I’ve been fascinated with persuasion, influence, coercion, hypnosis, and psychology most of my adult life. Lately I’ve been turned on to advertising and copywriting.
I’ve always wanted to know and really understand what makes people do what they do. What makes them tick.
Over the years, I’ve read books on these subjects. From Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, to Robert Cialdini’s Influence. Stanley Milgram’s Obedience to Authority is an eye opening read. I’ve even read some harder (at least as far as I could find it) to find material from Blair Warren who wrote The One Sentence Persuasion Course. (I’m not talking about this particular material, as you can see, this one is readily available.) Mr. Warren did some material before this particular book entitled, Forbidden Keys to Persuasion E-Class.
I’ve always been looking for persuasion, influence, etc. to either be “chunked up” to one or two big things, or more in my case, to be distilled down into one or two things. Ideally I was and have been looking for the one or two things that are “universal.” Universal as in meaning that they apply to most or all people, most or all of the time.
As I’m sure you readers will know, there is no “magic pill,” “magic book,” or “secret phrase” that will persuade anyone and everyone to do your bidding, whether it’s to buy your product or service, hop into bed with you, or whatever else it is that your heart desires.
Similar to Rollo Tomassi of The Rational Male, who is “connecting the dots” of inter-gender dynamics, I too have been trying all of these years to “connect the dots.” But more on a larger scale. What gets anyone, man or woman, to do the things they do? How do cults form? How do politicians persuade? Why do we buy this particular item over another?
With each book I read, I feel like I get just a little bit closer to that distillation that I’ve mentioned.
Ca$hvertising starts off by suggesting that fear is a useful tool to be used to persuade people to buy things, to get them to do things. But use too much fear, and people will be paralyzed instead of motivated to do something.
I’ve been following a lot of great guys on Twitter. Some of these guys are killing it when it comes to dropshipping and sales of electronic merchandise (i.e. information courses) as well as more “traditional” merchandise that may or may not be dropshipped.
Some of what these guys have been saying has even gotten me excited to buy their course or their product. In some cases I have. So far the material sold has been worthwhile on the subject that they are claiming their expertise on. I’ve had no disappointments or regrets.
Honestly though, what I’m finding more fascinating than learning about dropshipping, gaining followers on Twitter, doing business on Pinterest, getting laid, starting an online business, etc, is the selling of selling. How are these guys doing it? I’ve become far more interested in how they sell versus what they are selling.
Whether these guys actually know it or not, they are master sellers/persuaders.
One guy laid out the “rules for selling” pretty simply:
- Find a market that has a problem.
- Find or create a product or service that solves that problem.
- Get the two together.
Many who want to get into sales and marketing, and I’m no expert, but one of the big mistakes that they commit is that they create or find some product or service, fall in love with it, and then try to find a market to fit it into. From what I know and what I’ve seen, this usually doesn’t end well for the guy trying to sell the product or service. I’m sure that there are exceptions, someone, somewhere got “lucky” and happened to have a product first and found a market to market it to, and ended up making big money. I imagine it is, like I said, the exception, not the rule.
I’m getting off track.
I’ve wondered about the idea of, can you create a problem, where no problem existed before, and then either find or create a product or service to solve it?
Of course you can. Fear will do it. Politicians do it all the time. They create problems where none existed and then offer up themselves or their plan to solve it. It’s how they win votes.
Back to distillation….
If fear is one of those supposed “universals,” what else is there?
I’m not going to claim that I’ve hit the “motherlode” here, but maybe in many ways, it is.
We all envy others on one level or another.
We envy the playboy who “swoops beaut girls.”
We envy the guy who is “not tied to a desk.”
We envy the “traveler.” The “nomadic hustler.”
We envy the young guy with the swole arms, big back, and the tank of a chest.
We envy the woman with the hourglass figure and the perky tits and ass you could bounce a quarter off of. We envy her youth, beauty, health, and long hair.
We envy the people who have wealth. In some cases (socialists) we envy them enough that we want to “redistribute” their wealth (i.e. rob them at legal gunpoint) and give it to those “less fortunate.”
We envy the people who have nicer things than we do. We envy their cars, their houses, their vacations, their lifestyles.
Envy works from a “bottom up” approach. Poor people don’t envy people poorer than them. They envy people above them. Wealthy people don’t envy poor people, they envy people more wealthy than they are. A billionaire doesn’t envy a millionaire.
So what am I rambling on about?
We may not fear the same things. Even if we do, we will react differently to fear. Envy is something we are all susceptible to. It’s hardwired into us as far as I can see.
The guys on Twitter making a killing selling their courses and what not, I don’t think what they are saying is necessarily conscious for the most part, but the element of their sales pitch, at least that I can find so far, is envy.
I envy their money. They have more than me.
I envy their travels and journey’s.
I envy their “freedom” to do whatever they want.
Mind you, I envy them. I don’t hate them, and I don’t wish ill will upon them. As far as I’m concerned, more power to them. I hope they make a killing in their businesses or keep killing it.
I’ve been reading a book recently called Media Hypnosis in Advertising and Politics. The authors have been hammering away at envy.
They talk about mass media and suggestion and give some historical examples such as Germany and Hitler in World War II. Edward Bernays and his “Torches of Freedom,” where he was able to get women to not only smoke, but to smoke in public.
Bernays wrote a couple of books, by the way, they are dated to a degree, but they are potent. Much of main stream media and advertising use his principles and ideas to this very day.
Anyways, getting back to Media Hypnosis in Advertising and Politics, envy is one if not the key point that the authors stress.
You want to get somebody to do or buy something from you? First you need to make them aware that they have a problem. Then tell them that you have the solution. Say or do this message over and over, day after day.
Here’s a few quotes from this book:
The public relations industry is largely devoted to convincing ordinary people that the fulfillment of the American Dream is found in such things as automobiles, cigarettes, and other consumer goods.
It is an industry built on two solid psychological principles. One is envy, that is, that human beings imitate the actions and desires of those whom they look up to or, those who has prestige.
Advertising is not generally based on the inherent qualities of a product, such as its speed or durability, but on the prestige of owning it.
The second principle upon which the public relations industry is built is suggestibility. Humans have a natural tendency to comply with suggestions, such as “you should try this product,” especially when the suggestions are given, again, by someone to whom they look up.
Our society not only encourages envy, it actually requires envy to maintain itself.
Our envy-driven consumer economy is unstable, unsustainable, and potentially harmful.
That’s because desire is spawned by envy, frustration comes from not being able to satisfy that desire (envy) and frustration ensues. Frustration then begets aggression.
If envy is endemic in human nature, that is, we all experience it, we are all susceptible to it, and if we can’t satisfy that envy because it is insatiable, frustration ensues, and aggression can be the result. That aggression can lead to apocalyptic violence.
Look around you…
We live in a time where there is more abundance than ever. More food, more opportunity, more wealth, etc, and yet people are more unhappy now than in the past. More medications are being dispensed to alleviate depression and anxiety. More psychologists and psychiatrists are practicing now than ever before. More wars are being fought and those wars are becoming deadlier.
All because of envy. Insatiable envy.
When does it end? When is “it,” whatever “it” is, enough?
Truth? It doesn’t end. It’s never enough. Ever. You can’t fill that hole that envy creates. No amount of goods and services in the world will be enough. No number of courses, books, videos, money, watches, cars, pussy, you name it, will ever be enough.
So what do we do?
I can’t answer for you. I imagine each person is going to be different on some level as to what may work for them or not.
However, I do think being aware that you are susceptible to envy, and that envy is in play, will help.
Do you want or need that course? Why?
Why do you want or need that car?
Why do you need that pussy?
Why do you want the amount of money you do?
What got you to wanting or needing that amount of money in the first place?
Why do you want to travel?
Why do you want to have the experiences you claim you want to have? Are wanting to those experiences because you genuinely want them? Or is it because someone else has it or had it?
Are you trying to “keep up with the Jones’s?”
Better yet, are you trying to be better than the Jones’s? Why?
Before the Industrial Revolution, most people in America were farmers. They lived off their own land, made their own food and clothes, and were generally self-sufficient. I’m not saying their lives were idyllic or perfect, I’m not preaching utopia here. But in most ways, they wanted for nothing.
As the Industrial Revolution came along, industries created goods way faster and cheaper than the average farmer could. There was a ton of commodities out there. Problem was, nobody needed it or wanted to buy it.
Welcome to advertising. Problems were created that didn’t exist before. (Think Listerine and bad breath, look it up). Think about engagement rings. In older times, when people got married, there was seldom if ever a ring involved. The De Beers Company changed all of that:
Prior to the 20th century, engagement rings were strictly luxury items, and they rarely contained diamonds. But in 1939, the De Beers diamond company changed all of that when it hired ad agency N.W. Ayer & Son. The industry had taken a nosedive in the 1870s, after massive diamond deposits were discovered in South Africa. But the ad agency came to the rescue by introducing the diamond engagement ring and quietly spreading the trend through fashion magazines. The rings didn’t become de rigueur for marriage proposals until 1948, when the company launched the crafty “A Diamond is Forever” campaign. By sentimentalizing the gems, De Beers ensured that people wouldn’t resell them, allowing the company to retain control of the market. In 1999, De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer confessed, “Diamonds are intrinsically worthless, except for the deep psychological need they fill.”
In addition to diamond engagement rings, De Beers also promoted surprise proposals. The company learned that when women were involved in the selection process, they picked cheaper rings. By encouraging surprise proposals, De Beers shifted the purchasing power to men, the less-cautious spenders.
See 5 Beloved Traditions Invented To Make You Buy Stuff for more.
So here’s the takeaway from all of this:
- Envy is a thing, it’s real. (Duh)
- We are all susceptible to it
- Want to sell something to someone? Spark their envy.
- Put your product, your good, your service, yourself as the answer to their envy.
- Make money
Since I’m not an “expert” in advertising, marketing, or sales, maybe I’m talking out of my ass. I don’t think so though.
How do we counter this? What might the antidote be?
- Realize that you, yes you, are susceptible to envy.
- Realize that to one degree or another, you are also susceptible to suggestion. We all are.
- When the desire for whatever it is that’s being offered shows up, stop for a minute and ask yourself why you are desiring whatever it is. Is it because you truly need it? If you don’t have it, you will actually die, become broke, destitute, etc.?
- Make your choice. Buy it or not. It’s up to you. I’m not here to advocate that you buy or not buy anything.
Just become more aware of what is going on around you and what is happening to you.