Jacki's Cult

I was just with my colleague Jacki, here in town for a conference on creating mastermind groups. She did a little experiment.  She asked everyone if they wanted to be in a cult with her. No explanations on rules or responsibilities; just do you want to be in her cult in exchange for points. In just a few hours she had 31 people say yes, including me, which is a bit unusual.

So I have been reflecting on why I said yes.  And this is important – in Jacki’s view this is an exercise on sales and why people “buy”. I agree, and it is enlightening for me since I struggle with sales and enrollment. It’s a natural aversion, being a finance person. Some of my worst nightmares relate to experiences with sales and marketing people I fought with in the corporate world over budget overspending and making promises they could not deliver. I was left holding the bag to clean up some these messes and report to senior executives.  Senior executives shoot messengers. But I digress….

It took me a while to dissect my reasoning. Ultimately, I realized that I decided to say yes to Jacki’s Cult because of my relationship with Jacki, which implies that some level of trust has been established. I can understand it with me because I’ve been working with Jacki since October 2017. But others who just met Jacki and have no experience working with her?  This is a mystery to me. Trust is one of the most important core values I hold dear – it’s a one and done situation. Burn me once and the trust is gone.

I also said yes because I wanted to be part of the group. I was afraid I would be thrown out of the room if I said no and I wanted to be in the room, feel included. Huh. I think I read recently this is called “FOMO” – fear of missing out.  Can’t remember where I read this or I would give credit where credit is due…. But this is HUGELY IMPORTANT and I think is a key to sales, an element I’ve been missing in my own sales efforts.

Armed with this new knowledge about relationship building and insight on “FOMO”, how should I use it to ramp up my enrollment efforts? I mean, it was clearly effective that 31 people joined without knowing a single obligation or responsibility they were committing to! Current sales wisdom says that we have to show prospective clients all the value they will receive from working with us and get a commitment right away, even if they don’t have the money. I hate strong-arming people, making them feel bad that they can’t afford my services, or other hard sell techniques.  That’s just not me, yet this seems to be what experts say is most effective. I’ve paid the price for a few of my own decisions falling for this type of tactic so I know how it feels and I refuse to put people into serious financial difficulty because of me. Even if I can see how much value they can receive with my services.

I hear my very first coach’s words rolling around my head – if my clients are paying me it means they’ve received value from me.  Accept that value.  They wouldn’t be paying me otherwise, and they would not come back month after month if they weren’t getting their problems solved. I wish I’d thought to ask some of the other “Cult Members” why they decided to join….!  The lesson I’m taking away is to build relationship and create FOMO and then trust the prospect to add his or her own value. Who knew that an experiment on “joining a cult” would lead to an “AHA moment” on the key to closing sales?

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