The Art of the Pressure Sell

Who amongst us has experienced someone using the ‘pressure sell’ technique?

I am counting on the answer being most of us in some way, shape, or form.

For some, it comes the first time they go to buy a car. Your salesman explains how he can only offer you the car for X price, if you buy today. How he can give you the best financing rates, if you commit now. Or how his factory rebates just happen to expire tomorrow.

For others, when they were too curious to resist the ‘super spectacular free dinner cruise experience’ in return for listening to the time-share offer of your lifetime. You got to hear some micro-machine-esque pitch on the superior merits of “owning your vacations” vs “simply renting them.” Those guys love to jot down odd numbers while delivering an array of information they are spattering at you and in the end explain how the entire deal goes poof if you walk away from the table. So take the next 20 seconds to decide. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.

Normally at the end of a pressure sell you either feel relieved to have gotten away or queasy about your most recent purchase.

I have been through my share of each of these experiences and many more. The most recent encounter just happened on the streets of Luang Prabang, Laos.

Let me tell you about it…

To set the scene; I am sitting at an outdoor cafe/restaurant on the main street of town. I am situated at one of the tables closest to the front of the establishment. Many a fellow traveler, misc LBP resident, or orange-suited monk are strolling by on this afternoon. I am working peacefully on my laptop while enjoying a cup of joe. Val is unfortunately not with me to experience this first hand.

The assailant this time around, a suspiciously cute local girl (maybe 7 or 8 years old) with a tray full of cheap bracelets.

Little Girl: Hello, you buy bracelet from me? (cute smile)

Chris: No, thank-you (coy smile, head down back to work)

Little Girl: Yes, I think you need a bracelet. (serious face)

Chris: No thanks, I am fine. (darting eyes only)

Little Girl: Do you like this one? (BIG cute smile)

Chris: No, sorry, I am not buying now. (serious look, stern voice)

Little Girl: I think this one for your girl?

Chris: (stare at her) ……..You sure are persistent.

Little Girl: Yes.

Chris: (chuckle) Do you know what persistent means?

Little Girl: Yes, you should buy from me for your girl.

Mind you this girl speaks perfect, American accent with Laos inflection, English.

Chris: Which girl?

Little Girl: You know, your girl, your sister, your mother.

Chris: How much?

At this point you can literally see in this girls expression that she knows she has me hooked. I can already tell I have been targeted due to my obvious ‘Sucker America Tourist’ sign only visible to truly talented foreign vendors and she follows through in true fashion by going uber high with the price.

Little Girl: 30,000 Kips ($3.75) for one, but for you I do two for 55,000.

Chris: Ok, which one would you recommend for my nieces?

Little Girl: For nieces, I say these ones.

Chris: No, I like these better.

Little Girl: Ok, 55 (the dont say the ‘thousand’ or Kips, just added above for context)

At this point, I am, of course, completely enamoured with this cute little girl and completely sold on buying the two for an outrageous price as a reward for her stellar skills, but I know from being around chotchkis for four straight months these things should be sold for like 15 Kip a piece or less. So I want to experience her negotiation technique – will she hold the line on this outrageous price?

Chris: I will give you 40 for these two.

Little Girl: No, you give me 50.

Chris: Sure, here (happily, give her 50), pleasure doing business with you.

She grabs, turns, and leaves. Just like that she is off to find her next customer (or to secure the 50k Kips, which is like more than 5 times a days wage for some local workers).

I am telling you this girl was talented. She could very well make more money than anyone in town. You couldn’t help but notice her skills. After she departed the only other lady in the cafe joked with me about the exchange.

Best pressure-sell experience one could have!

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