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Emotional selling and Impulse buying

There’s clean marketing and there’s dirty marketing. Then, there’s a way to tell the difference. Using tricks to raise the emotions of the buyer and make them buy something that they wouldn’t otherwise (impulse/ emotional buying) or would regret buying at a later point in time – is a part of dirty marketing. 

Over the last two decades I have had the privilege of seeing the training industry grow from the inside – in Europe and in India. With the prospects of growth in any industry, unfortunately, comes a challenge to maintain the quality of products and the challenge to avoid or at least tell apart the cheap gimmicks that start sprouting across the industry. Two trainings that look the very same on the outside, or claim to deliver the same topics may not be the same in their effectiveness.  

A painful way to test the effectiveness of any training is to go through it – meaning, pay for it. This approach is not practical. To gauge if a training programme has substance or it doesn’t, before jumping on the actual training course, I have looked for some indicators in the past and those have been helpful. I have personally checked if they play certain marketing gimmicks in their adverts, promos, free demonstrations. In this blog, I share the most common marketing tricks that I could identify and not fall for, which saved me a lot of time and money:

Emotional Selling and Impulse buying

1. Trainers posing with celebrities or with other renowned trainers:

Year: 2012. Place: London. One of my close friends and associate, Vishal Misal, was in the process of organising the biggest business event of the year in O2 Arena, London. He called it ‘Business 2012’. I had recently started conducting my training programmes in London. He knew my training was still in a budding phase and wanted to give me a good break. Generously, he invited me to conduct a seminar to a group of businesspeople. It was a three-day event and we had speakers and celebrities from all over the globe come to this event, starting from Richard Branson to Alan Sugar to Cherie Blair. 

Just like me, there were a few other beginners in the training industry. I noticed there were broadly two kinds of people. 

Type A: Self-assured and full of gratitude. I later realised these were long-term players. Type B: Insecure and looking for an easy advantage. They gained in the short term but time would tell me that they struggled later in life with satisfaction as well as in business. Type A, were more concerned with knowledge they could get, self-reflection and guidance to walk on the path of success even if the path looks difficult. Type B, typically, were more concerned with making noise on social media, taking pictures with successful businessmen and celebrities and using the pictures to boost their training later. And guess what it worked, in the short term. They had to pay back with a lot of struggle in the long term though. 

Lesson: Question a trainer posing with celebrities or other trainers. You cannot build your muscles by showing your connection with someone who has genuinely worked out to build their muscles.

2. Claim to give you a formula/ a short cut to avoid hard work:

“Let me share with you the secret that I have learnt in 10 years and formalised it for you in 5 easy steps that you can take to succeed in your business.” That statement sounds attractive, doesn’t it? 

Really? You want it easy, served on a plate for you, what someone learnt in ten years. I doubt if such claims ever come true. Yes, right education and right guidance is important to grow, and it is equally important to see through the fraudulent claims that trigger greed in us. I’ve witnessed trainers, coaches and business start-ups invest a lot of money in such programmes just to watch, in despair, their money going down the drain. 

After the business 2012 event that I mentioned above, I had several opportunities to attend and visit other programmes in Europe, some of them genuine and some using and even teaching cheap marketing tricks. Inevitably, I have seen people cut corners and take a path that looks easy but regret after a year or two for not having enough foundation work done to grow further. Their initial growth looked quick but it soon stalled. Some of them were brave enough to start from scratch but not everybody can recover the lost time and energy. 

Lesson: Look within to see if an offer excites you because you want to educate yourself or are you getting greedy. An offer that excites greed is not for you.

3. Certifications over Quality:

Close to my place in Pune, India is a chai shop called ‘Kadak special’. In this shop, the owner has framed and put up his Engineering Bachelor’s (Undergraduate) Degree certificate on the wall with a flower garland over it. In India, a flower garland on a photo indicates demise of whatever the photo is of. Below the photo is a declaration in bold letters that makes fun of the certificate saying, “The use of this certificate was limited to impressing the girl prospect I got married to. When I went out in search of a job, I found the degree dead”. It’s funny, but it is also worth pondering. Here he is earning more from a chai shop than what his Engineering degree certificate could promise and we know he is not the only one. Keeping the social situation aside, let us see what is in it for us to learn from.

Most training programmes will offer certifications, usually packaged as a bunch of 2-4 certificates. Practically speaking, certifications and memberships have value too, especially for those who intend to get in the profession of the said training subject. The question then comes down to your conscience – if your primary concern is the certification alone or the basis of your decision also factors: 

1. gaining the knowledge and 

2. gaining the skill to implement the knowledge.

Lesson: By all means, get a certificate. Have clarity beforehand though, if you are in for knowledge or only for a piece of paper.

Getting into a business or in education is as much an understanding of oneself, as much as it is of gathering knowledge of the said field. The former affects the choice of the later. The training industry has a variety and range of offerings. Our intelligence, as seekers of knowledge, is to differentiate between where to find substance and what is just show off. 

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About the Author:

Shoonyo is a visionary and spiritual mentor. After 18 years of meditation and significant research into mind powers, NLP, martial arts practice with a black belt, healing practices, and deeper spiritual practices, he experienced the clarity of awakened space and began sharing with seekers.

Shoonyo worked as a business intelligence manager in London for 10 years. He abandoned an opulent international corporate career to guide people towards awakening space.

Shoonyo now runs 3 ventures in India; Corporate training and leadership, One:One mentoring for business owners, and a mental wellness NGO known as Shoonyo Foundation.

Other than business ventures, he has authored two books: " Looking for the obvious", an amazing work of spiritual fiction; and "Embodying Bhagavad Gita," a nine-month practical course on the Bhagavad Gita. He is Amazon's # 3 best-selling author and is cherished by elite readers.