At first glance it may seem counter-intuitive to use a weakness as a selling point. After all, you don’t see little nerdy pencil necks in advertisements for bodybuilding programs. Can you imagine superman advertising his services with a line that says, “Just bring him in close proximity to a small shard of kryptonite and you’ll witness the incredible man of steel become weaker than you own grandma!”? But weaknesses are used to sell products and services all the time.
Have you ever heard the line, “If I can do this, you can too!” on the radio or TV? This approach is used all the time, and often with great success. The person usually explains that they were absolutely terrible at a certain skill or completely ignorant on a certain subject, yet despite this major disadvantage, with such and such a product or service they were still able to achieve amazing results.
The psychology behind this type of statement is two-fold. This first is an implication for the user. The message, quite obviously, is that a person doesn’t need any special skills or knowledge to get the results the person in the ad got. This allows the product or service to appeal to a wider audience. You don’t have to be an expert to get the results you want. This also implies that an expert would presumably obtain even greater levels of achievement.
The second is a message about the product or service itself. This is a very powerful form of social proof that works at the subconscious level. It says, “This is the one.” Sure there may be other products that are great for someone who already knows what they’re doing, but look what this was able to do for a complete moron. And someone with half a brain and some common sense should be able to do even better. These are the type of thoughts that will be going through a prospect’s mind. It also plants a seed of doubt concerning other competing products or services. Would they be able to do as well?
Equally as powerful is the subconscious message that the “guru” behind this is human. It allows the customer to relate, empathize, and bond with the character that is selling the product or service. It sends the message that the person they see with the spectacular results is in a sense just a regular person like them who used to have the same problems and struggles they are currently facing.
Let me give you a more concrete example of this at work by sharing a personal story with you. Several years ago I purchased a speed reading course. It was created by a guy who supposedly could read at an almost unbelievable rate and had many students that he had taught to read incredibly fast. Early on in the sales pitch, which was a one page ad in a magazine, he made an astonishingly damaging admission-he had always hated reading as a kid and was a very slow reader. In fact, he disliked reading so much that he chose his major in his college undergrad by which course of study would require the least amount of reading.
Now does that sound like the person you want to spend a significant sum of money with to teach you how to read faster? Strangely enough, it sounded exactly like the guy I wanted to learn speed reading from. Although I have always loved to read and have been a fairly quick reader all my life, I thought, “If a guy like that, who was slow and disliked reading that much could get such incredible results using this method, I’m going to be knocking it out of the park with this thing!” I was almost instantly sold on the product because a weakness was used as a strong selling point.
I challenge you to apply this is in your business immediately. Find a weakness and turn it into an advantage, make it a selling point.