Selling is a part of a way of life in this civilized Society we live in. The more we understand about techniques of selling the better equipped we are to deal with whatever comes our way on a day-to-day basis. No matter what we are involved in, relative to interaction with others, more often than not, whether we understand it or not, some degree of selling is involved. Sometimes abstract ideas, other times areas that deal with the five senses.
The reputation of the traveling medicine man or a used car salesman, is one that says, “Buyer Beware,” because there’s trickery involved. Whether true or not, that’s usually the prevailing thinking with some of these areas of selling. Some define selling as applied psychology. Whether you understand it, or know the various techniques, your life is subject to selling through out. Now-a-days, small children discover how to use the applied psychology of selling.
Many books have been written on the subject of selling. A number of experts conduct seminars, and some colleges teach courses. As for myself it was simply a matter of discovery, then I read a number of books on the subject, plus one on one conversations with others who were successful salesmen.
My discovery began a number of years ago, living in Mississippi, when my Air Force husband was stationed at Keesler AFB as a second lieutenant, making very little money. I took a job working in a photography studio in Biloxi. It was a good-sized operation, with an art department for oil paintings, and a crew of photographers out in the field in other states, sending all their orders for development back to main studio. But in the main studio in Biloxi, a man stood outside and as the large number of military personnel walked by, he offered them one free photo. They came inside and signed up with information on an application for a free photo and given a time within a few days to claim their free photo.
When they returned, it was my job to present the proof shots of several poses in their uniform. I first asked them to select a pose for the free shot. Then I quoted prices for 3×5, 4×6, 8×10 additional photos. Sometimes the young military man would immediately become suspicious, and make some kind of remark, like “I thought this was just a con game,” and “You’re not giving a free photo.” If that was the response, I checked his address and told him he could pick up free photo or we would mail it. I placed the proof shot he selected in an envelope and ripped up all the other proof shots, right before his eyes. This always startled the young man, and he usually changed his demeanor, suggesting he might be interested in ordering other shots, and expressed disappointment I had torn up and placed them in the waste basket.
At this point in my presentation, things changed, from my being the “proof-passer” salesperson, to where the customer was trying to convince me he really did wish to place an order for additional photographs, and annoyed I had destroyed the set of poses of him. I assured him he would receive the wallet-size free photo, and at the point he convinced me he wanted other photos of some of the other poses, then I assured him I still had the negatives and could make other proof sets if he wanted to select other poses. As he breathed a sigh of relief I stood up and went to the reproduction room and made another set of proofs. He placed an order, and 9 times out of ten this M.O. worked.
We sat in a booth, and never did I try to “sell” anything, I simply asked questions. Which pose do you like for your free picture? Do you want to pick up or mail? What’s your address? and etc. Then when he conveyed a suspicious attitude that I was trying to trick him into buying something, I simply ripped up his photos of himself, leaned back and started chit-chatting, asking where he was from, how long in military and etc. I simply disarmed his suspicions about my trying to con him into placing an order for pictures.
My first month there I placed more orders for pictures than anyone before me and the owner was quite impressed. Eventually he taught me to be a studio photographer, and later manager of the studio. It began with my first selling job, and no one taught me, I simply discovered how to sell from that first experience of selling. First prerequisite of good selling is, never lie. Secondly, treat the customer with courtesy and an elementary basic of selling is to solve the problem of the customer. In this particular situation, the customer had a problem trusting he was not being conned and secondly displayed his problem over what he perceived an inability of ordering other photos of himself. All I had to do was reassure he would receive a free photo whether he bought more or not, and when he conveyed to me he was interested in purchasing photos, I provided him that opportunity, after he thought his opportunity for others was in the trash can.
When military orders arrived to leave Biloxi, I went on to other experiences, had other jobs selling and started several small businesses of my own, all requiring selling, and learned there are various types of techniques. For example, there’s the Porcupine method and the Principle of Reversal technique.
In the course of events, after my husband retired from the military, both of us went to work for a motel training school. I started out as a receptionist and he was a counselor. This was essentially a correspondence course in the hotel and motel business. Therefore, selling of an educational course, which required training personnel to sell using the Principle of Reversal Technique. I quickly learned how to use it effectively, then trained new sales personnel. It required learning verbatim a canned presentation and how to implement effectively. Because the selling of an educational course is in essence selling an intangible, the most effective way is by the Principle of Reversal. Nothing haphazard about the technique and requires a set of skills to be effective. Basically setting in motion a pendulum, of back and forth, giving and taking away, giving and taking away, until the prospective customer decides to buy.
Some time later when I started an interior design business, frequently using tropical plants and silk flower arrangements in my business, I met an owner of a farmers market, who asked me to set up a small flower shop inside his market. At Christmas he sold a lot of trees, on Halloween a lot of pumpkins and other times like Valentine’s, a lot of flowers. He recognized my ability to sell and asked me if I would sell pumpkins if he set me up at a location of busy traffic, a tent, a crew to assist me, and loads of pumpkins, and I agreed. The most fun I ever had selling. My son was a real estate agent and suggested I use the porcupine technique to sell pumpkins. I had never heard of it. He explained and I used it effectively and sold thousands of dollars of pumpkins in a two-week period.
The tent was set up on a busy corner and I lined up bushel baskets about 6 rows deep, with stamped prices from 8 to 20.00. I hired a young lady dressed as a witch to walk back and forth waving a broom and another in a ghost costume. On a busy intersection where the school buses drove by, the kids must have gone home and told their parents they wanted to go to the Halloween tent and buy a pumpkin, because I had a lot of traffic. Across the street was a large grocery store selling pumpkins for 3 or 4 dollars.
Here’s the way I did it. Let’s say for example a man drove up, got out and started walking between the rows of pumpkins sitting on baskets checking prices. I sat under the tent and never moved. Then he started to leave and got in his car.I jumped up and went to the car and asked him if the pumpkins were too high for him. He would reply with something like, “Haven’t bought a pumpkin lately but didn’t know they were that pricey.” Then I would say,”Can I ask you one quick question?” What’s he going to say? Always yes. Then I would say, “If you could find the right pumpkin for the right price, would you take a look at it?” Always in the affirmative. I continued by saying, “Come on and I’ll help you pick one out and I’ll give you a good price.” As we walked among the pumpkins, I kept asking questions, “Do you like bright yellow, tall ones, flat ones and so forth? When he selected one I lowered the price, and the customer always got back in their car with a pumpkin.
I knew the market owner only had two dollars in each pumpkin, so I could lower the price and still sell at a good profit.
One could sell many things like houses with this technique. That is if you could find the right house at the right price would you take a look at it? Never saying would you buy but take a look.This is called porcupine selling. Just one of several techniques of selling. But always giving the prospective customer undivided courteous attention to solve their problem and always speaking the truth.
I decided to write this article after listening to all the hoopla on the news about President Obama trying to sell his exorbitant National Budget package. You see politicians are sales people, and use practised techniques to accomplish. The problem is they frequently lie, connive, and con. It’s a dance they all know the steps so well. Using the one step backwards for two steps forward, to gouge the American Citizenry out of their money via a system of taxation, and more and more indebteness to the tune of trillions of dollars. Bankrupting this country.
The Obama blueprint for spending, projects the largest debt jump in history, almost $2 trillion this year. Congress must vote to raise the debt ceiling, while Obama is on the air trying to sell his package, and no doubt knows he will have to back off from the total, just enough to get what he wants passed. He no doubt factored in a reduction of a few billion, to wind up with a trillion plus, to make it appear he’s willing to negotiate, and wind up smelling like a rose, as he continues on his trek of collapsing this country. His manner of governing, and the cost he promotes, is all according to the “applied psychology” of the political con game. So pervasive, it’s predictable what’s going to happen next.
While educated pundits are still saying he “doesn’t get it” and “Clueless” about economics and business, his modus operandi is repetitive and effective in implementing the programs of Socialism he continues presenting. While elected members of Congress appear on the air complaining about his spending programs, they are the ones who hold the purse strings to the money, and must vote approval.
The similarity to my pumpkin selling by pricing high to have room to negotiate to make the sale, so it goes with politicians, with one major difference, my interaction with the customer was all based upon a voluntary exchange, whereas political government takes in violation of the will of the payee, hence a system of thievery, which places unborn American citizens in debt. A parasitical system whereby the perpetrator thrives on the unwilling host. And now the politicians have incurred such an unimaginable staggering debt, it’s difficult for one to wrap their thinking around the trillions they speak about. Projections are past 15 trillion by September of this year. Who out there has a vision of just what that amount really is? It’s beyond comprehension for most of us. It’s all like a bad dream we hope to wake up from. But it is not a dream but reality.
It’s a hellish state of affairs, those with a lust for power have led this once great Nation into.
American author Jacob Hornberger said: “There is no difference in Principle…..between the economic philosophy of Nazism, socialism, communism, and fascism and that of the American welfare state and regulated economy.”
LET FREEDOM RING