Sunday, July 5, 2020

How to Get Others to Change Their Mind - The Orphanage Chap

There was this loud announcement on a loudspeaker in the colony - longer than usual - so it caught my attention. Normally vegetable sellers or sofa repair guys go around the colony in a vehicle fitted with a loudspeaker and prerecorded messages (or even someone announcing their wares and services aloud live). They move from one apartment block to another, making quite a din when they are around. Normally it lasts some ten or fifteen minutes and then they move away.
Pic courtesy - Satish Nargundkar

But this was going on for longer. When I stepped out to see, I heard an announcement from a van that it was from some orphanage and they were collecting food, money, clothes etc. It did not sound very appealing so I went back in. In a while,, I heard someone shouting at the gate and went to see who it was. One long-haired chap was there asking for donations. 'Money, clothes, food,' he said. I shook my head and came back in. He left.

Shobha and Anjali asked who it was and I told them it was this orphanage collecting stuff. Anjali asked if they were taking clothes. I said they were. She said she had a pile of clothes to give and went in to get that. By the time I walked out, there was another man on the road near the van, with only a stump for his left hand. I nodded to him and asked if he would take clothes of 11-12-year-old children. He said their home was for 15 and above and mainly for the disabled. I told him I had clothes for younger children, girls especially. He looked unsure. I started to go back in.

'I'll take it sir,' he said. I knew he was still figuring it out as he was talking to me but he was planning to do something with them. 'Sure?' I asked.' 'Yessir,' he said. There are children also.

As I handed the clothes over he asked, 'Sir ca you donate some money too sir?' he asked. 'My immediate reaction to monetary donations is No. I was already calculating in my mind that I had already given him the clothes, why give him money too? I was already thinking of greed, usage, receipt etc etc. when he came with a creative line.

'Even one rupee is fine sir,' he said. 'We will take one rupee also sir. Just give us one rupee sir.'

That stopped me. One rupee I can easily give, in fact, I could give twenty. I knew that there was thirty rupees lying on my table and headed for that. But he had already unlocked that giving part in my head with that 'one rupee is fine sir'. Instead of giving that thirty rupees I opened my wallet, took out a hundred rupee note, and gave it to him.

Never have I seen anyone do this so beautifully, completely disarming me with his 'one rupee' entry barrier, He understood my uncertainty, insecurity, bought me to level ground with that offer, and then forced me make a rational call. He made me secure, got past my croc brain and hit the sweet spot. It's the smoothest sales job I have ever seen. Fantastic. Thanks my dear friend, it's great learning for me. Wishing you well in your collection drives and hope to see you again soon.

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