The Can't-Not

Josh Linkner
September 01, 2019

Josh Linkner

Five-time tech entrepreneur, hyper-growth CEO, NY Times bestselling author and venture capitalist.

The promo for tonight's local news runs across your screen: "Two of the items in your pantry right now could kill you. Tune in at 11:00 to find out which ones."

After hearing this announcement, you can't not tune in.

When you learn about a hot tech company that offers unlimited days off, tuition reimbursement, cool offices, and a change-the-world mission, you can't not apply for the job.

The new all-natural, great tasting, calorie-free, reasonably priced, time-saving meal kit is exactly what you've been looking for. You can't not buy it.

In our business lives, we're constantly striving to persuade. The desired action we seek could be to watch a TV show, apply for a job, or buy a product. It could be to hire a certain law firm, reduce carbon emissions, or save for retirement. To a degree, our professional accomplishments are directly tied to our ability to effectively move others to specific actions. So, what can we do to boost results? How can we stand out from the competitive set, becoming irresistible?

In every act of persuasion, a value proposition is offered up. For example, if you're trying to get a job promotion, your proposed value is that you'll work hard, effectively lead the team, and your extensive industry experience will help you make smart decisions. Whether you're pitching in-home healthcare services or industrial bolts, your odds of persuasion skyrocket if you creatively present your wares such that the other party can't not buy.

If your product or service can easily be procured by another supplier, the main decision factor is price. But if you are serving up something that's unique and compelling, you enter the rarified territory of can't-not. To get there, we must think creatively on what we're offering that others don't or won't.

The primary factors that drive irresistibility include scarcity (is what you offer limited?), status (do you offer something that elevates the way others feel?), efficacy (does your offering effectively do the job better than alternatives?), and presentation (is the story and packaging alluring?). Take your current pitch - which could be any desired action you're hoping to drive - and examine it along these four elements. If you haven't yet reached can't-not status, take another creative pass to boost your irresistibility factor.

Reaching can't-not isn't about manipulation. Rather, it is a deliberate approach to your value proposition that makes your offer so much better than the alternatives that going with you is a no-brainer. If you sell life insurance, make sure your prospects can't not select you as their provider. If you're trying to raise investment capital for your startup, what makes you a can't not choice?

Shoot for the can't-not, and you'll simply end up selling, persuading, and achieving more.

C'mon you can't not want to.

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