How to Get Past the “Don’t Buy” Button

Buy Now

When it comes to selling online, getting someone to take action right now is often the key to success. Many people get excited about copywriting because they believe great copy has the ability to tap into a prospect’s brain and push a “buy now” button that magically produces the sale.

It doesn’t really work that way.

The key to selling online or off is putting the right beneficial offer in front of the right person, and having great copy that overcomes the objections the prospective buyer will set as barriers to the sale. So, rather than targeting a “buy” part of the brain that triggers a sale, it’s more accurate to say that you’re aiming to knock down every “don’t buy” barrier that stands in the way.

Just recently, neuroscience researchers have located an area of the brain that actively seeks to prevent impulsive behavior. As Roger Dooley of Neuromarketing points out, this may be the location that throws up an innate barrier to buying, which the brain seeks to logically support with objections based on skepticism, price, usability or a myriad other potential barriers.

Neuroscientists Marcel Brass from Ghent University and Patrick Haggard of University College London have found an area, the dorsal fronto-medial cortex located just above the eyes, which appears to be responsible for stopping impulsive behavior.

Scientific American describes the study as, “the first neuroscientific evidence that people have self-control or the ability to reverse gears mid-action” in Impulse Stopping: When the Mind Exercises ‘Free Won’t’.

This is something copywriters intrinsically understand—that even when people are perfect candidates for a product, and even when those people want to buy, they will talk themselves out of it unless you address each objection they come up with. On the flip side, people are often actively searching for a way to shoot down their own objections and justify the buy, but if your copy is too sparse you’re out of luck.

An effective face-to-face salesperson is trained to extract objections and address them. In writing, we don’t have that luxury.

So, for unusual, novel, expensive or specialty products and services, longer copy is necessary. If you fail to address a prospect’s innate tendency to throw up objections by countering with the right information, your conversions will suffer.

This can be done with landing pages, but also with whitepapers, reports, ebooks, email tutorials, blogging, audio and video seminars and webinars. Simple and clear language, benefits and the features that support them, testimonials, specific supporting data, a sweet offer and risk-removal via solid guarantees all help you overcome objections and build trust. The more a prospect trusts you, the easier time you’ll have bypassing barriers to the sale.

Beyond putting the right offer in front of the right person, and wrapping it all up in objection-slaying information, there’s another critical element to getting past the “don’t buy” button. It’s so important that I have the words taped on the wall above my monitor.

Make them see themselves buying.

This is the art of copywriting—the story. Sometimes the story is straightforward, and sometimes it’s quite fanciful. But it’s definitely the story that makes people visualize themselves enjoying the benefits of the purchase, and if you can accomplish that, you’ll find that the objections fall a lot easier.

More on that in an upcoming series.

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Reader Comments (30)

  1. says


    Good stuff!

    The white paper is most effective for the complex sale–something that cannot be purchased on impulse.

    It helps educate and overcome concerns of readers.

    Thanks for mentioning the white paper.


  2. says

    Dorausch, I have a cat you can buy. Actually, you can just have him. :)

    Stelzner, good point. A good white paper overcomes objections to avoid the impulse of the prospective purchaser to move on to another solution. You want to keep them firmly in the sales cycle.

  3. says

    Besides the white paper, which is definitely useful for overcoming fears, I believe the solid guarantees are very effective in building trust. As a buyer, I have less concerns if I see for example that I can benefit from a 30 days money back guarantee.

  4. Morten K. Holst says

    Even though my max 30min. tv a day was tickin’ it couldn’t – despite its live images and advanced audio – compete with your article; I simply couldn’t look up before the end of this article.

  5. says

    I love that- make them see themselves buying- i’m trying to work on more “ownership” and “walking the prospect through buying” techniques as taught by Sugarman- great stuff Brian- Thanks.

  6. says

    Great post, – it’s one of those really hard things to do, to distance yourself from what you’re creating and imagine yourself as the person you’re writing for,… takes years of practice, apparently….

  7. says

    In addition to the impulse buy factor, the human condition is most often reluctant to change in general. Buying something means bringing about change, just as having to give something up would be. You raise a great point when you say you need get consumers enjoying the benefits of the product; it’s then that they see the change being a better alternative to staying the same.

    It’s a tall task. But that’s also why copywriting is work.

  8. says

    Love this blog. I’m a Realtor and my pitch is “Don’t Buy, Ask Why.” I first go over the facts about buying and how they don’t work financially, and if the client STILL wants to buy (for warm and fuzzy reasons), then I can help them.
    People enjoy the non-pressure.

  9. says

    Very good article. I believe that there’s research that shows that most buying decisions are made in the first 30 seconds. But, I think that’s for brick and mortar stores; not sure about ecommerce?

  10. says

    So, a great copywriter has to be a great neuroscientist, a great salesperson, and a great storyteller. Tough job!

    You don’t have to be a neuroscientist, but it helps to keep up with developments in cognitive psychology, or read a blogger who does. :)

  11. says

    Great post.

    Getting past that objection stage is absolutely crucial to get the buy.

    But so is creating a sense of urgency and giving them a reason to Click right away.

  12. says

    You’ve got some great piece of advice once again, Brian.

    That’s a technique that I always apply – the benefits of buying a particular product and making the potential customers see themselves buying it.

    Creating a positive image as the purachase’s result is also quite important. It quickens the time needed to make the purchasing descision and prevents future regrets of buying the product.

    Concetrating on the benefits + making the client visualize buying + creating a positive image = sale.

    With regards,
    Dimitar Nikolov
    Life & Business Ramblings

  13. says

    Interesting stuff Brian. i certainly learned a few new things there. i Agree with you when you say its not just about putting a buy link. you really have to target users, then present the right information, at the time that particular user wants to hear it. Only then can you qualify somebody for a sale.

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