Onlooker Cull

Journalists, always high on the list of the general public’s most hated professions, have become less unpopular since the emergence of bankers in the public consciousness.

I heard a pair of them the other day discussing the appearance in articles of onlookers. Apparently, whenever you read the phrase “…an onlooker said…” it’s not what it seems.

The onlooker, it turns out, is a journalistic device. It’s for the writer to pad out their piece with a made up quote. The onlooker was never there. It’s a cheeky way of adding colour to their writing. Some journos consider it the recourse of the lazy.

When constructing a key presentation or proposal, how often do you find that there’s a particular quote you’d love to use, but are unsure as to whether it can be properly attributed, or even if you should tweak it to be a truly killer line?

How about when was the last time you even used quotes in such a way?

One insight from onlooker reliance is surely that quotes matter. So in this sense, if you don’t have any, then go and grab them. Litter your docs with them. In this way, the ambulance chasing journo is very much a salesrep to learn from.

One area where sales people are notoriously deficient when it comes to getting quotes is the testimonial. For onlooker read client. They’re so much more powerful a message with a name and story attached.

Every conversation you have with a prospect or customer is a chance to collect another useful quote. How do you uncover and keep the good ones?

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