I recently heard a recording of a certain successful Internet marketer. The recording was made some years ago, before he got quite so successful. He was telling a seminar crowd how good he was at the "sincerity thing."
He didn't quite come out and say he was faking his sweet, goofy, ordinary guy style. But let's just say that the fast-talking guy running through his bag of techniques to sell ice to Eskimos didn't exactly strike me as Andy Griffith.
Is it working for him?
It seems to be. The guy is doing extremely well even if you assume he's inflating his income by 10 times (Which I do). People want his product, which is probably perfectly ok. The schtick is working.
Does that mean you should do the same? Study techniques on how to fool people? Learn to be a better trickster and go buy a $1,995 information product (with a follow-up continuity program, of course, so they can keep dinging you for a few hundred bucks a month) on how to create more effective sheep's clothing?
I guess that's up to you.
There's a sucker born every minute
I notice that a lot of the internet marketing folks (many of whom seem comfortable with the title "guru") have started to quote P.T. Barnum as a business mentor. Googling around, I find that Barnum apparently did not actually ever say the quote he is best known for, "There's a sucker born every minute." His business rival did, after Barnum out-faked the rival's fake and drew throngs to pay tickets for a literally gigantic hoax.
Barnum made a tidy career out of tricking the gullible. If that's the kind of game you enjoy, I'm not going to be able to talk you out of it. (Anyway, you probably quit reading this blog a long time ago because I'm such a goody-two-shoes.)
When Godin's All Marketers Are Liars came out, a lot of literal-minded people took him at his word. We all kind of believe that title anyway, right? Godin told us it was ok--in fact, desirable--to sell a product by telling fabulous stories of, say, fossilized stone giants unearthed from ancient burial grounds. As long as people didn't feel abused or angry when they found out it was just a story. (That was the part a lot of folks seem to have missed.)
There's a place for fairy tales
Fairy tales are fine. Fairy tales are nice, actually. They bring a lot of pleasure and sometimes they tell a deeper truth. Fairy tales and stories are what make us human beings and not clever hairless monkeys.
Swindles suck. Cons suck. People who snicker at the stupidity of their customers suck. And in the new wired world, swindles and lies always get found out. When the crowd comes looking for you with the tar & feathers, I won't stand in their way.
I will always encourage you to be storytellers and spinners of fabulous yarns. In the same breath, I strongly discourage you from emulating the crowd of big bad wolves wearing grandma's cotton bonnet. If you keep company with wolves, you'll get eaten up eventually, no matter how much money they might tell you they make.