This dates me a bit, but back in the 70s and 80s, Tina Turner was a forerunner to the Beyoncé of today, and considered the Queen of rock and roll.
In case you’re too young to know her as the stunning, sultry singer, she also played opposite Mel Gibson as Aunty Entity, ruler of Bartertown, in “Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome.”
But for today’s magic marketing lesson, I’m most concerned with Tina’s version of, “Proud Mary,” the Creedence Clearwater Revival masterpiece.
She fires up the audience by saying:
“So we’re going to take the beginning of this song. And do it nice… and… easy. Then we’re going to do the finish… nice… and… rough!”
Do you want to make it nice… and… easy?
Or nice… and… rough?
This distinction is especially important today when you see so many marketers presenting themselves as a gentler, softer, more caring breed of entrepreneur…
… With such monikers as “Non-manipulative Sales” and “Conscious Capitalist.”
Does the “nice” approach work better in terms of making cold-hard cash?
And is it actually any different, or just the same old wine in a brand new bottle?
Well, here’s the thing.
No matter what your personal principles are.
Meaning… whether you think it’s wrong to go in heavy (with guns-a-blazin’, take no prisoners)…
… Or you think a softer approach is only for selling toilet paper…
YOU’VE GOTTA KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WHY.
Otherwise either way can be a total flop.
It’s like being creative as a musician.
Nobody wants to practice the scales, or learn to read and write music.
It seems restrictive, ridiculous, and like unnecessary drudgery.
But OWNING the basics gives you untold freedom.
Far more than the free spirit who finds it beneath them… and relies on winging it because it’s the “pure” road to creativity.
Sure, maybe if you’re Jimi Hendrix who couldn’t read or write music, you can go with raw instinct.
But you’re probably not.
Most of us aren’t.
The good news is Jimi isn’t the only one to sell millions of albums.
Most of the musicians who do, learn the foundations of music and go from there.
But there are plenty more who chug beer and play in their garage until the neighbors call the cops.
How’s that working out for you, Kevin?
(Kevin still lives at home, but his band is “on the verge of getting discovered any day now.” He’s 43.)
Don’t follow in Kevin’s footsteps.
OK, enough monologue.
Let’s take a look at both nice-and-easy, and nice-and-rough options for entrepreneurs…
5 Principles: Nice Guy’s Guide to Manipulating Others
In each of these principles, it’s actually possible to consider them nice OR rough. So please comment below and let us know your perspective.
There are dozens upon dozens of marketing principles, but I’ve picked just 5 that will give you a big bang for your buck.
Nice or Rough PRINCIPLE #1: Disclosure
Joe Sugarman calls it, Objection Raising (aka: Running Dirty Laundry Up the Flagpole).
Dan Kennedy calls it transparency.
Gary Halbert calls it a damaging admission.
But no matter how you slice it, the impact of revealing flaws is surprisingly powerful for such a simple and straightforward strategy.
For instance, let’s say you go to buy a new car and the salesman immediately tells you about the whine in the transmission.
You, on the other hand, don’t hear a thing on the test drive.
Yet the salesman insists it’s there.
And after straining your ears (and having auditory hallucinations) you actually DO hear it.
You’re stunned that he actually pointed it out to you, even after he tells you about the research he did on that model that shows the transmission runs between 75 and 100,000 miles after the whine is first heard.
And how do you react after that amazing display of sales craft?
Like putty in his hands.
Your B.S. detector has been tucked in and put to bed.
So is that a nice or rough principle?
Depends on how you look at it.
If it’s calculated to hide more serious problems… I’d classify it more on the rough side.
If it’s honest, even though you understand the impact of using this kind of disclosure, you’re leaning more toward nice.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
But here’s the thing.
Knowing what you’re doing and WHY you’re doing it is more important than anything.
That’s why carefully scripted sales presentations will double, triple… even 10X your closing ratio.
It’s also why it’s critical you have a checklist for your copywriting and infuse it with layered and integrated persuasion, or hire someone who knows what they’re doing.
Disclosure works because it assuages our fears in a world where most of us are always looking for ‘the catch’.
If you reveal ‘the catch’ up front, you allow your prospects to trust you.
It lets them relax and take in what you’re presenting.
Which means they’re more likely to become a long-term customer (more on this in #3).
And is it a nice and easy, or rough principle?
Depends on how you use it, but give me YOUR comments below.
Nice or Rough PRINCIPLE #2: The Dangerous Power of Storytelling
You can’t throw a rock without hitting a marketer preaching about the selling power of storytelling.
They’re right, of course, IF the story captures your reader’s immediately, is well crafted, gripping, cohesive, believable, creates an emotional bond with your prospect or customer, and furthers the sale.
And if you have any doubt that you MUST be great at storytelling, think of the greatest persuasion artists… both positive and negative.
I’ll focus on the negative here, since it’s more sensational, but remember that storytelling works both ways.
For instance, on the negative side there’s Bernie Madoff, Charles Ponzi, and Jim Jones…
… And someone you’ve probably never heard of, but one of the greatest storytellers (and swindlers) of all time.
Recognize him in this pic? I doubt it.
He was operating back in 1822 when he sold “government bonds” to British nobility for his INVENTED country of Poyais, supposedly located off the coast of Honduras.
He even created a constitution, claimed he’d been appointed Cazique (some kind of bogus prince), and produced maps of this non-existent island.
Yet when 200 of the 250 ‘colonists’ DIED after sailing to his fantasy island, Gregor MacGregor was undeterred. He even tried to run the same kind of scam in France, where he was arrested, tried, and acquitted.
Eventually he moved to Venezuela, where he was welcomed as a hero. MacGregor died in Caracas, in 1845, aged 58, and was buried with full military honors in Caracas Cathedral because he spun such an unbelievable story.
Powerful storytelling is a uber powerful and potentially dangerous tool.
So use it for good… don’t dabble on the dark side.
And if you want to improve your storytelling skills, DON’T pride yourself on reading only business books.
Read (and study) great serial fiction, comic books, watch daytime soaps… and carefully EXAMINE their effect on YOU.
Notice HOW and WHY they hook you.
WHAT keeps you coming back for more?
There’s brilliant persuasion going on around you all the time… that you can incorporate into your marketing for FREE!
And just like you can use fire to turn iron into steel or cook up a feast, you can also use it to burn houses down. It’s up to you.
Same rules apply with your marketing.
And just so we’re clear, sometimes you have to burn houses down to make way for something else.
The nice approach isn’t for everyone or even necessarily the ‘best’.
If you’re on trial for a crime you didn’t commit, you’re not looking for a ‘nice’ attorney.
Likewise not everyone responds to the same approach.
Oprah’s hardcore fans aren’t tuning in to Howard Stern and vice versa, but neither is hurting for a way to pay their bills.
It’s not about right and wrong, it’s about who you are, your personality, and your target market.
Your thoughts are welcome in the comments below, so fire away!
Nice or Rough PRINCIPLE #3: Your Sparkling (?) Personality
Anyone can make a sale.
And as you know, the point of the first sale (if you have a real business) is to get a customer.
Then the real question becomes, “Can you KEEP a customer… and for how long?”
Usually, if your products are fabulous, you can keep a customer for a year or two.
But the products by themselves have limited attraction value.
And constantly creating new ones is a challenge.
But when they’re tied to a fascinating personality, customer longevity is multiplied and magnified.
People stay tuned in because they want to know about YOU!
By the way, I give credit to Dan Kennedy, for taking me more deeply into this concept.
By example, Dan says:
“Marvel kicked DC comic’s butt in the marketplace. Started late, zoomed past them. Why? Their characters are much more complex. The Spiderman character, the Daredevil character, the Hulk character – these are much more complex characters. Not so much in the movies you see on the screen or the cartoons you see on Saturday but if you actually read the comic books, these are emotionally complex characters. People essentially have to be into…
“What will this person do next?”
“And if they aren’t interested in what you’re going to do next, you can’t sustain interest in yourself at all.”
That’s falling for the old profit killer: “But my business is different.”
With a bit of imagination, you can do this ANYWHERE.
In fact, it’s so important, we’re going to focus on this topic in just a few days, with examples from the media, business, and with practical things you can do.
So stay tuned and watch your emails (or we may have to be a little rough on you).
Nice or Rough PRINCIPLE #4: Specificity
Because people BELIEVE specifics.
And we’ve all heard it from the legendary Zig Ziglar…
“Use meaningful specifics instead of wandering generalities.”
It will not only make for more interesting reading, but give you a BIG jump in believability.
If you’re talking about how many testimonials you have in your files… BE SPECIFIC.
I’ve seen Jay Abraham use exactly this strategy with both his case studies and testimonials.
He’s got massive lists with the actual number at the top.
Something like, “941 Case Studies from 298 Different Professions.”
So there’s a preponderance of proof… and it’s indisputable.
Now go research the facts and figures and use them liberally in your copy.
DON’T use generalities or people will think it’s the usual marketing puffery.
Nice or Rough PRINCIPLE #5: The Intangibles
If you’re an EMAIL ALCHEMY member, you know about the “hot hook extraction worksheet” that identifies the fascinating elements of a product or a business or a person.
Why is this information so important?
To ramp up sales, of course.
Because “the intangibles” are overlooked by most marketers, and yet they can hold the key to astonishing sales.
For instance, do you remember the oft-sighted example of Claude Hopkins and Schlitz beer.
So they called in the brilliant and famous Claude Hopkins to save the day.
Hopkins toured the plant and asked a million questions.
He found that the beer was filtered through white-wood pulp, that every pipe and pump was cleaned twice a day, and that every bottle was cleaned 4 times before being filled.
Plus, the artesian well that provided the water was 4,000 feet deep, even though the brewery was on the shore of then-clean Lake Michigan.
Finally, he went to the lab where the mother yeast was the result of 1,200 experiments, to create superior flavor.
Hopkins was astonished by how fascinating the process was, and asked why Schlitz didn’t say anything about it in their advertising.
They were too close to the situation and said that all beer was basically brewed the same way.
“Yes, but the first one to tell the public about this process will gain a big advantage.”
Then Hopkins created a campaign that told the fascinating and in-depth story of beer brewing, and Schlitz rocketed to #1 in sales in six short months!
It’s what you can do too if you dig deep into your own story.
Because there IS fascinating background and development for ALL products and services that make them much more appealing to your prospects and customers.
By the way, you can download Claude Hopkins’ book, “Scientific Advertising,” at multiple links online, since it’s in the public domain. Here’s one of them:
OK, that’s it for today’s magical marketing journey.
Implement both the nice and easy strategies… AND… the rough ones if that’s your game.
AND GIVE US YOUR COMMENTS.
What do YOU think works best?
Until next time.