Littlefinger is my second favourite character from The Game of Thrones.
You love the bugger too.
He’s such a devious schemer, you can’t help but love to hate him.
Just when you think he slipped and is about to get what he deserves… it turns out that he outwitted everyone.
Did you notice how he out-stealthed Arya in this week’s episode?
He wanted her to find that note in his chambers.
Well, I can’t claim to be privy to Lord Baelish’s mysterious master plan. However, if I were a betting man, I’d wager the calculus in that serpentine head of his went something like this:
If Sansa and Arya get too close, Littlefinger will be left outside the circle of influence.
He doesn’t want that.
So he needs to find a way to sow seeds of doubt between the sisters.
A fallout between the two would play right into his little fingers:
Lord Baelish knows full well where Sansa is going to turn if Arya suddenly starts acting dangerous and lashes out against Sansa.
And what could enrage Arya more than finding a letter from Sansa asking Robb to bend the knee to Joffrey, the person highest on her kill list?
By actively working to keep the Stark sisters from trusting each other, Littlefinger can remain Sansa’s confidant. And thus he is one step closer to being Sansa’s sole counsel - and just a little more powerful.
But Littlefinger’s real genius is in getting all the pieces arranged just-so on the chessboard without touching anything himself.
She is very used to being smarter and more stealthy than any of the people she’s up against. But she hasn’t dealt with Littlefinger for a while.
So she gets roped into spying on somebody who is actually leading her by the nose to something that he wants her to have.
From a marketing perspective, the question to ask yourself is this:
Littlefinger could have just showed Arya the note, and advised her not to trust Sansa.
But he didn’t.
Because it would have been too blatant a sales pitch if Littlefinger straight up listed the dangers of trusting Sansa and the benefits of investing in his advice.
He would have seemed needy, which, as we all know, is a conversion killer.
Much better to let Arya come to that conclusion on her own.
Make her do the hard work of persuading herself.
You can take a page from Littlefinger’s book and do the same in your email funnels.
Especially if you are promoting to a cynical market which is disinclined to trust bold claims (like Arya is).
Hard pitches - “Here is the product. Here are the benefits. Go buy” - tend to fall flat with such audiences. In that case, hype does NOT sell.
Instead, you need to let them do the math for themselves.
Let them calculate the consequences of not taking action. Let them work out for themselves what this default future of theirs looks like.
Then those consequences will indirectly convince them of the benefits of your solution.
By the way, it’s not just the Dark Side which utilises this technique.
The Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates - father of Western philosophy - was famous for it too.
In fact, every persuasive person does this one way or another.
If you want to learn how to do it too, and do it for the good of your customers…
Then stop smirking like Littlefinger, step out of the shadows and proudly walk over in broad daylight to: