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Why the drawbacks of your products are more persuasive than features

I’m certainly not re-inventing the wheel here: Ben Settle first taught me this powerful persuasion tip (and I believe he first learned it from Jim Camp).

But when sumtin’ works, it works.

Case in point:

Few weeks back, my client sent me an email. He had 15 different products past their “best by” date, and there were duplicates of several of these products. In total, there were about 68 products we needed to sell or trash.

So, I sent a simple email, listing each of the products we had for sale. And at the beginning, I gave my little spiel on the “best by” date:

To be clear, these products were not rancid, unsafe, or ineffective. Despite being past their “best by” dates.

Of course, we also had the same products that were not past their “best by” dates if customers wanted to buy a “fresh” product. But we offered a pretty steep discount—something we don’t do often—because of the products’ obvious “drawback,” i.e. being past their “best by” date.

The result?

Well, I shook all the skeletons in my client’s closet, and this email racked in about 13k in sales (even after accounting for the discount).

Not too shabby, eh?

And you know what?

This email would’ve failed miserably if I, like many brand owners, were scared to “make the skeleton dance” as Ben calls it.


Well, for one, showing that you aren’t afraid of your products’ drawbacks gives your customers confidence in you, your business, and, yes, your products.

Second, leading with the drawbacks of your products makes you seem more trustworthy and authentic because, well, you are.

Third, the discount makes more sense in the context of why we’re discounting (especially effective for brands who don’t rely on discounting to run their entire business).

And, of course, there are many other reasons that make this strategy effective.

But most people shy away from it because they either don’t believe in their products, don’t believe in themselves, or don’t believe in their business.

They (falsely) think that admitting a fault or being vulnerable will make all their customers bail.

The unfortunate truth, at least for these guys, is that the exact opposite is true:

Turning your drawbacks into reasons to buy creates a rabid and loyal fan- and customer-base.

Sum food for thought this early afternoon.


Need help generating 13k from one email send or “making the skeleton dance” on your best (and worst) products to jimmy up more sales?

Hit reply, and let’s chat.

Til tomorrow,


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