Can Cicero teach us to sell more?

I think so.  Marcus Tullius Cicero, the lawyer, philosopher and politician considered by many one of the Rome’s greatest orators once said “To teach is a necessity, to please is a sweetness, to persuade is a victory.”

I want to give credit to Marcus Tullius Cicero for his ingenuity and genius in creating this formula. Cicero invented this formula to organize his ideas when preparing speeches. The strategy of organizing a presentation, as he called “arrangement”, is one of his 5 canons of persuasion (invention, arrangement, style, memory and delivery)

But before we go over his formula, I want to address the scholars and students of Rhetoric reading this article. By any means  I am trying to teach or cover all the facets of Cicero’s teaching and rhetoric here. This article is just my own adaptation and interpretation of Cicero’s formula and how someone can use this strategy to create a presentation (video, webinar, live presentation) fast.

So here we go… Cicero’s formulas has 6 steps:

Introduction, Narration, Division, Proof, Refutation, Conclusion

Introduction: is where you grab your audiences’ attention, create interest in your message and positions you as a trusted expert.

Narration: is where you tell the history of the facts that you are going to use to build up your case and you create an overall frame for your message. We want to use market data here.

Division: is where you point out where you agree and disagree with your opponents, and ultimately where you stand. Your opponents could be competitors, governments, audience members, etc.

Proof: Is the presentation of your argument with illustrations, stories, examples.

Refutation: Is where you overcome any objections that your audience may have

Conclusion: You do a call to action to the next step.

So let me give you an example.

Let’s say I am doing a presentation to a company that is considering hiring a consult to help with marketing.

They are considering: a) Doing Radio ads or B) YouTube video marketing. Let’s say I am pitching the benefits of Marketing their business on Youtube and I have just a few minutes, how would I use this formula?

“If you could own your TV channel, broadcast your message to thousands of people with virtual zero cost, would you do it?” (pause). If you said “yes”, than I am confident you will love marketing your business on You Tube, because it has the same benefits of having your own TV channel… My name is Roberto Monaco, co-founder of InfluenceOlogy (I would also tell a little story of how I got involved with Video Marketing here…)

“If you are not familiar with Youtube, it is a great free site to market your business using videos. Just to have an idea of the rapid growth of Video consumption, Youtube founders registered the site in February 2005. In December 2005 they had 8 million video views a day. Six months later, in July 2006 they had 100 million views a day, and in October 2006 Google acquired them for $1.65 billion. Today, Youtube has  4 billion videos views a day with more than 800 million users every month. While Youtube marketing can be overwhelming for some entrepreneurs, it offers unlimited opportunities for you to reach new clients, increase your brand awareness, and create a community. (depending on how much time I have, I would use more market data about video marketing here..)


“I understand that you are also considering radio as an option. While radio is an established media and it can get your name in front of a lot of people, I believe it is expensive, its effectiveness is declining and there is no marketing longevity for you ad. While you pay handsomely for radio, Video Marketing on YouTube is free and even if you decide to buy traffic, it is still cheaper than most radio campaigns.

When do you listen to radio? Most people do when they are driving. Now, what do you do when the music stops and you have a commercial? You change the station, right? Now, how often do you pull over your car, pull your cell phone out to check the advertiser’s site or write down their website address?

On the other hand, when you use “educational content” in your videos, people WANT to hear your message because it helps them. Plus, they are just a click away to your website. Another point to consider is that once radio commercials run, they are worthless. People tend to forget about them.

Video is different.

First, your clients can share your video with their friends (how do you share an ad spot on radio? You can’t).

Second, you embed the video on your site, social media outlets even in a PowerPoint presentation, plus you can TRACK how many people were exposed to your message (how can you track how many people listened to your radio? You can’t).

Another aspect to consider is that your clients and potential clients can “subscribe to your channel”, so when you have another video, they get notified (radio can’t do that). Basically, you are building a network for FREE.


Now, let me give you an example.

One of our clients created a series of Educational Marketing Videos (show the video). Because this video creates value for the prospective clients, it has over 50,000 views and is still being shared. This company got 251 new leads from this video alone plus 140 new subscribers. Our client is maximizing the value of the video by:

a) sending this video to their current database of prospective clients

b) sharing  this video on social media sites (Facebook, twitter, linkedin, google plus, etc)

c)  embedding on their site so it helps with SEO as well

d) creating email dripping campaigns for future prospective clients.

As you can see, Video Marketing allows you to explore the message in many different ways, ways that Radio just can’t.


One of the concerns that people have is that Video takes too much time to record and it is too hard to create cool “educational marketing” content.

I do agree that Video can be frustrating and time-consuming for the entrepreneurs that are too busy running their businesses; it is not time-consuming for Companies like us that have a time-tested process in place.

We will get the job done fast.

What we also found is that the “educational content” that most companies struggle with is probably the easiest part for us during our process. Your business already has stories, case studies and history, it is only a matter of extracting and organizing these ideas in a persuasive case, which is what we do best.


If you would like to incorporate Video Marketing into your business to experience some of benefits that major TV networks have like influence, leverage, more clients and money, while additionally benefiting from other elements that Youtube marketing provides like subscribers, social media capabilities and low cost of entry, I suggest an exploratory meeting next week. The best selling author Jeffrey Gittomer said that “video is the new black”. Let’s use video as a foundation for your marketing.

I know this post was a long one, but I wanted to show how I would Cicero’s formula in a real life situation. Now depending on how I am delivering this presentation and how much time I have, I would explore each section more with stories and examples. However, I would follow the same structure.

As Cicero put it: “Great is our admiration of the orator who speaks with fluency and discretion”

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