Here’s a fact of life: most of us have an inferiority complex. For most, it’s under control and we go through life feeling pretty okay about ourselves. However, even if we largely are able to function in life, seeing someone who seems to be on easy street will generally get us jealous. Seeing someone who acts like a jerk can make us even angrier. That is, they make us angry unless they happen to tell us how we can get rich and act like a jerk also.
How This Works – It’s Human Psychology
I’ve written in this space in the past about human psychology and marketing. One of the classic cases of human psychology is the car salesman who insists that you get to pick the color of the car you want to buy.
The idea is to supposed to be that he is giving you a choice (we all want choices in life – we like to feel as if we’re really in control) while at the same time roping you into buying the car since he has taken away your choice of whether to make a purchase and replaced it with a choice of what color you want to buy.
The Jealousy Drive
Being jealous may be a cardinal sin which the Bible says is one of the Ten Commandments (i.e. not to covet thy neighbor’s property), but we can’t help feeling it. It’s human nature. This means that when we see someone living in opulent luxury, we want to experience it – we want to feel what it’s like to live that life also.
We Want to Be Celebrities
This is the reason that celebrity gossip is so popular – we want to feel as if we have some relationship to the rich and famous so that we can get a taste of what the good life is like. And for most men, we feel jealous when we see that Brad Pitt is able to get the babe and we lust after Julia Roberts because we feel as if that’s the ideal.
Women too have the same feeling, mimicking the styles of the rich and famous in an effort to feel as if they are somehow transformed into being rich and famous themselves because of it.
Mind you, I personally don’t follow gossip columns at all (which is evidenced by the fact that the examples I could think of probably aren’t the be all end all anymore and were at the height of their popularity back when I was in high school), however, as an Internet marketer, I am in essence a salesman and so I understand human nature and psychology, even if I happen to not subscribe to it.
How Insulting Your Prospects Makes You Wealthy
Now that I’ve built all this up about the jealousy drive and the desire to be like celebrities, let me answer the question above – yes, insulting your prospects can be helpful, but it can also hurt you. In essence, the theory goes that the rich guy who insults his prospects will be fascinating to many people who themselves wish they could afford to be snobs (and let’s face it – our baser instincts usually mean we want to be snobs also).
This means that by insulting your prospects, you are able to rope in a large number of people because they want to know how they too can become so rich that they can get away with being insulting.
When It Doesn’t Work
Personally, I find the whole insult your prospects concept revolting. Then again, I know I’m unusual in that I really couldn’t care less what the rich and famous are wearing or buying. It has zero impact on my life and so I prefer instead to focus on what I can do for myself (i.e. I don’t care about the rich and famous, but I do want to own a nice gas grill for my balcony and a big screen TV for my living room – I actually use a projector with a 100” screen by the way).
That said, even with people on whom it will work, insulting your prospects is a risky business. You need to keep it subtle enough so that they are interested in learning what you know while at the same time avoiding being so insulting that they are turned off by you.
If I were to say, “I don’t know if you’re smart enough to get this, but I figured out how to make millions of dollars a year and if you think you’ve got the brains to figure it out, then why don’t you try it also?” This is an example of insulting your prospects that works, because it gives them an out and lets them experience what you experience. It also challenges them to prove that they are good enough.
On the other hand, if I were to write “you’re too stupid to understand this. You’ll never amount to anything and you’re just wasting my time by asking me how to become a millionaire,” this doesn’t offer your prospects an out. It just gets them angry and makes them want to go elsewhere (again, to prove that they can do it).
Bottom line, insulting your prospects can work to help you make money. This is just human nature at its finest. However, it must be done with subtlety and with a great deal of care.