Why Marketing Should Never Tie Up The Loose Ends

There’s a house behind us shrouded in mystery. I don’t mean a haunted house, just some low-level mystery. A few months ago a “for sale” sign appeared. There’s nothing unusual about that. This family kept to themselves. They were friendly if you passed by but they wouldn’t go out of their way to say hello. One day, new faces appeared. There were no moving trucks. There were no goodbye and good luck wishes.

Nobody knows if the old family moved out. Nobody knows yet if they sold the house or decided to rent it. The new people seem to be older. Maybe it’s grandparents staying there? It’s a total secret.

As I go for my daily walks I try to sneak a peak and see if I can garner a hint as to who’s living there.

The Power Of The Unknown

There is no intentional secrecy or irregular behavior. It’s a simple mystery. Once the loose ends are tied up I can put this mystery behind me.

Those loose ends keep my interest piqued.

Always Leave Them Wanting More – P.T. Barnum

The same principle holds true in sales and marketing.

Once you tie up the loose ends, you lose your grip on your audience. There’s no reason to stick around.

The greatest marketers, entertainers and product creators in history followed this rule.

They sell you on fixing a problem. They give you just enough to wet your appetite but they leave you hungry.

You buy the solution. The solution ties up those loose ends.

If they’re super smart, the solution reveals a new problem.

Now, you stick around to solve your new problem.

What About Respecting Your Customer?

Sure, you need to treat your customers with respect. You need to solve REAL problems.

Here’s the hard truth.

No matter how well you treat your customer, they’ll leave once they think you’ve solved all the problems you’re capable of solving. And why should they stick around?

One of my first mentors in business was a thirty-year sales veteran.

He gave me advice which contradicted everything I ever read in sales books. He said:

Never tell your prospect you can solve his problem. Once he knows his problem is solved, he’ll price shop you

It took me ten years of struggling before I followed that advice. I was too afraid. I thought I would lose the sale. Of course, I lost most of those sales anyway. The ones I did make panned out exactly as he predicted.

He offered this follow-up advice.

Leave out something small but something important. It forces them to come back to you.

Just like the advice of P.T. Barnum, he advised leave to leave a loose end. Give enough to curb the hunger but not enough to satisfy desire.

Fiction writers use cliffhangers to keep us turning pages. Good marketers give us just enough info to be useful, but not enough to give closure.

That’s the balancing act. Can you give me enough to curb the hunger but not enough to satisfy my desire?


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