiscally conservative.
The reality: The odds of being broke like that again are slim. I can outwork most challenges, and the connections I’ve made along my entrepreneurial journey can’t be taken away.
The impact: As I always say, if you’re not growing in business, you’re moving backward. If I don’t invest and take calculated risks, I’ll increase my chances of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy 5 or 10 years from now.
The Importance of Introspection
One of the best ways to further your personal development is to be mindfully introspective. If you’re not clear about who you are and why you’re making the decisions you’re making, you’ll increases the odds of making a bad choice.
The more you second-guess yourself and the more you let fear control your actions, the more likely it is you will continue justifying your fears instead of facing them. You’ll find yourself caught in an endless loop of fear and failure.
Don’t let fear steer your ship. Be confident in your decisions and business model and strive for success without the fear of failing. I would encourage you to take some time today to define and tackle your fears head on — the future of your business depends on it.