Sales Blog from Sales expert Trent Leyshan


How to create a Cult following in 12 simple steps

8406391-way-to-salvation-follow-jesus-and-god-to-be-rescued-save-your-soul (1)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

4 Responses to “How to create a Cult following in 12 simple steps”

  1. Fiona Pascoe says:

    Trent, i love this post! Especially the part about guarantees. I find many people wanting guarantees without guaranteeing how much effort they will put in to make it work for them. Great article. Fiona

  2. Thanks Fiona!

    Its always nice to hear positive feedback and thanks for taking the time to comment.

    All the best,

  3. Mathew Costin says:

    Hey mate,

    I’ve been following AJ and Mary’s teachings for about 6 months.

    I honestly believe that, with the exception of profiting, AJ’s “god’s way of love” Organisation actually fits completely with the second set of 12 steps. I realise his claim is completely audacious, but before writing him off as a quack, on the basis of what you watched on a current affair, perhaps you may wish to investigate something for yourself.
    What exactly has the guy done to affront you to a point where it’s ok for you to dispense with respect, love, and kindness and criticise him from a position of being uninformed, and furthermore with an intention of engaging with your readers and promoting yourself?

  4. Hi Mathew,

    I advocate people that promote respect, love and kindness. What I won’t condone is people preying on the hearts and minds of others. From what I’ve seen and read AJ strikes me as a predator or totally delusional. Either way, his best interests mislead and manipulate people.

    In saying that, I am eager to learn more and be proven wrong.

    I appreciate you reading my blog and taking the time to offer your feedback.

    If you know of him ever being in Melbourne please let me know, I’m eager to see him speak in person.

    All the best for now.

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