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Don't read this if you're sending cold DMs and happy chasing clients

Pink elephants gif

I'm on a phone call with my friend Lucy, when she asks: "Are you free on Friday?"

It's a bit of a loaded question because all this time she's been telling me how they're getting ready to move house on Saturday.

Yes, she's a friend and I should be willing to help, but she's moved 6 times in 2 years.

I hesitate, trying to think of something to say - but it's useless. I have no plans for Friday and that hesitation was way too long a pause for any excuse to now sound truthful.

"Nothing" I say and I wait for Lucy to respond......

Reverse psychology is a tactic used to get people to do an action that is opposite to what is being said by giving people the right to say no and making them feel the decision is theirs (in psychology, the appearance of choice increases compliance with the request).

Whereas reactance is what psychologists call that feeling when someone tries to tell you what to think or do and you automatically want to resist that feeling.

For example: If I said: Don't think about Pink Elephants - What's the first thing you thought about? Was it pink elephants?

Or when you see a button that tells you not to push it.

Reverse psychology and Reactance in your writing is an effective way to hook your reader and set them on journey where they believe they are making the decisions. It can help your clients either qualify themselves or disqualify themselves.

Here's what you can do:

1 . Ask "NO-based questions"

Whereas the Foot in the Door technique gets your potential clients to say yes by asking small easy commitments, by asking NO-based questions your potential customer will qualify themselves by saying no.

Why? People often feel safer saying "no." because they don't want to say "yes".

Maybe they're unsure of the outcome - like being asked to help a friend move on a Friday!

So instead of asking: "Would you agree to do X?" Ask: "Would you be against doing X?"

2/ The "negative" consequence of the positive

This creates a positive risk that amplifies the believability of the statement.

"Warning: If you apply these 4 tactics in this newsletter, you'll get more clients than you can handle."

Or in the case of Guardian's subscriber page they show why not to donate and turn it into reasons why you should.

3/ First the Bad News and then the Good

Most writers start with the Good news before they state the bad news hoping the positive will take the pain of the bad. But reversing your message leaves your audience remembering the positive outcome

Most headlines start with a "[positive statement] but [negative statement]",

For example, This nutrition program will make you feel less bloated, but it'll take 4 weeks.

And while this format catches your reader try switching it up and reverse it.

Reverses: It'll take 4 weeks, but this nutrition program will make you feel less bloated.

People won't feel so bad to committing to the extra time if they know it'll get the results they want.

Patagonia Dont buy this Jacket ad

4/ "This is not for you" statement

Because your offer isn't for everyone you can use your statements to help your potential clients qualify themselves whilst being selective.

Patagonia used this tactic by telling you NOT to buy the jacket true to Patagonia's commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly business practices.

Selective also makes your offer more exclusive and people will want to fit the criteria to work with you because they fear missing out.

nesha woolery

"This newsletter is not for you if you don't want to get more clients"

"This is not for businesses who don't have a high-ticket offer."

Now that you know - try and put a few reverse psychology questions in your content and get your clients to qualify themselves.

Reverse Psychology is a great way to surprise your audience.



4 reverse psychology tactics:

1/ Ask "NO-based questions”

2/ The "negative" consequence of the positive

3/ The Bad News then Good News

4/ "This is not for" statement

Lucy doesn't wait for me to finish my sentence, "Great" she says enthusiastically and I brace myself for her to ask me to spend the next 48 hours cataloguing and boxing her library of Wellness books.

"- I have two tickets to see Mamma Mia, but we can't go because we have to move on Saturday. Do you want them?"

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