Exposing the Miracle Cure
It was Saturday morning and while I was making breakfast, letting the cats outside, and watering my half-dead plants, I had the TV on. Saturday morning TV is usually composed of nothing but infomercials and today was no different.
One of the channels had this guy hawking a book on natural cures. He claimed that no matter what kind of disease you had, there was a natural or herbal cure for it -- and he had it in his book. No drugs, no surgery, no traditional medicine needed at all. Now he wasn't claiming that the information in his book would lessen your symptoms or reduce your pain, no, he was claiming that you would be absolutely, positively, money-back-guaranteed CURED!!
My jaw dropped as I listened to this guy make all these outlandish claims and I thought, how can people listen to this kind of junk? Worse, how can people send this guy their hard earned money?
The more I watched, the more it hit me that he was using a very familiar sales formula. You hear others use this same formula for a variety of products. This sales formula contains the following elements:
Element Number 1. IT'S A MIRACLE!
This first element is insidious because it offers hope to people that have little left. We've all heard the claims before: lose weight while you sleep, cure cancer overnight, stop pain without surgery.
You've also heard about other "miracles" I'm sure: double your money in the stock market, become a real estate millionaire, clean your bathroom with no scrubbing, and on and on. Someone once said, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Good advice.
This first element is the BAIT. It's used to create interest and the more outlandish the claim, the more likely you're going to stop and watch. And why is it that you've never heard about this miracle before? Well, see item 2.
Element Number 2. THERE'S A CONSPIRACY!
The guy said that the reason no one had ever heard of any of these "cures" before was because the __________ (insert your favorite opposition group here) was trying to cover it up and keep it off the market.
In his case, the FDA was against it. The drug companies were against it. The medical community was against it. You name it, he claimed they were against his information. I thought, "hey, this sounds exactly like the claims that there's a car that runs on water but GM and the oil companies don't want the public to know."
So when you come across any kind of quack making any kind of outrageous claim and you ask why hasn't this been make public before, the answer you always get is that there's a conspiracy against them.
The second element builds INTRIGUE and continues to draw you in. They make you feel like you're part of some deep, dark secret.
Element Number 3. A PROPHET CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS.
These guys always portray themselves as a "prophet in the wilderness" just trying to get the word of this miracle out to the masses. They talk about all the problems they've had getting anyone to listen (there's a conspiracy, you know). They say that they do what they do because it's their mission, their passion, it's the right thing to do. No, they're not doing it for the money -- however they do accept MC and VISA.
The third element builds EMPATHY or even sympathy for the guy and his product. You think, "Poor guy. All he wants to do is help people."
Element Number 4. TIME IS RUNNING OUT.
The clincher is that they're only offering this miracle for a limited time so you have to act fast. Time is running out and the "miracle" will only be offered for the next 3 minutes (or 30 callers or whatever).
Here's where they play on your fear of missing out. You begin to ask yourself, "What if it IS true? I don't want to miss out." and you reach for the phone and your credit card.
The forth element is designed to get you to take ACTION. It's like putting a string in front of a cat and then jerking it away. The cat chases it on instinct. Same principle. They're going to dangle this miracle in front of you and then start to take it away hoping you'll jump up and call the operators who are standing by.
Element Number 5. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE.
Of course, the product or book comes with a full 30-day money back guarantee so you have "nothing to lose." Excuse me, nothing to lose??? What about losing your health by following some quack cure? What about making your health situation worse by withholding or foregoing medical treatment? I'd say you've got a LOT to lose and you need to consider this very carefully.
The fifth element builds CONFIDENCE that you can always get your money back so it's no big deal to go ahead and order it. Well, I've already mentioned that you have a lot to lose -- and getting your money back may not be all that easy either.
So there you have it. The next time you watch or listen to ANY kind of commercial that offers a "miracle cure" for only $19.95, see if the sales pitch doesn't follow this same formula. I'll bet it does.
Remember, there is no free lunch and there is no "miracle cure." Getting and staying healthy takes work. No bottle of snake oil is going to erase a lifetime of poor eating habits and a lack of exercise.
You CAN improve your health but you've got to take a balanced approach and consistently work at it. So turn off the infomercials and I'll see you at the gym!