A Healthy Ride to Wealth

What “The Little Prince” Teaches Us About Affiliate Marketing

To all my friends, those who with time have learned to know me, like me, and trust me.

The other day, I answered a tricky question on Quora about developing a relationship of trust between the affiliate marketer and his audience. This important topic resurfaced this week while I was brainstorming on building an email list of real FANs.

I thought that maybe it could be interesting to reproduce my answer here with some added details.

It goes like this.

How can I build trust as an affiliate marketer?

Trust is built along with time and commitment. It’s a slow and long term process.

Have you ever read the tale written by Antoine De St-Exupéry in his book “The Little Prince”, more specifically the chapter with the fox?

The sequence describes, within all its allegorical beauty, the relation between the boy and the animal and how solid roots of friendship may be established with care and patience, when planted in a soil rich of confidence and trust.

Here are two short excerpts from the book, the passage of which reflects this point well. To be read with your heart:

“I am looking for friends. What does that mean -- tame?"

"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. "It means to establish ties."

"To establish ties?"

"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….”

And when the Little Prince asked how he would do it, the Fox replied:

“You must be very patient,” replied the fox. “First you will sit down at a little distance from me—like that—in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing.  Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day…”

Here above, the fox explain the importance of slowly building a relationship that will make a person unique to you and you unique to this person. Establishing a connection of mutual respect and trust brings together two beings despite having, initially, nothing special for each other.

Still with the fox, here is a bonus one:

“Please—tame me!” he said.

“I want to very much,” the little prince replied. “But I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand.”

“One only understands the things that one tames,” said the fox. “Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops.  But there is no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more. If you want a friend, tame me…”

The Little Prince was so excited and in a hurry to make friends that he forgot the one he had just in front of him. A new relationship is built slowly, as we learn to know each others. You can’t buy friendship, this is not something you quickly find on the shelf of the nearest store.

Friendship is something that needs to be worked at.

St-Exupéry wrote this tale for real people and with it, he imparted a formidable lesson of relationship and trust. Those principles are immutable because they will never change as far as a human stays a human.

Affiliate marketing is no different.

Your audience are real people and as such, you need to build bridges with them. To do this, you really don’t need to be an engineer. 😉

By the nature of the job, the affiliate marketers have to make offers otherwise, they would not make any money.

But there is a way to do it right.

I wonder, when he talked about “buying friendship”, if Saint-Exupéry wasn’t specifically talking about the gurus that tries to sold their “getting rich quick” formula. 🤔

Many beginners in affiliate marketing, as soon as they are getting more money, because they see their audience or mailing list growing, starts to promote anything solely for the purpose of making the quick bucks. Doing so, either they didn’t read the tale or they forgot the lesson.

Listen to what the fox wants you to understand. Be patient and tame your audience.

Don’t get distracted by “things already made at shops”; the promises of getting a big and quick audience in a short time, but an audience made of strangers that don’t care too much about you.

Let people come to you by publishing value content. Always answer questions at your best knowledge, be true with yourself and with others.

It is in those little things that you will establish confidence and good relationship.

Don’t chase money, money will chase you!

Select your offers having at heart the best interests of your audience.

Here is what my mentor wrote about this:

“…if what you’re recommending is not in your subscriber’s best interests, you may make short-term income, but you will jeopardize long-term gains by destroying the relationship you have with those people. It’s simply just not worth it. Treat people right and they will listen to you for many years.”

-Dean Holland, The Iceberg Effect

There I gave you food for thoughts. What do you think?

Have a good day!


“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”

-Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince




27 Responses to “What “The Little Prince” Teaches Us About Affiliate Marketing”

  1. Kate Loving Shenk Avatar

    Wonderful analogy. We all would do well to heed what happens when we ignore what’s right in front of us! Dean Holland emphasizes the bright shiny object syndrome. This week, I turned away from many such offers, with a sense of triumph!

  2. Kelli Hansel Avatar

    Excellent analogy! We don’t always think about it that way, but we need to take our time and build the trust and friendship. Can’t be done overnight.
    I also like that you added the quote from Dean about not jeopardizing the relationships you build.

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      Thank you Kelli. This was a question I had on Quora. I don’t know how it came along but “trust” made me think about this story.
      The story relates principles of life and those apply well because they are universal.

  3. Robert Klein Avatar

    I’ve mentioned to you before about my familiarity with Le Petit Prince. It was required reading in my Grade 13 French class. You do a good job of giving us food for thought in relating the Little Prince’s exchange with the fox to Affilate Marketing.

    And you just elude to the importance of the rose (with a quote at the end) and spending time with her. My French teacher was all over herself when talking about La Rose.

    In a Google Search I found, “It is widely reported that Saint-Exupéry’s wife, Consuelo, likely inspired the character of the rose in ‘Le Petit Prince’. In the book, the rose is personified as beautiful and vain, proud and entitled but the Prince falls in love with her anyway, protects the rose, watering her and shielding her from the elements.”.

    And so too with our online businesses, we protect it and nurture it and people can see the time we spent on it. And then it is our hope that our audience will see that we have their best interests at heart with our offers.

    Great post!

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      Very good comment Robert! Didn’t know there are french classes in Calgary ! 😲😁 At least they had you read a good book. The Rose is one of the most important character indeed and I didn’t know it could have been inspired by Saint-Exupéry’s wife. It makes a lot of sense. I like really much how you compared the rose with our online business. Love and passion that’s what it’s all about.

  4. Alison Blaire Avatar

    Martin, I absolutely love this analogy! The bright, shiny objects and the get-rich-quick schemes are all distractions on our path. Instead, our focus should be on building the skill set and relationships!

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      You got it right! Build and nurture your relationships having their best interests at heart. This is how your audience will eventually be brought to like you, follow you, and trust you. Thank you for your comment Alison!

  5. Lauren Millman Avatar
    Lauren Millman

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post, to the point I feel this should be required reading for anyone just starting out in affiliate marketing! I love the creativity you bring tied to a very thought out message. I am new to affiliate marketing, and your point about building the relationship is something that I am learning. This is a wonderful reminder, and I now will remember this story (and the message) for some time to come.

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      Hey Lauren! Very pleased you say that! Thank you for your warm and kind words. The process of nurturing relationships is one of the most important tasks we have to master. Once mastered, it nurtures our passion. This is where our business pays and become the most rewarding.

  6. tony Avatar

    I think one issue with so many people looking to build a business online, is that they are not looking to build a business, they just want easy money and hence do not have the patience to build the sort of relationship that leads to the sales they seek. Your post illustrate very clearly why they are doomed to fail

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      Exactly. Most beginners will fail because they don’t have motivation to overcome their struggles and to commit long enough to build and nurture relationships.

  7. Eleanor Hope Avatar

    Hi Martin,

    This is indeed a special post, reminding us that power is in relationships!!
    In our lives and in business. Without that awareness, the list in itself has no value.

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      You are absolutely right. The power lies within the relationship with your audience. Having a list of friends is far better than a list of strangers.
      thanks for your comment Eleanor!

  8. Atif Perwiz Avatar

    Martin, an incredibly important topic that you have presented here. It’s the essence and the turning point for the relationship between you and your followers. To know like and trust someone, I think there has to be value, added for them, help and problems fixed for them, that you truly care about them and keep promises. You’re absolutely right, patience is the other thing that you must have not only you but also them. Great insight and the book analogy is very powerful. I thought you were talking about Dean when you said little prince LOL thanks Atif

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      LOL I didn’t taught about Dean “the little prince”. Dean having already too much friends haha!

  9. Denny Medeiros Avatar

    Hi Martin,
    You did an amazing job on this post! I love how you used the Antoine De Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince book and compared parts in the book to building relationships through affiliate marketing! We take our time and treat each subscriber as we want to be treated. We take time to build relationship. That’s great! Until your next post.

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      Thank you Denny! Stay tuned. The next one is going to be a bit more technical. See you there!

  10. Alan Lim Avatar

    This reminds me of a story I read. I can’t remember whether it is from Influence by Robert Cialdini or from another book. I also can’t remember the exact details.

    It is about an agent, let’s call him Mr A, trying to recruit an enemy spy, let’s call him Mr S.

    So what Mr A will do is to first find ways to appear in front of Mr S without engaging in any conversation, not even eye contact.

    After doing this for some time, Mr A will start having a brief eye contact with Mr S, for just a few seconds.

    After doing this for some time, Mr A will start having eye contact and even a smile.

    Then gradually proceed to having a conversation.

    Eventually, successfully recruiting the enemy spy.

    It takes a lot of patience.

  11. CJ Avatar


    Relationships are so important. With today’s digital age it seems relationship building is becoming a lost art. You go into stores and the store staff don’t seem to care, you are just a number.

    Unfortunately, this attitude has permeated the virtual world. In lot of cases it has exasperated the growing problem.

    The good thing is as the fox mentioned, if you are willing to take the time to build the relationship it create a movement of people that like and trust you. When this happens people will buy from you instead of someone else.

    Enjoyed reading this and learning from the analogy.

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      Sometimes, being back to just the basics makes us feel better. When feel better, we realize it’s possible to smile to numbers.

  12. Tom Bledzki Avatar

    I like your post Martin.
    I remember reading this book to my kids… or maybe to myself 🙂
    Building a good relationship with knowing, liking and trust takes time and effort. And only a true friend can do that.
    You’ve mentioned bad practices from other marketers. I like the saying from Alex Hormozi: If you get in bed with a snake, and the snake bites you. Whose fault is it?
    Affiliate marketing is not a sales business, it’s a people’s business.
    Looking forward to your next post. Tom

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      Good point. We are the sole responsible for our mistakes. Keep that snake away!
      Thank you Tom.

  13. Jon Wesley Bowman Avatar

    Hello Martin, this is an excellent post, I liked the analogy. As far as people forgetting the lesson it’s sad, I think there is more to life than a quick buck. These kinds of people remind me of the old “snake oil” salesman and this just gives those of us who actually want offer a legit product a bad name.

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      Right. There are legit affiliate marketers that work really hard out there to build their businesses and promote really good products. It’s sad also that those businesses often get eclipsed by the popularity of gurus that sell smoke shows on YouTube. Unsurprisingly those gurus are getting most views.
      Thank you Jon.

  14. Ernie Avatar

    Great thoughts on building trust and maintaining friendships. So many times one may feel entitled and deserving of trust that has not been truly earned. Relationships are the key but are fragile and hard to regain when lost. Thanks for these insights!

    1. Martin Lefebvre Avatar

      Your audience must be respected having at heart their best interests. If what you do is in their best interests, then you establish your relationships on solid foundations. This will benefit them and you.
      Thank you Ernie.

  15. Steve Moore Avatar

    Hi Martin,
    Great post. Fully agree with all your points on patience. It’s something I have in the past struggled with but now I think have under control. I read somewhere recently that most overnight sensations in business take around 18 months to happen.

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