From the Editor: ‘Tell Me I’m a Sucker’

Last week I got an email from my friend Maureen. The subject line read “Tell me I’m a sucker.”

“I never click on Internet ads,” her email began. “I hate watching Internet videos, and I know infomercials are utter crap. So why am I jonesing to purchase this product?” Maureen issued me a warning before I clicked on the link she attached. “First, know that this video is ridiculously long. I can’t believe I watched the whole thing. Am I losing my mind?” Or was she just a sucker? Or both? Hey, she’s my friend. I had to find out. And so I clicked on the link.

It took me to a video made by a (handsome) Los Angeles plastic surgeon who was hawking his “dark spot corrector.” A miracle product, no doubt. Smirking, I hit play.

The doctor had gone to a prestigious college and medical school; I’d give him that. And he wasn’t selling the dangerous stuff I knew was out there—in fact, he harshly condemned those who did. OK, I’d give him a few minutes more. And then he proved, with a series of damning before-and-after photos, that the thing that most aged a woman was not wrinkles but brown spots. I am 100 percent Irish and covered with freckles. (Maureen’s an Irish freckle-face, too.) The guy hadn’t shown his product yet, and he had me in his liver spot-free hands.

I probably don’t have to tell you that the product was made in limited quantities because its secret ingredient was a rare Australian fruit. Or that if I took advantage of Dr. X’s special discount now, I could lock in the cheapo price of the cream while those poor suckers who came after me would have to pay double.

Before I could hit the giant “buy” button, my inbox pinged. “The Art of Persuasion” (an article that’s in the upcoming May issue of SUCCESS) had arrived to show me how thoroughly I’d been played. But I still can’t promise I won’t go back and buy the dark-spot correcting cream.

How persuasive are you with potential customers? Plant the seeds for sales success with these 5 tips.


Susan Kane is former editor in chief of SUCCESS. She relocated from New York City, where she was editor of publications such as Parenting and New Woman.

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