You’d think giving away $100 bills would be easy, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong. Take a look…
Mike Enlow, an internet marketer, ran an experiment to literally give away $100 bills! He set up a site offering the money, promoted it on search engines and through advertising, and left the site up for several months:
Not a single person took them up on the offer of the free $100 bill!
Here is the ad they ran on the Freeyellow website:
I’LL SEND YOU A $100 FOR FREE!!!! you just pay the cost of $10.95 to have it mailed to you by overnight delivery!! My supplies of these $100 bills are limited if I run out your order will not be processed so act now!!!!! Act now to get $100 (U.S. Currency) by overnite delivery!!!!!! WHERE ELSE CAN YOU GET $100 FREE? <Click Here To Order Online
In an article explaining why he did this, Mike listed six reasons why he believed the ad didn’t work…
However, someone pointed out something which - at least to me - was even more important than the reasons listed in the article: it’s that you have to pay $10.95 to have this $100 sent to you!
I don’t know about you, but if I’d read that ad, my immediate suspicion would be: scam.
(Like the letters that say you recently won a prize draw, and the $10 million prize fund is waiting for you, if only you send back a form along with your “prize administration fee” of $14.95. Sadly, thousands of people - especially the elderly - fall for them each year.)
That was my main impression of the ad, at any rate. Not only did it have zero credibility, it actually read like a scam - no matter how great the offer.
The funny thing is, in so many aspects of our lives, we’re all trying to give away hundred dollar bills. Maybe not that specific dollar amount, but we may be trying to give away something we think is of value.
For example: maybe it’s the drink you’re offering to buy that hot guy or girl in the bar. Maybe it’s the free email subscription you’re offering to your site visitors. Maybe it’s the RSS button you’re hoping your visitors will press to subscribe to your blog.
If you get turned down, maybe you’re simply offering the $100 bill the wrong way.
Seriously. If someone came up to you in the street and offered you $100, I’m betting your first reaction would be, Why?
In fact, given that I’m intimately familiar with the “weapons of influence”, I’d be very wary of taking money from someone for nothing. What are they expecting in return?
One of the simplest and yet most effective things you can do in life to improve your marketing and, quite frankly, just about everything you do to persuade and influence others, is to look at it from the other person’s perspective.
That girl in the bar for whom you’ve just offered to buy a free drink, your thinking it sounds like a good offer, but maybe she’s thinking: “Oh, great. Yet another guy that wants to get into my knickers.” And then when she says no, you go back to your guy friends and blame your hair, or her sexuality. (Come on guys, admit it!) Really though, you offered her one thing, she saw it as something else.
That visitor to your site to whom you think you’ve just made a killer offer in exchange for signing up to your email course, maybe they’re just thinking, “Oh no. I like the offer, but if I fill in this form I’m going to get yet more offers for things from this marketer. I get too many emails already, so I won’t bother.”
Shift your own perspective. Stop seeing your offers through your eyes.
Giving things for free should be easy, shouldn’t it? But it’s not. Otherwise everyone who visited your site would sign up to your free email course, or your RSS subscription. Or every girl and guy would take you up on your offer to buy them a drink.
(The exception, of course, is my blog… where most new visitors subscribe, because they’re a smart bunch of people who want to develop their influence, persuasion and marketing skills, and don’t want to miss out on all the great future posts.)
At its most basic level, the key to influence and persuasion is simply to know where a person’s at, and then to know how to get them to where you want them to be.
Most people are poor persuaders simply because they don’t get the first bit right - they don’t realize where a person’s at in the first place!
In the case of the ad for the free $100 bill, the reader is “at” a position of deep skepticism. Why would anyone give away $100? This looks and smells like a scam.
The ad did absolutely nothing to take readers past their initial skeptical state. And hence nobody claimed their free $100 bill.
So what’s the “key point” you can take from this article and use today? It’s that: whenever you’re trying to persuade or influence, which includes when you’re offering something for free, recognize the other person’s state first.
In the case of a free offering, most people’s initial state is skepticism. Why is this being offered for free?
If the initial state is negative, like skepticism, disbelief or just plain old disinterest, and you’re trying to “sell” them something (or even offer something for free), you’ll usually need to overcome this initial state before you have a chance of persuading them.
In the end, Mike Enlow revised the $100 bill offer, established credibility and believability, and “sold” a hundred dollar bill to the very first person he contacted.
He took them out of a state of skepticism, and into a state of trust.
So next time you want to wield your persuasion and influence skills on your husband, wife, children, site visitors, or even that hot guy or girl you noticed at the bar, make sure you’re able to recognize where they are “at”, i.e. what state they are in. If it’s not a good state, change it first!
(Oh, and if you’re asking yourself, “So how exactly can I recognize that state?”, or “What do I do once I know their state?”… sigh… do you want everything on a plate? Maybe you’ll find out soon if you’re signed up to my RSS or subscription feed… )
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