1 Deadly Trick That Converts (Even On Affiliates)

When I chose my apartment in Bangkok, I unwittingly engaged in a sales process that has been tried and tested through the annals of time to produce enormous results.

Estate agents are masters of the art and will spare no blushes in the execution, even if you’re smart enough to know exactly what’s going on around you.

Here’s the situation. It’s 9am in the morning and the estate agent has arrived at your hotel. She tells you she has a few properties to view, and you eagerly jump in the back of her car to get started.

The first property is an absolute dump. Situated in the middle of no man’s land, no aircon, no transport connections and for the estate agent, no hope of a conversion. Of course, I play along nicely and express that it’d make a great home…for the right Thai family. Did she really think she could get me to a sign a contract for the exact property I wasn’t looking for? No, she didn’t, but she knew it would butter me up for what was to follow.

I vividly remember cruising from property to property, the specifications marginally improving to match my needs with each visit. By the end of the day, my girlfriend and I were exhausted and ready to retreat to our hotel room to mull over the options.

But wait! There’s one more place I’d like you to see… I think it might suit what you’re looking for.

Lo and behold, she hits us with the single best matching property of the day so far, and we’re both convinced that it’s right for our needs. The perfect size, all the aircon we could guzzle, fantastic sweeping views of Bangkok and a snooker table. A motherfucking snooker table. How did she know I’d fall in love at first sight with my own snooker table?

Maybe it had something to do with the email I’d sent a week ago casually stating what I’d really love in a dream apartment.

This leaves you to ask the question: Was she intentionally wasting my time with a bunch of crappy or “good, but just not quite there” properties? Or was it a fantastically executed tour-de-force of how to setup and nail a conversion?

No prizes for the right answer. Estate agents deal with people like me every day, and get many more opportunities to study the human behaviour than I do to prepare for the exploitation of it. I would tip my hat to her if I had one. It’s simply one of the most effective sales techniques in the book.

Use the power of contrast to create indecision and uncertainty based on the information you already have, before unleashing the ultimate solution that goes above and beyond all that came before. As long as your subject is suitably torn up to that point, there really is little he can do to fight the tactic. Besides, he’s getting what he wanted. Why put up a fight?

Okay, so how can we apply this art of contrasting to boost our affiliate campaigns?

The one commodity an estate agent has that an affiliate marketer rarely gets to exploit is time. While I was being driven around a city I had lived in for just 3 days in the back of somebody else’s car, an affiliate marketer has little “holding rights” over the subject. We have so many options to not listen to a sales pitch (exit the page, browse another tab, get distracted by our balls) that retaining attention becomes the most important stage of the process.

If we go back in time 18 months, you will recall a sweeping craze that involved dual-selling affiliate offers on the same page. Hey, if the reader is happy to buy an acai supplement for $39.95/month, why not hit them with an additional colon cleanse kit for $19.95/month? The upsell seems artificially cheaper after the customer has already invested in a more expensive item. Another valuable asset of contrasting.

Take one look at the GoDaddy checkout process to see the bastard child of Upsell in all his gory detail. Fuck you, GoDaddy. I only wanted a domain and now I’m sitting on 4 dedicated servers, an SSL certificate and enough Adwords vouchers to run my own charity. What part of No Thanks did you not understand?!

Even if we don’t intend to sell two items, it’s possible to sacrifice one as a way of accentuating the most attractive qualities in the item we do want to sell.

How many Plentyoffish members have heard of Match.com? My guess would be pretty much all of them. You can very easily throw up a landing page on POF that attempts to “sell” some basic and uninspiring benefits of joining Match. It’s not going to create much of a stir, but it does one thing very well. It butters up the reader for a more attractive proposition.

So when you hit them further down the page with a largely unknown, new and exciting dating offer, that offers a niche angle relevant to their needs (targeting a Divorced demographic with a Divorce niche offer, for example), you leverage the power of contrast to create a much greater incentive in the reader’s eyes. It’s very subtle, but super effective when executed well.

Dating is just one vertical of many that can be exploited in this way. My favourite angle is to develop the classic long sales pitch – notorious for shilling Clickbank products – only to give away something 100% free at the end. Gaming registrations, downloads, even zip submits if you can get the traffic cheaply enough.

Conversion rates soar in to the sky, particularly if you nail a demographic that is already keyed in to how these long sales letters are typically used.

One of the most effective landing pages I ever built was a flog that promoted $3 job search leads. It was ridiculously profitable because it leveraged the expected extravagance of a flog’s claims, and then gave away something for free when the user wasn’t expecting it. I drew my own conclusions that most of the success was actually down to the contrast from what other affiliates were doing.

Whatever the reason, a little contrast can go a long way. Take a lesson from the estate agents of the world!

Recommended This Week

  • Are you a Self-Improvement junkie? Check out How To Avoid a Lifetime of Mediocrity, the latest post on my new blog over at Filthy Rich Mind.

  • Lots of Ads is the latest service to offer spying capabilities over Facebook’s most profitable ads. The great appeal for me is the ability to spy on International markets including France, Spain, Argentina, Brazil and many more. Save time on translations and tap in to the most lucrative markets on Facebook. Definitely a worthy addition to your toolkit. First 20 customers only who use code FINCH11 will receive 10% off their lifetime subscription. Enjoy!

  • Feel free to follow me on Twitter if sporadic occasionally marketing-related outbursts of drivel are your thing.

About the author


A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.


Leave a comment
  • Great story! I guess by the end of the day you just have to take the last offer because the agent employed another marketing tool in a subtle way – scarcity.

  • Very true. Scarcity is always effective – even if you have to create it artificially when it’s not there!

  • Another insightful post, Finch, keep up the great work.

    I’m reminded of the section on comparison pricing in Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational. It basically says that humans have no idea how much something is worth when presented with the thing on its own. We have to have something to compare it to; Do I like A more or less than B?; Is A worth more to me than B?. Giving people something to compare to is a very powerful psychological selling method, as long as what you want them to buy is obviously better or better-priced than the other. The beauty of the tactic is that you don’t even have to tell them A is better than B, they come up with the idea themselves, and it becomes much more believable than if you just told them “A is better than B”.

    I highly recommend Predictably Irrational for some solid insights into what makes people choose one thing over another.

  • I like what you wrote but the only part i don’t quite understand is how writing long sales copy for easily converting zip submits or game offers could actually work…will people read the copy when they’re simply expecting a “create your account” field?

    seems like potentially a large waste of clicks.

  • What can I say? You make me laugh, but you also have given me a lot to think about which is unusual in this niche. Most of the stuff you find on the internet is a bunch of crap that ends in a sales pitch. I said all that to say this, good job! Your articles and information come across as genuine and informative something that is truly rare!!

  • Genius, Finch… Mad Genius. I’m gonna gave to try adding a hard sell in front of some lead-gens and seeing what happens. Brilliant.

  • Great post Finch!

    Can you provide some advice to a newb…should we be using a differnt computer to browse IM forums like wicked fire, am blogs, and doing competitive research?

    It seems people on these sites would try to install malicious software on our comps like a go to computer, to see what other affiliates are doing. Get log in to tracker, hosting, domains, etc. Is this a concern, what do u do to prevent things like this?


  • @Kyle – Admittedly, zip submits is a stretch. But I find many marketers get caught up in the theory that long sales pitches must translate in to high prices. There are many lead gen offers out there in the $3-$6 payout region, where the long sales pitch, followed by a free offer, can kick some serious ass.

    Not to mention, most advertisers will absolutely love the quality of your traffic.

    I also thought that I’d lose too many clicks. But this is only usually happens when the banner creative, or ad text you’ve used, breaks the sales funnel. As long as the ad itself is highly relevant and not an example of bait and switch, people will read the long sales pitch in large enough numbers to make it profitable.

    @Barry – I don’t browse many forums or blogs, personally. I think the secret to avoiding malicious software is to not download anything too stupid and to not watch any porn that sounds too good to be free!

    Affiliates will always find ways to see what you’re up to on a competitive basis. But hackers will be hackers.

  • Very curious to know what a finch long sales letter LP looks like 🙂 are you using a fake name? What’s your point of view when it comes to flogs/farticles etc?

  • I can’t help but wonder how many people will read this and actually act on it. There is a goldmine of information in this post, but I have a feeling that like everything else most people will look it over, nod to themselves in agreement, and never do a damn thing with it. Personally, I’m off to revamp my dating campaigns. Thanks for another informative post Finch.

  • Nice man, very entertaining. Certainly kept me from being distracted by my balls… for a few minutes.

  • The ole comparative trick.
    I used that one on my parents when I was younger.
    “Can I have $50 to go to the mall??” …..”no”
    “Okay well what about $20 at least for dinner?” …..”Sounds reasonable”

    Put their minds in a certain state. Then hit them with a much more enticing and reasonable offer. Their minds start thinking comparatively for their decision.

  • Do you SERIOUSLY waste your time writing this shit, “FINCH.” Who the fuck are you, and do you even truly exist “internet marketer.”

    Stop trusting these internet peoplez… INTERNET MARKETING – ALL OF IT – IS A SCAM.. GO GET YOUR HEADS CHECKED: BROS.


  • @whothefuckcares you are a knob. Chikaty check yo’self before you wreck yo’self: BROS.

    @finch Great advice as usual. I’m concerned that you are too wise for your young years – Little shit’s gonna out sell us all…

  • Excellent advice for one struggling in this cruel online world trying to pay the rent ! I really should take a closer look at this affiliate marketing mallarkey as people seem to be making a piloe of dough from it.

  • You do exactly what you say in the post! Quality marketing tactic providing you can grasp their attention to the end

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Copyright © 2009-.