In which we discover how to tell if someone
is interested even when they say they’re
not – and how we overcome all resistance
he old timers can help us to spot those drool moments.
They developed a nose for what they called ‘buying
signals’. The theory is that as the ’prospect becomes more
convinced in their head, they start to exhibit outward,
recognizable signs that they are ready to buy. This old and
neglected art is actually quite useful because these signals
can be slight and subtle, and can sometimes be downright
contradictory. On an obvious level they can start to ask more
detailed questions about the minutiae or the care or main-
tenance of your offer. A pet polar bear, eh? What exactly
do they eat?”
Always remember that it is a good idea to be suspicious
of people who appear to like what you are saying. When
you view something you have no intention of buying it is
so easy just to say, “How lovely. I like the ornate handles.
I’ve got a bit more shopping to do so we may pop back
later on.” And then we, like idiots, write “Very interested”
in our report, but of course the reverse is nearly always true.
If someone says something tough or discouraging about our
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offer they may be genuinely ‘very interested’ or they may
really hate us and want us to go away. This is where the
thick skin is required.
Come with Me to The Kasbah
Look for a moment at the psychology involved if you go
into a Middle Eastern souk market. You are on holiday
there, you have read the guide book on how to bargain and
you want one of those tasseled hats that will make you look
like a prat. You have probably asked your fellow tourists and
at your hotel for a guide to the best shop and likely prices.
You casually pick up said pratty hat and toss it nonchalantly
about in your hands with a carefully applied look of bore-
dom and as the stallholder approaches you put it down and
pick up a wooden snake.
“Good morning, please come into my shop and drink tea
with me.”
No, its a trap!
“No thank you, I’ve got to get on,” you say, nonchalantly
replacing the snake and walking away. Then with a beauti-
ful piece of thespian choreography you happen to remem-
ber a butterfly of a last thought. “Oh yes, by the way, how
much are the Fezzes?”
“Come, come, come in! These are the finest in the whole
city, but I will fix you the best price.”
“I havent got the time now; I just want a guide price.”
He produces a calculator (they always produce a calcula-
tor), “Come, come and sit down. I will produce a special low
price for you.”
Actually a terrific sale is happening here and you are now
the helpless fly tangled beyond escape, but lets just imagine
our market trader boobs a little bit (they never do, actu-
ally…) and gives you a price. They are 200 shekels.”
“Poo. Ridiculous. I will give you ten!”
Ten, sir! I will be ruined at ten. Thats a mere fraction of
what I pay…”
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