Don’t you have much more faith in ideas that you discover for yourself than in ideas that are handed to you on a silver platter? And if that’s true, then isn’t it bad judgment to try to ram your opinions down the throats of other people? Isn’t it wiser to make suggestions—and let the other person think out the conclusion?
Dale Carnegie once told of the time this same psychology was used by an X-ray manufacturer to sell his equipment to one of the largest hospitals in Brooklyn. The hospital was building an addition and preparing to equip it with the finest X-ray department in America. The doctor in charge of the X-ray department was overwhelmed with sales representatives, each singing the praises of his own company’s equipment.
One manufacturer’s rep was more skillful, however. He knew far more about handling human nature than the others did. He wrote a letter to the doctor in charge that went something like this:
Our factory has recently completed a new line of X-ray equipment. The first shipment of these machines has just arrived at our office. They are not perfect. We know that, and we want to improve them. So we should be deeply obligated to you if you could find time to look them over and give us your ideas about how they can be made more serviceable to your profession. Knowing how occupied you are, I shall be glad to send my car for you at any hour you specify.
The doctor was both surprised to get the letter and complimented, as he had never had an X-ray manufacturer seek his advice before. It made him feel important. And although he was busy every night of the week, he canceled a dinner appointment in order to look over the equipment. The more he studied it, the more he discovered for himself how much he liked it.
Nobody had tried to sell it to him, and he felt that the idea of buying that equipment for the hospital was his own. He had sold himself on the superior qualities and ordered it installed.
Remember: To truly enlist another person’s cooperation, let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers. Here’s an example of this important principle in action from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of the Northwest:
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