The Secret Power of “The Big Prediction”

Your biggest challenge as a copywriter is to sell your product without having your prospect realize he’s “being sold” … or at least to capture his attention with an idea so compelling that he ignores it.

An ideal vehicle for doing this is a master’s technique called “The Big Prediction.”

When you use The Big Prediction, you take your prospect on an intellectual journey … with you as his guide. In doing this, you can imply the benefits of your product without being obvious.

But you’re not dazzling him with fancy footwork. You’re touching on core emotions, interests, concerns, and fears he already has. You’re doing it honestly and offering him real solutions.

Let’s see how The Big Prediction works.

Not Your Ho-Hum, Everyday Prediction

Weather forecasts, horoscopes, “experts” guessing who’s going to win the Academy Awards – your prospect hears and reads predictions like these all the time. And while he may be mildly interested in them, they lack the power to really grab him.

The Big Prediction is different. It is (to use Michael Masterson’s words) “a provocative forecast” that relates intimately to your prospect’s life … one that offers him a real future benefit.

The benefit could be an opportunity for your prospect to profit … or to protect himself against potential disaster. Here are a few examples:

*THE RETURN OF THE BUBONIC PLAGUE*

“Modern medicine is incapable of dealing with old diseases anymore. But a new, all-natural approach promises you and your family will not only survive, you can even profit handsomely from …”

*CHINA’S COLLAPSE AS WORLD ECONOMIC POWER
AND THE NEW GIANT TO TAKE ITS PLACE …*

“China’s huge reliance on imported oil is its Achilles’ heel. But Country X has oil enough to sell on the world market and plenty to fuel its own economic miracle … plus an educated population that’ll work for half what Chinese workers do.”

*YOUR DESKTOP COMPUTER IS ABOUT TO BECOME A DOORSTOP*

“Scientists say quantum computers are 15 years away. They said the same thing five years ago about breaking the human genetic code. Now it’s an everyday thing. Quantum computers will put the computing power of 1,000,000 networked supercomputers in a computer the size of your credit card. And here’s the way you can profit … even if you’re never touched a keyboard in your life.”

As you develop your “story,” you go into detail on the way The Big Prediction will affect the prospect’s life. Of course, the key here – as with any strong marketing appeal – is to clearly and completely understand your prospect.

Make Them BOLD

To make The Big Prediction work, you have to make it BOLD. It has to be bold enough to capture the prospect’s attention immediately – pushing the idea that he’s being sold right out of his head. If it seems a tad unbelievable at first, so much the better. He’ll be so fascinated he’ll keep reading, giving you the opportunity to prove what you’re saying.

The Great Product Tie-In

But don’t forget. Your job, here, is not to predict the future. The idea is to use The Big Prediction to link your prospect to whatever it is that you’re selling. Our three examples above, for instance, could all tie in to an advisory service or newsletter.

Where Do You Dig Up These Crazy Ideas?

The idea behind a Big Prediction has to strike your prospect as being unusual and/or unexpected. For inspiration, look to two sources: First, your client. And if you’re selling a newsletter or advisory service, talk directly to the editor. Second, research. Lots of it. Research everything and anything that might relate to the product and the ideas you get from your client.

Don’t eliminate any possibilities as being too weird … at least not at first.

One Size Does Not Fit All

This master’s technique isn’t suitable for selling most products. The rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Am I selling a product that’s affected by change? Could it help someone survive a calamity or profit from an opportunity?”

If the answer’s “yes,” give this technique a try. If it’s “no,” choose another approach.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: May 8, 2006

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