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What are you doing here?  Did you think I was kidding?

Seriously, what motivated you to follow the link labeled "Don't Click Here!"?  The answer, whatever it is for you, is the clue to a very effective marketing strategy.  Parents and teachers (and savvy kids) refer to this as "reverse psychology."  My first exposure came at about age five, and lasted, I'm sorry to say, well into my pre-teens.  In its classic form, it went like this:

My Father: I bet you can't drink that orange juice in 10 seconds.
Me: Oh yeah?

The second time this marketing strategy appeared in my life, in a slightly altered form, was in adolescence, when the only thing that mattered was having a girlfriend, and I didn't.  A bunch of similarly situated friends and I comforted ourselves by discovering and incanting a perverse rule of life, "Girls prefer jerks."  While this was terribly unfair, and no doubt motivated by jealousy, there was and remains a grain of truth in the observation that good things come to those who don't really care about those things.  To put it another way, my neediness and obsessing was not the most attractive thing in the world to the girls I was hoping to attract.

Once I had a girlfriend and was "taken," however, I found that having interesting conversations (read: flirtations) became effortless.  At that time, I believed that the difference was external and objective: having a girlfriend is what made the difference.  Now that I'm older and wiser, I know that isn't true.  The real difference was internal and attitudinal: how I behaved when I was "taken" vs. "on the prowl." 

How does this apply to business?  It's the difference between the hard sell and the no-sell.  One client of mine found great success in attending sales calls with big, important prospects with the attitude, "We don't need your stinkin' business." Previously, they had bent over backwards to win every contract, to anticipate every need, to flatter and cajole and convince and meet unreasonable deadlines and spend thousands of dollars responding to every RFP with all their best ideas. 

We talked about the impression this gave: neediness, insecurity, amateurism.  It communicated, "We will be whoever and whatever you want us to be.  You want a plumber, we'll be your plumber.  You prefer a therapist, well, we can do that too.  How about a batting coach?  Baker?  Wedding photographer?  Private eye?  We'll do anything for your business."

The attitude of "We don't need your stinkin' business" led to a completely different discussion, one that focused on the project, the scope of work, and whether it was perfect for my client.  The business development staff naturally asked the right questions, based on curiosity as to whether this project was an ideal fit or not.

If the link to this page had been, "Please, please, please click here. Oh, pretty please..." would you have done it?  How many banner ads have you clicked on lately?  And isn't their message some variation on the "pretty please" strategy?

So, don't sign up for my FREE email newsletter..  Pretty please...

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