Monday, June 12, 2006

Philanthropic Manipulation

You want to get your friends into sushi, a non-fiction book, soccer, feta cheese or anything else that is a hard sell, i.e. a non-mainstream product/service in this country - Something that you think no one should miss out on. Where to start? Well, simply put, should you accept the mission, you have now become a salesman.

You have to sell it to them. And if you're lucky enough to be the first person who is exposing them to whatever it is that you're exposing them to, you are about to take up some important civic responsibility. Presentation is crucial. The criteria can be summed in a few words: order of presentation, conviction, empathy, and energy.

Let's take a simple example: I've turned one of my friends that really wasn't into tomatoes, into a tomato fan. The problems was that he was exposed to tomatoes through ones that suck, i.e. tomatoes you find in MCburgers, standard Albertson's 'bargain' tomatoes, etc. I gave him a few slices of campari tomatoes (very small tomatoes on the vine) along with some sea salt on them. Yep - an instant 180.

Everyone uses a different lens to look at things. If one is not fond of something, it's probably because they're looking at the 'something' with a crappy lens and hence see a crappy picture. The art comes in where you find the perfect lens for the person/group in question.

Get a game plan together. Put yourself in their shoes. Use analogies to break down complex concepts if there are any. Even better, use analogies that are relative to the subject/group of people you are presenting to. Most of the time you only get one chance to convince somebody - especially older people. Once older people make up their minds, their ego will stop at nothing to change the mind, however reasonable "flip-flopping" may well be.

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