Benjamin Franklin was undoubtedly a man of great virtue. So seeing his sage advice twisted into a manipulative & misleading sales technique – must surely have him squirming.
According to wikipedia: in 1772 Franklin laid out the earliest known description of the Pro & Con list, a common decision-making technique…
“… my way is, to divide half a Sheet of Paper by a Line into two Columns, writing over the one Pro, and over the other Con. Then during three or four Days Consideration I put down under the different heads short hints of the different motives that at different times occur to me for or against the measure. When I have thus got them all together in one view, I endeavour to estimate their respective weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out: If I find a reason pro equal to some two reasons con, I strike out the three. If I judge some two reasons con equal to some three Reasons pro, I strike out the five; and thus proceeding I find at length where the balance lies; and if after a day or two of farther consideration nothing new that is of importance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly.”
Which is sound advice when considering important decisions for yourself and your family… carefully consider both sides, think about the weight of each point, take your time, etc.
The thing is, it’s been twisted into a manipulative close used by salespeople to overcome their targets objections and get themselves a commission.
It’s called the ‘Benjamin Franklin Close’, and in real estate – where the real sales job is convincing you to sell – it’s taught to go something like this…
Mr and Mrs Seller, making a big decision like this, you really want to think about things, don’t you?
Yes, we do.
Well I read a book on decision-making years ago, and that book said that:
‘Any decision is only as good as the facts it’s based upon.’
(* Which is true – so at this point, it’s all good.)
But the salesperson is taught to write that quote at the top of the page – then draw a line down the middle – creating two columns.
Writing ‘For’ at the top of the first column and ‘Against’ at the top of the other column.
Then in the words of a well known real estate sales trainer:
“What you do is help them with the ‘For’ side… Go through all the benefits of whatever it is you want them to do (Listing with you, reducing their price, accepting the offer etc)… and make sure you come up with between 7 – 10 for’s.
Then here’s the trick …
You don’t help them on the ‘Against’ side… keep your mouth shut.
They’ll maybe only come up with between 1-3 against.
So there will be a big list of reasons why they should … and only a few reasons why not…
And then here’s the close… you say:
“Based on these facts Mr and Mrs seller – it makes sense to (list with me now, reduce your price, accept the offer…).
Can you see what just happened?
I wonder what Mr Franklin would have to say if he was still around?
You see salespeople, by their very nature, are good at giving all the so-called positives of what they are trying to persuade you to do, but they seldom reveal the negatives.
This is classic sales behaviour – rather than empowering you to make balanced decisions by disclosing both sides of the story.
In the medical world, this is called ‘Informed Consent’.
If a Doctor, for example, recommended a treatment without disclosing the possible side-effects, it would be considered malpractice.
In a nutshell, this is the fundamental difference between a true professional – acting and serving their clients best interests – and a salesperson.
Salespeople may spend years prospecting, following you up, keeping in touch, trying to win your trust… then, when push comes to shove… blow it in an instant – by using such obviously self-serving techniques.
Is it really any wonder why the traditional commission-only real estate industry has such a poor reputation?
This is why we’re changing the world of real estate, by rejecting the ‘sales culture’ and restating real estate as a ‘Professional Service’.
Which changes everything.
Because we’re here to empower clients to make the best decisions for themselves.
We’ve also discovered, it’s super efficient, leaving more in their pocket. In fact, to date, the 150+ clients that have employed our new approach, have kept an average of $4,800 more equity, than if they’d followed the traditional commission-only way.
If you are interested to know more, check out our complimentary guide:
As I’m sure Franklin would agree… knowledge is power.