Arfur's Comedy Close

The decidedly dodgy exploits of the wheeler-dealer, ducker and diver, Arthur Daley influenced a long generation of people from the late 70s for a decade in Blighty. London’s ‘gentlemen geezer’ encountered weekly scrapes from engaging in business arrangements typically founded in legally grey areas, such as whether certain items for resale had previously “fallen off the back of a lorry”. Along with the even more seminal Del Boy, the pair of ‘loveable rogues’ did more in their heyday to damage the prestige of someone setting up their own enterprise than any late-80s aspirant ‘loads-a-money’ yuppie could ever hope to stoke. But at least they were decent (and incredibly popular) entertainment.

I just caught a brief snippet of Arthur cajole a wonderful closing routine. He was selling an evidently less-than-perfect used Golf convertible car to a woman in her home for her daughter’s 18th birthday pressie. Normally, the man of the house dealt with such tasks, but somehow our Arthur had managed to conduct affairs solely with the Mother.

She placed the cash on the table. A contract appeared. She wavered. She asked, “what does ‘as seen’ mean?” Arthur replied, “that’s just legal jargon, it means you’ve seen the car”. She remained puzzled. An awkward pause developed. Arthur looked out the window and exclaimed, “what a wonderful garden you have!” The distraction caused Mum to absent-mindedly sign and start talking landscaping.

Beyond the comedy, there’s at least two interesting points on Closing here I feel.

  1. If the prospect senses that the act of signing is more important to you than it is to them, they can often back away.
  2. If you make the actual signing as apparently inconsequential and natural an act as possible, an unhesitating swish of the pen can result.

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