Writing compelling copy with a stick and red feathers

August 18, 2011 by Dean Rieck · 1 Comment
Filed under: Persuasion 

red featherGetting people to say “yes” is the goal for any sales message. It’s what psychologists call “compliance.”

However, my first exposure to the idea of compliance was not in a psychology book, but beneath a tree decades ago when my grandfather, in a moment of playfulness, showed me something startling with a stick and a few red feathers.

One day, he handed me a long stick with a clump of red feathers taped to the end and said he wanted to show me something. He had a familiar, mischievous look in his eye, so I knew it would be fun.

In a tree near his tool shed, a family of robins had nested. We slowly and quietly worked our way to just beneath the tree, and my grandfather told me to raise the feather end of the stick up to the nest.

Nearby, a male red breasted robin stood guard. When he saw the red feathers, he immediately attacked them, chirping wildly and flapping his wings in distress. I was dumbfounded.

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