How to sell more without proof or any real evidence at all [copywriting ideas]

By Quentin Pain

June 25, 2022

evidence, proof

Here’s a question from a couple of years ago that is as true today as it was then:

“How can I get proof a product works when I don’t have any?”

It’s a good question, not because of the obvious problem to be solved (how to get proof), but because proof is a necessary requisite of any claim.

…with one caveat:, if you’re selling a commodity, the proof needed is slightly different. People only want to know the product (and perhaps you) are genuine (they already know what the product does). With that done, it’s just a matter of price.

Take soap. We all know what it does, but what if we claimed it also cured cancer, no one’s going to believe us unless we can prove it beyond reasonable doubt. How? Clinical trials.

But what if clinical trials are out of the question (because we don’t have the money, we have no connections in the pharma industry, or we know it’s a lie)?

Well, obviously we can’t make that claim. But this doesn’t stop people from trying.

How do they do that? They get creative.

Cassava is a big deal in places like Liberia. There have been many claims for it as a cancer cure – non proven according to Wikipedia (but see the PS below).

If you can’t prove that cassava cures cancer, then reposition it as a cake ingredient. We don’t have to prove anything because we’ve just turned it into a commodity by aligning it with a commodity (people make carrot cake, so why not cassava cake).

We’re also adding a touch of exclusivity by positioning it in a new way so we can take advantage of a better price  (this is how you add ‘value’).

Why does this work? Some of our audience will have heard it cures cancer, so we’re using that bit of free publicity from others to help us sell more at zero extra cost to ourselves.

And thinking about sales and marketing, this also opens the door to finding better clients, and helping them sell more too (look for clients with proven products).

PS. If you want to see a list of unproven cancer products, Wikipedia has a list of them here: Just remember that the pharmaceutical industry will do all it can to persuade organisations and social media giants not to promote any cancer cures that mess with its profits (just the same as the tobacco industry lied through their teeth when claiming that smoking does not cause cancer).

Quentin Pain

About the author

It took me many decades before I realised the power of writing, but once I did, I understood the real value of words. My mission is to pass on all the skills I've learnt to those seeking advancement in the copywriting industry and beyond through the ICA.

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