NO-NO #3 for selling your product: Anything that overpromises.
Overpromising results or making wild claims about your product or services is bad business. It’s toxic marketing, assuming people believe you. And it’s embarrassing, assuming they don’t believe you.
There’s a great Tom Waits song that’s literally just ad slogans, guarantees, and marketing cliches. It’s called Step Right Up and it’s one of my favorite songs of all time. You can hear it here.
“Act now only! Act now only!”
“They come in all colors, one size fits all…”
“It picks up the kids from school, it gets rid of unwanted facial hair, it gets rid of embarrassing age spots, it delivers a pizza…”
“It walks your dog, it doubles on sax…”
There’s a reason most people disdain sales as a profession (only outdone by their disdain of lawyers) and as a skill.
And it’s because too many people think to sell their product, they can just say whatever they think their customer wants to hear – whether it’s true or not.
When I was in high school in the late 90s and early 2000s, I remember getting sucked into fitness commercials. Tae Bo was all the rage, and Winsor Pilates. This was back when we were still doing workouts off of VHS tapes. There would be these hour long infomercials that would play early in the morning and late at night on certain channels, and boy, did they know exactly what to say to hook an unsuspecting, 16-year old rube.
You can have a flat stomach in 30 days.
You’ll lose 10 pounds in a week.
Sheila went from a size 16 to a 000 in a week and a half.
You know how we all know it’s not true? Because nobody’s doing Tae Bo and Winsor Pilates workout tapes or DVDs anymore. Of COURSE it wasn’t some miracle cure.
They were just pretty average workouts with huge marketing budgets.
What I didn’t know at the time is that even before/after shots of the same person can be heavily manipulated without being faked. Yeah.
They don’t have to photoshop an “After’s” face onto a “Before’s” body. They could pay a fit person to take the After photo first and then gain 20 pounds, take a Before photo, and lose it again on their own time. Or they could take a fit person, have them gain size with a combo of bloating, water weight, fat and bad lighting, and then take their after a month later when they’re back to normal. Same person. Similar photos. But it’s all a lie.
And you know what? They sold a lot of tapes. But it’s deeply shitty, and someone might try and sue you, because people are going to be mad they got duped.
At 38, my skepticism meter is much more well-honed. I can scent bullshit from a mile away.