Double-Bubble Barter

How desperate for you is your prospect?  It’s an interesting question because the more they need what you offer, the swifter you should be able to close and, even better, the less you will be required to discount which, in these credit crunch recession times, could define your year.

I recently read a published prison diary.  For the first twenty-two days of incarceration, the well-known perjurer was placed in a high-security jail. Of the many facets of life ‘banged up’ that struck him, one was the protocol around the “England in the thirteenth century” practice of bartering.

General provisions could be ordered only on a weekly basis from the authorities.  Towards the end of each week he could spot the ‘addicts’.   Committed smokers, for instance, would be smoking half-cigarettes.  People wanting a cigarette (or chocolate bar or any other vice) but with no immediate means of paying, could get someone to give them what they craved, but the price would be high.

Such re-payment terms were dubbed “double-bubble”.   Whatever they wanted today, in order to pay back they had to provide twice what they were given.   A cigarette would be cut in half and handed over today, meaning tomorrow a whole cigarette would be required to clear the debt.

Can your hoped-for buyers be in such a similar, hopelessly addicted place?

Let’s think in terms of information.  How often do you get asked for some little tidbit, document, report, intel or figures?  Do you simply rush to hand it over, safe in your knowledge that swift compliance must surely solidify any emerging relationship, to the logical conclusion of the exclusion of competition?

Frame that element of information less like a mere commodity, to be handed across without question, but as a precious jewel, with priceless value.  If someone duly asked for whatever-it-was, then in these circumstances, wouldn’t you demand a price for it, and make sure it was extracted?

So the next time a prospect asks for something, don’t meekly acquiesce.  Have a list of similar types of thing that you’d like to have in your possession already drawn up, and make the proposal that if they provide one of the items that you request, then in return you’ll give them what they want.  I’m sure that you’ll both qualify and progress.

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