I was attending one of those U-rah-rah sessions at a trade show the other day. You know the kind, because we have all attended them. The one where the overpaid keynote speaker talks about building up your motivation and getting you to chant stuff or just talking about how you can will yourself into whatever success you want. Maybe the speaker will even sell some of their books, preaching the same message. Essentially telling you that you can be anything you want, if you pay them.
No. No you can’t.
You can be anything you are willing to actually work for.
This particular event was filled with starry-eyed business owners, looking to grow their business from what it is today, to the beach living, not a care in the world, money is no object, my business runs itself, world they were promised in the brochure for this event.
Sometimes these events have sweet, hope inspired titles that include words like growth, club, warrior, alliance, gold, platinum, leader, action, results, goals, etc.
I was working my booth, selling these entrepreneurs call answering services.
You want to grow your business? Maybe consider answering the phone when it rings.
Anyways, I had been to this tradeshow a few years in a row. Similar presenters, same vendors, same venue, same chicken wing slime handshakes from many of the same attendees.
Do you know what I noticed?
With all of this motivation and drive and energy flowing around the event, the majority of the attendees were right where they started the year previous. No revolutionary business growth, no beach living, and they definitely had some cares in the world with regards to their business and the debt they were building up.
They were buying the hype, by buying the hope.
Hope is a powerful word and I consider it a four letter one.
In my world, hope has no place, without doing something to achieve whatever you are hoping for.
I’m talking about real activity, not the easy stuff.
How many exercise videos do you see at garage sales that look almost brand new?
Then we have the whole selling of fear, another four letter word. The phrase typically starts with, “If you don’t do this…”
Talk to any life insurance salesperson, they bank on selling fear. They have to, I suppose.
I feel that selling business coaching, or just about anything else shy of a running program to a 300 pound couch potato, with a fear based sales process is downright unethical.
We see it all the time. Political ads really hit the fear button hard.
So what is a savvy consumer to do?
I recommend that with every purchase, you
- Check your head to see if this thing or service you are about to pay for is going to feed your insecurities in either hope or fear.
- You have to then decide whether that hope or fear, or often both, has a solid foundation to justify the purchase.
- Finally, you need to choose whether the things you will need to do with this hope and fear will actually get done.
The image you see above is a great example. This is a set of Tony Robbins tapes, probably from the mid-nineties. Only some of the tapes are open and they probably cost hundreds of dollars to initially buy.
The original purchaser bought hope.
That is to say, they were hoping that by buying these tapes, they would listen to them and their life would be improved. This is totally valid. Tony Robbins has done a lot for the people that actually open the cassettes and listen to them. Those customers that simply buy the tapes and hope for life altering improvements will find something less than success.
Then they’ll find these cassettes in their attic a few decades later and decide they will probably never listen to them. They’ll blame it on not having a cassette player, but you and I know the truth.
The weird thing is, once you are aware of this whole hope and fear marketing smoke, you see it everywhere.
I remember reading the class descriptions in my college classbook when I was choosing classes. The descriptions were incredible. I totally wanted to learn what those descriptions stated! The descriptions failed to let me know I’d have to attend class, listen to boring lectures, read textbooks and do the homework in order to actually come anywhere near the knowledge those descriptions were portraying.
So that knowledge often didn’t transfer as smoothly as I had hoped.
What is the next big purchase you are thinking about for your business? Will you be buying it in the hopes of some improvement, to alleviate the fear of not buying it, or do you have a tangible result you expect to happen because of the action steps you plan to take.
Maybe you aren’t sure.
Let me offer you this. If you are considering a purchase and you are uncertain if it is a purchase based on hope, fear or something more real, give me a call. I’ll walk you through a few steps to help you decide on this specific purchase. No cost, no strings, but I may write another blog about hope and fear because of it.
James Kademan is a Business Coach for Draw In Customers Business Coaching in Madison, Wisconsin as well as the author of The BOLD Business Book. When he isn’t helping people actually keep their promises to themselves based on their purchases, he is busy guiding entrepreneurs to success in business and beyond. He blogs successfully to the world at www.drawincustomers.com. If you are considering hiring a business coach, take a moment to call James at (608)210-2221. Pop-quiz, are you awesome? He hopes you call, but he is afraid you won’t.