Learn the Art of Seduction

You Don't Like Being Sold to, Why Would Your Consumers?

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Tom Martin
Tom Martin
Do you like it when people pay attention to you? When they seem to be giving you their undivided attention, laughing at your jokes, looking deeply into your eyes and seemingly hanging on your every word?

Well then, my friend, you like to be seduced.

Now ask yourself, do you like it when people spend all their time talking about themselves? Do you like it when they name drop, brag about their abilities or whom they've been hanging with lately? Do you like it when you're taking part in an obviously one-way conversation?

If you answered no, then my friend you don't care to be sold. And I'm guessing you don't care for what largely passes as advertising these days. So why do we in this business continue to produce something we don't necessarily care for (as people) and that we logically know is less likely to be effective?

I'll let you add your thoughts below in the comments area but here is my take on the subject.

I think we do it because selling is easy. But seduction, seduction is hard. It requires time, patience, skill and a willingness to give before you get. Let's take each of these points in order starting with time.

Time is the single most precious commodity in our lives today. None of us has enough of it and the pressure to do more, faster and with less is a trend that isn't going away. We live in a FedEx, quarterly earnings kind of world. That means there is a laser-like focus in Corporate America on hitting the earnings numbers, budget numbers or sales goals. And when companies and brand managers aren't seeing the trend line moving in the right direction, they push a little harder on that sales pedal and we churn out more ads -- usually containing some kind of special offer or limited-time only promotion -- anything to sell consumers on the idea that they need our widget today.

Which leads us to the second point -- patience. The best seductress is patient. She can sit coyly for hours gently indicating her interest. Maybe it is a fleeting glance that she knows catches your eye or gentle brush as she passes by you. With each step in the seduction she becomes bolder, more obvious but at no time does she race to the finish line. No, the seductress is smarter than that because she's not playing for a one-night stand. She's not thinking in a transactional manner, she's thinking long-term. She wants you to want to do something -- a deal, a partnership or just maybe a transaction (but it will be the first of many). To do that, she's got to really get you. And that takes patience, a good bit of time, and of course, serious skills.

Which brings me to skills. Stop for a moment and think about your friends, partners, clients and yes, romantic interests (today and yesterday) and ask yourself how many true seductresses you know. How many of your inner-circle can truly seduce and persuade? I'm guessing the number is pretty small and if you focus your thoughts on that small but elite group we're calling seductresses (note: I'm not necessarily using this term in a sexual manner) I'm guessing you'll find one common trait amongst them.

They are truly interested in others. They don't feign interest. They are truly motivated by learning about others and using that learning to build long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

And finally, seduction requires the seducer to give before they get. For any seduction to work, the seduced must feel special. It's that feeling that often pushes their ego to override logic and entice them to enter into transactions, deals and partnerships they otherwise might shy away from or ignore altogether.

So that's my 02. What do you think?

Tom Martin is President of Zehnder Communications, with offices in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. He can be reached at [email protected] Or follow him at @TomMartin.
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