9 Slimy Sales Tricks That Work

What can you learn from get-rich-quick infomercials? 9 smart sales tricks that work.
June 19, 2012

Every time I hear the term “info marketing,” I think of an infomercial that promises you will make millions, selling real estate, working less than 2 hours a week, from the comfort of your own home.

Over-the-top, get-rich-quick offers, like this one, are ludicrous to most logical people. Yet, these commercials keep running and making money. The reason? To the right target customer, at the right time, the infomercial is compelling—really compelling.

Using this script below, I will demonstrate nine of the most effective sales techniques info-marketers are using, and how you can use them, too—the slimy, manipulative part aside.

Normally an elite real estate training program like this is worth over ten thousand of dollars, but today only you can get the entire training for not $10,000, not $1,000, not even $300. Today only you can get it all for only $183. And, to sweeten the offer, if you call within the next 15 minutes you will also get a free set of Ginsu Knives. A $500 value for free. How will you spend your millions? You're minutes away from breaking free of the grind and on your way to living the dream—all you need to do is call us at 555-555-555. Call now. There are only 5 spots left. Our expert advisers are taking calls right now.

1. Exclusivity. "...elite real estate training program" When something seems unique and prestigious, customers are more likely to participate. Consumers will spend more and be more loyal to your brand if you give them the feeling of exclusivity.

2. Comparison. "...not $10,000, not $1,000, not even $300" Check this little trick out: the next time you see a weight loss commercial on TV, freeze the frame when they show the before-and-after of the person who lost weight. Then cover one half of the screen, so you only see the “overweight” version. Then cover the other half, so you only see the “fit and trim” version. Notice that the differences are not nearly as dramatic as when the pictures are right next to each other.

Our minds see the greatest differences when objects are immediately next to each other. This works for numbers too, which is why $183 seems inexpensive when compared with $10,000. But when $183 stands alone, compared to nothing, it actually sounds kind of expensive.

3. Urgency. "Today only you can get" Info-marketers do everything they can to entice consumers to place the order ASAP, because the more time they give customers the less likely the customer is to buy. Consumers buy more when there is an urgent call to action. The rule of thumb is that the more urgent something is, the more likely consumers are to buy it.

4. Specificity. "...get it all for only $183" Round numbers make consumers think that a price is potentially arbitrary. In other words, it is up for negotiation. Specific numbers give the perception that there is a “reason” behind the number, and that it is justified. Consumers are less likely to negotiate specific, non-rounded numbers and more likely to conclude that the number makes sense.

5. Free. "A $500 value for free" All consumers like to get something for free. Marketers, who throw in a bonus for their clients, get a lot of something in return—more sales! Really savvy info-marketers will make the bonus overwhelmingly appealing, showing value in the bonus that "exceeds" the entire cost of the program they are selling. This practice is a simple spin on something you should be doing anyway, giving more value than the customer ever could anticipate. In other words, over-deliver.

6. Pleasure Sensation. "How will you spend your millions?" The technique of invoking a pleasure sensation is commonly used in infomercials. (Just look to any lottery commercial as an example.) The goal is for the consumer to emotionally experience the benefit they will derive from your product or service. This pleasurable emotional connection to your product makes it extremely compelling to go ahead with the purchase. Make customers feel great about their purchasing decision, before they have to make the actual decision.

7. Pain Relief. "...break free of the grind and you're on your way" To motivate consumers, marketers have to first make them “feel the pain,” and then show them how to get relief. This dichotomy of a super low and a super high, brings about the greatest emotional pain. One of the strongest influences over consumers is helping them avoid pain, whatever that pain may be.

8. Scarcity. "...only 5 spots left" When there is less of something, consumers want it more. It plays to both the drives of urgency (take action now) and exclusivity (being among the privileged). Limiting the availability of your product or service actually increases demand. Scarcity can be a limitation in time (you have 15 minutes to sign up), a limitation in quantity (only 5 spots available), or both.

9. Social Proof. "...expert advisers are taking calls right now" Info-marketers will show operators busily answering phones and smiling during the commercial. This is social proof. When consumers see others taking an action, they feel more comfortable doing the same. To make it more comfortable for consumers to buy from you, clearly demonstrate that other customers have already experienced excellent service from your company.

Mike Michalowicz is the author of The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. He is a nationally recognized speaker on entrepreneurial topics and is the CEO of Provendus Group—a consultancy that helps companies whose growth has plateaued to move forward again. MikeMichalowicz.com is full of the latest tips and strategies for entrepreneurs.

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