The Studio 54 Effect

– Extract from NewSell by Michael Hewitt-Gleeson (New York 1984, ISBN 0932648568):

In NewSell, the sale “happens” to the salesperson. It is the prospect who does something to the salesperson, not the other way around. The direction of flow is always from the prospect to the salesperson, passive.

I used to call passive flow the “Studio 54 effect.” At that time a New York disco became internationally famous for the way people (prospects) would do anything to get in. It was an extreme, but very sucessful, example of NewSell. Some say that when Studio first opened, the owner, Steve Rubell, played loud music every night but never let anyone inside. Each night as the crowd outside grew and grew it attracted even more attention. Eventually, when he felt the situation was right, he admitted only the “glitterati”; his success is disco history.



As a thinker, what is the main point about this post, in your own considered opinion?

13 thoughts on “The Studio 54 Effect

  1. Anyone who is prepared to tap into the traits our evolution history have imprinted on our psyche can derive a benefit in any field. Its just a matter of working out how to do it!

    We all like to belong to a tribe – it protected us and helped humans survive through history – so we want to belong . We are all attracted to wiser more successful members of that tribe – they can protect us or help us to survive and make us feel like we belong.

    Getting two of these dynamics working together like this guy has done is a killer sales strategy and promotion strategy.

    Nowadays an Apple launch is a good example of the same marketing strategy – the best thing is that the cost of the promotion strategy is minimal it plugs straight into word of mouth and leads to quick sales and good cash flow to sustain the system and keep the growth going.

  2. Making something attractive, forbidden, and exclusive is more effective in selling then trying to persuade people that they need something that they don’t.

  3. Most of us will do almost anything if we can be seen as special.
    The craving to be recognized, admired or look good and part of the “In Crowd” is just as alive today as it was 2000 years ago.

    It’s part of the salespersons role (if they are good observers and listeners) to ask questions or do something that will arouse an eager want in the customer as the Studio 54 owner did.
    One only has to look and listen to any good religious leader and how they manipulate many good people to believe that the Bible is the word of some God. They highlight the great ideas, skipping from one quote to another but avoid the nonsensical rubbish.

  4. Making something appear very special attracts almost everyone.
    This is why phrases like, “for a limited time only” or “only the first 10″ or ” find out if you qualify” are used so often and probably effectively.

  5. Understanding the psychology of your client is often more important than the product your selling. In this fellow’s case he understood people’s desire to want to be someone special, so he turned the place into an elite hangout. It’s the same principle now being applied by real estate developers who develop swamps into ‘elite suburbs’. Smart marketing, makes the selling easy.

  6. Energy flows from prospect to seller, passively happening. Seller creates demand by different and unusual marketing strategies. Seller joins history…yes I like this.

  7. If a product or service is attractive enough and correctly packaged the prospect will want it . No amount of trying to get a prospect to buy something which is inferior will have the same effect as getting the above right

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