blunt essays with sharp points

Question, Don’t Attack, Objections

by Scrvpvlvs
Sep 24, 2010 7:00 AM–A friend of mine, a salesman I respect*, privately circulated an article titled Question, Don’t Attack, Objections.

Paraphrasing, he made the point that when you tell a person flatly that they’re wrong, or make them feel stupid, or paint them into a corner, or preach at them, you are not going to endear yourself, are you? And you are not going to make the sale.

He wrote that you must first help the person to doubt their existing beliefs. If they do, then they will become more open to what you have to offer as an alternative.

He offered a two step process for creating doubt.

  • First, think through in advance the reasons the person might object to a new idea.
  • Second, develop questions which isolate and create doubt about each objection in a non-adversarial way.

Be prepared for possible answers and your next responses.

Suppose you know a mother who tends to believe the anti-vaccine propaganda, and you want to sell her the idea to vaccinate her baby. An objection to the idea might be, “I hear that vaccines can cause autism”.

Instead of contradicting, an isolating question might be, “If it weren’t for the concern about autism, would you vaccinate your baby?” If so, a doubt-creating question might be, “Let’s talk about the risk of autism then. How much risk of autism would your pediatrician say is created by this vaccination?”

Be prepared for her to answer, “I don’t know,” or “none,” or, “my sister is a nurse and she heard lots of babies got autism from vaccines,” and prepare questions to ask next.

My friend pointed out that it’s impossible to anticipate or answer every objection, or to be sure of getting the person to the point of openness right away, or to make every sale. The goal is to plant seeds of doubt. Doubt will grow in its own good time. And that is when you pitch your new idea to them.

* I realize I may have lost my audience with that phrase alone :-)

I originally wrote this article on January 7, 2010 as a comment on the Swift Blog.

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Google Translates Steve Jobs Out Of The Picture

by Scrvpvlvs
Sep 8, 2010 7:00 AM–Google Translate omits Steve Jobs from its English translation of a Danish cartoon. The Danish text mentions Jobs, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc., along with Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corporation, and Mark Zuckerberg, president and CEO of Facebook, Inc. The English translation omits Jobs, but not Gates or Zuckerberg.

The original Danish cartoon includes the text: “iPhone med personlige numre til Bill Gates, Steve Jobs og Mark Zuckerberg”. In Google’s English translation, the text becomes: “iPhone with personal numbers to Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg”.

Many Apple products compete directly with Google, Microsoft, and Facebook products. Competing products include hardware and operating systems for desktop and handheld devices, games, and social networking, music distribution, and TV services.

Apple recently announced iTunes Ping, a social networking which competes with Facebook, and Apple Game Center, a new portable game application which competes with Microsoft’s Xbox Live. Apple and Google have recently announced competing TV services.

Screen shot of Google’s Danish to English translation.

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