Combat The Closing Techniques - The Reverse Psychology Close

Combating the Closing Techniques, a series, explores the tactics companies and salespeople use to separate us from our cash. For background, you may want to read the post that originated this concept, Marketing or Manipulation, featured on Financial Samurai.

3054169286_8ee750cb28Recently I was reminded about this closing technique by a seat mate on an airplane. I was upgraded into first and was sitting next to Mr. Talkative. He made me wonder if I looked like a bartender. Mr. T began telling me about his life and family. Of all the dribble he spilled, it was the anger and frustration I could see in Mr. T’s face as he relived a story he shared about a recent car purchase.

Mr. T was interested in obtaining a new Porsche Caymen S. This is not your average car, it is not even your average high-line car. According to Mr. T owning this Porsche was simply an honor. He’d been dreaming of a new Porsche for years. Now that he had finally found success in the legal profession he was ready.

Mr. T related his story of going to the dealership to purchase his new car. Walking into the showroom, it appeared deserted, not a soul to be seen. As he began looking at the cars on the floor an impeccably dressed associate walked past with hardly a glance. A moment later the associate returned, again walking across the showroom. Just after passing Mr. T the associate turned, almost as if it was an afterthought, and greeted Mr. T with a smile “Can I help you” he asked. “Well yes you can” said Mr. T, “I am interested in purchasing this car.” The associate appeared a bit perplexed, as if it is odd that a consumer would be interested in purchasing their product. Instead of eagerness to help this potential client the associate advised Mr. T that he was very busy. He suggested Mr. T grab a brochure from the stand and make himself comfortable.

After some time had passed the associate returned and again asked if there were any questions that could be answered. Mr. T replied that he had researched the vehicles quite thoroughly and was ready to discuss terms and availability of his selection. The associate chuckled lightly in response and advised Mr. T that procuring a feat of engineering such as a Caymen is not that easy; after all it is not just a car. Furthermore he implied that their automobiles were not meant for just anyone, that it required a “certain kind of person” to handle such a powerful racing machine. The associate then looked at Mr. T up and down as if undressing the man, trying to find out what kind of person he really was. Did Mr. T look like the type of person that should be allowed in a new Porsche? Did he look like the kind of person that could afford a Porsche?

As he relived the story in his mind this is when the anger became obvious. I knew what was coming next in the story from Mr. T. He didn’t disappoint me.

While Mr. T had the impression that his dream might come crumbling down, the reality is that he had been sold and didn’t even know it. After years of toiling away at law school and a decade of hundred-hour weeks and thousands of cases, Mr. T was ready to buy his dream car, and was not threatened with the thought that he somehow might not be “qualified!”

He fell right into the salesman’s greedy little hands. Mr. T stepped up close to the salesman and explained that not only could he afford to purchase this car and 3 more if he really wanted to, but that the car was in fact built with Mr. T in mind. He told the salesman “I’ve been waiting to buy this car for months. I will be driving off this lot in one today. Now, either you are going to sell me this car or I will talk to your boss and buy the car from him!”

Mr. T. fell for the reverse psychology close. This approach is most effective with high value or scarce products or on dominant personality types, people that think they are more intelligent and knowledgeable than the salesperson.

The key to its success is in the body language and approach of the salesperson. They must approach the customer very nonchalantly, as if it is a bother to assist the customer. A salesperson may imply that their product is in high demand and a sale to you really doesn’t matter because another customer will be in shortly. They may also create the perception that their company is very selective about their products and customers. All of this only serves to draw the customer in more, making them feel is if they really are special or privileged to have the opportunity to spend their money.

Fighting Back –

For this close the most effective countermeasure is to fight fire with fire. Using the scenario above, if a salesperson was too “busy” it might be appropriate to show your empathy for their tough day and commiserate as you too have very limited time. You might want to indicate that you only stopped in for a minute on the way to the Chevy dealer to buy a new Corvette. You could drop a hint about all this extra cash you have that has been screaming to be spent and you had finally decided you were going to buy from “the other store.” On the way however you thought it might be worth the time to just take a peek “one more time” at the Caymen.

With information like this, the sales person will now have a renewed sense of urgency. It will now become his mission to convince you how superior their car is over the competitor and why their dealer is a better place to do business.

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photo by ricardodiaz11

Daily Yakezie Short Carnival

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Credit Card Concierge Service by Credit Card Chaser

Could you live in another country? by Simple Life in France

These posts have been chosen as one of their best post by the bloggers who submitted them, so check them out if you are looking to add more blogs to your reading list.

17 comments to Combat The Closing Techniques – The Reverse Psychology Close

  • Ouch! So he didn’t even realize he’d been had. I feel that prickly skin-crawling embarrassment I sometimes feel for people when they do something silly. I feel sorry for the guy that his image is so attached to his car that he was willing to pay more to show he ‘deserved’ his Porsche.

    But you know creating a false sense of scarcity can probably drive up sales and keep people from haggling. Here in France, they have a ‘shortage’ of the new Dacia (a cheapo car made in Romania with a good Renault motor). You actually have to go on a six month wait list to get one–which I find interesting. One theory is that the wait list allows Renault to keep selling some of its more expensive models . . .but I wonder if it’s not a bit of a marketing technique–albeit for cars on the other end of the cost spectrum.
    .-= Simple in France´s last blog ..How do you chose a ‘new’ car? =-.

  • Boy, that’s one attorney I would never want! I can’t believe that he got suckered in…

    Thanks for a great story, I was hanging on very word ­čÖé

  • Seriously, if I am going to spend that kind of money, or any money on a serious product like a car and I get treated like I may not qualify at a high end social club, the next view that sales guy will see is my back as I walk away. There’s got to be another dealer somewhere who will fuss over me and treat me like I’m special and in the land of the expensive vehicle purchase, I expect no less.
    .-= Tracy´s last blog ..Eco Fraud Friday: Is It A Vegan Conspiracy? =-.

  • Tut tut, that’s a very manipulative technique… I guess if someone goes into a show room and says they want a porsche the sales person knows it’s a 99% sale so you just have to close it!
    .-= Forest´s last blog ..A Helping Hand For Fellow Yakezie Members =-.

  • Hey,
    ‘Don’t give me jibba jabba’
    That’s my wife’s favorite Mr. T quote. I remember she was so jealous of her college roommate’s Mr. T. Curtains.
    Closers are paid for learning these techniques, but learning effective tips on budgeting like fighting off good closers with deceptive techniques

    Thanks for sharing,
    .-= Guy G.´s last blog ..Grocery Saving Tips – Tips on Budgeting =-.

  • The LeanLifeCoach

    @Simple in France – Sadly, I think that most of us get taken in one form or another, heck just look at the price of printer ink! – Take a look at this to see!

    @Money Reasons – see above! – For fun, I have been digging for margin data in various businesses. It seems in virtually all of them there is at least a small percentage of fleecing going on! — And you are right, you would never want this attorney!

    @Tracy – For the high-line and luxury products there are not as many distribution points. As a result some distributors of jewelry, cars or even high-value real estate believe they can demand more. If you walk out, you next stop may be a city 500 miles away! – Thanks for stopping back in!

    @Forest – You may be right! btw… nice job on the Helping Hand!

    @Guy G. – Thank you sir!

  • It would be hard not to get suckered into that tactic. We all have big enough ego not to take such disparaging attitude without showing our cards. Haha! I can learn one or two things from this.
    .-= Bytta @151 Days Off´s last blog ..Day 29: Who Wants to Live in a Small Tropical Island? =-.

  • No probs, thanks ­čÖé

  • The LeanLifeCoach

    @Joel – Yes. Also, next time, put your email in the space provided. It saves me from muda of rework!

    @Bytta – We probably all get suckered every day in some way by someone.

  • bongstar420

    I’d tell that guy that the car isn’t good enough for me and he needs to find an honest line of work. Meh

  • Dan

    Wow – you mean that the salesman was somehow able to sell the man a car that he went there with the express purpose of buying? What an amazing sales technique!

    The only thing the salesperson did was boost his own ego. This is the same fake snobbery used at mall make-up counters and tanning salons across the country.

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