Devotees to a particular trainer or motivational speaker stay loyal to a system or person possibly far too long, and somehow, when you add it all up, they spend altogether too much money and are often reluctant to swap allegiances from one speaker to another.
This reluctance is often because they are already in debt, having been encouraged to purchase the next installment, event or training whilst they were on the last one they attended.
This is not a coincidence; all the best offers will be made while all attendees are at the peak of their enthusiasm and probably at their lowest resistance, at the end of so many days of training.
If attendees are not already in debt financially, they are probably in debt for their time, having invested a lot of time and emotions into either the concept, the people or the leader(s).
The reason I use allegiance (Loyalty or the obligation of loyalty, as to a nation, sovereign, a person or a cause) is because it is very much like that – you are believing in the system of thought and teaching, similar to that of national pride or devotion to a cause, often summed up in the example of a single person, who in your mind is a testimony to the things you admire and in many ways, that person is (in your mind) without significant failings.
“Only the victor gets to write history; where half of the facts are distorted and the other half invented.” ― Mamur Mustapha
Projecting the Perfect Leader
Often, these people’s reputation is carried by a few ‘facts’ (he gives away all his profit or she supports x with all her earnings, or started an orphanage in y etc. and a few other references or things you heard, urban legends) and then, based on these few ‘facts’ and examples, we complete the picture of who they are in our mind and ‘project’ the rest of their attributes, creating an amazing person that is most likely much better than the reality of their existence.
There are exceptions and there are truly amazing people in this world, but (in my opinion), few are to be found amongst those that are making money from people by getting them hyped up to sign up for their training. So, we can get transfixed on a projected version of the ideal person of the cause we are interested in.
Psychological projection1 was first described with negative connotations, where humans defend themselves against their own unpleasant impulses by denying their existence while attributing them to others. But some years later, Melanie Klein also saw that the projection of good parts of the self as leading potentially to over-idealisation of the object.2 The object in this case can be their own selves or another.
“The person one loves never really exists, but is a projection focused through the lens of the mind onto whatever screen it fits with least distortion.” ― Arthur C. Clarke, Tales from Planet Earth
If we do come over facts that contradict our projected version of a person, we make a conscious or unconscious decision as to whether this fits or warrants further investigation. If we decide that it is a true negative fact that we need to deal with – as mere humans, we don’t like admitting that the person we have followed and paid money to be taught by is lacking in some way, and we don’t want to be seen as being wrong or be seen as being gullible, or admitting that the fabrication we made about the person was wrong. This can lead to devotees sticking to a system of thought or group for too long, and/or dropping away from them quietly as their unconscious nags them and finds a new way to find a resolution.
The part that gets me and many others about the money is that many of these well marketed and long-winded ‘training’ sessions actually proceed extremely slowly and manage to teach at about a 10th of the pace of other more focused training programs and end up costing the attendee approximately 4 to 10 times the amount they would spend elsewhere, but this is not apparent until it is too late.
I used to approach these thinking that there must be a lot we needed to learn but instead, I realised that there is a lot of money to be made in the marketing strategy, the key of which is this process of giving you such small portions and leaving you wanting more. Like the Apps and gadgets on your smart-phone or pad, the App looks so great and Free, but it is the “In-App Purchases” that might have you spend 12 times what you originally intended for that functionality. Fortunately, for Apps, there is a lot of competition and the prices are low.
So, another reason that allegiances are maintained is that, it may take soooo long to get the training and skills the wanted, and the ‘breakthrough’ part that they have been convinced they need is so often in the next training session, $xxxx and in a few months time.
Every training session is designed to give you a small amount of substance and a lot of time is devoted to selling you the next chunk of their training. They can do this by telling you a bunch of things that wet your appetite, make you think that you are going to get it so you are so pleased, then subtly make a shift in the facts towards the end of the training that the bit you want is so exciting and is in the next or advanced part that you need to buy.
What you can do
So there is potentially two things going on here, we stay loyal to a system or person possibly far too long, and somehow, when you add it all up, we spend altogether too much money.
Here are some things to consider:
- Be Realistic about your spending: Take stock of how much you have spent and/or are about to spend. You need to do this realistically, because the design of the training regime is often to tempt you with items that are actually a few training programs away from where you are now. So, the true potential cost might be much larger than the next course.
Consider what else could have been done with this money. Some have spent $20-40,000 on these types of training once completed and if they had taken time to see this from the beginning, they could have gotten a Uni degree, traveled, pursued other more credible certifications, etc.
See what you can find out about specific skills that you are looking for and make sure that they are wholly taught on the program you have signed up for, rather than being eluded to and then available in the ‘advanced’ or yet to be released portion of the training.
- Critical Thinking: Ask yourself if you are really getting value for money.
- Alternatives: Consider other ways of getting the same skills that are being offered. Remember, every offer that is made to you that is only available on the day of it being presented is playing on the fact that you will not have the time to consider this fully, with time for reflection and a rational evaluation of the offer.
- Beware of the Sales Tactics when you are wanting to leave, or during a highly emotive time: Sales tactics like this work because the product would not sell as well if there was ample time for careful consideration. They are playing on your emotions and the hype of the moment and the fact that humans find it hard to walk away from perceived ‘opportunities’ like:
You are privileged people, because tonight only, if you purchase this now, you can save $1250 or
This is half-price if you get it at the door tonight or
If you walk away now, you say goodbye to your dream of a perfect future…
Some even have finance options onsite, trying to reduce your excuses to walk away. If it was a financial planning meeting, it would be controlled by some kind of guidelines, but not with this type of selling.