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Learning Advertising from the Greatest Salesmen
This is the story of how I met one of the best salesmen.
Copywriter, Hopkins wrote continuously, “Advertising is salesmanship in print.” Some of the best ways to become a fantastic advertiser is to study expert salesmanship.
My girlfriend told me about a group of people at her mall that she dreads walking by. They’ve persuaded her to buy, one of her relatives, and one of our friends. The grand total these salesmen made off of just these three people had been over $300.00. If these people make eye contact with you, they’ve essentially already closed the sale. These salesmen run Dead Sea Premier kiosks. These kiosks carry skincare and grooming supplies.
Because I wanted to learn how these guys closed sales so well, I asked my girlfriend to take me to one of their booths. She was reluctant. She warned me how good they were, but I was so curious that I decided I’ll take on the risk. I truly doubted any salesman was that good.
There were at least two of these Dead Sea Premier kiosks at the mall. We walked by and around the first of these kiosks, but the salesman didn’t even try to sell to us! He primarily focused on getting two older women instead. He was familiar with his target demographic. Apparently, it wasn’t me.
However, I was really, really determined to get sold to. We then approached another one of their kiosks. A salesman then came up to us. To protect the innocent, let’s name this salesman, Mr. Accent (he had a strong accent). He was from Israel – which gave him credibility of knowing about the Dead Sea skincare benefits.
First thing he asks, is for us to put out our hands. My hands were in my pockets so I pretended to be hesitant. He reassured me, and then I took my hands out. He implies that my hands are nice, and then he immediately transitions me near a bucket where he places my hands. I was nervous because I was completely determined to not buy. He jokes about how I’m standing so far away from the kiosk and their lotion/cleanser. That forced me to be polite and to step closer.
This cleanser makes my office hands smoother than I thought were even possible. Then, all the dirt from my hands make the white bucket look nearly brown. So Mr. Accent jokingly asks me if I took a shower. My girlfriend and I laughed. Already, by this time, the color of the bucket had completely surprised me. He gives a reasonable explanation as to why this is. I’m now interested. My defenses are starting to come down. I even stupidly agreed how the product is amazing to him.
From my knowledge of persuasion, here’s what Mr. Accent did:
- Reciprocity. Tried the product for free. I’m using up his valuable time. I start to feel like I owe him something in return.
- Scarcity. Near the end of his demonstration and pitch, he tells me that they’re doing a 1-day sale. Not very believable, but he gave an actual reason for this. If I recall correctly, it was because it was their 10-year anniversary today. Using scarcity with an actual reason is much, much more effective than scarcity alone.
- Authority. He’s essentially from the Dead Sea. So I trust he knows his facts well.
- Consistency. He made me admit that the product worked amazingly well and that I was completely surprised by the results. If I think the product is good, why wouldn’t I buy it?
- Likability. This guy is incredibly friendly and even humorous. The guy seems cool to me. He got me to believe that he’s on my side and this is the best price his manager will ever let him give. (Side note: He also showed me respect before he said much to my girlfriend. Also, he was courteous to her but never flirtatious.)
There are a total of six principles of influence according to Dr. Cialdini. I listed five that were used by Mr. Accent.
At the end of this demonstration, we nearly bought. My pride (of not being willing to be persuaded) stopped me from buying. However, my girlfriend plans on going back to buy. We got him to drop the price so low that I think it’s a good deal when my girlfriend buys it later.
I told Mr. Accent that I did online advertising. We also complemented him on salesmanship skills. He admitted that he closes about 80-90% of people that he has test the products.
In summary, even though I didn’t buy today, I was still persuaded that his product is good and that we should buy from him later.