The Boy Who Cried Wolf Redux

By: Ken Nadreau

You've probably heard the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf.

The problem is that the child was looking for attention and thought it would be fun to scream at the top of his lungs that a wolf was nearby. Each time he did, the entire town came running to his rescue!

It worked twice!

But each time all the townsfolk came running to his field all set to do battle with a big, mean wolf, all they found was a bunch of sheep casually munching on grass.

The boy really felt important when everyone came running to his aid!

However, the third time, no one believed him. No one came running when he screamed 'wolf, wolf!!!'

Unfortunately for the young lad, the third time was real!

There WAS a wolf and the boy was forced to fend him off all on his own. And to make a long story short . . .

The wolf won!

Now the moral of this story isn't about danger, nor is about practical joking, nor seeking attention. Rather, it's about . . .

The improper use of manipulative motivation!

You see, by screaming 'wolf!', the boy created a sense of urgency that the people of the town couldn't ignore. They had to come!

You could almost picture them reaching the field in an absolute panic, their adreneline pumping through their veins, eyes bulging!

And you can pretty much guess how they felt when they discovered that it was all a ruse!

Maybe the first time they might have thought the boy was just mistaken.

A lot things go bump in the night, and sometimes shadows play tricks on a person out there alone in the dark.

But twice?

How many times is one expected to react in the same way to the same scam? How long will it take before people get wise to it?

Interestingly enough, you might be asking yourself the same thing each time you come across an advertisement telling you to 'get in today!', or 'time is running out!'

And too, you might be getting wise to the websites that tell you, 'There is nothing else like it on the web!', or 'You are guaranteed to make X amount of dollars in one week!'

These types of ads may have worked for a time, but people are getting wise to them. And as they get wise, they're beginning to trust, those who promote in this way, less and less.

In fact, these days, promoting programs and products using a manipulative sense of urgeny is as good as tatooing 'scam artist' on your forehead!

Now there's nothing wrong in rousing emotion in your sales efforts. The problem is though, if you rouse the wrong ones, you'll make enemies, and enemies don't buy things from you!

You don't want your customers to regret making a hasty decision, especially if they can look back on it and blame you for it!

Now what if the boy in our story thought things through before jumping on the scam approach to gaining attention?

What if . . .

He explained that there were some interesting shadow play out there in the dark, and invited them to come sit and watch?

Or what if . . .

He told some people how nice the night air felt and how peaceful it was just sitting there watching the sheep graze? How lucky he was to have such a great job!

Maybe he would have aroused different emotions in the townfolk. And maybe he could have gotten some of them to come sit with him out of a desire for peace and quiet, or out of curiousity.

What if he had convinced rather than connived?

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