Can I Borrow You For A Sec?


British plague, British cure? Discuss…

Opinion may be divided. But these third sector salespeople – the label derived from charity mugger – adorn/blight every high street in the land. For over a decade turning a trip to the shop into an obstacle course crossing tig with hide and seek.

When work attired, I’m strangely ignored.

Yet when I pass I hear their opener.

For a while now, one is used above all others.

I heard it from three separate sellers today alone.

Can I borrow you for a sec?

So commonplace that it must be trained behaviour.

Which suggests that it works.

Yet I cannot fathom this.

It doesn’t sound right to me at all.

Unease stems from many levels.

There’s the obvious parallel with cold-call no-no, “have you got a moment?”. Pitch-killing response overwhelmingly, “no, I’m busy, bye”. Which starkly reminds of Predictable Revenue‘s insistence upon the strictly worded, “did I catch you at a bad time?”.

Then you wonder, whither the market-stall approach?

“Roll up, roll up, get yer glorious apples, only a pound a pound.”

Make today your [ill of choice] day – quick, easy and practically pennies…

Not keen on that either really. A/B Testing awaits?

Then you consider why the lead-in isn’t around the ‘problem’.

Indeed, what is the problem? It isn’t the impoverished, imprisoned or impaled. It’s more the individual desire to do (or even, say that they do) something about it.

Wanna ask me how you can change a life?

Then there’s the customer status angle.

Already helping the [____] cause?

This is interesting because all other gambits I’ve heard elicit a ‘no’. Whereas in this case such auto-response means you could maybe kickstart a conversation.

“Would you like to…?”
“Interested in the how and why?”
“Ever thought about it?”

Finally, the ‘current spend’ style pitch.

Here I recall the winning fashion retail vibe. Although in response to someone brave to approach assistance. A winner for continued engagement; “Tell me about your wardrobe…”

Can I ask quickly what your favourite causes are?

An industry far removed from our daily solution arena. Yet similarities in setting the earliest of hooks.

Selling research may have got glossed over in the belief that any first-line will do in a numbers game. Years of chugging analysis may well surprise and ‘prove’ ‘borrow’ as number one conversation starter. Do you know yours?

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