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Are you asking the right kinds of questions in your direct response copywriting? The kinds that glue your prospects’ attention to your message … and pump them full of endorphins and excited energy (as opposed to putting them to sleep)?

Let’s find out, real quick…

Researchers Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor founded the social penetration theory, which reveals that people tend to disclose information in layers, like an onion.

Don’t forget…your sales message is a real conversation between you and your prospect. You want to guide that conversation by using expertly formulated questions that chart the course of that conversation.

When you ask a question, you want them thinking about their answer, as though they’re revealing their answer to you (and most likely to themselves as well).

So how do we do that? How do we ask the right questions in the conversation to steer them where we want them to go?


We use the classic copywriting formula PAS … Problem, Agitate, Solution to guide the nature of our questioning…

Problem: The first “layer” of questions should get them thinking about their problem. 

Example from a classic headline: “Are you ever tongue-tied at a party?”

Agitate: The second “layer” of questions should agitate the problem and show it starkly.

Example (in keeping with the problem question above): “Doesn’t this make your social life an anxious experience as opposed to the calm and relaxing treat it is for many others?” 

Solution: The third layer of questions should build anticipation in their imagination for the possibility of the relief of their problem.

Example: “Can you imagine what it would be like if you were totally relaxed and in control in social settings?”

See that rhythm? 

These questions shouldn’t be piled on top of each other in a question dump … but they’re the basic road-map for the overall structure of your sales message.

There’s a definite order here. This pattern can be either repeated throughout the copy … or structured to correspond sequentially, first, second, and third. Whichever scheme seems appropriate given the nature of the message.

See if you can get into that rhythm in your questioning:

1) Questions identifying their problem …

2) Questions agitating their problem …

3) And questions raising the possibility of the solution to their problem.

You’re gonna make your prospects EXCITED about that conversation with you.

Have an awesome day!