You probably don’t like snake oil gurus.
They pad their products with fluff, promise you the earth and don’t deliver. And yet, the next time someone says: I’ll show you how to convert thousands of people to your blog without doing more work—boof, you’re in.
So why do snake oil gurus work, when your business doesn’t?
It’s a simple understanding of pre-sell. One of the core elements of pre-sell is philosophy and methodology. Philosophy is mostly what you stand for, and methodology is how you get it done.
And the snake oil merchants have a sound understanding of philosophy. They know that they want to get rich, rich, rich and have tens of thousands, even millions of people treat them like gods. In short, money with a solid dollop of power.
Now whether you like it or not, you like that philosophy
You can indeed see yourself as someone reasonably powerful, maybe like J.K. Rowling. Lots of money, lots of power. Everyone bowing and scraping, without the need to be out there flaunting it all. Or maybe you like to flaunt. Maybe you’ll be a Kim Kardashian kinda character with helicopters, opulent mansions—all the stuff that snake-oil promises.
There often is just one problem with snake-oil
It doesn’t deliver. The methodology is where it all falls apart. You get the philosophy, you buy right into it, but even as you’re buying into it, you know the methodology is not going to work for you.
That’s because the methodology is going to involve a lot of schmoozing, a lot of tricks, a lot of selling—almost pummeling customers to buy into your system.
And you don’t like that. Besides most of the methodology doesn’t boil down to much. All you really have to do is fight your way into a similar snake-oil inner circle and you’re away.
All of this creeps you out—it sure does.
So is there a way out of this mess?
Yes, there is. It’s called pre-sell. Your customers need to get your philosophy first. Instead, you’re all stuck into improving—not talking about your methodology Which means you aren’t communicating either the philosophy or the methodology, both which are probably a lot superior than the snake-oil merchants. You probably have a method for getting about 50 new customers a month, but does that sound sexy?
Nooooo it doesn’t. 10,000 new customers, a list of 750 people signing up every day: those are the things that sound super-sexy, right? But waitasec, back up that truck, because you’re wrong.
50 new customers a month is sexy.
14 new customers a month is amazing.
In certain cases even 2 customers a month is enough to blow the customer’s
Provided the customer understands your philosophy
Why are 14 new customers so much better than 750 a day? What do you look for in those customers? How does it help to treat those customers better, differently even.
Take for example, a guy called Jiro. He runs this little sushi bar in (get this) a basement of the subway station of Ginza, Tokyo. And he takes on just 10 new diners a night. Yup, just 10.
And his philosophy is to give you the freshest sushi experience ever
Going to a Jiro dinner is almost like a final exam. You actually feel the need to prepare to get the best of the evening. And you do, because at $375 per person, and having waited 3 months to get your seat, you’re quite into the philosophy long, long, long before you show up. You’ve bought into the person, his philosophy and his methodology long before you pay for your meal.
We all make the same mistake
At Psychotactics, our products are 3% filler. What does that mean? If you buy a book or audio or workshop, there’s going to be 3% filler. I’d call it breaks (e.g. the pages between the chapter, or the music in between or the breaks at a workshop). But strictly speaking 97% takes you from A to B in a super-elegant way, with “tiny increments”.
Our philosophy isn’t world domination. It’s not to spread twenty-thousand kilometres across the planet. Instead it’s depth. We want to explore a topic one inch wide and twenty thousand feet deep.
And so when we create the products or training, it’s always incremental. It’s always filled with dozens of examples. The examples always pertain to successes and mistakes. They always strive to cover not just products, but services and training too. And the products are always sandwiched with summaries, cartoons with captions that summarise and yes, our passion: food.
But do you get that idea before you buy our products?
Of course not. We’ve gotten so busy with our methodology that we’ve never stopped to talk about what drives us to create this stuff. Our methodology is solid—and doable. And so we fail to realise that it’s not enough for us to know who we are, we have to tell the story. The philosophy must go hand in hand with our methodology.
And the snake oil merchants are good teachers in this respect.
They realise that philosophy matters more
That why something is being done is more important than the way you do it. So they get away with just the sizzle and not the steak. You on the other hand can’t bear the thought of promoting your products without the steak, but forget the sizzle. And this is why we all have to take a step back if we want customers to really love our products and services like we do. We need to drive home the philosophy—first. Then explain our methodology.
You don’t ever have to be a snake oil guru
You don’t ever have to care about world-domination. You love what you do, and you want to do a lot of it. But your customer needs to know.
So yes, pre-sell
Pre-sell your philosophy first. Don’t let the snake oil guru get there before you.
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