10 sales tactics learnt from winning a free holiday

Ever had a time when you went shopping and come back with a free holiday? Me either, until now. A vegetable shop turned into a free 7 nights holiday and a lesson in sales tactics. The prize was ours, with a catch.

We had to come to a “no obligations” VIP presentation to claim it. We later found out supermarket cookies, instant coffee and cold tea constituted the “VIP” presentation.

The presentation

It was held early on a Saturday morning. We had just cancelled our sons soccer game to attend the equivalent of two hours of nipple torture. We figured what’s two hours of slow, methodical soul extraction if it meant a free holiday, you’re with me right?

We figured we would recite the marine core code, accept the torture, and take the holiday.

Sure we preferred free stuff over our children’s physical well being, but this was not going to be a waste of time.

There is something in everything, even nothing is something. Or is that you can make something out of nothing? Look there is something, and there is nothing …… or something.

The point is it was a perfect opportunity to take notes, and use what was learnt for the greater good.

Here is a look into 10 of the many sales tactics used to try to extract a $20,000 lifetime Holiday Club membership (there is only one place that could have been extracted from, trust me):

2 hours, 10 sales techniques

  1. Refundable deposit – It was a condition of claiming the prize to leave a deposit of at least $10 that would be returned when attending the presentation. Clever. When winning a $1500 holiday, $10 seems like nothing. Until you get home and need groceries. It ensures no empty seats come pitch time.
  2. Your partner must attend – My wife was the one who “won” the prize, but she couldn’t claim the prize if I didn’t attend as well. Why? So they can ensure all possible decision makers were present. It removes the most common get out phrase of all: “well I will have to talk to my wife/husband/dog first” and encourages an instant decision.
  3. 3 star prize – Evidently we were one of the “rare” 3 star prize winners. Other poor unfortunate folks had won the 1 and 2 star prizes, but we were amazingly lucky to win the main prize. I suspect everyone at the presentation had won a 3 star prize, but you are never quite sure.
  4. Tell them it’s a sales pitch – You know it’s a sales pitch, the people attending know it’s a sales pitch. So admit it straight up front. They did and it immediately cut the tension.
  5. The class clown – What makes a sales pitch more bearable? A roving clown of course. He was also the manager, and spent the 2 hours slapping people on the back, cracking jokes and passing out cookies. It was a clever way to relax the mood, and a perfect bail out for a stumbling sales pitch.
  6. **Hand shakes **– There is something about a handshake that solidifies a greeting and breaks down the stranger barrier. The roving clown made sure he travelled the room and shook everyone’s hand, usually with a gentle compliment following.
  7. “Can you see this in your life” – A phrase like this encourages you to form a mental picture of the proposed reward. In this case, me, in Hawaii, sipping cocktails and playing nude volleyball.
  8. “Say the amount for me” – This is a mental trick to keep you focused on “sales maths”, rather than real world maths. Mainly used in the context of how much you would save each holiday booking. The last thing they want you to do is think about the booking fees, or the up front or any other costs. Funny, they never asked me to say “$20,000”.
  9. Don’t mention the up front, up front – This one is the oldest trick in the book and is rife in infomercial land. Don’t mention the price, pitch them hard with dreams, lifestyle improvements, and sales maths. Appeal to values, religion, family, lifestyle until the price doesn’t matter.
  10. Shoot for the stars – Remember that $20,000 lifetime cost? After the first no, it dropped to $8000 for 10 years, then $2000 for 3 years, and I am pretty sure it got to $300 with reduced benefits, monthly payments and free wine. Aim high, you’ll get the odd person who buys the entire pitch no questions asked. They pay for the rest.

Two hours of soul destroying, IQ dropping, homicidal thought provoking sales tactics. Like them or hate them, they have stood the test of time, and we fall for them every day whether we know it or not.

The lesson here? Sales people are like Unicorns, or Serpents, or is it Mother-in-laws? One of those.

The point is, you never look them straight in the eye. If you do, they have you.

These are just a few, but you must have some that are sneakier than these?

Medusa. That’s what you don’t look in the eye of. Maybe I covered that with Mother-in-law anyway.