[adsense float=’left’]In advertising, you’re told to poke the prospect’s fears so that they take action and buy what you’re selling. “But what fears?” is the million dollar question. Today we’ll explore where fears come from, so that you know where to start with your advertising.
Let’s begin with a definition of fear.
An old mentor of mine used an acrostic to explain what a fear is:
If a fear is a false expectation, then you could say it is the opposite (or at least different) from what they expect.
Does this give you a clue as to what they fear?
It should. But first, you have to know what they expect. This brings us right back to what they value:
People expect to be able to live their values.
So a false expectation of their values, would be the root cause of fear. This is pretty deep, and you may not have picked up on where I’m going with this. So let me simplify the root cause of fear:
Fear occurs when a person feels one of their values is threatened.
Here are a couple of examples:
As a parent, you value your children. When they get sick, don’t you have a little fear swirling around inside of you? Of course you do. There is a threat that your might be taken away from you by the illness. The worse the illness (the greater the threat), the greater the amount of fear you experience.
In another example, say that a person values “integrity.” This person expects to live their life with integrity, and they expect those around them to do the same.
Integrity is “doing the right thing.” Not the expedient thing, not the easy thing. It is the “right” thing.
What would threaten a person’s integrity, or ability to do the right thing?
One thing that jumps in my mind right away, is being around people with a known history of doing the wrong thing. “Just being around them.”
Therefore, a person that values integrity will have a fear of hanging around people that don’t do the right thing.
Fears and Values are Linked
In essence, fears and values are closely linked. In fact, that is on of the ways we are able to catalog a person’s values. This is another secret that no one knows:
To find what a person values, we can study them for what they fear. Then we just flip it over to find out what they value.
Here is another secret key that very few people know:
People will protect what they value, even if it is an internal value that no one can see. If they sense that their value is in danger, they will take action to protect it.
That is why fear is a trigger for action: in order to protect the value, they must take an action.
Therefore, when you present them an action they can use to protect that value, they feel compelled to reach for it. Cha-Ching! The sale has been made.
Let me say this as a warning: If every you come across as trying to manipulate someone else, the game is over. You won’t get the sale (get hired, get the date, or persuade them to do what you want). In fact, you’ll get a form of retribution that will feel stronger than a nuclear bomb.
You have to be very subtle in agitating a fear in someone else. If they sense that you are trying to use it against them (manipulation), you’ve blown the deal. Be careful.
How Do You Find What They Fear?
People don’t often go around telling others what they fear. Sometimes they do, and those moments are packed with priceless information that is easy to catalog. Most of the time, they bury their fears deep down so that others won’t manipulate them.
Since they aren’t going to tell us what they fear, we’ll use a different clue that will reveal what they value. That clue is: anger.
Anger is also associated with what a person values. So pay attention when you see someone else get angry. From it, you can deduce what they value.
Where a fear is a threat to something they value, anger arises from a violation of one of their values.
And it doesn’t matter if it is a real violation, or if it is perceived violation. Both are going to cause anger.
If you take a child away from a parent, or even if you say you’ve taken away the child (as a bluff), that is going to cause immediate anger.
Let me give you another example. This is pretty common, as it is a value of people with the Warrior personality type.
Warriors value “loyalty.” They often give their loyalty to someone else in the form of friendship, partnership, marriage, etc. They get angry (sometimes enough to kill) when that person they’ve given their loyalty to, violates the bond (called a back-stabber). If for example, their friend shares a secret that they swore not to reveal, that will trigger an anger eruption.
Anger is a visible manifestation of a violated value.
People can’t hold anger back, like they can hide one of their fears. But to the astute, it reveals the same thing. Anger reveals to us what they hold as one of their values.
[adsense float=’left’]You should constantly watch for anger coming out of other people. It will tell you what they value.
Once you know what they value, you can deduce one of their fears, because a fear is a threat to one of their values.
When you want something from them, you only have to agitate the fear to trigger them to take action.
Discover More About Values and Fears
If you want to learn more about how to agitate their fears without being manipulative, I recommend the Personality Marketing Manual. It not only shows you the fears, it also goes deeper and lists the values of each of the four personality types you’ll meet in humanity. You don’t have to do the cataloging of fears and values, it’s already been done for you! You just have to plug it into your advertising and start the cash register a-ringing.