A man was begging on the subway between 42nd and 14th street yesterday. “Oh nooo!” – That’s what I was thinking so I put on my noise-cancellation headsets to try and be invisible.
I was above the crowd of vulnerable New Yorkers with simple headsets.
But this guy was no homeless; he was THE WOLF OF 42ND STREET.
“I am not here to sell you candy, or tell you about my hardships, or ask for money” he said.
I somehow heard THAT over my noise cancelation.
– I am here because I wrote a book, he said
He pulled a copy and showed it to us. It was obviously self-published with the Create Space templates, the same way I published my first book.
It did not look “professional”, but heck, the guy had a book!
– It’s called “Changing Your Game Plan” he said. Momentum growing.
– The book tells the story of my life and the mistakes I made that landed me in prison.
I removed the noise cancelation at that point.
The exclusive membership club of the express train lifted their heads at once. How could we not? Prison?!
What followed was the best copy-writing / sales-speech I EVER heard on a subway:
– You can grab a copy now and look at the back to see what it says. Totally free.
There was nothing to lose right? You COULD HOLD IT for free. He did not say the book was free.
What did you have to lose by simply holding it?
The woman next to me (probably in her 50s) STOOD UP to grab a copy. A few others got a hold of one as well.
Everyone who had one was half-convinced already, some were reaching for the four bucks. It didn’t matter what the back of the book said.
There’s a trick called Investment Bias. And by now he had already made you invest your time and interest in his book. You were IN.
Also, by now he had:
a) Identified the ones that might buy, and
b) Had put a copy in their hands. They were holding it already!
– Look at the back of the book and see what it’s all about.
He repeated that… The man knew what he was doing.
Two more people grabbed a copy as he walked up and down commanding the stage of a frigid January subway audience.
– If you want the book autographed that is for free. The book cost four dollars, but the autograph is free.
Genius again: he was already offering extra value.
The price was introduced as an after-thought, after the “extra value”…
Now, you may argue the extra value (autograph) was “perceived”. Who cares? It works!
And… he said “free” thrice already!
– The book cost 4 dollars. Today. (It’s 12 in Amazon paper-back). I just want to help others.
Now we knew that:
a) We had a bargain and the guy had something to offer (prison!)
b) There was a sense of urgency. Why? Because of the next line…. the line that killed it!
-Don’t wait for the book to be on Oprah people, this is your chance!
Everyone who was holding the book bought it. All of them. That was 6 people in a 5 minute ride. All of them wanted it autographed too.
He asked everyone for their names and autographed them with a personal message.
I just bought my own copy. 2.99 in Kindle
You go R. Kearse! You’ve got yourself a fan. ME. And those six people.
Because incarceration is not always of the metal bar kind… No!
Many times incarceration is of the metal MENTAL bar we set up for ourselves.
I’m off now. Gotta read a book, bro.