Why Bad Pick-up Lines (and Marketing Methods) Don’t Work

Imagine yourself in a bar trying to have a conversation with members of the opposite sex.

You: “Hi there. We haven’t met before. Would you like to go home and have sex with me?”

Person #1: Stares at you blankly.

 You: “I’m amazing between the sheets. Seriously…try me. No? Okay.”

The next person comes along…

You: “Hi there. You don’t know me, but would you like to go home and have sex with me?”

Person #2: Pretends like you don’t exist.

You: “Okay, well, I guess that’s a no, then.”

Then you walk up to someone seated at the bar…

You: “Hi. It’s nice to meet you. Are you interested in having sex with me tonight?”

Person #3: Bolts in the opposite direction.

You (yelling after them): “No? Are you sure?!?”

By the time you’ve posed your blunt question to the tenth person, you’d probably feel pretty lousy about yourself. No one wants to go home with you. Not one person in this bar is vaguely interested in considering your offer, despite the fact you know you have the ability to show them a very good time.

What’s wrong with me? You wonder. I’m attractive, friendly, and have a stable job. I’ve got more to offer than half the other people hanging out at this bar! What gives?


Duh, Laurel. You may be thinking. This is the totally wrong approach. Who in their right mind walks directly up to a stranger and asks them to sleep together?

Sure you say that NOW, but I’m guessing you’re currently using (or have used) this EXACT approach for your business marketing (and you’re still trying desperately to figure out why it doesn’t work for you).

Let’s break this bar pickup scenario down to find a solution to the marketing and conversion dilemma you’re likely facing in your own business  …

The truth is, the majority of the bar patrons are hoping to hook up with someone that night (just like you are in this scenario). No one spends the whole evening sitting on an uncomfortable bar stool because the Miller Light served at this particular bar is far superior to the Miller Light you can buy at the grocery store and throw back in front of the television. Let’s not kid ourselves—people are there hoping for a taste of something more.

And everyone there already knows that everyone else secretly has the same desire to hook up. It’s not a mystery. Yet, if you’re the person who stops beating around the bush and candidly express what’s on your mind, “Hey—I find you attractive, would you like to have sex?” you’ll have an extremely low conversion rate of bar hoppers to sex partners.

(Note that this pickup method probably works wonders if you’re Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie or a super attractive individual, but we’re going to overlook the most beautiful people in the world for the sake of this example.)


People already want what you’re offering. Why aren’t they snatching up your offer? Why are they going home with other people instead? Is it your outfit? Your hair? Your breath?

Nope, that’s not it.

You have a serious dating marketing dilemma.

Obviously, if you know anything about the bar scene and dating, you know this scenario is not how you play the game. And if you’ve been single for any length of time (I can speak from experience here), you probably know how to correct your dating marketing dilemma in seconds flat.

Instead of walking up to someone and bluntly asking them to sleep with you, you begin the interaction by flirting with them. You ask questions, buy drinks, lightly touch him/her, introduce him/her to your friends, tell funny stories, and laugh a lot. Then, and only then, do you decide if you’re a good match to go home together or hang out again (since, of course, not everyone at the bar is interested in a one-night stand).

Why go to all the trouble?

Well, because this behavior creates trust. It builds rapport. It makes you appear so engaging and desirable that the other person can’t help but want to spend more time with you. That’s just plain ol’ good marketing, right?

This is the same with your business. You have to “flirt” with your potential customers. You can’t just expect them to trust someone they just met without a little get-to-know-you time.

The following marketing methods are the equivalent of saying, “Hi there. We haven’t met before, but here is a list of my services. Will you spend money with me?”…

  • Cold emailing
  • Cold calling
  • Pinning your business card on a community bulletin board
  • Placing a boring ad in a local paper
  • Handing out your business cards to strangers
  • Sending prospects directly to your website sales page
  • Hanging business flyers around town
  • Adding people to your email list who didn’t opt in (nothing annoys me more than this)


These methods are never going to have a high conversion rate because they aren’t building any level of trust between you and your potential customers. Your business will end up getting overlooked, ignored, and you’ll likely drive customers away.

Then your spirits will drop, you’ll get burnt out, and you’ll be left wondering, What’s wrong with my business? I know I have a lot to offer. Why don’t people want to spend money with me?

ANSWER (you guessed it…) = BAD MARKETING

Different marketing approaches work for different businesses, so it’s not to say that cold calling or posting flyers will NEVER show results, but you have to make sure whatever you do to promote your business works to create awareness of your business AND build trust. Both are essential.

If you don’t remember anything else from this article, know this: Customers want to spend their hard-earned money with businesses or people they trust. That’s the bottom line. Don’t forget it.

Businesses like Chipotle, The Gap or other well-known massive corporations can profit from placing impersonal advertisements in magazines or newspapers ONLY because they have spent millions of dollars up until this point building trust in their individual brands. They can directly walk up to customers and say, “Do you want to buy a burrito?” or “Do you want to purchase this nice sweater?” because they have established themselves as having quality products and millions of satisfied customers. (This is the equivalent of Brad Pitt or Angelia Jolie asking someone to go home with them…minus the millions of satisfied customers.)

But marketing your business is a different story.

You have to build trust with your potential customers to make sales. I can’t say this enough…Build trust. Build trust. Build trust!! Just do it.

What does this look like? Well, STOP doing marketing that tells your customers that you have a solution to their problem and START building trust by doing marketing that shows your customers that you have a solution to their problem. Big difference, right?

Here are a few ways to market your business that will builds trust with your prospects:

  • Add a blog to your website that discusses hot issues related to your business
  • Write articles for other blogs, magazines, or newspapers
  • Create helpful videos
  • Present webinars, teleseminars, workshops or give speeches
  • Give away free product samples or free sessions
  • Give away free PDF’s or ebooks
  • Create a podcast
  • Get interviewed as an expert on radio/TV/podcasts
  • Add positive testimonials to your marketing material
  • Join a close-knit networking group to increase referrals
  • Ask your current customer/clients for referrals
  • Find great referral and/or JV partners to work with
  • Add humor into your marketing efforts
  • Have one-on-one conversations with prospects


With these methods, you’ll appear so engaging and desirable that your customers can’t help but want to spend money with you. Your conversion rate will shoot through the roof. And you’ll never have to worry about being a lonely, burnt out business owner again.

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Brian Knight - 5 years ago

Awesome article Laurel! Love your writing style! Hope things are great!!

    Laurel Staples - 5 years ago

    Thanks Brian! Glad you’re enjoying the blog.

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