How To Sell Freedom For Profit
© Copyright 1993 by Frederick Mann, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
We advocate that individuals sell freedom for profit: a shift from self-sacrifice and altruism to enlightened self-interest or selfishness.
We have entered the information age. When you sell freedom, you essentially sell information. Bill Gates of Microsoft has become America's richest man essentially by selling information - computer programs. What we are trying to sell is essentially information on how humans can become more effective.
The difference between how effective humans can be and how effective they actually are, constitutes the potential market for our information. The potential market is enormous!
Rush Limbaugh has become the world's most successful radio talk show host. His syndicated talk show is broadcast by nearly 600 radio stations. He also has a TV show. His book The Way Things Ought To Be has sold over two-and-a-half million copies. Limbaugh sells what we might call "limited conservative freedom." He advocates that people read Hayek. Limbaugh has become a millionaire many times over.
There are about 20 million Americans who attempt to make money through home-based businesses. About 15,000 new people join their ranks every week. A major proportion of this business involves selling information by mail. All kinds of methods have been developed to sell information profitably by mail.
Because of the nature of the business and the transactions, it is relatively easy - if you can create the business successfully - to operate it as a true free-enterprise business. You can start in your spare time and eventually develop it into a full-time occupation.
The Value of Freedom
The biggest-selling and most profitable product in the mail-order industry is information. When we sell freedom, we essentially sell information. The difference between the actual level of freedom and the potential degree of freedom in the world, defines the potential market for freedom technology. As governments become more oppressive, our potential market grows. You now have a wonderful opportunity to increase your own freedom and to market freedom at a profit to others.
We encourage you to develop methods to sell "Practical Freedom" at a profit, and get others to do the same. For the awareness and use of freedom technology to expand significantly, we need to be able to sell the information individuals can use to discover who they are and free themselves. It has to be done in a manner that enables customers to apply the information. Customers need to be able to empower themselves. Customers need to be able to materially enrich themselves by applying freedom-technology.
To the extent that these objectives can be met, customers will happily pay for information, making it a profitable business.
Appealing to Minds or Pockets?
The appeal to the pocket is, in my opinion, much more powerful than the appeal to the mind. When the pocket motivates, people will readily shift economic activities into the free-market sector if they think the risk is small.
So, a vital function of free enterprise businesses is to provide the means that enable individuals to easily shift economic activities into the free-market sector with minimal risk. The means include the knowledge on how to legally reduce taxes, instruments such as Trusts to increase privacy and protect assets, institutions such as private currencies and financial services, private barter organizations, and methods of self-protection against terrocrats.
As the terrocrat institutions continue to decline and collapse, and they increase their taxes, it becomes easier and easier to persuade people to shift into the free-market sector. Accelerating this shift is a most effective strategy for blowing away the bogus power of terrocrats.
It is much easier to sell information on how to legally reduce taxes, than it is to sell an idealistic freedom-philosophy. Freedom technology provides immediate benefits. And once people experience the benefits, they are more likely to listen to the philosophy.
WOLLSTEIN ON SELLING FREEDOM
(Note: The following article is not copyrighted.)This article is adapted and edited from three brochures written by Jarret B. Wollstein. It contains the guidelines developed and tested by Jarret B. Wollstein, co-founder of the original Society for Individual Liberty and Director of International Society for Individual Liberty, 1800 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102; (415) 864-0952.
The focus in this article is on creating and running Freedom Chapters or Action Groups. Depending upon your interests in promoting freedom, this may or may not be suitable for you; but either way, it's still worth considering as one of the many possibilites - even if just to give you some ideas for other things.
How to Sell Freedom
Certainly there are factors outside of your control which contribute to success or failure. But one of the most important factors is something you can learn and develop: effective salesmanship. Salesmanship simply means presenting your product in a way that is attractive and emotionally compelling to your audience.
If you want your ideas or products to be accepted, you must beat a path to the world's doors. This is particularly true if your product is a new or misunderstood idea, such as freedom. Like any other product, freedom must be sold.
(See the Annotated Bibliography at the end of Report #13F: The Millionaire's Secret (VI) for books on improving your selling skills.)
1. Set Realistic, Numerical Goals. If you don't have realistic goals, you probably won't accomplish much. In selling freedom, your goals could be how many new people you get to come to your meetings each month, how many activities you sponsor, or how much money you take in. When it becomes easy to meet an initial goal, set new, more ambitious ones.
2. Be Professional. Selling freedom is a serious business and you need to adopt a serious, professional attitude. At the very least, your prospects can expect competence. Make sure your meetings start on time, that literature is mailed out promptly, and that appointments are kept.
Newcomers to meetings should be greeted with a handshake and a smile. Everyone should wear name tags. Old members should try to get to know newcomers and show sincere interest in them. Someone should introduce newcomers to other members. Honestly compliment newcomers and prospects. In general, everything possible should be done to make them feel comfortable and liked.
Your organization and your personal appearance should convey an attractive, professional image. Literature should be attractively printed and legible, and you should dress for success.
When selling to the public, it is your job to meet your prospects' expectations. It is not their job to meet yours. Untold thousands of people have been lost to the freedom movement because literature was never sent, newcomers were not made to feel welcome, or conventions were poorly run.
3. Adjust Your Speaking Rate and Style. Speak at the same pace as your prospects. If you are speaking to a slow talker, talk slowly. If you are speaking to a fast talker, talk faster. Use the simplest possible language to describe your product. Your purpose is to communicate, not to impress others with your intelligence. The language you use should also be adjusted to consider the background, educational level, values, and interests of your audience.
4. Qualify Your Prospects (But Don't Disqualify Them Too Quickly). Every sales person engages in a process called "qualification," which means determining if a particular person or group is a serious prospect.
You qualify a prospect by asking three central questions: What do you want? When do you want it? What are you willing to pay for it? For example, if a person tells you they want lower taxes as quickly as possible and they would be glad to pay $3,000 to an effective tax-abatement group, you have a good prospect. Similarly, a person who says that government has no business censoring films and music, would be another good prospect. A strong negative answer on any one of the three qualifying questions, particularly the last one, means you have a fair or poor prospect. For example, if someone tells you they are all for freedom, but don't have the time or money to spare, go on to someone else. People who tell you they want more government handouts, more laws and regulations, or more political power to implement their personal agendas, would be your worst prospects.
Concentrate on your best, easiest prospects - people who you get along with and who already agree with you 80% or at least 50%. Although freedom is beneficial to nearly everyone, because of political biases, your personal style, and other factors, you are not going to be able to sell everyone. Deal with those whom you are most comfortable. For some, this will be students. For others, it will be businessmen, women's groups, or senior citizens
Some groups are particularly solid prospects for freedom, including:
It is also important not to disqualify prospects too quickly. In selling a product as general as freedom, one conversation may not be enough to qualify a prospect. A negative response to one idea or issue is certainly not enough to disqualify. In sales, the rule is: get 3 to 6 strong "no's" before you give up. If you discover good prospects, that you just can't get along with, turn them over to someone else with a different style or approach.
5. Talk Benefits, Not Features. In selling any product, avoid technical discussions of "features." Concentrate on how the product will benefit the customer. If you are selling a "Banana" Computer, you might emphasize how the Banana will make writing and keeping financial records much easier and at a very reasonable cost. Talk about how owning this computer will make the buyer the envy of their friends and co-workers, and enable them to make lots more money money if they are in business.
Similarly when you are selling freedom, you need to talk about how freedom will benefit your audience. Freedom is one product that benefits every honest person, so it can be sold to nearly everyone. Here are some examples:
I don't know of any good freedom arguments for thugs, power-mongers, dedicated socialists, and radical egalitarians. But properly presented, freedom appeals to just about everyone else.
6. Spend More Time Listening Than Talking. Emphasize Areas of Agreement. Avoid Areas of Disagreement. People buy products for their reasons, not your reasons. Your job as a freedom salesperson is to explain how freedom will enable others to fulfil their needs. You discover what motivates prospects by asking lots of questions and listening carefully to the answers.
If a person says they want more information about the Freedom Supper Club of Orange County, a logical question is: "What did they find interesting about the Club?" If they answer, "The upcoming picnic," tell them about what a great party it will be and about all of the interesting people they will meet. You may think going to picnics is a dumb reason to join your Club, but what you think should motivate people is irrelevant. Congratulate your prospect on his good judgment in coming to your picnic. If a lot of other people also want picnics, plan many more in the future.
In selling freedom, emphasize areas of agreement, avoid areas of disagreement. If a conservative tells you he wholeheartedly endorses your free-market principles, but has serious reservations about your position on drugs, avoid that issue. Congratulate your conservative prospect on recognizing the central importance of traditional American values. If you do discuss drugs with your conservative at some much later date, it should be in terms of his values: safety, individual responsibility, family, and economic efficiency, not civil liberties.
Incredibly, many libertarians invert this process, driving away many of their best prospects. In my younger and less enlightened days, I often met people who said they agreed with 90% of what libertarians believed, and disagreed with just a few points. Instead of minimizing these disagreements, I would pounce on them! I might even insult people by telling them they were wrong, inconsistent, immoral and/or stupid for disagreeing with me! I was more interested in winning debates than in winning converts. I won a lot of debates, but I lost a lot of prospects.
7. Follow Up. Once a person has requested literature, attended a meeting or bought literature, thank them and maintain contact. All interest, help, and contributions should be acknowledged and shown appreciation. Anyone who does anything, should receive a thank you note and praise at meetings. People who make substantial contributions should be given certificates, plaques and awards. Small gifts - flowers, fancy pens, special lapel pins, etc. - for special help, create goodwill and encourage further work in the future.
8. Division of Labor. The "freedom business," like all businesses, requires a division of labor. Not everyone is emotionally equipped to be a frontline salesperson. The movement also needs researchers, writers, artists, and accountants. It is important to identify where your talents and the talents of your co-workers lie. Specialize in areas where you are most effective.
Whether selling freedom is central or peripheral to your participation in the freedom movement, I hope you will find these suggestions helpful.
Why Start a Local Freedom Chapter or Action Group
There are six main reasons you should start a Freedom Chapter or Action Group:
2. To socialize with other freedom lovers. In many parts of the world freedom lovers feel isolated. Holding regular meetings and activities gives you an opportunity to make new freedom friends.
3. To create the next generation of freedom advocates. We need many more freedom advocates to make a real impact upon our societies. Local chapters are one of the best ways of recruiting and developing new freedom advocates. We particularly need to recruit high school and college students. We also need many more freedom oriented lawyers, teachers, business owners, artists, writers, speakers, community leaders, and organizers.
4. To make money from selling freedom. Design a marketing structure so that distributors can make money by selling freedom-promoting products and services. Starting a Freedom Chapter or Action Group is an ideal way for recruiting, motivating, and training more Distributors.
5. Business Opportunities. A fundamental idea of our organisation is the shift of economic activities and resources into the real or true free market. Establishing working relationships between freedom lovers will accelerate this "Free Enterprise shift" and present you with all sorts of business opportunities.
6. Personal Survival. As indicated in How You Are Being Economically Raped: What You Can Do About It, currencies can get wiped out and financial systems could collapse. Some of the industries (like food, banking, and electricity) on which we depend for physical survival may, at least temporarily, cease operations. Freedom Chapters and Action Groups around the world could create alternative systems for people to shift into, should coercive public and private sector industries collapse.
How to Start a Freedom Chapter or Action Group
Another good way of locating people is to run an advertisement in your local or campus newspapers. The following ad's are good examples:
"FREEDOM-LOVERS. New campus (or community) group now forming. If you are interested in learning more, call Bill Smith at 000-0000 evenings and weekends."
"FREEDOM, THE FREE MARKET, WORLD PEACE. If you believe in these ideals and want to further them, call Bill Smith at 000-0000 evenings and weekends."
Once you have identified a few other freedom oriented people or prospects in your area, get together with them in your living room or at a quiet and inexpensive restaurant to plan activities.
The Basic Chapter or Action Group
Initial chapter activities usually consist of discussion meetings and speakers. Anything can be used as a basis for discussion meetings: an interesting article in the newspaper or a libertarian publication, tapes from a libertarian conference, or perhaps just an idea you want to discuss.
Be sure to plan your meetings at least 30 days in advance, and make sure everyone on your mailing list receives a written notice with clear directions, and gets a reminder call a few days before the meeting. Postcards or simple typed flyers are fine for such initial meetings.
If you meet at a restaurant, pick an inexpensive one with a buffet. Otherwise you will find that a lot of people won't come because of prices, and many will still be ordering and eating when your program is supposed to start.
At the meeting, wear name tags and greet everyone. Make sure newcomers are introduced to everyone, and made to feel welcome. Serve light refreshments if you are meeting in your home. Start on time. Every meeting should also have a moderator whose main function is to keep the discussion going, and to make sure that everyone has a chance to speak.
Have a good selection of freedom promotional materials on hand for people to pick up. It is also very desirable to print up a brochure or flyer describing your group and its objectives. Be sure to include a mailing address, contact person, and telephone number.
At the end of the meeting ask everyone what they liked and didn't like about the meeting. Ask them to suggest future topics and activities, and ask them to bring their friends with them next time.
If you are forming a campus group, you will need to become a "recognized campus organization" in order to qualify for free meeting rooms. This is usually a simple process, involving getting a few charter members, a faculty sponsor, and a written constitution conforming to Student Government Association guidelines. Check with your campus Student Government Association if you are forming a campus organization.
If you are forming a campus group, have live speakers whenever possible. And be sure to advertise your event with flyers on the campus bulletin boards and via notices in the campus paper, and on the campus radio station. Be sure to get everyone's name, address and telephone number.
Both campus and community groups should meet at the same place at the same time, at least once a month. That way members always know where and when to come to meetings.
Once you have formed a basic chapter, you can branch out into many more activities - limited only by your imagination and objectives. Possible group activities include debates, speaking before other groups, parties, writing columns for local and campus newspapers, and new free-market business projects.
It's Up to You!
Notes on Creating a Successful Freedom Outreach
* Schedule a time that is convenient for your audience. At most colleges this usually means mid-week and late afternoon. At high schools; just after school lets out. For community groups, Saturday or Sunday afternoon is usually best.
* Have an attention-grabbing title and presentation. Many activities compete for people's time, so it is important to get peoples' attention and make them feel their time would be well-spent attending your activity. Here are some suggestions: Is the Government Destroying our Liberty?; The War On the Poor; How to Live Free in an Unfree World; Is Government Trying to Destroy the Middle Class?; How You Can Beat the Bureaucrats; etc. If you have the time, create several different flyers for the same meeting, designing them to appeal to different groups.
You will also want to get the best speaker possible. In many areas you can find excellent free libertarian speakers through local colleges, ACLU chapters and libertarian groups.
* Advertise, advertise, advertise. No one will come to your meeting if they don't know about it. Use every means of advertising at your disposal. This usually doesn't require much money; just some imagination and a lot of effort. Everyone in your group should help with advertising. In fact, for the first four to twelve months, advertising will be your group's major activity. You should have your advertising printed and ready for mailing at least three weeks before your meeting.
Use as many of these forms of advertising as possible:
* Meeting format. At your meeting, be sure to get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of everyone who attends. In the case of college groups, be sure to get both the campus and home addresses of students. Greet everyone, and make them feel welcome. Use name tags. If possible have some light refreshments. Have literature on hand to pass out. It is very useful to have a brochure describing your local group objectives, plus the name and telephone of a chapter contact.
Don't book too large a room. It looks very bad to have ten people in a room designed for 100.
Arrive early at your meeting room to make sure everything is properly set up; that the sound system works; that literature is put out; etc. If the meeting is small, put chairs in a circle. Have each person introduce him or herself.
Start your meeting on time. Dress conservatively. Introduce yourself. Describe your group's goals and introduce your speaker. Speeches should be no more than twenty to twenty-five minutes long, with plenty of time for questions. Ask people if they would like to receive future meeting announcements, if they have suggestions for future activities, and if they would like to help out with the group.
Be courteous, friendly, and professional. Thank everyone for coming and invite them to come back.
Other Group Activities
Speakers, Discussions & Debates. In addition to the previous suggestions for meetings, if you want to get a good turnout, pick topical and controversial issues. Debates usually draw particularly well. Hot topics vary from place to place, but currently AIDS, the War on Drugs, taxes, health reform, and asset forfeiture are particularly important. Most colleges will provide funds to official campus groups to help pay for speakers. Local professional groups will also pay for speakers.
Literature Tables: Tables well-stocked with free pamphlets, and reports, books and T-shirts for sale are a good way of getting new members. Good locations include county fairs, in front of post offices, shopping malls, campus student unions, and libraries.
Courses: Society for Individual Liberty created "Principles of Liberty," the first libertarian home study course. You can develop your own courses based on the reports and books provided here, and from other freedom literature. Regular weekly discussion meetings are an excellent way to train new free people.
Letter-Writing and Editorial Replies: These are activities that can be engaged in by any group. Writing regular letters to the editor and editorial replies on radio and TV can also bring new members if you can get contact details mentioned. If you have the time and talent, consider writing a regular column for a local newspaper and arranging appearances on local radio and TV talk shows. You can also regularly read letters to the editor, to identify sympathizers who should be contacted.
Outreach To Other Groups: Most groups are eager for a new and exciting speaker. Speaking before other campus and community groups is an excellent way to recruit while having fun. Be sure to bring lots of literature along and get the names and addresses of those who are sympathetic. On campus, organizing panel discussions and joint meetings with other groups is an excellent way to boost your attendance, get help with advertising, and recruit.
Social Activities & Concerts: Libertarian social activities tend to be poorly attended. However, if you are very sociable, like music and dancing, organizing a social activity will enable you to recruit an entirely new group of people. Many of your "social libertarian" friends will never attend a lecture, but they will be glad to come to more parties and bring friends with them. You can certainly talk about the freedom perspective on current events at parties and hand out literature (preferably with lots of pictures). If you are particularly ambitious you can even organize concerts, plays, etc.
Social Action Projects: You can participate in social action projects initiated by national groups, such as National Tax Protest Day, Jury Rights Day, Drug Legalization Rallies, etc. Or you send a freedom oriented contingent to local and national social action projects, such as anti-war demonstrations. Or if you are really ambitious you can start your own social action project.
Many successful national projects were started by just a few people operating out of their living room, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. If you have the right issue at the right time, your group could start a major national movement. For example, you could start a movement to expose the AIDS hoax.
Your Kind of Group
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