The Cult, Psychic Surgery, and Sales

Washington Square Park, NYC, summertime.

Washington Square Park, NYC
The park is full of people.

Stoned, sober, singing, smooching, solitary; all sitting on benches and the steps around the fountain.

No shortage of marks.

Our orders were to approach people, sit next to them, and ask, “Hey, hi, have you got a few minutes? I’d like to share something with you.”

If they agreed, we would launch into a script about this particular brand of Christianity and how believing — and joining the club — would lead to an “abundant life.”

If they didn’t, we’d walk after them, “sharing” our conversion script to their backs as they walked away.


A waste of time.

I hated every minute of it, and the people I approached knew.

People always know when you are in it for the wrong reasons.

The goal was to get them to attend a “fellowship” which was a small group meeting with Bible teachings, glossolalia, and making nice.

Like networking with zombies.

Not unlike some of the people we encounter in the coaching and personal development world, amiright? (Other industries too, but we’re focusing on our world.)

I’m not bashing any religion, company, or business owner for going after the sale.

“Sharing” our beliefs, products, or services by interrupting people and following them around until they tell you to bugger off, is not a winning strategy.

And we had no idea whether those victims of our good intentions wanted a new religion or even to be interrupted.

There are sales gurus who teach that “all objections must be met and slayed, get the sale at all costs.”

That’s for them, not us.

We begin with building trust, getting to know someone, and getting to know what they need or want. If our thing aligns with and solves their thing, then we’d be remiss not to offer what we have and show them how we do that.

We employ persuasion, never manipulation.

Many coaches and empaths in business feel that sales is a bad thing and all sales = manipulation. Most likely because they have been the victim of a manipulative sales process. Buyer’s remorse feels like an expensive hangover without the good times.

Persuasion is the act of laying out the juicy bits about our product or service as a thing that can solve their problem or meet their need, to someone who needs it.

Once we do that, they have a choice: buy or not.

The difference between persuasion and manipulation, says Jimmy Parent, one of the best copywriters you’ve never heard of, is the person. I’ll add, and their intention.

If you are here and your intention is to serve, heal, empower, or transform, and you know deep down that you cannot help everyone, then you are not likely to be manipulative.

As a coach, mentor, or group leader, it would be easy to manipulate people into doing it our way. (An ego stroke cloaked in wanting the best for them.)

People are vulnerable for many different reasons. Manipulators know how to spot them, target them, and extract something from them.

That’s for them, not us.

Last week I mentioned Psychic surgery. This surgery done with the hands is mostly done by healers in the Philippines. It is a fraud, but does work.

For some.

Because of the placebo effect.

“The ministry” and all of the other cults, religious and otherwise, who have hundreds of thousands of members, perform a kind of psychic surgery on their recruits.

They use words instead of their hands.

It’s painless, feels like just what you need, then one day, you wake up with a hundred or hundred-thousand-dollar hangover.

Most of you reading will likely never have joined a real cult. But you might have experienced some of what I shared here, like buyer’s remorse or having been badgered into buying. #itsucks

We must make offers or close up shop.

Right now, all kinds of people need healing, support, love, connection, validation, health information, copywriting, and yes, offers to provide them with those things.

Share your awesome sauce confidently with the people who will benefit from it the most.

Regardless of the outcome, you’ll leave them feeling good.

And you’ll never have to hate sharing again.


PS: If you missed last week’s email you’ll wonder why I’m talking about cults. Read it here if you want to close the loop.

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