5 Ancient Marketing Secrets from Marrakech

Take a look at some of the marketing mistakes I saw in Marrakech and how you can learn from them as an online coach.


I stayed in Marrakech for a week, in the middle of the markets, getting bombarded by people trying to sell me leather bags, crockery and jewellery. And the whole thing felt like a microcosm of scrolling the feed online.

My trip to Morocco taught me more about marketing in one week than in the last few years as an online coach. Here are five ancient secret marketing techniques I picked up on the streets of Marrakech that will help you get more clients as an online coach.

A photo of the markets in Marrakech
My trip to Morocco was like a microcosm for scrolling the feed online

Walking around Marrakech as a tourist, you feel like you’ve got a big arrow on your head marking you out as a potential client. When I was being approached by all these different sellers, I noticed that the mistakes I saw there were the same mistakes that you see online coaches making when they’re trying to sell their services. Let’s take a look at some of the mistakes I saw being made on my trip, and what you can learn from them in your own marketing approach.

Mistake #1: Desperation

Mistake one is giving off desperation energy – this sense of, “I’ve got to make this sale!”

And unfortunately, in Marrakech, the desperation is real. The standard of living is low, and it’s very likely that if someone doesn’t make a certain number of sales that day, they might not be able to feed their family. This desperation is coming from a real place. But it’s also palpable, you can feel it when you’re on the other end of it.

I encountered one guy who went through every trick in the book. He went through six distinct stages. He started with the outreach when he spotted me looking at a bracelet at his stall. When I politely told him that I wasn’t interested, he moved on to bantering and trying to find common ground. He then moved on to stage three – being overly friendly – and then to stage four of being overly effusive, and a bit imposing. And then he moved on to stage five, being pushy, before moving on to the final stage of guilt tripping.

After a long conversation, I ended up feeling pressured into buying the bracelet, before walking past other stalls were selling a similar thing for much less. I walked away feeling a bit rubbish about that transaction, and I suspect he didn’t have the best time either.

He might have made the sale, but he’s also lost trust and left a sour taste in the customer’s mouth.

Mistake #2: The Cold Outreach

You’d also see people trying out multiple hooks to try and get you involved in a conversation. They might focus on one aspect of your looks or where you’re from to try and draw you in and you’d hear things like, “Hey, nice muscles! Arnold Schwarzenegger!” or, “You’re from Manchester! Manchester United Football!” You can imagine that after about two hundred of those sorts of conversations, you’re not exactly in the mood to buy anything.

A photo of Yusef, one of the founders of Propane Fitness
“Nice muscles, Arnold Schwarzenegger!” – Market seller chat-up line

However, one hook did work quite well. and it worked better than most because the guy clearly understood that dynamic. He came up to me and he said, “Same shit; different market. But our shit is the best.’”

Mistake #3: Handling objections badly

Mistake number three was the way a lot of objections were handled. If you said you weren’t interested, they’d reply with, “Looking is free!” and if you said you’d come back later they’d push you to tell them when you’d be back.

The biggest problem here is that not taking no for an answer is the quickest way to wind up a prospect.

Mistake #4: Haggling

Haggling is exhausting. If you’ve been to any of these markets, you’ll probably know that 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. You know that you’re being taken for a ride every time.

Mistake #5: Physical Tricks

Physical tricks involve giving you a taste of something by physically giving you something, and then being really pushy about it. They might put something in your hand or put an article of clothing on you, then start telling you about the item. And at this stage they’re unwilling to take it back, so it’s almost an implied sale at this point.

I also saw people being quite physically intimidating to try and get you to go into a stall or to buy something. Or you might come across someone who’s seemingly not attached to a stall but will try to befriend you, before leading you somewhere they’re clearly getting commission on sales.

We were also lured in by someone who agreed to a price of 20 dirhams (about £2) at the start, then later insisted that his price was 20 euros, not dirhams, and became a bit aggressive when this was challenged.

This isn’t a sustainable way to run a stall that way. It’s an example of how darker sides of human emotion can come out of that sense of desperation. It’s much better to bring positive energy to a sale, knowing that you’ve got something of value to offer but being accepting of it if someone isn’t interested.

So, what sort of sales approaches actually worked?

For me, it was anything that acted as an antidote to that constant sense of harassment and desperation. I was more drawn to those who were quietly minding their own business, letting you browse their products without any pressure. These were the places where the products spoke for themselves. It was a relief to see stalls with fixed prices, because you know where you are with these. You can buy something of your own volition, rather than giving someone £8 just to get rid of them, or out of guilt.

What are the lessons you can take away from all of this as an online coach?

Lesson #1: Don’t Burn Your Bridges

Firstly, do what you can to operate from a place of abundance. This will really drive how all the rest of your selling comes across. And if you don’t have that in place, then that desperation is going to seep through.

We’ll see a lot of coaches taking advice from people like motivational speakers, who’ll tell you to burn your bridges or quit your job. But people who take this advice will often find themselves without a steady income, and their main focus will be on making a quick sale rather than going about sales in the right way. Ultimately, this can end up leading to regret purchases and refund requests.

Lesson #2: Learn how to do tasteful Outreach

The cold outreach can work, but it must be done tastefully. Check out this video below to learn how to ‘slide into someone’s DMs’ in a way that won’t annoy them.

Watch this video to see how you can approach cold outreach in a tasteful way.

Lesson #3: Learn to take no for an answer

Learn the difference between handling objections and not taking no for an answer. Because the latter is the quickest way to get on a someone’s nerves. A ‘no’ in sales is actually a good thing, because it tells you when you can cross someone off your list and move on. There’s no sense in chasing someone who’s going to be a dead lead. And even if you do manage to persuade this person to buy, it’s likely to be a regret purchase. So, it’s best to put your energy into selling to people who are interested in the first place.

Lesson #4: Don’t offer ridiculous discounts

Offering ridiculous discounts just means that nobody’s going to take you seriously, and your original price becomes meaningless.

Lesson #5: Learn how to apply the Marketing principles

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?’ You’d totally see through it. Have they forgotten how to copy and paste?

Lesson #6: Do affiliate marketing the right way

Lesson number six: Affiliate marketing can work, but only if it’s done in the right way. If you’re endorsing a crap product just because you’re getting 50% commission, this might work once with a customer. But after that, you’ve lost the trust with that customer forever. Think about who you’re representing and whether you really believe in the product.

Key lessons to apply to your online coaching

To sum up, don’t quit the day job if that’s going to mean that you’re going to be operating from desperation and scarcity. You also need to 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.

So, for the full synthesis of these ancient Moroccan secrets into the system that we used to build Propane Fitness to the business that it is today, have a look at the video below.

Want to know more about our processes? Take a look at our online training video.

You can also book in a call with us if you’d like to have a chat about how we could help you grow your online business.

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The EXACT process we used to build PropaneFitness to 15k/month: