The Irresistible Offer: Notes & Quotes

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It’s entertaining how divisive this book is. Some claim it’s all sizzle and no steak, some can’t stop slobbering over how good it is.

Personally, at first, I found Mark’s style to be so casual I began to worry there’d be no deep knowledge inside. But like all the best conversations, it takes two to tango.

Many of the complaints I’ve read are from people looking for a playbook for how to create their own irresistible offer. That’s not inside. I’d argue it shouldn’t be.

This is a book for people who don’t need their hand held when it comes to marketing. If you want someone to tell you what to do, don’t pick this up.

But if you’re looking to crack the core psychology of why people buy things, and you have the strength, character and ambition to test your own offers…

… then this is a must-read.


The core of all business goes back to when human beings first began entering into the most rudimentary transactions with each other, when cavemen traded a wooly mammoth pelt in exchange for a new club.

Question 1: What are you trying to sell me? Question 2: How much? Question 3: Why should I believe you? Question 4: What’s in it for me?

Let’s start with a definition. The Irresistible Offer is an identity-building offer central to a product, service, or company where the believable return on investment is communicated so clearly and efficiently that it’s immediately apparent you’d have to be a fool to pass it up.

Here’s the main difference. A Special Offer is a one-time deal. The Irresistible Offer is not. The Irresistible Offer is so central to the very heart of your business that it becomes your identity.

Let’s start with this—The Irresistible Offer is composed of three elements: 1. A High ROI Offer 2. A Touchstone 3. Believability

What’s a touchstone? In short, it’s a statement that addresses as many of the following points as possible: • Here’s what we are selling. • Here’s how much it will cost. • Here’s what’s in for you. • Here’s why you should trust us.

The bigger and bolder you make your Touchstone, the more difficult it is to prove, and the harder you have to work to sell your believability and your credibility.

There’s a simple formula—let’s call it The Great Formula, because it’s so unfailingly effective—that will bring you a steady flow of repeat business from eager customers. It really isn’t any harder than following these three steps: 1. Create The Irresistible Offer 2. Present It to a Thirsty Crowd 3. Sell Them a Second Glass

Continuity products are those that are offered to the customer on a regular basis. They are, in essence, built-in, guaranteed repeat sales.

Remember the Golden Rule of freebies: Never give anything away that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to sell.

You pay me nothing now. If the ad copy I write for you increases your profits, all I ask is for 10 percent of the increase. Smart marketing consultants use a pay-for-results system because they are highly confident in their abilities. This is a complete risk reversal for the client. Hey, if he can increase my profits, it would certainly be worth giving him 10 percent. If he can’t then I pay him nothing.

Try Before You Buy You pay nothing until after you have tried our product for 30 days. Copywriting legend Gary Halbert said that this is the most powerful tactic he has ever used, but in Gary’s words, “Very few people have the balls to test it.”

You go through a retail shop, pay attention there as well. If you put down a newspaper or magazine, or leave a large store, without a new marketing idea you weren’t paying attention.

This is the essence of the Rosser Reeves Unique Selling Proposition. It is extremely powerful. Make your customers believe you are their only source for what they want.

If people don’t need your product, then they had better really want it. In fact, some marketers go so far as to say, “You don’t get rich fulfilling needs. You get rich fulfilling wants.”

Can you use facts, research, recommendations, charts, and graphs to show your customers that they will easily get a solid return on their investment, a return that greatly outweighs the price you’re asking them to pay?

That’s a high ROI offer—for the money you spend, we’re going to give you quality merchandise, and we’ll even take it back if it’s not exactly what you want. It keeps Nordstrom’s successful despite the fact that it doesn’t promise a bargain.
People talk about things that are noteworthy. The thing most worthy of positive note is excellence—plain and simple.

There are three words that I believe represent one of the most important keys to success: Relentless Focused Action You have to figure out what actions will lead you to your desired goal (that’s the “focus”), and you must take those actions at a constant neverending pace (“relentlessly”).

Have you ever applied for a job? Have you ever applied to a school? Have you ever tried to win the favor of a member of the opposite sex? Have you ever tried to talk your friends into going to the movie of your choice? Have you ever tried to convince someone you were right? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you’re in the business of selling.

Many of the genuine business experts I’ve spoken to over the years will tell you the same thing. Secretly, many of us are placing more value on intuition than we’d care to admit publicly. Learn to tune in to your gut and follow what it is telling you. Just let go and give this a try sometime.

I can tell you, without question, that the following concept is the Holy Trump Card of all persuasion principles: The Frame. The Frame is not your message—it’s the message that precedes your message.