Check out the following lines. It’s from a sales page by people I like and respect, but there are some outdated, manipulative ideas:
- You’ll learn secrets for sharing what you do that produce instant trust and desire in your ideal clients…
- You’ll learn how to share your story so people lean in and get an “intuitive hit” that they need to work with you…
- You’ll learn how to create your unique, aligned, and irresistible marketing statement!
There’s no need to go looking for who wrote this, because this type of language is rampant in my industry. I’m quite sure I myself have used such language in the past. I didn’t know that there was a better way.
Over the years, I’ve become quite sensitized to this type of marketing manipulation. By reading this post, you’ll also become more conscious in your marketing, and also gain more control over your purchasing choices.
Commonly used in marketing to create FOMO, the word “secret” makes us feel like outsiders.
We want to be on the inside, so we don’t miss an advantage we could have over others… advantages that could bring us long-term security or fulfill our dreams.
The truth is that because we’re all overwhelmed with information, every new piece of valuable knowledge is a “secret”, so it’s moot to use that word, other than to try to seduce.
“Instant trust and desire”
The language of manipulation. “Trust” should never be produced “instantly”. Trust is earned from repeated, trust-worthy interactions.
And to instantly produce “desire” in our potential clients is to see them as pavlovian dogs that just need the right meat to make them salivate and do our bidding.
Intuitive hits are supposed to come from a higher spiritual source. Here, we’re led to believe that we could create marketing that will make the audience feel as if a higher source has recommended that they buy our thing.
A spiritual idea, corrupted for the sake of power and money.
We “need” oxygen, water, food, and shelter. We “need” social acceptance and interaction. We don’t “need” to buy anything or work with anyone. To say that we can create marketing that makes potential clients feel they need to work with us is playing with mind control.
Yes, of course it’s profitable. That’s the problem.
Over the past decade I’ve noticed this word cropping up in many marketing programs. We’re taught to create “irresistible offers”… which means our marketing should override our potential clients’ free will and make them buy from us, without a second thought.
Is that how you want marketers to treat you?
One of my readers wrote this:
“I’ve bought things when the presenter was manipulating, and felt so used afterward. Even when I learned some useful things, the experience was tainted.”
If you believe in the Golden Rule, then let’s be careful not to do this to others as well…
Again, I believe that these are good people who are using such words and phrases. Years ago I used such language too, because I didn’t know of any better way.
My belief is that we can easily fall into this kind of manipulation when we temporarily lose touch with a deep trust that we will be taken care of.
More important than our sales and numbers, we are called first and foremost to grow through our efforts to genuinely serve the people we’re blessed to have the attention of.
To me, to truly serve people means to respect their agency and sovereignty, to allow them to make genuinely educated free will choices.
We have to be careful not to try to make sales “so that” we can finally serve people. That’s the fallacy of the ends justifying the means. In actuality, there’s only means, there’s only how we do things. I believe we are called to work with honesty and love.
Once we become aware of this dynamic, this kind of manipulation, I hope we will make the choice to stop. I hope we will instead take on a bit more humility in our marketing and to describe our product/service in a simple way: whom the product is designed for, and what the typical buyer might expect from using it.
And then? To trust, to serve, and observe. To notice what offerings, simply described, are of greatest interest to our audience — and to also notice which offers don’t have market interest, so that we can plan our business efforts accordingly.
Manipulative marketing isn’t enjoyable by neither the marketer nor the audience. Those of us who use it simply don’t understand that there is a more fulfilling way, a way that gets increasingly more effective the more we use it: authentic marketing.
One of my readers asked:
“What about offers that are emotionally based, and not so much product-based? What if the service itself tugs at someone’s weakness or soft spots? Especially since you can’t guarantee a return on that…”
Here’s the thing — every buying decision is ultimately emotional. When it comes to authentic business, the emotional bond with the potential client is built with a much more gradual process, over a more organic timespan, through valuable content and trustworthy interactions.
When the product is ready to be sold, it’s a calmer, more transactional moment, since the trust has already been built, rather than the pressure-driven sales approach of trying to build instant emotional rapport with strangers. That’s when manipulation is needed for “success”.
And yet, genuine and lasting attraction cannot be created in the same space as non-transparent seduction and manipulation.
Is there other marketing manipulation you’ve noticed? I’d love for you to add to this conversation, so that we can all become more conscious. May we all make better choices that bolster our integrity, develop trustworthy relationships, and allow us to work with lasting fulfillment.