Psychology of an Online Scammer
Sales Strategies - Think You Are Immune?
We live in an age of unprecedented advertising. Even young children are pitched to directly and indirectly everyday, and in many mediums, including some school buses! Ads are everywhere and savvy marketers know how to get their target market's attention. As online marketers we are continuously being "pitched" to by other marketers. Some of us get a little smug in thinking that because we recognize the "pitch" or the psychology behind it, that we are immune. If anyone truly is immune, I have never met them.
Let's take a quick look at what happens when a marketing message is well targeted, and well presented. Quite honestly, not only are we not immune, but in many cases we are incapable of NOT buying!
A well targeted marketing message is one that speaks to people who are already purchasing products in that specific niche, or people who are actively looking to buy. It may also speak to people who are open to purchasing in that niche.
A well presented marketing message tests our intelligence, but not in the way you may think. The very well presented offer is so jammed packed with value that we think we would be stupid to turn it down. When the perceived value is higher than the cost, when the offer is so attractive that it makes us desire that product, we are like putty in the marketer's hands.
We all know and have experienced that "fear of loss". Fear of loss can cause us to make decisions that we would not normally make. For example, we can be hesitant about a product or program that we think we can profit from. If our fear of potential loss is greater than our hesitance, we can actually convince ourselves to join a program that we know is not a "good" deal.
Persuasion is truly an artform, used by both legitimate marketers and scam artists alike. Mastering the art of persuasion, and using it to help others, is truly a key to long term success. Scammers who are good at it do achieve financial success, but it is short term so they need to have the next scam ready to roll before the prior one falls. They must be ever vigilent at hiding or obscuring their real identity. I can only imagine how much energy that takes!
There has been a resurgence of fast money systems, both online and offline, designed to take advantage of people since the beginning of the global economic downturn. Fear of potential or real job loss, stock market losses, and other factors have caused otherwise "smart" and "ethical" people to jump in with both feet in obvious pyramid or ponzi schemes. Personally, I am interested and intrigued by psychology, and this trend is truly fascinating.
How Far We Will Go To Be Right
We humans are a peculiar lot. Once we make a decision, we will go to great lengths to prove to ourselves and to others that it was the right choice. Even in the face of evidence to the contrary, we will defend our decision, and sometimes even when we can no longer defend it, we find excuses for having made it.
I was invited to listen in on a Regenesis team webinar recently and I was absolutely blown away by what I saw and heard. Now, don't get me wrong, I admit to being tempted by the Regenesis opportunity when it first emerged. If I had a little less experience online, I would have undoubtedly joined, and then I may have been one of the "sheeple" in the webinar - so I am not judging those individuals. I was tempted in spite of all the red flags, that to me were absolutely obvious. Things such as:
- lack of a physical office (just a mailbox)
- unable to discover names of principals (the owner goes by J.W. - and people are fine with that!)
- lack of a truly stand alone product
- a payplan that defies mathematics
In the end, I didn't join. There is a saying that Ignorance is Bliss, and in this case, I just knew too much. I was fairly certain that if I joined, I could make a lot of money, but because I knew it would be short term money, that many more would lose, and because I had no desire to contribute to the financial success of the creators who had gone to such lengths to hide their identity, I could not in good conscience promote it. But even with all that... I WANTED to believe it could be true.
Well as most of the online world now knows, Regenesis has been shut down. The news story has been published both online and offline. No more question about whether it is legitimate right?
People who joined the business STILL want to believe. Even when faced with hardcore evidence - an FBI bust, the presenter in the webinar I witnessed told his team that the downfall of Regenesis was caused by its distributors passing around emails, and making false complaints. He claimed that it was a good business, a good business model, and that these "complainers" ruined a good thing. Now, whether he actually believes that or if he is an outright scammer, I cannot say, but what I found truly remarkable was the response of the participants!
The presenter, not surprisingly, had a replacement program all ready to roll. Tradingplaces 2x2 - complete with his sign up application. He assured his attendees that JW is not involved in this new program, that the owner was a distributor named "Brian" (no last name), and that all the perceived flaws present in Regenesis have been addressed, so that this new system was in fact designed to last "longer". Apparently annonymous owners is not one of the issues!
Without exaggeration, the attendees were practically begging for a sign up page. They were so eager to part with their $300 that they didn't even wait for the end of the presentation.
Scammer or legitimate
marketer, this fellow has mastered the art of persuasion. Either he
understands the psychology of the people in the room, or he got very
lucky in delivering a message to a highly targeted audience. He was
speaking to a group of people who had already made a decision. Now,
they were compelled to defend it, to stick by it no matter what, even
to the extent of "switching" over to the "new" program.
The Take Away
This is an example of psychology being used in a detrimental way, but imagine being a master at this and using it in a legitimate way! Mike Dillard is a fine example of how to attain long term success by mastering the art of persuasion and truly delivering greater value than his customers actually pay for.
There are several lessons we can take away from all this. First and foremost, learn your craft. Study and practice the art of persuasion. Study and learn how to target your audience, and then BUILD A LIST of highly targeted loyal subscribers and deliver them outstanding value. Position yourself as a trustworthy leader. Do your homework. There is such a thing as healthy skepicism and you need to evaluate programs before you promote them. There is no faster or surer way to destroy your good reputation than to promote a scam.
Remember, everything you do on the web is archived. Everything. It is important to protect your image, not only for today, but also your legacy. Think in the future. Your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and their grandchildren will be able to find your "publications" and "associations" in the future.