From Now On, Ask How Likely And Not How Much
From now on, ask how likely… and not… how much.
In 1882, in Parma, Italy, a young man was born who eventually emigrated to the U.S. when he was 21 years old.
This man, handsome, energetic, confident and charismatic, would change the nature of how business was conducted, and the effects of his accomplishments are still being felt today.
Unfortunately, this fellow took the old entry-level salesman’s adage, “fake it until you make it”, too far. In fact, he didn’t just believe in this adage as he began his career — he lived (and ultimately died) by it.
In fact, Charles Ponzi left a lifetime of fraud and embezzlement behind him.
Ponzi’s first job as a waiter ended when he was fired for screwing around with the checks and got caught ripping off customers.
Undeterred, however, Ponzi headed north to Montreal where he became a bank teller and promptly got tossed in jail for forging checks. (Ponzi wrote to his mother that he’d found a job as a special assistant to the prison warden.)
After he was released, he was immediately sent back to prison for smuggling Italian immigrants across the U.S. border.
Following his second release from prison, Ponzi, now 36 years old, moved to Boston and shortly afterwards, came up with his “master” scam — the “postal reply coupon.”
These coupons were used by immigrants who would write letters to their families overseas in Europe, and since these poor families living in Europe couldn’t afford to pay for the postage required to mail a letter back to America, the immigrants living here in America would instead enclose these postal reply coupons inside their letters, which their families could then use as return postage.
Basically, it was like sending pre-paid self-addressed stamps to families overseas.
Ponzi started scouting around for investors in his new idea, promising they could double their returns in 90 days, calling his company — interestingly enough — the “Securities Exchange Company.” He got a few investors and paid them off promptly in a very low-key fashion. Of course, it didn’t take long for word about this to spread like wildfore, at which point investors began POURING through Ponzi’s doors.
By February 1920 (only 3 months after his business started), Ponzi had brought in over $5,000 dollars. By the following month, he’d brought in over $30,000 dollars… and by May of the same year, he’d racked up over $420,000 Dollars in sales, from greedy investors throughout the entire northeastern U.S.
By July, he’d brought in millions. Widows were mortgaging their homes, and average families were withdrawing their life savings and dumping it into Ponzi’s lap. And by paying out a few people ONLY, Ponzi’s reputation spread, to the point where most people didn’t even want to get their funds back — they simply kept their funds reinvested instead.
Suddenly however, when word of a minor (unrelated) lawsuit against Ponzi came out, people began qestioning how he could have become so successful, in such a short time-frame. People began pulling out of Ponzi’s scheme — but… since he was so flush with cash, it was no problem for Ponzi to pay this small minority their just desserts.
Nevertheless, the Boston Post, and then the Massachusetts state regulators, began investigating his “Ponzi” scheme. Media mogul Clarence Barron (of Barron’s financial newspaper) then wrote an article which explained that to cover all the investments
that had been made with the Securities Exchange Company, there would have to be approximately 160 Million postal reply coupons in circulation, but there had only been 27,000 issued to date (the postal reply coupons were sold through the Post Office, so records were kept).
When this news came out, it was basically the beginning of the end for Ponzi, as investors angrily stormed through his doors, and one month later, by the 2nd of August, he was broke. The feds shut down his business a few days later, ade his former criminal record was soon revealed.
By August 13th, Ponzi was under arrest and the 17,000 people who had blindly invested millions with him, would never recover that money again. Ponzi was sent to Federal prison for 3 1/2 years, and then faced state charges where he was sentenced to nine more years in prison. However, he jumped bail and escaped to Florida, where he quickly set up shop selling Florida swampland to gullible real estate prospectors.
Running from the law again, Ponzi fled once more — this time to Texas, where he changed his appearance and tried to escape the country.
Ponzi got caught and was sent back to Massachusetts to serve his prison sentence. Released in 1934, at the age of 52, he was deported back to Italy — alone, destitute and broke. After spending some more time as a petty thief, Ponzi died from a stroke
in 1948, a pauper in a charity hospital in Rio de Janiero.
It is from this story that the “robbing Peter to pay Paul” scam, appropriately called, a Ponzi scheme, originated.
There are many many lessons to be learned from this. First, a lion never sheds it’s stripes. With very few exceptions, a thief is always a thief, and a liar is always a liar, just as a good man is always a good man. Integrity is what you do when no one’s looking, and your actions along these lines don’t usually vary from day to day.
You either ARE… or you aren’t.
second, appreciate that Ponzi was so successful because he pushed very deliberate emotional triggers and buy-buttons in his prospects, that caused VERY powerful reactions. These triggers were the emotional hot-buttons of fear, hope, and greed, the “Bermuda Triangle” of selling financial gain. I cover each of these hot-buttons in DEPTH inside The Seductive Selling System – http://www.kingofcopy.com/seductive — explaining exactly how to use them, step-by-step, and what mistakes you must avoid
Lastly, the reason why Ponzi’s scheme will work again — if put to the test — is because when it comes to “the big payday,” people tend to ask “How much?”… when instead, they should be asking “How likely?” Sadly, the “fast easy money” sales pitch works so well, because of this.
The tragic human tendency of sticking your head in the sand to avoid reality gives con artists (ironically the “con” stands for “confidence”) tremendous leverage. So strong, yet so weak.
Hope you’re one of the strong ones.
There’s no con, but lots of artistry in this month’s Seductive Selling newsletter, and there’s no mystery about the $1,391 in FREE bonus gifts you get along with your trial subscription, so check it out, right here: http://www.kingofcopy.com/ssnl
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
P.S. Avoid the price hike: Seductive Selling System is going up by $100 bucks on December 8th. Get it NOW: http://www.kingofcopy.com/seductive.