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On Pimps And Persuasion | CS008

We're exploring the dark side of persuasion. Skip this if you're easily offended.

There's a fascinating TEDx talk by Tim Larkin, a former military intelligence officer, called the Paradox of Violence. His thesis is that in order to protect yourself, you need to understand violence. And to understand violence, you need to study criminals.

Studying pimps and pimping is essentially the same concept. Like violence, persuasion is just a tool. It can be used for good or evil. And to know the full extent of what persuasion can do, you must study those who use the tool in ways you may think are immoral, unethical, or even criminal.

Think of today's podcast as Pimpology 101, where I introduce you to what pimps call “the Ism.”

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The Reason For Rhyme

“There's only one way to be a pimp, is to have a prostitute. And it's best to have more than one because to have one is so close to none.” – Bishop Don Magic Juan

How pimps talk, if you understand what they're doing, is they use a principle called the “reason for rhyme.” It's a cognitive bias we have.

When a statement rhymes, we're more likely to perceive it as true. If you've ever been at a college in the US, you may have heard…

“Liquor before beer, you're in the clear. Beer before liquor, never been sicker.”

And people actually think that's true (“Oh, that makes sense!”) But it's not. We just think it's true because it rhymes.

That's how stupid we are as a species, that if something rhymes we think it's true…because people have put more intention or effort into the creation of that statement.

In some cases, though, the rhyme is true. Like with coral snakes:

“Red touches yellow, kills a fellow. Red touches black, friend of Jack.”

And so, the reason for rhyme is a powerful tool of persuasion. And if you listen to pimps talk, they're spitting rhymes all over the place.

This is where a lot of Rap comes from. In fact, Pimpology was proliferated by rap music (think of Ice T, for example.)

So, I encourage you to watch Pimps Up Hoes Down. Because you'll learn a lot about persuasion from it.

Yes, it's the dark side of persuasion. But the thing is…

You can't know the light if the dark is never in sight.

Glamour, Mystery, And Status

One of the main ways to take your persuasion to the next level is to combine visual and verbal persuasion.

How pimps do this is with “the Ism” (or Izm.) Short for “Pimpism.” And it's also slang for the pimp himself. They call him “the Ism.” And Ism, it's sort of the entire doctrine, principles, theory and practice, of pimping.

Part of this is how they dress and talk. (which we just covered.)

Pimps use glamour. So they wear expensive suits, lots of jewelry, fur coats, walk around with “pimp sticks,” etc.

Or they'll do things like wear sunglasses at night like the one white pimp is doing here (his name is “White Folks”):

See, when you deny someone eye contact, it raises your status and creates an aura of mystery. And Mystery is a part of Glamour. And so, the pimp dazzles the people around him by looking glamorous and talking slick.

You can see it in their eyes. Just watch that video I linked all the way through. The pimp has people around him mesmerized and hanging onto his every word.

How YOU can apply this to your sales calls is simple:

  • Dress up in more formal clothing (if it's a video call) – you don't want to be overdressed, just more formal than your prospect by one or two levels.
  • Think up rhyming metaphors for the problems you solve and the solutions you offer. Drop that slick talk during opportune moments on the call.
  • Wear glasses during the call (even if you don't need them.) And for added effect, use video lighting on your face. It'll reflect off the glasses and obscure your eyes from the prospect.

Try 1 or more of these techniques and let me know if you see any effect (positive or negative.)

How Pimps Flip Biology On Its Head

If you study biology and sexual selection, you learn that the female is the one who chooses who to mate with. And women are choosy because they only have so many eggs throughout their lifetime, and they bear more risk when it comes to gestation and childbirth. A man has significantly less risk and less opportunity cost. This being the case, men aren't choosy.

That's why there's the saying that men are dogs, right? It's because the men are not choosy and women are choosy.

What pimps did was they flip that script. They make a woman qualify herself and prove to them why they should choose them over other women. They've basically taken thousands of years of evolutionary biology and flipped it on its head. Which is kind of amazing, when you think about it.

Pickup artists also took from this playbook and figured out how to do it as well.

How I've personally used this principle is by reframing my interactions with prospects. I choose who gets to buy from me, not the other way around. I also used it to create my alter ego for sales calls, Bishop Don Magic Mike.


Persuasion is a tool. And tools are amoral. We can use them for good or evil. Sometimes, those who are best at persuasion are people who use it in ways that are immoral, unethical, or even illegal.

Think about cult leaders, con men, corrupt politicians, and even pimps. These people use persuasion to get what they want, and they don't care if they hurt people in the process. Because they don't care, they use the tool without restraint and thus, unlock its full potential.

We, as business owners who want to serve people and make their lives better, need to study the dark side of persuasion so that we can have the opposite effect. In fact, some would say it's our moral duty.

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2 comments… add one
  • Gavin Allinson Feb 16, 2020 @ 6:52

    Fantastic article Mike…
    Really made me think

    I’m going to cook up some rhymes
    To get my prospects standing in lines…

    Ok I ‘ve got some work out to do…

    • Mike Mark Feb 16, 2020 @ 14:48

      Hahahaha…That’s a good start, Gavin!

      Glad you liked it!

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