Social Seduction, Creating Space and Anticipation
In his excellent book The Art of Seduction, Robert Greene constantly stresses the point that people want to be seduced.
Seduction, whether romantic or platonic, is a journey of the mind. People want to be taken on this journey.
It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to “seduce” someone for sexual, business or political purposes. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, gay or straight. The concepts of persuasion apply regardless.
I look at business persuasion as a kind of “social seduction.”
This idea helps us see the business or sales relationship for what it really should be: pleasing the client.
Everyone wants to feel good. Everyone wants to reduce pain, eliminate problems, and increase happiness and pleasure. This is what our services are supposed to do.
The best “seducers” have always been extremely effective at creating an ideal world, even a fantasy, of less pain and more pleasure in the mind of the buyer.
Modern consumerism in general operates on this premise: you have a problem, and we can help you solve it. For better or worse, it has led to many trillions of dollars in business over the years.
As someone who has helped people with their dating life, I see the parallels between attraction and selling every day.
One of the “seductive types” Greene discusses is what he calls the Coquette:
The world is full of people who try, people who impose themselves aggressively. They may gain temporary victories, but the longer they are around, the more people want to confound them. They leave no space around themselves, and without space there can be no seduction. Cold Coquettes create space by remaining elusive and making others pursue them. Their coolness suggests a comfortable confidence that is exciting to be around, even though it may not actually exist; their silence makes you want to talk. Their self-containment, their appearance of having no need for other people, only makes us want to do things for them, hungry for the slightest sign of recognition and favor.
In a world that discourages direct confrontation, teasing, coldness, and selective aloofness are a form of indirect power that brilliantly disguises its own aggression. The Coquette must first and foremost be able to excite the target of his or her attention. The attraction can be sexual, the lure of celebrity, whatever it takes. At the same time, the Coquette sends contrary signals that stimulate contrary responses, plunging the victim into confusion.
Studies have shown that women are more attracted to men when they are unsure of their interest.
Not when they know he really likes her. Nor when they are certain he doesn’t. But when there is uncertainty: contradiction, a grey area.
And frankly, in my experience the same thing applies for men too.
How can we use this natural human fascination with curiosity, mystery and uncertainty?
Offer tons of value to your audience. Hold out the promise of something amazing. But don’t smother them.
That’s probably the first step. Instead of clobbering them over the head with your amazingness, start holding back a little bit. Don’t show desperation.
Gary Vaynerchuk’s concept of “Jab, jab, jab, right hook” speaks to this: give, give, give (value, content, information, entertainment and so on), and then ask (for the sale).
Marketers successfully use the scarcity effect with limited-time offers, “applications” instead of contact forms, count-down clocks, and other techniques.
In a world where people are assaulted at every turn with aggressive promotional messages, creating space, and even aloofness, immediately makes you stand out.