We all have aspirations, and for some, those include being a model or celebrity. For me, those aspirations included being a professional singer, so I was willing to sacrifice a lot of time, money, and tears to achieve that dream. I started thinking about will power, and wondering if it takes more power to say, “no”, or more power to keep pressing on when everyone else is saying, “no”.
In an effort to pursue my dream in high school, I joined a modeling and talent agency. A friend of mine had heard a commercial or received a flyer about an audition at a hotel ballroom, so I decided to go as well. Even then, I was incredibly skeptical of agencies, wary that they only wanted to scam me out of my money. This agency had a great hook: we don’t get paid until you get paid. Pretty classic pitch, actually. The problem was that, in order to even go to a call, you needed a book of headshots. As I was not trying to model, I thought this was stupid, but it’s what you had to have to see the casting directors. And, we had to use their photographer, because he knew EXACTLY what the directors were looking for in the photos. After over-paying for the photos, we had to pay for a weekend at a hotel for me to perform for the directors (along with thousands of others, scheduled to sing on stage one after the other). I was excited to get a few callbacks, until I realized that the callbacks were for a voice teacher and a stage teacher. Most of the performers got similar callbacks. In short, after nearly a grand spent with a “free” agency, I stopped returning their calls.
Timeshares are supposed to be a lucrative offer. You get to vacation in gorgeous locations, make tons of money back on your investment, and generally allow you to “get in on the ground floor of an amazing opportunity!” A lot of people fall prey to the free breakfast, offers for a cruise in exchange for just 30 minutes of your time, and the beautiful beach-front property that you have the ability to purchase before anyone else!
Both of these situations test your will power. They test your knowledge that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In the case of the agency, they had one shining success story, and for an ambitious high school girl, that’s all it took. Surely, I could be their next success! The timeshares have one or two outstanding ROIs to report, and once again, everyone thinks that surely, they’ll be the next big millionaire after making such a wise (and oh so unique) investment. These are examples of marketers (albeit, very clever and successful marketers) using their powers to fleece people. They push every emotional button, and use every social construct to pressure you into doing something that you know in your mind to be wrong, even though your heart really wants to believe in the “magic”. I’ll admit, I fell for it once! Maybe that’s why I want to use my will power to be an honest marketer, with customers who feel great about the solution I’ve described to them?