27. High Profit Presentations: Highlighting the Happily Ever After

High Profit Presentations: Highlighting the Happily Ever After

In today’s episode, we look at Pierre Cartier’s first attempt to sell the Hope Diamond to Evalyn Walsh McLean. She wanted the diamond. She went to the sales presentation. But she didn’t buy, because he botched the sale.

But then what happened? The second time he showed her the diamond, she purchased the stone. 

How did Pierre Cartier turn a “No” into a “Yes”? With a high profit presentation. Listen to this episode, and learn the exact element of a high profit presentation that Pierre Cartier used to make the sale of a lifetime.


  • Why “motivating your buyer” backfires
  • How Pierre Cartier figured out how to sell the Hope Diamond for top dollar
  • Why spinning a web of intrigue about your product doesn’t work
  • Why “What if I told you” presentations repel, even if your product or service works wonders
  • High Profit Presentation Target #2 – Guide buyers into getting what they already want – their happily ever after
    • Shine a light on what you offer, and allow natural desire to bubble to the surface
    • Highlight your customers’ organic desire so they feel drawn towards you
    • Show the contrast between where they are and where they want to be
    • Show them their happily ever after
    • And then get the heck out of the way!




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Welcome to Episode 27 of How to Make More Money, a podcast that helps you get seriously good at the game of making serious money. I’m your host, Kelly Hollingsworth. And I’m thrilled you’re here because today we’re continuing our discussion of high profit presentations. What are the targets to shoot for, to distinguish your marketing message from low profit presentations?

Last time we discussed a key target: distillation. When your message is distilled, two very important things happen. One, the meaning of what you do rises from the murky depths. This is the clarifying process of distillation. And two, all the gunk that prevents people from easily seeing the meaning is cut away. This is the simplification piece of distillation. 

When you’re done with distillation, what’s left is a treasure. For your audience, the treasure is the Hope Diamond of Transformation. Distillation is the process where we wash the muck and the mud away from the gem of the transformation that you offer, so that it is revealed in all its splendor.

What’s next? If distillation is washing the mud off the Hope Diamond, the next step is putting that gem into the setting that will show it off in its best light. If you were auctioning off the Hope Diamond, would you put it in a cardboard box on a card table off in a dark dusty corner of a garage sale?

No, you definitely would not. Rather, you’d put some thought into structural considerations. What is the ideal sales scaffolding to support the ideal sale of this diamond? What’s holding that scaffolding up? What settings should we choose, if any? A sheet of velvet? Do we want a glass case? How do we show this off to its best advantage, so that the people who want it actually pull the trigger and buy it?

To dive into this topic, let’s look at what happened with the Hope Diamond the last time it was purchased by a private buyer. According to our friends at Wikipedia, the last individual buyer of the Hope Diamond was socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean. Pierre Cartier initially tried to sell her the Hope Diamond with an understated presentation.

He told her about the diamond’s illustrious history. It’s reputed to be cursed, and caused death and destruction wherever it goes. While he was spinning this tale of intrigue, trying to pique her interest in the diamond, he kept it concealed. He had it wrapped in special wrapping paper. She became impatient with the story and demanded to see the diamond. When he revealed it, she rejected the offer. She didn’t buy.

Later Pierre Cartier reset the diamond in a new, more modern style. The second time around, he presented the famous blue stone to Evalyn Walsh McLean on a bed of white silk surrounded by many smaller pear-shaped diamonds. The surrounding pear-shaped diamonds were white. The Hope Diamond is, of course, blue. So I imagine that must have been a lovely contrast. Much nicer than the wrapping paper he previously had used. When Evalyn saw the diamond highlighted in its new surroundings, imagine how she must have felt.

Clearly, she already owned some serious jewelry, I would imagine. But when she saw this gem, presented in this way, it provided a sharp contrast between what she already owned and what she wanted. Presented in this way, she purchased the stone for a reported price of 300,000 US dollars. That was in 1911. Wikipedia writes that in today’s dollars, that would mean about 8.1 Million. Given what’s happening in the markets lately, with all the government stimulus pumping cash into the economy, that number could soon grow to be much larger.

But whatever the amount, the point of this story is that the way you present your offering matters to the money you make. On this point, there are a couple things we can glean from this story about this sale. For one thing, when the initial sale of the Hope Diamond didn’t go through, Pierre Cartier was selling to her in the old style of trying to spin a web of intrigue before getting to the point.

He was trying to motivate her to buy the diamond, and that may have worked to some degree back then, before everyone had the attention span of a gnat. Notably, Napoleon Hill’s famous book Think and Grow Rich is written in this style of spinning up some intrigue before getting to the point. The sales of the book continue because the concepts are timeless. The style of writing, alas, is not. It doesn’t work well now, and at least one buyer–Evalyn Walsh McLean found that style of selling tedious and frustrating even way back then.

So this ‘smoke and mirrors’ type of intrigue to generate motivation on the part of your audience is something to avoid. But we still see vestiges of it even today. For example, consider the “what if I told you” style of selling? 

“What if I told you that you could make the New York Times Bestseller List if you just take my online course?”

“What if I told you that you could find the love of your life if you just joined my program that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars?”

“What if I told you that you could achieve that elusive thigh gap you’ve been after all with a simple daily meditation CD that cost 39.95?”

Something to notice here… The fictitious products that I’m describing in these made-up marketing messages may work. I want to be very clear. I’m not knocking these fictitious products that I made up to share these examples of “what if I told you” marketing with you.  

What I am inviting you to notice, however, is how creepy that style of communication feels. However great a product may be, if someone came up to me in person and said, “What if I told you that you could get everything you ever wanted if you just gave me some money?” how creepy would that feel? It’s so creepy, right?

When I read about the first failed pitch for the sale of the Hope Diamond that occurred between Pierre Cartier and Evalyn Walsh McLean, I heard echoes of that kind of marketing message in the reported exchange of how it took place. We can’t know what was actually said, but we can guess based on what we do know. It occurred at a time when the ‘what if I told you’ style of communication was in high gear and I imagine that’s how Pierre Cartier was speaking to her. And that, I imagine, is why the first pitch failed.

Reasonable minds can differ on this topic. But in any case, I think we can all agree that the way business owners used to sell to their customers in this “smoke and mirrors, let me tell you a tale of intrigue to motivate you to buy this diamond, while you get impatient with my nonsense about just seeing the thing that I’m offering so you can assess if you want it…” That approach didn’t work for Pierre Cartier when he was selling the Hope Diamond.

What did work? Abandoning the old style, and putting the diamond into a setting that guided the buyer to having what she really wanted, rather than repelling her away from it. 

Notice that I’m not using the word motivate, I’m not saying that Pierre Cartier should have motivated Evalyn Walsh McLean to want to buy the Hope Diamond. That’s what he tried to do in the first pitch and it didn’t work. He tried to motivate her. And to motivate someone means to provide them with a motive for wanting to do something. To stimulate their interest or enthusiasm for doing something. In other words, to manufacture a desire in your prospect that wasn’t there before. I think this was happening in the first failed pitch.

Here’s how Wikipedia describes it. Wikipedia reports that ‘Cartier was a consummate salesman who used an understated presentation to entice Mrs. McLean. He described the gem’s illustrious history to her while keeping it concealed underneath special wrapping paper. The suspense worked, McLean became impatient to the point where she suddenly requested to see the stone. She recalled later that Cartier, “held before our eyes the Hope Diamond.” Nevertheless, she initially rejected the offer.”

That’s the end of the quote from Wikipedia. But here’s something to notice–something many “consummate salespeople” fail to notice: Wikipedia is reporting to us that “the suspense worked.” Evalyn Walsh McLean grabbed the diamond and insisted on seeing it. So in the minds of the Wikipedia editors, that meant Cartier’s approach worked. But did it really work? Did she buy? No. This means the pitch failed. She didn’t buy.

Therefore, if we’re looking at this from a high-profit lens, the suspense did not work. It decidedly did not work. Cartier had to figure out something else that would work. And what did he figure out? In the second pitch, he stopped trying to manufacture desire. He put the diamond in its best light, got the heck out of the way, and her own desire for the diamond came bubbling up to the surface. That’s when Evalyn Walsh McLean bought the Hope Diamond. Not when Pierre Cartier was trying to motivate her by manufacturing desire, with his tales of intrigue about the diamond. But when he highlighted the Happily Ever After that she wanted; by shining a bright light on the diamond and getting the heck out of the way.

Here’s the really important thing to notice about the sale. She wanted the diamond. She was tickled to death to own that diamond. She played with it in her life. She was greatly amused by it. Once Evalyn Walsh McLean owned the Hope Diamond, she incorporated it into the party of her life. She used it to put on her dog–a great Dane named Mike. She and her husband also used to throw mystery parties at their residence, inviting their friends to join them in a game called Find the Hope Diamond; they would hide the diamond and make a great game of the fun of finding it.

So what I would like you to glean from the story today is that Evelyn Walsh McLean wanted the Hope Diamond. The desire was there. It was always there. There’s probably no woman on the planet who wouldn’t want to own the Hope Diamond and make a great game of hiding it in her mansion, and having her guests try to find it. So it’s clear that she wanted this stone. When she owned it, she was living her “happily ever after” and what that tells us is that she wanted it before she purchased it.

But Pierre Cartier… His initial strategy of trying to motivate her to buy by manufacturing desire through a tale of intrigue about the stone actually prevented her from buying. The subsequent strategy of highlighting the happily ever after–of shining a spotlight on the object of her own desire, so she was internally drawn towards the diamond rather than externally driven–that strategy facilitated her purchase. It made it possible for her to buy, and to get her happily ever after.

So here’s what you need to know from today’s episode. A high profit presentation doesn’t attempt to motivate the audience. It doesn’t attempt to manufacture desire. It recognizes the desire that’s already there, and shines a light on it. When this is your marketing approach, two things happen; A) your audience is drawn towards you. Not repelled. And B) your clients get what they want, because there’s not a manipulative sales process that’s getting in the way.

So let’s put a very fine point on this. A high profit presentation doesn’t attempt to manufacture desire or motivate an audience. Instead, it highlights the happily ever after by creating a contrast between what your audience has now, and what they could have, that they want on a deep level. When you shine a direct light on the object of your audience’s desire in a way that dramatizes contrast between where they are now and where they could be, then they can see that what you’re offering is exactly what they want.

They feel drawn towards your offer. Instead of you convincing them to come towards it in a creepy way that leaves both you and your audience feeling cold, they instead feel propelled towards you and your offer by an organic internal engine of their own desire. And that leaves both of you–you and your audience–feeling the true connection that’s created in a high-profit commercial relationship.

What’s your next job in high profit marketing as a high profit business owner? The next thing is to help your audience not just see what they want– that’s highlighting the happily ever after as we discussed today. Once you help them see what they want, your next job is to help them actually believe they can get what they want. How do you do this? That’s what we’re going to talk about next time. So please join me for that. And thank you so much for being here today.