This is the story of how an unknown carnival barker attracted the attention of an entire nation without spending anything on advertising, marketing, promotion, or PR. In fact, it was his status as an outsider that gave him a unique insight into how to achieve success that more conventional entrepreneurs might have completely overlooked.
Fortunately, his unusual secrets are there for the taking, but only for those who choose to radically open their minds.
Read on ... if you dare.
Embrace the Dark Arts
Anton Szandor LaVey was born in 1930 to immigrant parents in Chicago and raised on a steady diet of Weird Tales magazine and Flash Gordon serials. At sixteen, he ran away from home to play the calliope in the circus, which is where he would learn the tactics that would inform the rest of his life's work. Eventually settling in San Francisco during the mid-Sixties, LaVey observed a strange brew of hedonism and spirituality that revealed at a primal hunger for change. He saw this new dynamic as a business opportunity, and he did not hesitate to seize it.
LaVey shaved his head, grew a pointy goatee, and donned garments that made him look like a character from one of the pulpy entertainments he enjoyed as a child. He then embarked on a series of public performances. Declaring himself as the leader of a new "Church of Satan," LaVey launched a string of "Black Masses," which were, in fact, not much more than dimly lit burlesque shows. From there, he upped the ante by launching a "Satanic wedding," featuring plenty of candlelight, arcane symbols, and scantily clad actresses draped over altars.
Despite the B-movie flavor of his work, the public took LaVey quite seriously. Within no time, he was invited to appear on some of the biggest talk shows in the country, including The Tonight Show and Donahue, where perplexed and offended hosts expressed dismay and disgust. LaVey played up his role. Clad in flowing black robes, he responded to his interviewers' increasingly agitated questions in a bemused tone, imploring the audience to follow their basest animal impulses. Respectable people everywhere were incensed. However, when LaVey finally published his The Satanic Bible, people snapped it up in no time. The book is currently in its thirtieth printing and has sold well over a million copies to date.
No Matter What Business You're In, You're In Show Business
It is easy to forget how small a part the logical side of the human mind plays in making choices. Although we like to think of ourselves as civilized beings, it is primarily emotions like fear, hunger, lust, and hate that drive the bulk of what we do. Because we don't want to recognize this often-unpleasant reality, our conscious minds construct rational linguistic arguments around our decisions. Our primitive selves, on the other hand, are illiterate.
Anton LaVey knew that in our society, one of the only ways to bypass logic is through the skillful use of theater. Trained by his experience as a carnival showman, he embraced the visual and the visceral, focusing on simple symbols and seductive images. The events with which he launched his career were not lectures or pitches--they were over-the-top performances that tapped into our deepest impulses. Regardless of how they felt, people couldn't look away, and as a result, they couldn't stop buying.
While your business probably has nothing to do with the Dark Arts, you can learn a lot from this "Evilest Man in the World." Find ways to distill your central message into a clear, direct image. Identify how what you sell taps into people's hidden psyches. And finally, don't be afraid of a good old-fashioned publicity stunt.
If you master these tactics, you'll soon be so successful that it won't be long before people are wondering if you really did make a deal with the Devil.