While those Vince Offer and Billy Mays-esque infomercials may seem ridiculous with their fast-talking hosts, they really do convince people to shell out their hard-earned money for a $99 pot-that-is-also-a-strainer. We've got the eight Salad Guns, four Juice Apes and industrial-sized crate of ShamWows to prove it.
"It has the word 'sham' right in its name! How can I go wrong?"
Even though the slimy fast-talking salesperson a pop culture stereotype, salespeople who speak faster are still perceived to be more intelligent and certain of what they are saying, and therefore have more trusted opinions than salespeople who speak at a "normal" conversational speed.
There is an upper limit, though; the fastest "normal" rate of speech is about 194 words a minute. If you get much higher than that you start sounding like a speed freak instead of just someone who really knows what he's talking about. So be wary if a salesperson starts upping the tempo a bit right as you try to walk away -- it doesn't mean he suddenly stopped being a douche who's trying to force something you don't need on you; it just means he may have also read this article.
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3The Old Foot-in-the-Door Technique
You're walking down the street when one of those uppity, most-likely-vegan charity workers accosts you.
"Sir? Do you care about children?"
"Yes, of course I care about children."
"Well, would you sign this petition then?"
OK, you just said you like kids, so it would be kind of a dick move to back out now. You sign the petition and start to walk away, then he asks if you want a brochure. You take the brochure because, well, you did just sign the petition. You'll just throw it away later. Then he asks if you'd like to donate $10 to the charity -- it would really help the kids, you see. A whole bunch of excuses are on the tip of your tongue, but what's $10 anyway, right? You don't want to look like someone who cares about children enough to sign a piece of paper but not enough to put his money where his pen is.
In any question about children, leaving space between those last two words is VERY important.
Called the "Foot-in-the-Door" technique, this strategy is the key to upselling: It works because most people have a really hard time saying no in the first place and have an even harder time if they've already said yes to something. Salespeople exploit it by getting you to say yes to something trivial before hitting you with a much bigger request.
"Now that we've settled on a life insurance policy ... how about a threesome?"
The most famous example was a phone survey of women regarding the cleaning products they used. The women who took the survey were called again a week later with an absurdly invasive and inconvenient request: Would they allow men to come look through their kitchen cupboards for two hours to see for themselves what kind of products they use? The women who participated in the phone survey were two times as likely to let strange men poke around their houses, compared with women who were just asked the second part with no primer. You see this every day: It's why you end up with a warranty you don't want or a supersized meal you don't need. You've already said yes to buying one thing, and it's only a little more money for the upgrade, and really, when you think about it, a warranty for a taco isn't all that unreasonable: What if you drop it in the parking lot? Your hand is practically forced here!
"Only $24.99 for three years of coverage? I'd be a fool not to buy it."