Even if you were unaware of its precise psychological label, you’ll have probably come across this technique.
It runs that you’re more likely to gain compliance – particularly for a pocket-change fumble of cash – when you ask for an unusual amount.
The classic being the beggar who, rather than asking for ‘any spare coins’, outstrips peers by requesting “17 cents”.
In solution selling, this can extend to wherever possible avoid quoting round numbers.
Termed the pique technique, this effect has longer tentacles.
I recently read on the theory that it works because it “disrupts” the standard “refusal script” of the respondent. Quite a bit to unpack there.
The most stark application is with any cold pitch.
Specifically getting that first, vital toe in the door.
How you can be “dodging underneath the normal means of parrying an unsolicited request”?
What does every other cold caller to your treasured suspect say? Nearly every approach yields the “I’m too busy”, “we’re covered thanks” or “there’s no budget” type pats objection. Pavlovian shutters to get rid quick and wonder how on earth the call got through in the first place. Even though you were genuinely selling gold for the price of silver.
You still might not earn that valued second-hearing, but you can definitely gain engagement through piquing.
I’m a winner, from wonderfulco, with wizardry to show you, that you’ll love, just as all sorts of renowned people do. I can pop by tomorrow…?
I wonder how to pique might work on a cold-call? So here’s three stabs at gimmicky alternatives if you were pitching a Sales function with, say, (urgh) “software”.
- Could you devote seven uninterrupted minutes each Tuesday afternoon to getting one more sale?
- Can 84 quid a week be spent upfront to reduce leadtimes?
- Would you put a rookie in charge of one-ninth of your funnel to open more deals?
Focus on what will sound different. Maintain your professionalism. Test. Test again, and you may well reach peak performance.