Marketing Tips from Dr. Hannibal Lecter

How to gain your customer’s trust like a genuine psychopath

Psychopaths bad reputation is overstated. The likes of Ted Bundy are so over-promoted by the media that when people hear the word psychopath they run away in fear. It’s as if those with that sort of brain have nothing to offer in terms of wisdom.

Murder sprees aside, psychopaths are often high-functioning members of society who find success in various endeavors. Especially in business. For better or worse, they understand how to get what they want, and persuade others to give it to them.

While you should never outright lie to your customer or mess with their mind, you could stand to learn some tricks to get customers to trust you more.

So, next time you hear Hannibal saying, “Hello Clarice,” imagine what he might be able to teach her if he didn’t want to eat people’s brains.

Flattery is the gateway to trust

A compliment can do wonders for someone’s self-confidence. It makes them smile and immediately like the person they are talking to. By complimenting someone you are filling a need that many have for external validation.

Since they want to believe the compliment is true, they will most likely assume everything else you say is true.

This is easier to do in person than through online marketing, but you can achieve this effect digitally by complementing your visitors for being smart enough to seek out your product or service.

Gifts are the gifts that keep on giving

It’s natural to distrust strangers. Especially strangers who appear to be selling you something.

So don’t start by selling. Give. Share. Show how generous you can be.

This will cause them to see you in a more benevolent light. Instead of appearing like the grubby online seller trying to make a buck, hawking digital courses for teachers, you’ll be the kind soul who helped a desperate substitute teacher come up with a lesson plan for an emergency placement.

Later on, it will be much easier to persuade them to try out your product for a price, since you’ve already gained their trust and demonstrated that you’re there to serve their needs.

woman receiving gift from computer

Show you are basically the same

Like Narcissus don’t we all really love ourselves above all else? Another way to get customers to trust you enough to buy your product or service is to show you are basically alike.
To do this you will have to explain a bit about yourself and a problem you faced. A problem that is eerily similar to that of the person you are talking to.

They’ll connect, bonded by a mutual struggle to someone who just gets them, ya know?

From there you’ll show how you went and created a product to solve the problem that you had but they still have.

You may need to find different angles depending on your audience. For example, if you were selling digital courses for teachers, a homeschooling mother of three will have different issues than an ESL teacher abroad. Pinpoint both in different posts. Show the mom you understand being harried and strapped for time. Show the ESL teacher you understand the feeling of being out of your depth and alone.

That mutual understanding allows their trust in you to transfer to the product which they will be only too happy to buy.

Take control of the situation

Once you have their trust use it. You’ve listened, sympathized, and held their hand, now it’s time to do what you came here to do. Guide them to your video, website, or blog.

Use everything you learned about your captivated audience to sell. If you’ve gained that trust this part should be easy.

Know your psychology and use it in your favor

Psychopaths understand how to play with people’s heads a bit. For example they know most people feel guilty saying, “No.” That’s why they may ask for something large upfront, only to shift to a smaller something immediately after the rejection.

Someone who just refused will be happy to give that seemingly small favor, even though it was actually what the psychopath wanted all along.

This is why, when someone refuses your upsell offer, you should always follow-up with a downsell offer that provides almost as much but for a fraction of the price.

Another strategy is to simply create the reality you desire. You might say, “Many teachers around the world are taking online classes right now.” This is plausible and vague enough to almost certainly be true, but when stated confidently people will believe you and want to live in that reality, especially if they can see it being a better one for them.

Fill their emotional hole

Who doesn’t want to be happy? Will your product make them happy or lead them to bliss? Explain how they will find a community of like-minded users of the product.

Find testimonies of others who found fulfillment after using it or a decrease in some pain points. Your customer has an emotional need behind their desire to solve a problem. Show not only how your product solves their problem but fills that emotional hole.


While we say “psychopath” like it’s a curse word, it can actually be a blessing in the world of business. Luckily, even if your brain doesn’t naturally function that way, you can steal some qualities of a true psychopath and make a killing… in sales.