Butcher ‘robbed’, gives his total blessing. Skilbey Blogs

 

Butcher ‘robbed’, gives his total blessing. Skilbey Blogs.

Salesmen are all things to all people. Here’s banter I heard one day in my local butchers.
“I’d like a leg of lamb for four.”
“Got the perfect job. How about this leg, here,”
“What am I doing? Feeding the five thousand?”
“Get out of here. I’d take this home for four. Tell you what, I’ll swaddle it in a nice bit of seasoning and it’s yours for twenty.”
“Shut up. You’re fleecing me — buy a whole sheep for less. Oh, go on then. Won’t tell the misses she’d skin you if she knew.”
“Tidy. I’ll wrap it up under ‘bargain’ ”
“Wrap it up under ‘robbed’, mate.”

And there you have it- that healthy relationship between the ‘I don’t trust you’ customer and the ‘giving you a fair deal’ shop businessman. All in a day’s work.

Market traders with all their wizardly gifts in the art of the gabble, tongues often gilded with melted butter, honey or truly saucy spices; these sharp backbone businessmen can quip with lightening speed and sassiness to passers- by: “What size? Your size— ‘course darling… always (in) your size.” Well my local family butchers has seriously upped their marketing strategy- way beyond throwing in the odd lamb chop for nothing in your shopping bag or overlooking a charge for the bacon rashers- through a trick I call virtual or placebo gratification, and they now make sure you leave their premises feeling like you have just purloined them; a butcher robbed but giving his total blessing. It’s a clever sales technique. This is what happened.

Just recently my butcher, while holding the white bag containing provisions I’d just purchased in one hand, and pulling the receipt from the till roll with the other, stalled for longer than a moment. He studied both hands with a tennis match head; first carefully scanning the receipt, then looking back down into the bag to count what’s there. Receipt and then bag. Then bag back to receipt. He did this for a long, long time. I was convinced he’d have to take it out and start all over again. Something had gone wrong. Eventually he looked up, eyes incredulous and said, ‘Can’t believe it’s so cheap’, before handing it over.
I left the shop feeling incredibly lucky; for the first time in my life, I had truly bagged a bargain. And then I remembered the very savvy, but very well behaved suited and booted twinkle in his eye.

So many techniques being use to try and sell you products these days, including the clever customer satisfaction gimmick earlier, but the one that really gets my goat up is strategy number twenty-nine of Blabbers’ Guild :  ‘Customer compliance via confusion’, or the use of an ‘information overload’ stun gun.
They all use it- telesales, insurance, pensions firms. And fast food places! Fast food places are the last to have embraced this particular technique. All the information is thrown at you like a projectile vomit. If you have to look at the display menu above the staff, it looks like you’re trying to decipher many pots of what the hell is that colour paint? Tossed at a blank canvas. There is no clarity about the product you’re buying, so we get shunted into buying something due to pressure, (someone behind you wants their meal yesterday), or out of the embarrassment of not being able to admit to our confusion. Sod all to do with actual understanding; most of us can comprehend systems and concepts if we’re giving sufficient time and I suppose if staff didn’t feel the pressure of having to race through their script.  Familiar with the magician’s trick where he hides the ball under one of three overturned paper cups then does a dance with all three? In the end you have no idea which cup the ball you want is under, so you just select anyone, like you know what you’re doing, like it’s a calculated choice, but it’s not. There are many theorists out there who would argue that we are being guided through our daily life, into decisions that we make based on pure confusion We can use the analogy that if one (tennis) ball is ejected out of a machine, we have a good chance of catching that and all assessments and judgements we put in place to achieve that are called upon. However, if the machine starts ejecting several balls all at once even, never mind that each could be of a different material, colour or size; balls for different purposes, you’re bombarded with choice, opting for just anyone- whichever one you can catch.

For retailers, customer compliance via confusion seems to be a misguided way forward, with everything fast- fired at you, and if there is some human interaction involved, it’s hardly genuine. But the quick-fire banter that requires real engagement, such as the butcher’s earlier, is traditional selling at its best: attractive, effective and giving us all a smile in the end.

Although, slow and steady confusion works well too. And not always by the retailers. To senior ladies everywhere: don’t try this at home.

 

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