Today I was reminded of a great quote by Voltaire, “It is not enough to conquer; one must learn to seduce.” I’ve always liked that line for a number of reasons because it sums up power and influence so eloquently.
I took Political Science as part of my major in University and as part of that program, we had to take a couple of philosophy courses. That’s where I first came across Voltaire, but this line, in particular, was presented in a class about modern politics.
World politics changed in the 60’s with Kennedy. He was handsome, articulate and eloquent. He inspired people to feel like they could achieve more and people desperately desire that feeling of being part of something bigger and driving progress. More importantly, Kennedy understood that the media and particularly television was changing the way political leaders interacted with the electorate.
Kennedy knew that it wasn’t just about having good policies, but also about making people want to be part of the change. This was a man who in his inauguration said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. Or when he launched his ambitious plan to land men on the moon he said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other thing, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…”
This man wasn’t just putting forward policy statements or setting agendas, he was bringing the population with him by making them not only passengers but as drivers of the bus with a singular destination in mind. Kennedy wasn’t just speaking to people, he was seducing them with his vision.
Which brings us back to Voltaire – it’s not enough to simply win, you need to make people feel good about it. In geopolitical terms, think of when one country invades another – the conqueror always faces an ongoing insurrection. The people who’ve been conquered know they’ve lost a battle, but they still have hope of winning the war no matter what.
So the defeated keep fighting because conquerors aren’t bringing their vanquished with them on their victory lap.
Let’s now move this out of the world of war and politics and into the land of how you can use this to build your business.
I’ve seen people with massive email lists, we’re talking over 100,000 people launch a product or promote something and fail miserably. Sure they make some sales, that’s just the nature of big numbers, but their efforts grossly underperform.
Conversely, I know people with small lists of only a couple hundred people and maybe just over 1000 members in a Facebook group who do really well with just about everything they offer to their audience.
Why is that?
The trite and lazy answer would be to say, “They’ve built a better relationship with their list/group/audience.” Sure, that’s true at a superficial level, but it doesn’t actually explain what’s going on.
The more involved answer is that these people have seduced and captivated their followers. They’ve engaged with them in a more meaningful and deeper way. It’s not enough just to go buy something because they’ve been told to, they will tell their friends and share how lucky they are that this person has pointed them in the right direction.
Seduction is entirely differently from things like greed and lust.
There are marketers that focus on attracting an audience based on greed and lust. They tell them what they sell them on the idea of achieving more materially with less effort. It targets the underlying laziness in some people who want to take shortcuts – they don’t want to find the rainbow and follow it to the end to get the pot of gold, they just want to be told to click this button and the gold will magically appear in their PayPal account.
A great example of this is Tai Lopez. He is selling to the greedy and the lustful. There is no seduction in his marketing – “Look at my Lamborghini”, “Check out my huge house” and “I pull in millions of dollars”. There’s nothing subtle to that. He says the key to everything is “Knowledge” and that he gets it from all the books he reads – in fact, he says he doesn’t actually read the books, he pays someone else to do that and just give him a synopsis. He wants to sell to people that are greedy and lazy who want what he has without having to work hard for it.
At the end of it all though, this kind of marketing requires you to have a massive lead flow all the time because you burn through trust very quickly. Also, the target audience is always looking for the next easy thing, so when they don’t get instant results, they move on.
Seduction is totally different. With great seduction, there is an allusion of something greater or more valuable, but there’s also some mystery involved. People are attracted to the mysteriousness and are willing to do the work to achieve the result of what the seduction promises.
When you use seduction in your marketing, you are drawing people in on the premise that they know there are things left unsaid and even unknown. People know that they are going to have to do the work to get the result – they will have to solve the mystery.
At a higher level, seduction creates a tighter bond with your audience. They are attracted to you more strongly and what you have to offer. When you make more information known to them or help them take the next step in their journey, it strengthens the relationship – it makes seduction even more powerful.
To establish that kind of lasting relationship with your audience, you need to enchant them with your best seductive charms. Make them desperate not just to have what you have or have more of something, but desperate to be closer to you.
It is not enough to have people optin to an email list or buy a product; one must also seduce them to build a stronger, lasting relationship.