The Art Of Legit Bribery In Sales And Marketing

Our business took longer than expected. The kids lost patience. I could see the boredom it in their faces. They wanted out. I can’t blame them. How many kids under the age of seven enjoy sitting with kitchen designers? To avoid a scene, we turned to a surefire solution.


“Behave for another twenty minutes. We’ll go to Liberty Science Center next. But you must behave.”

For the next twenty minutes, they sat and played with a few meager toys. Our bribe worked.

The dictionary refers to bribes as giving something to persuade or induce others. But does that make sense?

Why bribe someone if you could persuade them?

A bribe is a transaction.

In persuasion, the other side comes to the conclusion you desire. When bribing, the other side acts only because you gifted them something in return.

We offered our kids something they desired. In return, they behaved.

We do these transactions in business, sales and marketing too.

Marketing Bribes

The world seems to accept marketing bribes. In fact, it’s common to see something like this:

“I’m offering my 10 point [insert name] plan as a bribe for joining my community.” — I do the same thing. I offer a “guide” as a giveaway to join my mailing list.

“Get $10 off on Tuesday.” — Typical kind of bribe you get from restaurants

“The first ten people to buy get a free consultation. A $500 value.”

I pulled this one from a real ad. The business that sent it called it a gift. A gift implies you expect nothing in return.

Do Bribes Work?

They do. That’s why we all do them. Try asking someone to join your mailing list without giving a free gift. Your conversion rate plummets. Just about every digital business does it.

Here’s the thing.

Bribes are just transactions. They get people in the door. They fail to keep people in the door.

You can call your bribe a gift, enticement or token of appreciation. It doesn’t matter.

They bring people into your business. It buys you their attention. You gain a small window of opportunity. Now you have a chance to persuade and sell.

Most marketers agree. Once the transaction completes, your prospects no longer feel the need to reciprocate.

Here are a few things I do which seem to help with retention after “the bribe.”

  1. Keep in touch with customers. Obvious, I know. So few people do it.
  2. Ask for feedback on your giveaway (bribe). People do respond. Some will never bother to look at your gift. The act of downloading it seems to satisfy them enough.
  3. I give away a bullet writing guide. I often ask my subscribers to send me examples of bullets they work on for feedback. People appreciate it and become fans. It also has an added benefit. Reviewing their work helps me sharpen my skills too.

In short, don’t take your customers for granted just because you bribed them with a free pdf.

>>Do you want to learn how to persuade without bribes? Get my free persuasion bullet writing guide here<<