“Do you want to hear a funny story?”
Ever had someone say that to you? They then look at you with expectant eyes, hoping to get your permission to tell their story.
But they are actually asking for more. They are actually sneaking in an endorsement because if you respond yes to that question, you’ve agreed not only to hear their story, but you’ve committed in advance to judging it as funny. So yes isn’t the actual response we should give when asked this question. What we should respond with is, “I’ll agree to hear the story, but I’ll decide afterwards if it was funny”.
The reason people ask it that way, if they feel their chances are better at getting your permission than if they just asked, “Do you want to hear a story?” What they would say if they were 100% honest is, “I want to tell you a story, can I have your permission because I am hoping that you will find it funny?”
The sales world equivalent of this is “You’re going to love this” or “Let me show you something you are going to love”. I wince whenever someone says that to me. My internal voice yells out, “DON’T TELL ME WHAT I”M GONNA LOVE!”
are not a Jedi and even if you were, I dislike Jedi mind tricks. Tell
me what you want to tell me and do not attempt to tell me how I am going
to feel after you tell me. This comes off as either arrogant or
manipulative, neither of which are good, because they will set off
defense mechanisms in most people (some people are weak minded enough to
fall for it, like Imperial Stormtroopers searching for droids.)
This approach backfires especially hard in prospecting. It’s a scam just all like all those emails I get about guaranteed traffic to my website, or having inherited millions from a Nigerian prince. Your prospects know it’s a scam, and you’re losing trust as soon as they sense this is being used on them.
Just ask for time and admit that they may like or may not like what you are going to show them. Don’t rob them or attempt to rob them of their power to make decisions.