Jul 23 2009

Selling the Psyche with Word Paintings!

Obama, Hallmark, Rush,


airlines, surgeons, tourism!


     What do Obama, Hallmark Cards, all of the airlines, Rush Limbaugh, plastic surgeons and tourism councils all have in common? Whoa! Now that’s a question and a half, right? I mean what could such a collection of diverse interests possibly have in common?

     They paint pictures with words and sell them from a stage that’s literally dripping with seduction. And of course there are others. I just picked these because they’re such unlikely bed partners. Okay, here we go. Follow along. Yes, if sales are important to you, there IS a valuable lesson here.

     It’s not too big of a stretch to see how the traditional approach to schmaltz-layering, that Hallmark has so wisely (and effectively) invested of itself over the years, has rung up spectacular success. Here’s a business that makes bigger profits than bagels.

     The company buys up a zillion tons of paper, much of it scrap, folds it into four zillion tons of little envelopes and message cards, prints a few mushy words on the cards and sells the card and envelope for $5 each or thereabouts, times four zillion! 

     What’s the value enhancement? The messages they put in these cards appeal to our psyches. They seduce our egos. What did Obama do to get elected? The same thing. What’s he trying to do now with his go-for-broke healthcare fantasies? The same thing. 

     What do the airlines sell? The seat and space you are actually renting and the transporting expertise to get you where you’re going? Are you kidding? They sell you the destination! They sell you smiling hand-holding couples skipping through the surf, cliff divers in Mexico, pubs in Ireland, koala bears in New Zealand.

     Plastic surgeons selling elective procedures present us with(carefully air-brushed) photos of the killer bathing suit-clad model that we all could no doubt be. We know we could be because the word description with the picture tells us that just a few little nips and tucks here and there can give us the same results. No mention of course of the anesthesia and procedural risks, the recovery sacrifices, the expenses. 

     Rush Limbaugh sells us concepts; he’s a genius at seducing our brain frustration centers by painting verbal pictures of how good it can be if we simply think and act more conservatively, more fiscally responsible and more respectfully of the vigilence that gives us our freedoms and the values that give us our American heritage. (Now THERE’S a unique thought!)

     Island resorts: “Ooooh, let’s get together and feel alright…” Regardless of the location or message, you can be sure they’ll be nothing about the expenses, the lousy transportation, the pricey rooms and meals, the bad water, the pickpockets, the badgering street vendors, or any of the other lovely amenities you only learn about too late or sometime after your psyche has been sold. 

Selling the psyche requires you to paint pictures with words because the right word…is worth a thousand pictures!

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Input aways welcome: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in    subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  

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May 07 2009


You’re partly pregnant? Uhuh… 


     Two months ago, I took my car to an independent service center for a quick oil change, and was told I needed a new air filter. The mechanic showed me a thin layer of gray that had settled on a few of the white edges. I was quoted some ridiculous rate for the new filter and labor. I said I’d wait ’til next time and got back a couple of tsk-tsk’s and an undertaker’s smile. 

     A few weeks ago, I took my car to the dealership it came from to have the oil changed and asked them to check the air filter. It’s fine, I was told, a little dirty but nothing to worry about…but the tires! You need four new tires and soon! We can do it now if you can wait. Only six hundred and change. Er, I think I’ll wait. Well, don’t wait too long! Right.

     Today, I got a flat tire (first one in 20-something years, so now I know I’m doomed to have to pop for the six hundred and change). But God Bless Ernie. Ernie is my neighbor who is a walking Google of auto/truck/Harley mechanic info.

     Ernie inflates my tire with his portable compressor and says that for $10 the guy up the street will plug the nailhole that caused the flat, and that if I’m getting new tires, can he have mine for driving to California and back because they’ve still got another 20,000-30,000 miles on them!

     I get the tire plugged for $10 and the tire guy says these are nice tires you have; would you consider selling them? Now I’m laughing and buying the tire guy coffee.

     What’s the point? What does “PARTLY PREGNANT” have to do with plugging tires? (Nevermind. Bad metaphor!)

Here’s the bottom line:



     Why? Because businesses like the service center and the dealership are ripping people off. Because these–and many other– businesses are basically greedy and have now become panic-stricken by economic impact. Because no one has ever told people like this that:


     Integrity is not something to be toyed with, turned on and off like a faucet, or underestimated. INTEGRITY IS DOING THE RIGHT THING ALL THE TIME REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SOMEONE ELSE IS WATCHING OR NOT! There’s no such thing as “partly pregnant” and there’s no “partial integrity” either!

When you exercise integrity, you must exercise it 100% of the time regardless of what the economy does or doesn’t do.

     The US Postal Service, airlines, ferry services, banks, and even hospitals are all adding insult to injury and they don’t even realize it (let’s at least hope they don’t). My message to all of them is that when the going gets tough financially: THE SOLUTION is NOT to raise your prices and lower your service.

     THAT is exactly the kind of thinking that has been leading us into economic spirals to begin with. THE SOLUTION is to make sales by exercising integrity…in-person, in writing, via Internet, and on the phone…consistently!    



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Send your input anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Good night and God bless you! halalpiar              # # # 

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