The other day I attended a one-day seminar on Internet Marketing, in one of those rented hotel function rooms, lead by a guy I’d never heard of before. It was advertised on Kijiji, for $49.00. “Pretty cheap” I thought. “Maybe TOO Cheap?” But I figured that even if it turned out to be a waste of time, $49 wasn’t going to profoundly affect my bank balance.
This guy’s approach to selling his business services made me feel like the proverbial fish on the line, being gently reeled in. I’ll tell you who he was and how he did that in a minute, but first, consider this question: What is the best way to try and sell your services, ideas, or products?
After all, we’re all competing against other businesses or individuals, and essentially saying, “choose me!” Trying to influence someone to make that choice is a dilemma each of us faces, whether we’re an entrepreneur, a CEO, or unemployed and looking for a job.
In the past I blogged about how one key to persuasion is in the language you choose to use (see The Art of Persuasion: Key to Effective Communication). But what happened at the seminar I attended reminded me that there really is a whole other way to sell.
Let me set the scene.
The seminar began with Paul Tobey, the seminar leader, telling us his rags-to-riches tale. He had been a struggling musician till the day he decided he was tired of scrambling to make ends meet. That’s when he made a total commitment to change his career, his life…and get rich. Remarkably, it worked! These days he runs a successful business training company called Training Business Pros (and he even has a yacht, that ultimate symbol of wealth). And, most importantly, he told us if we followed his approach we too would become much more successful like he.
I was hooked. I wanted to find out how he did it and learn more about his methods.
One of the more salient things he told us is that there are seven key elements to making each page on a website work brilliantly as a marketing device. He revealed element number one: have a good headline.
So, for example, take a boutique real estate company. Instead of a headline reading: “Boutique Real Estate Company, since 2010” you might try something along the lines of “Experienced team of professionals finds your dream home – that’s a promise.”
“OK, that’s a good tip,” I thought. So now he had me on the line — I really wanted those next six steps! But alas, he wasn’t going to give them away that day. No, this seminar was just an introduction – or, if you like, a “tease.” To go deeper into the specifics of his path to greater success I’d need to sign up for another, considerably more expensive seminar. But there was good news! If I signed up for that seminar, I could get two other relevant seminars…for free. I was reeled in a little further. In fact he almost had me, hook, line and sinker, until he added that the only way to get this deal was to sign up for his two day seminar that very day.
Yes, I still wanted those six other steps to make my website a brilliant marketing device. Yes, I still wanted more of his expertise on SEO and Internet marketing. But was I going to put my money down? In the end, the answer was no. I wanted more time to consider my options. But any number of the other people attending the seminar did whip out their chequebooks, right then and there.
What really intrigued me, even more than his knowledge of websites and business building, were his skills of persuasion. How did he do it, luring people in with a soft sell, then following it up with something a little harder, adding a little more pressure?
First, he created curiosity by offering such an inexpensive seminar – even though he has impressive credentials on his own website. He created desire with his rags to riches story. He tempted with promises of revealing secrets that would take us to a deeper level of success. He finished with a call to action. We had to sign up that day to get the deal.
These are classic elements of the art of persuasion, and they were indeed artfully employed.
Will I take more of his seminars? I’m mulling it over. Will I make use of some of his persuasion techniques in my own sales efforts for my company, The Language Lab, Ditto. But one thing is certain: the power of persuasion can’t be underestimated. Even when it costs a mere $49 bucks!