Getting customers

5 Ancient Marketing Secrets from Marrakech


I discovered five ancient secret marketing techniques from the streets of Marrakech that’ll help you get more clients as an online coach. “My trip to Morocco taught me more about marketing in one week than I’ve learned in 55 years as an online fitness coach.” During his week-long stay in Marrakech, Yusef was bombarded by market-sellers peddling their wares, being subjected to their various strategies to make sales.

“The whole thing felt like a microcosm of scrolling the feed online; you’re walking along . . . you’ve got a big arrow on your head that’s basically like a username that says, ‘Potential Client_69.’” Yet these same mistakes I saw in the stalls in the streets of Marrakech are the same mistakes that you see online coaches making when they’re trying to sell their services.

Mistake One: Desperation

“Mistake one is the desperation energy, this sense of ‘I’ve got to make the sale!’”

And unfortunately, in Marrakech, the desperation is real, as the standard of living is low and it’s very likely that if a particular merchant doesn’t make a certain number of sales that day, he might not be able to feed his family.

One such merchant went through six distinct stages: the outreach, bantering, being overly friendly, being overly effusive and a bit imposing, being pushy, and finally, guilt tripping.

And while these desperate tactics may result in a sale, he’s also lost trust and left a sour taste in the customer’s mouth.

Mistake Two: The Cold Outreach

“So, coming from this energy of desperation you’d see people trying out multiple hooks to try and get you involved in a conversation.” And these hooks tend to involve flattery or feigned interest in a prospect.

And while this often works in engaging people, since no one wishes to appear rude, after 200 or so of these attempts, “you’re not exactly in the mood to buy something.”

“However, one hook did work quite well. It’s because the guy clearly understood that dynamic. And he came up to me and he said, ‘Same shit; different market. But our shit is the best.’”

Mistake Three: Objection Handling

Mistake number three was the objection handling.

The inability to take “No” for an answer is more likely to anger a prospect than result in a sale.

Mistake Four: The Haggling

In these markets, you know you should only be paying about 40% of the quoted price, so you make an offer for less than half of the quoted price. They counteroffer, and eventually you meet somewhere in the middle.

As a customer, this fails, because “You end up with no faith in the asking price of anything because you know that you’re being taken for a ride every time.”

Mistake Five: The Physical Tricks

The physical tricks involve giving you a taste of something (the reciprocity trick), or placing an item in your hand, or putting an article of clothing on you, then be unwilling to take the item back.

Or someone apparently unattached to a stall will approach and attempt to be friendly, all the while luring you to a stall where you can be sold something, and the man who enticed you will be given a commission.

“The other thing I saw—and this was more directed to my girlfriend when she was left alone for ten seconds—is people being quite physically intimidating to her to try and get her to go into a stall or to buy something.”

There was also one memorable incident in which a merchant attempted a bait-and-switch, agreeing to a price of 20 dirhams (about 2 pounds), then insisting that his price was 20 euros, not dirhams.

“It’s not a sustainable way to run a stall that way when it’s coming from that energy of desperation and all the darker sides of human emotion come out. As opposed to the energy of ‘I’ve got something of value to sell to you. Here’s the price. If you want it, great. If not, no problem.’”

Ultimately, I was more drawn to those who were “quietly minding their own business,” a welcome oasis to the constant harassment and haggling. And with fixed prices, clearly marked, “you can buy something of your own volition rather than giving someone eight quid just to get rid of them or out of guilt.”

Lesson 1: Don’t Burn Your Bridges

Lesson One for online coaches? “Do what you can to operate from a place of abundance. So that is the lead domino behind all the rest of the way that your selling comes across. And if you don’t have that in place then that desperation is going to seep through.”

Don’t follow the advice of motivational speakers and burn your bridges or quit your job. Without an income, the desperation energy will permeate your approach, resulting in “regret purchases and refund requests.”

Lesson Number Two: Tasteful Outreach

The cold outreach can work, but it must be done tastefully. Check out this video to learn how to “slide into someone’s DMs” without annoying them.

Lesson Number Three: Learn to Take a No

“Learn the difference between handling objections and not taking no for an answer.” A “no” in sales is actually a good thing, because it allows you to realize, “Brilliant! I can cross you off my list and move on rather than chasing a dead lead who’s not going to buy anyway.”

Even if you do manage to sell to someone who doesn’t wish to buy, it will ultimately be a regret purchase.

Lesson Number Four: Discounts

“Lesson number four: don’t offer ridiculous discounts. Nobody’s going to take it seriously and it just means that your original price becomes meaningless.”

Lesson Number Five: Reciprocity, scarcity, authority

Lesson number five: the marketing principles of reciprocity, scarcity, authority, credibility—these all work in practice, but you’ve got to be tasteful about it. When was the last time you saw someone on twitter posting five pdfs left for that digital product? Like you’d totally see through it. Like have they forgotten how to copy and paste?

Lesson Number Six: Affiliates

Lesson number six: affiliate marketing can work but think of it in terms of you’re playing repeated games with your customers and so if you shill a crap product just because they pay 50% commission, you’ve lost the trust with that customer forever.


So, overall do what you need to to operate from a place of abundance. So don’t quit the day job if that’s going to mean that you’re going to be operating from desperation and scarcity. And number two remember that you can’t generate demand out of thin air. You can only redirect existing demand, so there’s no point trying to pull a prospect over the line who just isn’t interested. Just move on. So for the full synthesis of these ancient Moroccan secrets into the full system that we use to build Propane Fitness to the business that it is today, have a look at this video.