I read somewhere (I believe it may have been in the book "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion") that human beings develop analytical short cuts in their brains in order to make judgments or decisions about new ideas or offerings that come their way. The example given was that of "You get what you pay for." Since we don't have the time or energy or even the desire to analyze every single product that is advertised to us, we make assumptions about the value or desirability of the product based on the price. Therefore, something that costs $9.99 (a too-good-to-be-true price) is not as good as a similar product that costs $99.95. While the $10 product may be every bit as effective as the $100 one, a vendor might actually sell more of his product if he increases the price, rather than put it on sale.
In 2009, we are overwhelmed by information and advertising. It comes at us from every direction and there's no way we can take it all in. Too many choices, too many options... to save our sanity we MUST develop an automatic evaluation method to avoid mental overload.
I'm reailzing that if something comes at me as a sales pitch, I Just Say No. I'm paranoid enough, suspicious enough and burned too many times by salespeople to give many the benefit of the doubt. I don't have time to check references or decipher trumped-up testimonials. If someone is trying to sell me something, my automatic evaluation system kicks in and I reject it.
I've found this to be true in my own world, with my own SWS "prospects." I get inquiries every day from people who want to interview me, who'd like a proposal for me to speak, who want to include my articles in their newsletter. They find me online or hear about me from others, and are intrigued. But I tell ya, the minute I approach someone and ask if they'd like to interview me, if they'd like a proposal for me to speak or would like me to submit articles for their newsletter, I almost ALWAYS get brushed off. Sometimes not even very politely! I approached a radio talk-show host once (he was just getting started, not some big shot) and he somewhat nastily accused me of just wanting to sell him something.
So, it appears that the way to sell something to someone is to let THEM find YOU. Create an attractive "product" and put it out there in the world for interested prospects to stumble onto.
I'm sure I didn't think this up all on my own, but I betcha' we'll see a massive paradigm shift AWAY from pursuit-oriented marketing TO attraction-based marketing. Might turn the sales-training world on its ear! (which is a very good thing).