The professor in our marketing class told us to collect all of our direct mail for a month in a bag, then throw it on the floor and see which one we opened first.

So we individually collected junk mail for a month then emptied the contents on the floor. Know which ones that got opened first? The ones that bulged with something like a pen or a key chain.

I don’t like spam and I don’t like junk mail. I wish I had a spam folder on the side of my physical mailbox like I do for my email. That way the mail carrier could just store stuff in my Trash and not fill up my mailbox.

I haven’t opened a piece of junk mail for years no matter how much they promise me utopia or a better body. I can spot a piece of junk mail as easy as I can an email from someone in the U.K. who wants to transfer large amounts of cash into (or out of) my bank account.

However, I finally got tricked. In fact, I opened the piece of mail and was so impressed I laid it on the counter and began to applaud. Well, done, my good man, well done.

Here’s how they tricked me: they made it look like it was personal card. It looked very much like it was a hand-written address and the little return label that set a bit askew in the upper left hand corner was like those you get in the mail from the DAV.

I was tricked because it looked like it was a personal letter. They tapped into my innate desire for relationship.

I was reminded of one of the business principles of the founder of Outreach, Inc., Floyd Hammer: People buy from people. He credits his philosophy from his first boss and the 13 Business Principles of J.B. Clay, (but the fact is that some of those principles belong to Floyd).

  • People buy from people because trust is the most important part of any transaction.
  • People buy from people because there is a story that can be attached to the item.
  • People buy from people because, at the end of the day, good relationships are what we value the most.

It turns out I didn’t buy what my new friend from California was selling because it turns out he or she worked for a massive company. They broke one of the first rules of relationship; trust.

I was tricked and I’m impressed they tricked me based on the idea of relationship.

But kind of like getting bit by a dog once, I’ll make sure that dog doesn’t bite me again.


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