Archive for September, 2010

A lot of comments on my blog have been in reference to Byron Katie.

On the flip side, there’s been a resounding silence on the others, including Jack Canfield, James Arthur Ray, T. Harv Eker, and the “abundance” of Law of Attraction gurus out there. What’s up with that? Any ideas?

I followed Jack Canfield for awhile on Facebook, but dropped him after he commented that at a recent seminar he had one fellow come up to him and say that he had applied Canfield’s teachings for several years now and had exponentially increased his earnings.

Canfield actually had the audacity to brag about that.

Think about it. If their teachings were accurate and all you really had to do was change your thinking from negative to positive, then wouldn’t this comment be considered mundane? After all, pretty well everyone who attends these seminars (after dishing out thousands and thousands of dollars) has this level of success, don’t they?

Really?

Don’t they?

I suspect not. Else world hunger, poverty and war would be a thing of the past.

I’ve attended a four-day workshop given by T. Harv Eker. Well, not actually Eker himself but certainly a well qualified underling. I think he was well qualified. If magnetic means well-qualified.

Which is to say I endured the 30 minutes extreme hard sell infomercials scattered throughout the seminar. I, like many others, felt like an abject failure for not signing up, for not thinking with enough guts, for not really being committed to my financial success.

And if you study (ie read on wikipedia) the sales tactics taught by Robert Cialdini, you’ll recognize them at full strength at these events.

  • Reciprocity: Give your potential customer something for free (ie a four day seminar) and they will feel indebted to buy from you
  • Commitment: Get your potential customers to commit to participating at 110% (a mathematical impossibility by the way), then, well into the series, tell them that if they are really committed to playing “full-on” then they will continue to grow on this journey (ie sign up for a 8 thousand dollar course). An interesting application of this tactic.
  • Social Proof: Plant a few seeds in the crowd. Social proof would exist when you say that there are only 29 spots available for this particular deal, and only the first 15 who sign up will get the bonus gifts (whatever they are). How hard would it be to have a few volunteers in the crowd ready to make a rush for the back, inspiring those who are “thinking about it” to stop thinking and start rushing to the back with credit card in hand.
  • Authority: We’re all suckers for it. One of the worst offenders for this that I know of was an instructor for one of Robert Kiyosaki’s course (Rich Dad Poor Dad dude). CBC’s marketplace did an investigation on him, and all of the “investments” that he bragged about were actually abysmal flops or they didn’t really exist. If there’s someone on-stage telling us “this is so,” then we tend to believe them. By virtue of their job and their script, they have god-like authority. And they know it.
  • Liking: This is a measure of popularity. One of the first things that these seminar leaders are trained to do is to get you to vehemently agree with them two to five times in the first ten minutes of their presentations. One way they do it is to say that thousands had the opportunity to come here, and you were one of the few hundred who actually showed up. They make you feel special, so you like them. They’ll incorporate call-and-repeat chant’s (“I’m a money magnet”) to heighten your sense of success so you like them even more. And goddamnit of course you’re special. You special to their success, that’s why.
  • Scarcity: As mentioned in social proof above, you’ll often hear the “seminar special” being touted. But did you know that the seminar special typically happens at every seminar, not just the one in your town cause gosh-darn they love you? Or that you can phone their headquarters and “negotiate” (ie ask for) that same price.

Cialdini’s methods are all good. These gurus take them to extreme proportions to an exalted and exhausted audience. Indeed, you can blow the equivalent of a PhD’s tuition on these gurus, and not be further ahead than you are now.

I think it speaks volumes that Byron Katie inspires conversation while the other gurus inspire silence, both on the for and the against side. I’m not exactly too sure what it says, but it’s saying something important. Question is, are we listening.

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