Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Arts of Selling - Convince, Confuse or Scare The.....

I was at The Curve recently and made a quick tour at the exhibition area. A typical sight there was, where bunch of salesman and ladies talking to some potential customers which i presume trying to convince them to buy some overprice massage seat, vacuum cleaner and other stuff which can be bought elsewhere at perhaps only 10-30% of the selling price.

Amazing!!....Three (3) to ten (10) times more expensive and yet many still subscribe to them. I guess no matter how expensive a product is, there are always some suckers out there.....and I'm probably one of them some isolated cases of course.:-)...

A typical sight at the Mall
I've always wanted to share this thoughts which I've somehow done in brief in some of my seminar talks. Very brief because I'm not really a known Sales or Marketing guru. Therefore, most of the topics of seminar /forum that I spoke were not directly related to Sales or Marketing. 

Anyway, Marketing and sales are two different things which require different set of strategies, different set of disciplines and skills. Marketing is the act to reach and persuade your prospects that you are the company or product for them. Sales on the other hand is the act of persuading your marketed prospects to engage directly by purchasing or subscribing to your products or services. Marketing is cost while sales is revenue.

If we ask any marketing people or students graduated in marketing degrees, they will know the 3 Ps in marketing : Price, Product and Place. Peter Drucker added another P - "Promotion". However, when we talk about Sales or Selling strategy, there are various versions. I learned some of these in 2 weeks intensive sales course by Dale Carnegie Training Malaysia.

Even then, nobody talks about the C C S art of selling..which stands for CONVINCE, CONFUSE AND SCARE them. This too I believe you won't get in any text books or sales literature in colleges and universities..or perhaps if any, would come in different terminology instead.

Basically in selling one would typically try to CONVINCE, failing which will then try to CONFUSE the potential customers, and if still fail to sell will SCARE them instead. Of course these strategies or arts of selling can come in  combination, sequel or just merely one or any combination of two strategies.


This is standard...every salesman will normally start with this strategy. Coming up with convincing statement persuading one to purchase. Statement like..."our products are made out of quality IMPORTED materials" or "ORGANIC product that can reduce your WEIGHT in 30 days" and many more...

However the Convince strategy will work effectively only if it touches the potential customers' emotional believe and behavior. For example, word like IMPORTED works on people who are brand conscious or with high society status ego. Word like ORGANIC would work on environmentalist, health conscious or green fundamentalist.

A good salesman would be able to read his/her potential customers emotional believe through quick observation of the person, combine with few words of conversations. A bad salesman on the other hand, will read through their standard sales pitch on everyone they meet hoping some will strike or convert to sales..


Failing to convince...try to confuse them instead. It works most of the time too. Statement like "This product consists ZPT3 elements with extra Mucostilacatic that could...." or " during market EQUILIBRIUM, HYBRID life insurance provides returns..."

These sort of statements make the salesman looks smart or the potential customers feel like an idiot. And in this idiotic feeling that most of the time one would purchase because customers feel the salesman knows better what he's talking about.

Ignorance is the reason why one can easily be manipulated. However, if this strategy is used on potential customers who are knowledgeable, it could turn out making the salesman feels like an idiot instead. Having said that too, I've seen too many times even a subject matter expert would fall into a SUPER SALESMAN.

There's a saying, a good salesman could even sell block of ice to the Eskimo. See illustrated cartoon I extracted from Mc by Mc Cracken


Have you seen this kinda weird ugly looking giant creature dummy or model at shops or exhibition area that sell some RM3,000 to RM10,000 vacuum cleaner?? It normally comes in at least  3 to 4 feet length and height. In actual fact it is model of a dust mite that is so small that can only be seen using a magnifying glass.

A Magnified Dust Mite
How else to convince one to buy a RM10,000 vacuum? Tell the customers that this is how a dust mite looks like that goes into our body system through our respiratory process. When I first heard that and at the same time look at the giant dust mite model, my nose starts to feel itchy and suddenly water start running out of eyes. Awesome!!!! But I didn't buy the vacuum cleaner because don't have that much money to spare for a vacuum cleaner...:-)

To scare, one must understand what are the things that fear the customers most. Illness, death, security, being poor, undermined dignity or even going to hell are some of the common fears.

That is why you would probably have heard this before from an insurance agent who says "Sir, if you DIE tomorrow...." or food supplement salesman would say " Sir, the daily cost in a hospital ICU is more than buying this RM1000 of 60 days program food supplement..."  and in some cases, salesman do play God too like "Sir, you don't want to go to Hell by using conventional banking. At least Islamic banking is Halal..."

All being said, we are all salesman at some stage of our daily life anyway. Just that we don't realize it. Any act of persuasion to engage another to subscribe to your desire is already an act of selling as far as I'm concern. A child is a salesman to their parents and vice versa, husband to wife and vice versa, employee to employers or even a baby to his/her mother....a simple scare strategy by a baby crying would make a mother or a daddy wake up in the middle of the night to prepare milk...

So no one can really say they can't sell when they were born a salesman anyway....Sorait.


  1. It works on me when i bought the RM3000 Osim vacuum cleaner :-(...Good article. I'm a fan.

    1. you one of them ha? Aren't we all :-)>>

  2. Aimi, great to hear from you, please update me in future, thanks


  3. "in some cases, salesman do play God too like "Sir, you don't want to go to Hell by using conventional banking. At least Islamic banking is Halal...""

    This one definitely made some thinking back as if he/she is still a good muslim or not.. The guilt of not taking it will haunt that person for a while..

    Good writing as always..

    ~ OnDaStreet

    1. Thanks Ondastreet,

      Only God Almighty knows indeed....

  4. Nice post there. Although these 'tactics' may work, I believe the best way to sell is just to be straightforward and honest.

    1. Thanks Ghazali...Yup agreed..above of all, Sincerity, Honesty and Integrity...:-). Have a lovely day ahead...

  5. Teaching advertising to students, I will always tell them to focus on SWOT, really look into the strenght and avoid designing misleading advertising. But outside, those things you covered are still in use. Plus SEX! CCSS to be exact.

    1. Thanks Zulharis. I believe advertising is more of a marketing strategy rather than sales though it does overlap in some cases.

      SEX would probably be a common emotional behavior of many as I've explained in CONVINCE strategy above. We all do love sex except some in a more extreme or perhaps weird manner I guess :-)

      Therefore, it can be used in most advertising design and campaign although the products have got nothing to do with sex...Check out some examples like wide angle lense, knee lotion, face recognition Nikon camera, Jeans etc at

      Perhaps a salesman would say something like "Boss...mau barang kuat ka...", while at same time showing some never seen before weird looking piece of item..Of course u won't get this sort of thing if u walk at the Mall :-)..

      However...Yes, CCSS sounds good too...Sorait.

  6. excellent. the picture of the dust mite is really scary.

  7. Got to play dumb, deaf & mute everytime the salesman come. Hahahaha

    1. You'll be surprise if one day after all the talks and convincing, the salesman actually selling ear aid equipment. The other stuff he's telling you are just a decoy....:-)

      Good day bro..

  8. Good stuff Aimi, the C, C and S indeed works most of the time. Got to get our sales team to be in tuned on this too. :-)

  9. Read your blog for the first time and enjoying it. Do keep writing :) - Suzlinda

    1. Thanks Linda...join as followers and will keep u posted

  10. oh aloh god dengg sungguh.. you guys bought it when it is RM3000? I bought it way back when it was RM5000! And they do not have that small rubber ring spare part for it to work now.

    In IT we call scare sales tactics as FUD - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. And i agree on the sex part. I am now using it alot in my software contributions as seen here

  11. "Sir, you don't want to go to Hell by using conventional banking. At least Islamic banking is Halal..."

    A similar line was used by Skim Cepat Kaya Tipah Wahab from Masjid Tanah many years ago. "ASB tu haram, tak takut masuk neraka ke? Baik kau melabur dengan aku...." So many fell for it including many of my own relatives. Despite having a high level of education, greed makes them gullible.

    1. You got right...that's the power of scaring others...:-)

  12. Yup..the power of scaring :-)...

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