Sunday, February 25, 2001

The Salesman and the Pick-Up Artist

(This post comes from No Ma'am Capital)

If there ever were two unsavory characters our society likes to portray as dishonest scumbags, it has to be the used-car salesman and his social contemporary, the pick-up artist (PUA). The relationship deepens when I see high profile PUA bloggers sometime make the connection between "the game" and sales as well - often falsely concluding that sales is now being influenced by "game" rather than sales influencing the PUA's "game."

Before I begin, I have a dirty secret to confess. I sold cars for eleven years. I was not a "used" car salesman, but worked at a new car dealership which, of course, also involved selling used trade-ins... so, lol, I can't claim to never have been a "used" car salesman either. But, I did this job for a long time and learned an awful lot about human nature along the way. I also see that both salesmen and PUA's are often thought of as unsavory and manipulative, but that at the end of the day, what the successful salesmen and PUA's are giving to their "customers" is exactly what they wanted.

The best salesmen are the ones who have properly "sold" their customers on the product. This was clearly evidenced to me over and over again, as the customers who paid higher prices would regularly report significantly better customer satisfaction with their experience than customers who paid a lower price and arguably got a better deal. The difference was that the first customer believed the cost of the car matched or exceeded his perceptions of "value" while the second was not convinced he was getting good value for his dollar.  The actual dollar amount was not the deciding factor in whether this was a good deal or not - the subjective perception of whether value was met or not was the deciding factor. In other words, it was the salesman's ability to create value and "sell" the customer that decided their satisfaction more than any other factor. This is not much different than in the "game-o-sphere" where it is often acknowledged that women who have been properly seduced (and believe they are having sex with a high value man) are the least likely ones to become abusive, or to falsely claim abuse, or whatever other host of things women try to do to make men miserable. The "gamed" woman is a happy woman in the same way that a "sold" customer is happy customer who believes he got great value, regardless of the actual price. It is his perception of value met that creates satisfaction.

By the way, when I walk into a car dealership today, I ask for the top salesman and only deal with him. It is far more satisfying to simply start off with the guy who makes the most customers happy. Most customers have already decided to buy a car when they come in and are now looking for the right salesman - they aren't really being "sold" anything, which is not much different than women in the dating game. So, your experience will most likely be best with the top salesman, just like women are far more likely to feel satisfied by sleeping with a man who properly seduced them, but bitter and resentful towards a man who begs, pleads and cajoles them into bed while at the same time reducing his value in her eyes.  

The similarities between sales and game are so numerous that it is obvious that they are both doing the same thing, merely with a different product. The product of a PUA is "selling himself" as a sexualized male and recognizing what values he has to portray about himself to the consumer (women).

An example of this is what PUA's called "congruence." Basically, it is about subtly taking charge of the situation and "leading" the customer to the conclusion you both wanted, rather than being led around by a customer's endless psychological protests. Most often this is done simply by which words you choose to use, which limit the negative responses available while making it very easy to be positive.

The first time I heard of this was in the early 1990's, while reading a sales book written in the 1950's or 60's. The anecdote used was of the greatest "make-out artist" the author had ever seen who used the principle of congruence to pick up girls in the bar. As the story loosely went, this fellow would go to a bar or a club and simply start giving orders to the women he met. His questions were carefully designed to eliminate (or make-it-difficult to give) yes or no answers while making it very easy to follow the guy's lead. He would walk up to a woman and instead of asking "Can I buy you a drink?" (which leads reflexively to a "yes" or a "no" answer - more often no than yes), he would say, "What are you drinking?" After she answered he would state to her, "Wait here, I'll be right back." Off he would go to get a drink and if she was still there when he returned, he just kept stating orders to her and assumed that she wanted to progress further. Instead of asking "Would you like to come sit with me at my table?" he would simply state, "Come sit with me at my table," and walk over to his table without waiting for a response. In 90% of cases, she will follow. If she objects, so be it - if you can overcome her objection, do it, - if not, you don't need to waste your time either. But no matter if she does object because a significantly higher amount of women won't object and you will double, if not triple or quadruple the amount of women you progress from initial meeting to landing her at your table for furthering your goal of getting together with her. (It's harder to get to home plate from first base than from second or third, right? One step at a time, trooper!) This guy would simply tell her, in a nice way, to do what he wanted, and the more she complied the more she started following his lead. At the end of the night, after regaling her with stories of his stamp collection, he would ask a simple question he knew the answer to such as, "Did you bring a jacket?" and when she answered "Yes," he would respond with an order, "Go get it and meet me at the front door. I'll take you home to see my stamps and..." (and he rounds second base on his way to third!)

It works in PUA game and in the selling game.

As a car salesman, you want to have the customer take a test-drive. In fact, it is ridiculous to waste any time discussing "prices" on various cars beyond a range of MSRP's until the customer has decided on a specific car - so that the exact costs and "deals" can be evaluated. Until the customer has actually decided that, "Yes, that exact model there is the one I want," there really isn't much point in going further on prices. And, if a customer does not drive the $30,000 car they are supposedly serious about, there is no way you ought take them seriously. However, if you as a salesman walk out there and meet the customer, show it to them, and spend time with them - and then ask them, "Would'ya liket'a take a test drive?" the majority of people will reflexively say no and come up with some excuse or objection, just like a woman shit-testing. It's human nature, especially when nervous. However, if you realized 95% of your sales only come from people who have actually driven the car first, you will begin to understand the importance of getting that test drive out of the way before prices are discussed beyond various ranges.

When I changed my routine and the way words were said, the amount of my test drives drastically increased, and so did my subsequent sales. Instead of asking, "Would you like to take test drive?" after I finished my initial demonstration of a vehicle, I started simply stating to the customers, "Wait here. I'll be right back." and I would walk inside and get a demonstration plate, return to the car and put it on. I opened the door for them and let them into the passenger seat while I went around to the other side and began our demonstration drive - I assumed they wanted to... why wouldn't I? The amount of people who objected to this were minimal - in the 5% range - and my sales went dramatically higher as I moved far more people further along in the buying cycle than I did before. The words I chose had a significant impact on the people I interacted with and once I realized that, it was pretty simple to choose the words that furthered both theirs and my goal of having them drive my car home. This does not mean slick routines, though. It merely means choosing words and actions that lead to success rather than failure - in the same way that PUA's often talk about "anti-game" and how guys would do dramatically better with girls if they just stopped doing certain things - something which certainly is not "manipulative" at all.

I see hundreds of examples like this between salesmanship and the game of romance & seduction. I have taken an extensive number of sales courses over the years and even though I haven't been involved in that industry for well over a decade now, I still remember many of the principles quite clearly and the similarities are too close to ignore. If you are one of those who finds "game" to be fundamentally dishonest and manipulative, I can understand that. It comes across that way, and just like in car sales the people who stand out are the bad ones who don't give good value to their customers. But, many PUA techniques are based in solid sales-tested techniques which were developed over decades, if not centuries. There are good salesmen and bad salesmen, just as there are good men who are seductive and bad men who are seductive. The basic underlying principles that makes both game and sales successful are almost identical, and they are based upon real human psychological traits and emotional responses that are not widely recognized by the average lay-person who doesn't take the time to study them.

There are more similarities between sales and "the game" than I can list in one post, but I think this will be a theme I return to from time to time. The reason I believe so much in the general principles of game is mostly because I so strongly believe in salesmanship principles, which have been proven to me through experience as the correct ones that underlie the "surface issues" which falsely lead most people astray



Bonecrcker #64 - "On Players"

Zenpriest #33 - Salesmanship 101