The panhandler's secret
from Seth's Blog by Seth Godin
When there were old-school parking meters in New York, quarters were precious.
One day, I'm walking down the street and a guy comes up to me and says, "Do you have a dollar for four quarters?" He held out his hand with four quarters in it.
Curious, I engaged with him. I took out a dollar bill and took the four quarters.
Then he turned to me and said, "can you spare a quarter?"
What a fascinating interaction.
First, he engaged me. A fair trade, one that perhaps even benefited me, not him.
Now, we have a relationship. Now, he knows I have a quarter (in my hand, even). So his next request is much more difficult to turn down. If he had just walked up to me and said, "can you spare a quarter," he would have been invisible.
Too often, we close the sale before we even open it.
Interact first, sell second.