Please don’t overdose on the fortune cookies . . .

  • I know a young man who must be on the verge of growing up because he’s started to read the property pages. He’s saving to buy his own place.

    “There’s one thing I don’t understand,” he told me, as he read the latest edition of the newspaper.

    He pointed to an article on the front page. The story claimed property prices were rising and spokespeople for two large real estate companies were urging people to buy now or miss out on the next boom.

    My friend turned to the middle of the newspaper and found the full-page advertisements placed by the same two companies.

    “Now check these out,” he said, stabbing an accusing finger at the small displays for various properties for sale.

    “Price reduced.”

    “Vendor must sell – make an offer.”

    The copy in other ads urged buyers to take advantage of price cuts – my favourite line was “One person’s loss is another’s gain.” My friend showed me other advertised properties in which he knew the prices had been cut since they first appeared.

    “It’s all bullshit, isn’t it?” he said.

    I shrugged.  At my age, I guess I’ve learned to accept the sometimes loose relationship between the truth and some of those who are trying to sell stuff.

    But it made me wonder why I should.

    A while ago, a salesperson tried to convince me my business should be advertising more – not because he had a cogent set of reasons why it would help my business but because, I suspect, he had a sales target to meet.

    I told him I had cut back my advertising because of the impact the global recession had had on my industry.

    “The recession is just in people’s heads,” he said. “It only exists because of people’s negative attitudes. Those who are positive are doing really well.”

    I wasn’t sure whether he had overdosed on a box of fortune cookies, or was recovering from one of those sales meetings where the team brainstorms all the ways to convince prospects that somehow, the global financial crisis hadn’t happened.

    It was all in someone’s imagination, apparently.

    Well, for the same reason my young friend has lost faith with the real estate industry, I decided I’d had enough of salespeople who prefer to become recession deniers rather than problem solvers.

    Fact is, the world has taken an economic bashing. Many industries, including mine, are in big trouble. Most companies, including mine, are having to think differently to survive.

    No matter what you’re selling, remember one thing. The most important commodity you’ll share with your client is trust. Don’t sacrifice that by being glib.

    “To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful.” – legendary broadcaster Edward R. Murrow.


    Contribution from Josh Easby @