Tuesday night I watched a feature on A Current Affair about an Australian charlatan by the name of A J Miller.
This fruit cake and his female partner claim to be incarnations of Biblical characters Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene.
What struck me most about this quack was how confident and articulate he was when questioned about the substance of his beliefs and teachings. Even scarier, there were people at his events and many zealous believers of his mind-numbing escapades.
Miller is one in a long line of people that successfully prey on the hearts and faculties of those in a desperate search for meaning. Often, offering a notion of solace and simplicity for vulnerable people seeking answers to come to terms with a complex and intimidating world.
Salivation, peace of mind and a transformational experience are always products spruiked to the masses fervently by these champions of exploitation. You and I won’t fall for it. Sadly many do. Sometimes parting with their life savings to kiss the sweet lips of enlightenment and taste a more meaningful life.
Salespeople have much to learn from the likes of A J Miller, for the most part what not to do.
Taken from a cross-section of cult organising approaches, here’s a step by step process to develop a cult like following:
Step I: Keep your message simple and vague and open to interpretation.
Step 2: Communicate in extremes and take people to a place where emotions overwhelm logic.
Step 4: Pick a fight by creating an Us versus Them mentality.
Step 5: Isolate the group from external influences and sell your message subtly as often as possible.
Step 6: Build a community of uneducated and vulnerable people and re-educate them with secret knowledge and foster a sense of commonality and false hope.
Step 7: Promote yourself as a not for profit organisation, spruiking principles before profits.
Step 8: Engage your audience daily or weekly, if you tell the same lie for long enough, you and others will start to believe it.
Step 9: Keep your audience in a state of need by drip feeding them information that promises more, but in reality delivers the same information regurgitated.
Step 10: Foresee an impending event or an experience that will change their life dramatically forever.
Step 11: Offer a guarantee no matter how ridiculous the outcome, i.e. “I made $1.2 Million in my first year and you can too!” Those with weak constitutions need a shepherd.
Step 12: Only sell something whereby the benefits are extraordinary yet impossible to measure.
So there you have it, you are now just as qualified as someone like AJ Miller to go out into the world and peddle a message of false hope.
However, if you genuinely desire to add-value to people’s lives and build a long and distinguished career in sales, simply do the contrary to the above principles.
Here are some examples to get you started:
Step I: Keep your message clear and concise and always from a place of contribution.
Step 2: Connect with peoples emotions to reinforce their logic.
Step 4: Be inclusive and demonstrate there is enough for everyone including competitors.
Step 5: Use testimonials and references to reinforce your value proposition.
Step 6: Build a community of like-minded people who share and collaborate this includes clients and colleagues.
Step 7: Promote yourself as a profit based organisation that values people.
Step 8: Engage your audience when appropriate. Dont over-communicate, as this approach trains the people you need to influence, to ignore you.
Step 9: Empower your clients to not need you; however they chose to work with you.
Step 10: Everyday including today is an opportunity to change people’s lives.
Step 11: There are no guarantees in this world. If customers need this perhaps the risk over-rides their reward. Get comfortable with saying “no” to customers.
Step 12: Benefits must be tangible and measurable and as a vendor always be accountable.
Now go-forth and multiply!
Trent Leyshan Sales Training