10 Lessons a Pickup Artist Can Teach a Salesman

Written by Scott June 3, 2010

Written by: Scott Dinsmore

Average Reading Time: 7.5 minutes

What do you think a pickup artist could teach a salesman? I bet you’d be surprised. I know I was.

Can you think of a more crucial and technical sale than convincing a man or woman to go out with you, spend their time and maybe even locking lips? That sale can take a lifetime to master.

A couple years ago when starting my investment business, a respected mentor and salesman recommended only one book: The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. I laughed until I realized he was serious. Then I bought the book. He promised the techniques for picking up women were just as relevant for business relationships (well most of them at least…). A little common sense and discretion is required.

It turns out that these days the author, Neil Strauss, does one-day workshops on social dynamics and rapport building for the likes of premier global management consulting companies and he charges top dollar. These guys are the cream of the crop when it comes to consulting and we can be pretty sure he isn’t teaching them how to get a date. Understanding how to interact in social situations is crucial and this was a pretty entertaining (and very real) way to learn a few things.

I’ve been in a relationship for over 7 years (getting married in August!), so picking up on women is not something at the top of my “skill acquisition list”, but I’m a diehard learner and entrepreneur, so I had to see what this was all about. Thankfully my fiancée was understanding.

These tools, when used genuinely, have been powerful beyond belief for my relationships, personal and business, ever since.

Before you dig into the list, I suggest you adopt a simple rule that will ensure good comes of the below. Care about people. The best way to receive is to focus on giving. Be a resource, not a manipulator.

Life is built on relationships. We are all salesmen, so I hope you pay attention.

10 Sales Techniques I Learned from a Pickup Artist:

1. Smile

There is no more powerful way to command the attention of a room than to give a grin ear to ear. A fake smile will be obvious but a real one will do amazing things. Similar to the intersecting rings that form when throwing a couple stones into a pond, a smile can ripple across a room in a heartbeat. Smiling at someone usually causes them to smile back, which makes them more likely to smile at the next person, then guess what happens? You’ve created a room full of happy people.

Sometimes a smile is all one needs to feel good. Sadly the competition is few and far between here. People just don’t seem to smile that often, especially around people they don’t know. They are so busy trying to fit in that they don’t think to be themselves and enjoy the moment. Smile happily as you meet and talk to a prospect. This is your first chance to create a connection.

2. Be Original

No one wants to talk to someone who looks and sounds like every other person. A customer is no different. If everyone wears a suit, then throw out the tie or maybe add in a bow tie or perhaps turn the loudness of your shirt up a couple notches. Feel out what’s appropriate. Do the things in this article and I have a feeling you’ll be original.

This also goes for your product. We know that differentiation sells. But today most businesses have become commodities, which makes this all the more important. Present your product in a way that shines. Explain it’s benefit in a story that strikes an emotional chord with the buyer. If nothing else, the originality will stand out and they’ll remember you among a sea of gray suits.

3. Be Interested

It amazes me that this even has to make the list. It’s as common sense as they come but it’s so rare. Often people approach someone and start going on and on about themselves or their product. Your prospect doesn’t give two hots about you or your product until they know you care. Ask questions…And remember the answers. You are not asking questions just for the sake of doing so. You are doing it to show genuine interest for the other side. Find out what they care about. Who they are. What topics touch their emotions.

Questions are the fastest way to make a connection with someone in conversation. Listen to their answers and bring up topics so they know you heard them. Find similarities between their answers and you or your product. If it’s the first meeting then maybe you hardly mention your product. I’ve been amazed how much people are willing to open up to me within minutes of meeting them just because they were dying to talk to someone. Be there to listen and they won’t forget it.

4. Be Interesting

This one’s as easy as they come. The best way to be interesting is to be interested. Be genuinely interested and they will find you to be as interesting as could be. Add in some personal stories as they connect with what you learn and there will be no looking back.

5. Remember Their Name

Dale Carnegie used to say that there is no more enjoyable sound in the world than hearing a person’s own name. Think about it for a moment. How good does it feel when someone calls you by name, especially when it’s unexpected? Give that feeling to others as often as possible. And don’t tell me you can’t remember names. It’s not true. That just means you don’t care enough. Sure it’s hard to do. Most people are so busy thinking of their first impression that they never even hear the other’s name in the first place.

Be interested enough to remember. Say their name over in your head a few times and repeat it back to them three times within the next few minutes. I even write down their name in my iPhone as soon as I get a free minute, and add a few descriptors to help me remember. It’s that important to me. I don’t care if it’s a new face at a networking event, a hotel manager or my waiter. Have the courtesy and interest to remember their name. You never know when you’ll cross paths again.

If you really want to throw someone through a loop, call them by name hours or days after a very brief first introduction. They will respond with so much energy it will blow your mind. At the core of every customer is a person. And we all love to be known. Bonus points for remembering their kids, friends or spouse’s names.

There is no more enjoyable sound in the world than hearing a person’s own name.

6. Associate Positive Emotions with You and Your Product.

In the world of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) they call this anchoring. When people experience great pleasure or happiness, they tend to associate the things around them with those positive feelings. The same goes for negative ones. If a messenger delivers news that your dog just died, even though he had nothing to do with it, you will likely still feel negatively towards that person. The goal is to get the customer to associate massive pleasure and enjoyment with you and your product. On a date you may do this by being genuinely interested in hearing their most exciting moments from the past, or taking them to a comedy club or salsa dancing. That’s the point of a date isn’t it? To show someone that being around you means having a good time.

The same goes for a customer. They want to know that having you around will mean enjoyment for them, be it in the form of their boss praising them, the actual product improving their lives, or knowing they’ll always laugh when around you. The options are limitless. We are positively influenced by things we like. This is why companies are always taking clients out to ball games and nice dinners. Even though the customer knows they are being courted, subconsciously they are associating their enjoyment with your company (assuming they are actually having fun). We all want to spend time around people who bring us up. Be that person.

7. Win Their Friends First

The people close to us have massive influence on our decisions. How easy is it to get a date with someone if their friends don’t like you? Sometimes the best place to start is with your prospect’s friends and colleagues. Referrals are the most powerful source of advertising and new business. If you can get others selling for you by genuinely liking and promoting you and your product, then sales will be a cake walk.

Just as a man or woman will ask their friends if you’re safe to date, a customer will ask their colleagues and past customers if they should do business with you. Show them all a great time using what we’ve talked about. In fact, if you do that with the people the prospect trusts, selling likely won’t be necessary.

8. Be Vulnerable

People want to spend time with a human, not a businessman or a product. We are so scared to cross over the line from business to personal that we hardly connect with the other side. Open up a bit. Show that you have some emotions. Tell an embarrassing story about yourself. Talk about your kids or your spouse. Don’t get carried away, but do let them in on a few mild secrets. It’s disarming and before you know it they will be sharing the same things with you. As soon as you’ve both shared some personal information, you’ve begun a deep connection. Who knows, maybe they’ve been waiting to share some tough experiences with someone who’d listen. Be a supportive pair of ears.

9. Make Contact Early

Most lasting relationships start with a friendship and grow over years. The sooner you can have your first introduction the better. Just as you shouldn’t wait two years to say hello to someone interesting on the bus, don’t waste any time connecting with future prospects and business partners. Start with a friendship. If the fit is there, it will grow into a sale. If there’s no fit, then you shouldn’t want the sale anyway. The more contact the better…to a limit.

Get them following you. And keep up with them by providing useful information based on what you’ve learned about them. The sales process can take a long time. Most people are too timid to make contact in the beginning because they don’t feel they have enough to talk about. Be the one who does and you’ll stand out. Get on their radar. They’ll be impressed to see your progress over the months and years to come. The last thing you want is to wait a few years to build up a track record, only then to approach your prospect and find they’d now like to “keep an eye on you” for a couple years. You could have started that process from day one.

10. Don’t Be Dependent on the Sale

Desperation is pretty easy to pick up on. Don’t beg. You must have the confidence to speak with authority. If you can’t influence yourself, don’t expect to do so with others. Treat them with respect but let them know that what you have to offer is special and it’s not something you’re interested in giving away to just anyone. Treat a sales call as a two-way interview. There is an interesting shift in dynamic as soon as the other side realizes that they might not be allowed to have what you’re offering.

A sale starts with a relationship, and the people you sell to should fit a specific criteria that you’ve set up over a lifetime of understanding yourself and your product. Stress the importance of a fit on both sides. The harder it is to acquire something, the higher its perceived value. Make a decision up front not to settle. Your prospect will appreciate it and want to be a part of the club.

Care about people. Simple as that. If you honestly care about the peoples’ feelings with whom you interact, these simple rules will stand to benefit everyone involved. If not, then you will likely end up in a hole that will be tough to dig yourself out of.

Any one of the above, if applied with sincerity, should produce some exciting results. If you step back a bit, you’ll notice that these rules are universal. They are not just tips for a single guy or a burned-out salesman. They are fundamental components of all human interactions. Begin living them and watch the results. You are going to love the deeper connections.

There is no room in life for disingenuous relationships. I don’t care how short or how long-term the interaction. Treat everyone like you’ll know them for the rest of your life. Some of them you certainly will. Be honest with what you want out of your relationships and avoid assumptions. This stuff will produce much more harm than good if its not fueled by a genuine interest to help others and produce rich connections.

Be genuine and I think you’ll find there’s nothing more rewarding.

What are your rules for creating lasting connections? What’s your best customer pickup line? Share in the comments section below.

If you liked this article, please Tweet about it or tell your friends on Facebook using the links below. I’d appreciate it.

Buy The Game at Amazon (I warn you it’s not for the faint of heart. The lessons are powerful when looked at universally, but can be a bit vulgar on their own.)

Other Books You Might Enjoy:

Never Eat Alone

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Unlimited Power

Photo courtesy of AskMen
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