The Anti-Broke

In my business, ‘broking’ is what ‘brokers’ do. It more or less means selling or convincing someone of something. The word ‘broking’, like ‘selling’, can have dark overtones of manipulation (“I’m not trying to broke you, but…”); other times it simply means organizing information and communicating clearly.

Everyone has their style and knowing your style is to be ‘Real’, to be yourself. Nobody feels comfortable buying something from someone who is being fake. A fake demeanor breaks the bond of trust, which is the dearest asset of any salesman. A salesman without trust is a thief.

Anyway, there’s one particular technique that I find myself gravitating towards lately. This style terrifies many in my profession. Some guys get nervous any time a colleague starts to use it.

That style is the Anti-broke.

In essence Anti-broking is to emphasize the negatives of what you are selling. Explain to someone why they might not want to buy. This is heretical stuff. Isn’t the point to get deals done? Why dwell on such counter-productive thought?

You obviously have to be careful about it. Anchoring bias is real and over-emphasizing the negative in someone’s mind might push the benefits out.

But come back to the essence of sales: trust. Anti-broking is about saying “I know where you’re coming from”; it’s about adopting the cynicism of your customers so they don’t have to. It’s comforting.

Eric Barker has an interesting post up about having people buy in to stuff: “The idea of pitching is to begin an engagement with somebody, not necessarily convince them right there”.

Doing a deal with someone is an exhilarating experience and can found lifelong friendships. Inexperienced salesman underestimate how much their customers want to just say “yes!” and seal the deal. Shopping is therapeutic for a reason.

The philosophy of the anti-broke is that if a deal is possible it will probably find itself if there are two genuinely willing, mutually trustworthy parties.

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