Influencing Your Customers To Buy – Is It Manipulation, Or Just Good Business Sense?


The Psychological Principles Behind Order Customization

This article will explore the underlying principles behind order customization, more commonly known as upselling and downselling. When a customer has agreed to buy something you have a much higher chance of selling them something else in that moment than you would at a later date. Researchers like Dr Robert Cialdini have shown that there are definite psychological principles that define customer behavior  and how you can influence buying decisions.

Smart marketers are using this to their advantage. The question is,  “Is this unethical manipulation of just good business sense?

The North Wind And The Sun

The North Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger, when a traveler came along wrapped in a warm cloak.
They agreed that the one who first succeeded in making the traveler take his cloak off should be considered stronger than the other.
Then the North Wind blew as hard as he could, but the more he blew the more closely did the traveler fold his cloak around him;
and at last the North Wind gave up the attempt. Then the Sun shined out warmly, and immediately the traveler took off his cloak.
And so the North Wind was obliged to confess that the Sun was the stronger of the two.

Aesops fable about the north wind and the sun illustrates one of the core  principles behind all successful selling. If you make the conditions favorable to your customer then its only a matter of time before they will buy. If on the other hand you attack them with high pressure sales techniques and force them into making a purchase they are going to be very unlikely to continue along the path you have planned for them. In the story, the sun not only got the man to take off his cloak but also prepared the way for him to take off even more clothing.

Don’t Take No For An Answer

When a potential customer decides not to buy your product or service what options do you have available to you. The first thing you must realize is that they have made a decision based on the way you presented your offer.

Leveraged Sales

What psychological researchers like Dr Robert Cialdidi have shown is that even when someone refuses to buy something you can leverage them into buying something as they leave by utilizing one of the variations on Cialdidni’s 1st principle of influence, reciprocity


The Law Of Reciprocity

Reciprocity under normal circumstances can be seen when someone  does a favor  for you.  In almost all circumstances you are  now obliged to do something for them in return.

When applied to negotiation if you appear to give a concession in negotiation your partner is obligated by the rule of reciprocity to give a concession too

So if you want someone to buy something and they initially say no to your first offer , if you now make a concession and offer them something else they are much more likely to agree because of the law of reciprocity. Regardless of whether they even want what you are selling

An Accidental Discovery

Robert discovered this quite by accident while walking through the campus of his university. A boy scout tried to sell him raffle tickets for $5, he declined the offer and as he was leaving the boy said, “Well if you don’t want a raffle ticket maybe you would buy one of these chocolate bars for a dollar”.  Robert instantly reached into his pocket for a dollar and walked away only to be struck moments later by the fact that he doesn’t even like chocolate

He had an epiphany and instantly called his research team to investigate the psychology behind this particular instance of powerful persuasion

The root of it lies in the fact that if you ask someone to comply to an extreme request that they can refuse, they are more likely to accept a lesser request if you ask them immediately afterward

An Extreme Request

Robert and his team took this to the streets to test and began by setting up a fake charity organization and asking complete strangers if they would like to volunteer  to accompany juvenile delinquents on a zoo expedition. Naturally most people declined

They then framed their question in a different way. The first question they asked was. “would you like volunteer to be a buddy and mentor  to a juvenile delinquent and sign up for a 2 year program that involves several  hours commitment each week”

Naturally most people declined this offer. The amazing thing was when they asked their original question to the same people immediately after this extreme request  they got a 75% increased response rate than they did before

Selling at the Exit

Even when a customer is leaving you still have the chance to make them another offer. Lower the price and remove the frills and bonuses and you have a good chance of making the sale.


Launch Tree

Most serious internet marketer are fully utilizing these principles in their efforts to sell more of their products.  Mike Filsaime and Anik Singal recently released their Launch Tree course explaining this whole process and encouraged a movement away from using the terms upsell and downsell in favor of order customization.

A Question Of Ethics

As long as you are selling a quality product or service and you are certain that what you are offering will be of real value to your customer then the question of ethics is not really relevant.

Always have at least two offers prepared so even if your customer refuses initially, you can immediately offer them an alternative

If you pressure someone into buying something they don’t really need at some point they will realize what has happened and start complaining. You might get away with it once but you are potentially ruining the chances of a long term  relationship.

It’s wise to  remember that in today’s social media world,   if  you deliberately take advantage of your customers  your actions will get noticed quickly. Today with 67% of people consulting an online community before they buy anything make sure your company name is on the recommendation list not  the black list.

Rich Schefren – A Viral Master Who Can Predict The Future?

A Launch Like No Other

Last week Rich Schefren spent  26 hours live on upstream TV to promote his latest free report,  The Uncertainty Syndrome and his new G.P.S, (Guided Profit System) coaching program.   In this article I will  analyse some of  his  marketing tactics that he has adopted for this launch, and briefly summarise the main points in the report.

I would urge anyone to check out Rich Schefrens material. He is known as the Guru’s Guru and is a student of world renowned business advisor and marketing wizard  Jay Abraham.

A Viral Master Who Can Predict The Future

Rich is a master of Viral Marketing and his previous reports like  The Internet Business Manifesto and Attention Age Doctrine have become landmarks in the online marketing world as he carefully analysed and pinpointed the trends and shifts  in the rapidly changing  online world, and the steps businesses need to take in order to respond and adapt or find themselves left behind.

Timing Is Everything

Rich has left  enough time for  the recent Stompernet launch  to quiet down giving  him the platform to  grab everyone’s  attention. With so many people jaded by the constant stream of product launches  his 26 hour Marathon was something a bit different that made him stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

Build The Excitement

His report went live at 12.00noon EST, He used a countdown timer on his Blog to build anticipation and anyone who follows him on Twitter will have seen his tweets that were intended to  tease and titilate us and get us in the right mindset to consume his next offering. His friends  at Stompernet  also mailed to their list so you can be sure that anyone who has expressed an interest were well  primed about this report.

Over Deliver On Bonuses And Create An Irresistible Offer

Rich has been using Mike Filsaimes strategy for virally spreading his report. By offering free bonuses for each friend you invite. He is making an irresistible offer to get people to tell their friends.

Build Credibility

On Opening the report you are faced with a 3 page  introduction from marketing heavyweight Jay Abraham. Rich has always been an advocate of piggy backing and here he uses it again by getting his mentor to introduce him and build his own credibility. Not that he really needs any more building up. Rich’s client list is like a who’s who of the internet marketing world.

Amplify The Pain

The next 8  pages are “amplifying your pain”. Here he is trying to connect with an entrepreneurs frustrations. By showing he understands their problems and that he has the solution. Remember Rich is ultimately trying to sell a coaching program he needs to connect deeply with those who need his help.

Leisure Phobia – Are You A Sufferer?

Rich nails some of the main problems that those who run their own business face and their inability to disconnect with their work and give attention to other areas of their life

Create Your Own Terminology

Leisure Phobia is the new term that he has coined. Rich is famous for inventing new terminology and words that will  always link back to him as their originator. Rich is again establishing himself as A Maven To Pay Attention To.

Identify The Real Issues

Page 12 Introduces the main concept of his report,  that the actual success of your business is determined by the  constraints you place around it.

“The ONLY way to turn your potential for success into actual success is to blow away the constraints in your business that are actually blocking your path”

Rich also points to an interesting truth that  “The pain that a constraint causes is rarely felt at the point of that constraint but somewhere else in the process”

Rich breaks these constraints down into 3 main category’s

Errors in thinking, Errors in Procedures and Self imposed constraints.

Offer The Solution To The Problem

The solutions that he offers are termed 7 silver bullets and form the remainder of his report.

  • Do it wrong fast – Action Creates Clarity

  • Fast  and Frequent Intelligence  – Avoid Flying Blind

  • Learn to view  your business as one large system – Avoid  Linear Thinking

  • Use Timesavers to instantly double your profits  –  Avoid Inefficient work styles

  • Create a worldwide network of A list players – don’t be alone and lost in a networked world.

  • Embrace the awesome power of social psychology marketing – avoid outdated one way marketing

  • Rip The Lid Off Your Buyers Bottlenecks

Sell On The Back End

Rich has built his  multimillion dollar business  without any front end product. He uses his free reports and other marketing techniques to convince people to join his coaching program. Rich  freely share for 26 Hours everything he has to offer and then follows up with emails and more exciting offers that

Showing The Human Side

Everything  Rich does is carefully planned to reveal  the human side of his business.  He gives you  a  behind the scenes view of his office,  and you even get to  meet his  wife and two daughters emphasising that fact that he is a family man. He’s also not doing this for the money, he already has plenty, he is motivated because he is passionate about what he does and loves to help others succeed.

Office Arguments

He even tells you  about arguments that took place in his office when his staff were deciding  what should be included in the final version of the manuscript. Everything is carefully orchestrated to build rapport to the point where you really  feel like you know, like and trust this guy

Viral Visibility is Key

Rich makes his reports so good and reveals such quality information that they go viral straight away. Anyone who has read any of his work will know what I am talking about, it’s the sort of thing you want to be the first to tell your friends so they will thank you for putting them onto it.

Rich Makes Himself Available

Rich did an amazing thing at the beginning of this launch, he went live on ustream TV for 26 hours and gave a constant stream of quality advice and business coaching to all who had tuned in. Not only was he showing just what he had to offer by  revealing  the depth and breadth of his experience he was also building powerful  relationships with all his potential future clients; Over 27,000 people participated in this monumental event and they averaged 1000 viewers at any one time.

Are You Competitive?

Rich also ran a competition on his blog, giving away a free scholarship to his coaching program. Not only does this force people to actually read his report and start applying its principles, it  further increases the viral buzz   and allows him to perform one of the essential tasks  that Jeff Walker Identifies in his Product Launch Formula and that is to survey you customers and ask them what their main problems are.  You then use this feedback to  tailor your product and sales letter to directly address the issues that seem most prevalent  he has already  received  over 400 entries to his competition at the time of writing.

Feedback Formula

Rich  insists on feedback from his clients to constantly improve his services, he has  applied this principle throughout the whole launch process and really builds those personal relationships even to the point of  emailing all those who make comments on his blog.

Teleseminar  With The Wizard

With Less than 48 hours to the opening of his coaching program,  his final offering is a  teleseminar with Marketing Wizard Jay Abraham, one of Rich’s teachers and personal  mentors. Make sure you book your place as it is likely to fill up fast,   Grab Your Spot Here

If you have enjoyed this article you can find a lot of other similar great resources on my Blog,

You can also follow me on twitter – for my latest updates, facebook tips and marketing strategies

Risk Reversal – How to Increase Sales and Build Relationships

Risk Reversal is a way to increase sales and to make whatever you have to sell irresistible because your customer has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Who Takes All The Risk?

When you are in business, and you are trying to sell something whether it be a product or service what often happens is that one of the parties involved is shouldering the burden of the risk, Usually this is the customer, They might buy the wrong product, or it might not be suitable to their needs, or your service might not produce the results that they need to justify the investment.

Take it Away from the Customer

What you need to do is find ways to take this burden away from the customer and shift it onto you. This effectively opens up the sales process and removes any objections or reservations a customer or prospect might have. You are effectively guaranteeing that you will meet their needs and that if certain criteria are not met they will be fully compensated.

30 Day Money Back Guanrantee

A simple example is the 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee. This gives anyone who is sceptical the chance to test drive what you have to offer while having the security of knowing that they can pull out at any time and not have lost anything.

More Than Money Back Guarantee

A further variation is the more than Money back guarantee where you offer a full refund plus a further offer or gift to appease the customer and make up for the time they spent and the inconvenience of choosing something unsuitable.

Define Criteria to Measure Effectiveness

If you are selling a service then you need to define certain measurable criteria that can be used to test whether or not your service has been effective.

A great example of this can be seen in what Frank Kern offered in his mass control program that he released earlier this year. He was so sure that his program would work that he offered to give anyone personal one on one coaching if after following his program and applying all the teachings they were still not able to apply what they had learned successfully to their business.

Another common example that most people will have heard of is Domino’s Pizza, if they take longer than 30 minutes to deliver you get your Pizza for Free.

Starbucks have also adopted similar customer service policies as described so well in his Blog by Yaro Starack, If your drink isn’t delivered or the service you receive is not to their high standards you get your drink for free and a voucher for a drink on the house at a later date.

Word of Mouth Builds Reputation

What this does is develop a strong bond with the customer and also build your companies reputation through word of mouth. If you receive a standard of service over and above what you are expecting it is the sort of thing you will talk about to your friends. This is one of the ways companies can start to go viral. People hear about them through word of mouth. This is why social media sites and online communities have become the new arena and market place which can make or break your business.

Build This Principle Into Your Own Business

It now becomes clear that is you want to convince more people to buy your product or service you have to make it as easy and risk free for them to do so. Developing guarantees, standards of quality and expected results need to be combined with clearly defined criteria that can be used to measure how effective you have been in meeting the needs of your customer. Risk reversal ensures quality and accountability and builds a basis for selling other products and services at a later date. People who know like and trust you are much more likely to become repeat customers.

Take Away Tactics – part 2

This is part two of a two part article, to read part 1 click here

A two stage Take Away

Another way to use the take away close that I saw recently was on a website by Mike Filsaime, he was offering his latest product and was giving a one time offer, and as an incentive he had thrown in loads of bonuses and gave you the option to buy right now. He was using time scarcity tactics but when you chose not to buy he made a second attempt at closing the sale, by taking you to a second landing page and offering you the same product but without so many bonuses and giving it to you at a lower price. This was a two stage take away and I was impressed with the slickness of it all. I bet it increased his conversion rates by at least 20%.

here is a testimonial he put in his sales letter that has a take away built into it.

I would encourage anyone, at any cost, to work with these guys. It’s not how much the event costs, it’s how much you stand to loose by not being there!” —Adam Ginsberg

Give Value and Develop Relationships

Take aways really work best when you have already given value to a customer, and have established a good relationship. The marketers who adopt the tactic of moving the free line like Eben Pagan, Frank Kern, Stompernet and Brian Campbell establish their reputation and credibility first by giving away so much great content you already trust them and want to buy from then so when they pull the take away on you, you don’t react in the same way you would if a stranger did it to you. You know you are being manipulated but you allow them to do it because you know it will be for your own benefit.

Tiered Membership

If I analyse what Brian has done you can see that most tiered membership programs have some form of takeaway built in. His Gold program has pretty much everything you would need to start your own business and has an ongoing training to make sure you succeed, as you move down to the Silver you lose the personal coaching and webinars so it is up to each individual to organize themselves and to carry out all the steps needed. They still have access to the video trainings and conference calls and the community. At the Bronze level, the conference calls and the community are available and this is where people can put into practice Brian’s techniques and see the results for themselves, It requires less commitment and there are unlimited number of spaces at this level of membership.

Become an Affiliate and earn while you learn

I foresee that once all the places are taken the Bronze membership will become a training ground for the next up and coming stars, a place that prospective Gold and Silver members will have to wait until a space becomes available. As a Bronze members you can still earn while you learn, you can become affiliate partners for the smms and the gold and silver members. You will definitley become a valued part of the team. You will find that as you see more people succeed the desire to access the premium memberships will increase

Benefits and features

Most people determine what the are going to purchase based on the price, their needs and the benefits available. If you buy a top of the range car you will get lots of features that you might desire but often don’t actually need. Car manufacturers realise this and make a range of cars at different prices and with different features. This is exactly what Brian has done with the Social Media Marketing System, he knows that not everyone is at the same stage in their business development or wants to make the same level of commitment, so a range of options and features offers the most value to the maximum number of people

The Best Training Yet

Brian will be releasing his 3.5 hour video very soon, This is one of his best ever trainings and you really have to watch it all the way through. Many people complained the first time around that they didn’t have enough time and when they came back to finish viewing he had taken it down from his website. So do whatever you have to do to find the time, you don’t want to miss any of this. Remember that your future business success is at stake here.

For a limited time only

Brian hasn’t told me how long he will make it available, but I suspect he will set a deadline and stick to it. Get a pad and paper, take lots of notes and play it all the way through. You won’t be disappointed. And by the end you will have enough information to start your own business regardless of whether you choose to join the Social Media Marketing System or not.

Closing A Sale Using Take Away Tactics – part 1

Today I would like to talk about a classic sales technique called the Take Away Close and explore how it is being used online and how it is evolving into new forms and how you can learn to implement this powerful technique into your own marketing. It blends with the scarcity tactics that I explored in a recent post which are a variation of the take away close.

Its an Idea

The take away close gets its name because you are giving someone something and then taking it away from them. The fact that you never actually physically gave them anything is irrelevant, what you gave was the idea that they were going to receive something of value and then snatched it away from them. Or restricted or place conditions on it. You then offer a way for them to get back what you have taken away, i.e buy your product, subscibe to your list or take a specific action

Rooted in Childhood Psychology

Imagine you have a small child and you show them a bag of sweets and then you take away the bag of sweets and hide it in a cupboard in full view so the child knows exactly where they are. The child will do anything to get the sweets and will beg and cry for you to let them have them. Now most of you will be thinking how cruel and mean a person must be to torture and manipulate a kid in this way but its actually what happened to most of us at some time or other in our life and was a way our parents and teachers could get us to do exactly what they wanted us to do.

No pocket money until you tidy your room, No desert until you have eaten all your dinner. No going out to play with your friends until all your homework is finished

A Sense of Loss

When you have something you desire taken away from you, you feel a deep sense of loss and you want to get it back at whatever cost. No matter if it was never yours in the first place, and aslo if it is only an Idea or a threat


I love the scene on the Simpson’s where Homer is watching a commercial on TV and shouts “LIMITED??” and grabs the phone and starts frantically dialing to order his subliminal weight loss tapes.

Show what you are missing out on

Last week I was talking to a friend I had met online, Dan Black he is an internet marketer and gives free marketing training, in one of his emails he was explaining a way that his company use this technique very effectively. He has an online membership community consisting of free and paid members and each month all the members get to see how much they have made in commissions from advertising. Each member has the option to upgrade, to add tools like video and audio to their account and these tools increase the expose and also increase the commissions. So what my friend does each month when he sends out the monthly accounts he tells people how much they would have made if they had upgraded to the premium services. This is such a powerful technique that uses the take away in a more subtle way. He doesn’t even have to hard sell the premium services, the members themselves request the upgrade, because they can’t bear to see that they lost money that was never theirs in the first place

The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side

This is like the classic saying the grass is greener on the other side. where you have cows pushing their heads through the fence because they perceive that the grass is better because they are blocked free access to it.

Sneaky email take aways

Another great example of this was done by my good friends over at Stompernet when they were in the run up to reopening the doors to their fantastic paid membership program. They sent out an email to all the people on their free list, all the potential new members, people who had signed up to watch all their great free videos. In the email they talked about everything that Stompernet was going to be doing in the next year, all the programs they were running and the conferences and trainings that members had access to. 10 minutes after they sent this email, they sent another telling you to ignore the first email because that one was only for members and apologised for making a mistake. No mistake, this was carefully calculated to plant the seeds in peoples minds and show them what they would be missing out on if they didn’t join.

Brian uses this technique on his members

Brian Campbell has been up to similar tricks, sending the same type of letters to all his bronze members and then saying that the letter was sent in mistake. No mistake, he just wanted to hit home how much Bronze members were missing out on by not being in the Silver or Gold memberships. The way he has structured his program is also very cunning, having members working side by side who are not in the same grade and the members from the lower grades can see the success that the premium members are achieving because they have access to the more detailed trainings that Brian releases each week.


I have seen people join on the Bronze or Silver membership and within a week have decided to upgrade their membership because they wanted access to the more advanced level training.


Many people may complain that this is manipulative and I will have to admit it is, but manipulation is not bad in itself it is rather the intent of the salesman that has to be judged. Is a parent bad because they manipulate their child to brush their teeth every evening, No, they want the child to have healthy teeth so they want them to get into good habits.

In the same way Brian and the members of the Social Media Marketing System want each other to succeed, they want everyone who joins to have access to the best training available. I want every serious Bronze member to aspire to upgrade to Silver or Gold, because I know that they will become much more effective, That is why the premium members need to set such a good example to make it so attractive that it becomes a no brainer.

Top Affiliates

I expect that I will become one of Brians top affiliate for this relaunch, When me and a few of the other top affiliates announce how much money we have made, I want everyone to understand that all we did was follow what Brian has taught. We all took action and implemented his teachings, success breeds more success, and I have no doubt that this will just be the beginning.

Sign up Now

Most people who are reading this have probably signed up already, but just in case you haven’t here is the link again.

Social Media Marketing System

Read part 2

This is a two part article, if you would like to read part 2 click here