It’s Wednesday today, so I’m at my Japanese mothers’ group with Eli and Esther.
I’m sitting there chatting to one of the mums:
… huh? You look confused.
Forgot to turn the auto-translator on!
(Time freezes around me for a moment as I stand up. I walk to the edge of the stage, and hit a button on the wall marked “TRANSLATE” — then step back into my scene at the playgroup. Time restarts — this time in English …)
“So when’s Esther’s birthday?” the other mum asks, pointing at the child in my arms.
“Ah, next month,” I say.
“Ooh! Are you going to bake a cake?”
(It’s a common mothers’ group thing, I … think? As a non-Japanese, non-mother, I’m not the most cluey guy when it comes to the customs of this Japanese mothers’ group.)
“Uh … I don’t really do cakes. I could bake a pie!” I joke.
“Yeah, I used to make this really nice sour cream and apple pie,” I say (remembering that one time when I did, years ago).
Then I add: “But that’d be way too good to waste on the kids!”
I smile at her to make it clear I am only joking about making a pie.
She laughs — and then notices her daughter throwing sand, and runs off to deal with that.
And that’s that.
… or so I think.
Fast forward ten minutes:
I’m standing there talking to three other mums about something else (as we all fashionably hold our babies).
Suddenly, one of them blurts out:
“Oh Daniel, can’t wait for your pie!”
“Huh?” I say. “Who said—“
“Yeah! An apple pie! Now THAT’S going to be something special,” says the second.
… I don’t like where this is going.
“Hey, wait a second!” I protest. “How did you even find out—“
“I know! We’ll just get someone else to make something for the kids,” nods the third mum — more to the other two than to me. (I don’t think they’re even listening to me at this point.)
I try to explain that my pie offer was a joke, but the conversation has already moved on.
As I walk around the room for the next few minutes I hear snatches of conversation in Japanese:
“—and apparently Daniel’s going to—“
“—just cakes all the time, so a pie will be great—“
“—wish MY husband knew how to bake pies—“
Looks like my sour cream and apple pie is the talk of the playgroup.
And you know what?
I know I’ll end up making it, too … even though on any other day, I’m so busy doing high-value work for myself or clients, I probably wouldn’t bake the darn pie if you paid me.
And you can learn from the pie-pickle I find myself in.
Because these mums just (inadvertently) used an extremely high-powered persuasion technique on me.
And even though, as a copywriter, I know all about this technique … and often use it in my sales pages … it still works on me.
What is this technique?
If you said “Ha! Simple … it’s social pressure …”
You would be wrong, and you would fail my copywriting class.
Technically correct — but a rookie answer.
The better answer is deeper, and far more powerful, than that:
It’s about identity.
Without knowing it, these mums just projected an identity onto me of “the guy who can bake a really delicious pie” … along with all the emotions and expectations that come with that identity.
In my mind, I can see the smiles on everyone’s faces when I uncover the pie. Feel the pride as they take a bite and talk about how delicious it is. And imagine boasting to Hayley when I get home that “everyone LOVED my pie!”
I want to be that guy.
But the worst part is — in their minds and mine, I already AM that guy.
If I don’t deliver, I lose that identity they’ve given me. And I don’t want that.
So … I’ll make the stupid pie.
And you better believe it’s gonna taste good.
Because I …
(I snap my fingers, but sadly I don’t have any Infinity Stones, and a pie does not magically appear.)
Okay, that name sucks.
But the technique doesn’t. Like baking a sour cream and apple pie, using it in your sales copy is actually quite advanced. And I notice it in all the best ads.
Of course, this technique is just one of the things I could show you how to do in your sales pages …
… if you asked me in Inbox Detonator, my nearly-baked coaching program.
(I was gonna say half-baked, but didn’t, for obvious reasons)
We’re nearly halfway through the beta program, and I’m getting a good feel of how I’ll be able to expand this to take on more people.
You want in when I do?
Then better get your apples on and join my sugar-crusted email list to hear about Inbox Detonator.
Hurry … this is a pie best served cold, and it’s hot out here!