I read the other day that over 89% of the business books that people purchase and download go completely unread.
Of the remaining 11%, only 1% of those who read the book will actually implement any of the ideas they find in the book – even if they are well aware that doing so will cause immediate and drastic improvements in their lives.
And of that remaining 1% who attempt to use the ideas, an even smaller percentage will use the ideas correctly.
So, the average person has less than a 1% chance of benefiting from any book they download or buy.
I was staggered. But then, after thinking about myself, I wasn’t quite so surprised.
The power of marketing is to prompt the ‘impulse buy’. People pay professional copywriters hundreds, even, thousands of dollars to write compelling script that leads us to the big sell; making a decision to buy. And before we know it, our credit card is debited! They know the power of words, images and a compelling argument.
And clearly, for the majority of people this tactic works.
We buy some low-cost product that we promptly forget about, whilst the seller repeats the process to hundreds or thousands of visitors … and makes a very healthy profit … mainly on people’s impulse buying. We think, “I can’t do without this” when clearly we can, or there would be a much greater percentage of people who would digest and apply every last morsel of information from those unread business book downloads!
In a world of ever-increasing speed and convenience, increasing pressure to possess and have, increasing messages of “You’re not successful in life unless …” it is little wonder that so many are drawn in by these ‘Once in a Lifetime’ offers. We’re afraid of losing out or missing a bargain, when in reality, we’re spending money and gaining nothing … and in the process we join the queues of people on the credit and debt trap.
“Buy now; pay later”. We’ve all heard it. But if we haven’t got the money now, will we have the money when the bill comes through in 12 or 18 months? It’s easy to think “Yes, of course we will!” Unfortunately, if we fall for the salesman’s slogan once, there’s a good chance we’ll fall for it again. So, in 12 months we don’t have one item to pay for; we have two, three, five, ten … and at that point we’re stuck.
I don’t honestly have many real answers to this, and I’m certainly no financial expert, but I would like to share with you some principles that I try to apply and have worked for me. So please, make of them what you will:
- Whenever possible I pay in full at the time of purchase. If I use a credit card I always try to transfer money from a bank or building society account to the card and pay it off. Yeah! I know the economists will tell you this is ‘bad practice’ because you lose the interest on your money, but honestly, unless we’re talking about thousands of pounds, a couple of weeks interest on a hundred or even a thousand pounds is worth nothing compared to our peace of mind.
- If I feel that I’m being drawn into a sale I’m unsure about I either make sure I have some time to think (the salesman worth his salt will grant this time; the shark will bite with “Oh! The offer finishes today”). For online offers, if I’m reading the script and feel like I’m being drawn in, I take ten minutes, twenty minutes, an hour, or whatever is needed to walk away, have a coffee or tea and really think about what is on offer: Will I use the product or information? Do I need it? Do I need it now? I try to be very much aware of the ‘call to action’ line that so many marketers add to their copy: “Buy now!”, “Why wait?”, “Do it now?”, “Can you afford to wait?” The answer in nine out of ten cases is nearly always “Yes I can thank you!”
- If I am going to ‘Buy Now; Pay Later’ I make sure I have the money in the bank and transfer it to an account where I won’t access it until payment day. That way, I benefit from the interest and from the peace of mind of knowing that the money is there, ready to do its job when needed.
- If I’m shopping for larger or more expensive items I try to take someone with me who is not emotionally involved in the sale and can see things more objectively. If they’ve got experience in the field of what I’m buying, all the better. But their role is one of being objective; seeing things as they really are, without getting involved emotionally. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to say “No” when you have someone with you who can help focus on what is going on without themselves being involved. Marketers and salesmen know that the strongest pull on people comes not from facts but when our emotions are engaged. They craft their copy and words to appeal to our emotions whilst bypassing our reason and logic. Reason/logic combined with emotions are a powerful force for common sense and keeping out of unnecessary transactions!
I know this may seem obvious but if it worked every time, many salesmen and online marketers would be out of a job. They know our vulnerabilities and target them.
Enjoy shopping; buy books, read them and apply their knowledge; enjoy the bargains; benefit from ‘once in a lifetime offers’ but do so from a position of security and control.
And if all else fails and you’re not sure, practice saying “No”. The world will rarely come to an end if you do miss a bargain.
Until next time …