Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Trying Too Hard To Sell Me Stuff

Read Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion by Robert Caildini if you want to understand how people press your buttons and get you to do stuff.

Today I was approached by a cute woman carrying a folder; I immediately guessed that she wanted to sell me something. She asked me "On a scale of 1 to 10, how cool are whales?" I gave a generic whales are a 9.7, reserving a 10 for any whale that can spit purple flames out of its blow hole. Then I told her I am poor and don't have any money to spend. By this point I've figured out from her t-shirt that she's soliciting donations for Greenpeace. Her next question was asking if I care about the work that Greenpeace does. I told her once again that I'm poor and didn't have any money to spend. She finally told me that she's looking for people who really want to save the environment. I told her she wasn't getting any of my money and walked off.

I don't mind people tugging on my heartstrings to try and get me to buy something. What I don't like is when someone tries to compel me to do something I don't really want to do. If you ever go into sales, learn to accept no from a prospect. It's still possible to convert a no into a maybe or a yes.

Don't try this...

    Bad Whale Saver: Would you like to save the whales?

    Me: No.

    Bad Whale Saver: Don't you care about the environment?

    Me: Nope. In fact, I like eating whales. Have you ever eaten a whale burger? Mmm, tasty, especially with ketchup.

    Bad Whale Saver: You can't be serious.

    Me: You're right, I'm not serious. Now leave me alone you money mooching whale hugger.

But you might try this...
    Good Whale Saver: Hello sir, I like your shirt. Can I give you my pitch about saving the whales? It'll take 60 seconds.

    Me: No, I'm not really interested.

    Good Whale Saver: OK, thanks. If you change your mind, I'll show you how $10/month can save three whales a year.*

    Me: Seriously? OK, make it quick. I'm timing you.

    * See how Good Whale Saver slipped in the teaser pitch? That's a good, noninvasive technique to flip a no into a maybe.

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