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Zer Netmouse
February 7th, 2003
08:20 am

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view of impulse buy selling
I had an interesting day yesterday, observing a field worker for Matrix Marketing, selling discount packages of Detroit Pistons tickets to people at their places of business. (in Lapier, MI, in this case). Matrix teaches specific aspects of the impulse sell - things that contribute to making a sale:

1. greed
2. sense of loss
3. indifference to making the sale
4. urgency/sense of energy
5. social competition



The package is actually a good deal for people who were already planning to go see the Pistons. It costs $40 and includes 4 paid-for tickets (which the distributor calls "free" when describing the deal). It also includes 10 "buy one get one free" coupons, for a total of 14 tickets included in the package, provided you purchase another 10. The "free" coupons are for $28 seats - second tier or mezzanine. The other coupons can be used on $10, $28, or $35 tickets. $35 seats are in the lower bowl. (something I didn't know is that GM and Ford have whole sections of seats, all the time).

The process of making the sale includes 5 or 6 steps, as taught by the trainer I was out with.

1. introduction
2. story
3. qualifying questions
4. presentation
5. close
6. rehash


At the introduction stage, he'll say
"Hi, my name is Chris. I'm here on behalf of the Detroit Pistons."
(since two of us were with him, he would also say "these are two of my associates")
if we were in a fairly big business, he sometimes asked for a manager at this point. Some managers use tickets to the Palace as incentives for employees.
The story went like this:
"As you know, the Pistons are starting off the second half of the season. They asked us to come down here and extend a personal invitation to the business people in the area to come down to the Palace. See a live basketball game?" (*smile*)
(variations include "You know the Pistons are heading toward the playoffs, and it helps them to have their fans there, so we're out inviting people to come out for a game. We have some complimentary tickets.")
qualifying questions begin at this point and are designed to identify people who might actually buy the package. Often at about this point people would ask "What's the catch" (the answer varied from "There's no catch." to "Let me show you what we've got" depending how interested they sounded.
questions are designed also to get the person started saying "yes":
"Surely you, or someone you know, would enjoy seeing the Pistons play live?"
"Have you ever seen the Pistons play?"
"This season?"
"Well, surely you were looking forward to seeing them play a game?"
"Were you anticipating to going to a game yet this season?"
"Do you have access to tickets?"
(a surprising number of people get free tiskets through friends, or companies that get corporate suites.)

If he senses a possible sell, he takes a stack of package cards, with a rubber band around them, out of a folder and hands it to the person. The cards are designed to be folded, but at this point he has them flat. One side shows a picture of Pistons playing, and looks like an ad on half of it, while the other half is rules and instructions and a mail-in form. The other side has the ticket coupons printed on it. He hands the whole pile to the person with the Ad side up, then asks them to flip it over for him.

Handing the cards to the person is part of playing on their fear of loss. Once you give something to someone they then want to keep it. then he holds in his hand the business cards of other people who bought the package, and uses it to gesture to the items on the card. This is pulling in greed and social competition- he will refer to other peoples' buying the package - or the small business deal of three of them - during his presentation.

in the corner of the card is the price - 39.99. He says
"Let me show you what they've done here. The average price of a ticket at the Palace is $40. For the price of one ticket, you get two tickets absolutely free. Those two tickets have a combined value of fifty-six dollars, so if you and a friend or loved one go to just one game, you'll have covered your investment. And then we have two other absolutely free tickets down here. Sound like a good deal?"

The card also lists the value of the whole card at $460. The "average price" of $40 per ticket is reached by averaging the highest price tickets all the way down to the cheapest ones. Since the most expensive ones cost upwards of $300, this average price is higher than the price of any of the tickets your average individuals will likely buy.

If people say they want to think about it, will he be around, he says it's just a one-day deal, even if he might actually return to the area the next day. If the person he's talking to isn't interested, he'll ask if anyone else there is interested, and if they think maybe, he'll "take control" by asking them to go ask. This is also to take advantage of people's social psychology - having someone they know ask if they're interested in something may be more positive than being asked by a stranger.

If they say someone else would be interested but isn't there right now, the seller would often say something like, "all right, well, please tell him we stopped by with some complementary tickets for people who want to go to a pistons game. And if you make it out to the palace this season, we'll be glad to see you there."
One time when the manager had just left, I heard him tell the receptionist to tell him he had had complementary tickets for the whole office. This is building thier sense of loss.

he also moved and talked fairly quickly. If someone agreed it was a deal, he would have them flip the card over and "close" by explaining that what over people were doing was filling out this form, and then they would attach a business card to it and he could take payment by credit card, cash or check. Often at this point people would still not have figured out how much it cost or that he was asking them to pay money up front. Some people asked what seats they got with the deal, and he would amiably explain about the ticket options. he also had a line about how the deal was for tickets for games that weren't already sold out, and when pressed would explain that it didn't cover playoff tickets, "They're pushing to the playoffs right now, but obviously we don't know when or where those games might be, so I can't get you tickets for that. This is just for the regular season, from now till May." If people expressed concern that they wouldn't use the tickts, he would explain that they could redeem up to four of the tickets for the same game, which either took four or 8 people depending which kind they used.

It was an interesting day. We walked right past "no soliciting" signs and half the time the people on the other side of them were just as receptive to him as anyone else. When people were unreceptive, he just invited them out to the palace and thanked them, and left, very pleasant.
It did, however, take a while to get it out of him that he was selling something. If you asked him if he was selling something his initial response might be that he had some complementary tickets for people who wanted to see the pistons.

very smooth. Very interesting. Something I could do if I wanted to. But I don't.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
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From:shadowriderhope
Date:February 7th, 2003 05:57 pm (UTC)
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I'm glad you don't want to. ;) Those type of people are ... icky.

At one (very brief, thankfully) point I flirted with the notion of working for Primerica, which is another sort of 'something for nothing' type of scam. I won't waste the bandwidth with an explanation of what it is they claim to do, but they basically try to lure people in with a 'free debt analysis' (in order to talk them into more debt, in most cases!). At least with this one, they don't encourage you to 'sell' to your friends and family, first. ;)
[User Picture]
From:minnehaha
Date:February 7th, 2003 07:42 pm (UTC)
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I strongly recommend you read Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. If you think that day was fascinating, you'll be stunned by the book.

B
From:yuggoth
Date:February 8th, 2003 09:15 pm (UTC)

Off topic

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Hey there,

I'm sure you remember a female backtabler named Alyx. Unfortunately that's the only way I ever knew her, and I was thinking about her today (we kept in contact for some time after she left, but eventually fell out of touch) and realized I had no way to reach her. If it's ok with her, and if you have it, could you send me her email address? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.
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