Gotcha Backlash

Trust in journalists has plummeted. Down an all-time deep ravine. The pit of which cannot be seen. Reasons for this are manifold. Outright partisan positioning of those pretending to be impartial chief among them. Self-righteous MSM shocked to receive a hammering from ordinary folk.

One symptom is ‘gotcha journalism‘.  Entrapment first, truth (a distant) second. Whilst a free press and holding authority to account is fundamental, I’m with the Harvard Professor Steven Pinker on this. You mustn’t fall into thinking only negative reporting makes good stories. Balanced reports means also giving credit where it’s due. Which can be done without genuflecting sycophancy.

Still, it’s true that ‘you catch more flies with honey than vinegar…’

And your sour vinegar antidote need not be as sweet as honey either.

Almost every journalist at present seems to believe to their core that in order to be credible, you must start questions with such like, ‘how can you possibly…’, ‘don’t you agree that…’ and pretty much. ‘you’re a total utter disgrace, are you not….’. Hoping to instantly ensnare their victim in career-ending knots.

Thankfully, there is a building backlash; “less public service, more public nuisance‘ & “this is no time…”

Admirably fighting against the fact that knowingly, a falsehood can be splashed across a newspaper front page, create a storm for days and fatally damage reputations. Yet when exposed as untrue, any correction goes relatively unreported.

Note too the power of citing Brandolini’s Law.

Especially useful in the field when dismissing unfounded competitor slander.

After all, “a lie flies twice around the world before the truth has even put on its shoes”.

Which incidentally, always reminds me the of the strength primacy-recency effect.

In Sales, we face the lure of similar lines attack.

‘How are your widgets going in the [pick your turmoil de jour], mister prospect?’

Hoping for an answer allowing you to gleefully respond;

‘Disastrous hey, great! Well, today’s your lucky day…’

Reach for your remedy.

Perhaps with help from Talk Radio breakfast show hostess, Julia Hartley-Brewer.

She also rails against the gotcha gutter.

Rattling off in one longform interview piece these nine alternatives to launch from;

why won’t this work

why is this a good thing

why is this a game changer

how does [it] work

why can’t [you] have …

what’s the problem

is this a good policy

what are reasons for this policy

what’s the reason against this policy

Many a sales team I’ve encountered have tried to generate lists of ideal questions to ask. Guru fortunes have even been built on the supposed perfect selling questioning models.

Yet both pincers yield too few morsels in the form of tasty deals.

In part, due to barriers also cultural.

Heard of the sales truism, “average salespeople practice what to say, winner salespeople practice what to ask”?

The fact remains that there are lines of questioning that lead you to completion.

The ones that don’t seek to nail a prospect down immediately, walking a path to discovery, usually win more.

Have you got yours lined up?

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