Tag Archives: Criteria

Conflict Of Interest

Finders Keepers

So I went down to the video store the other day to return this DVD that I’d forgotten about. It was about three weeks overdue and I thought I might get into big trouble, or at least have to pay a big fine. I really should look into netflix or something similar. So I threw the DVD in my backpack, and hopped on my bike.

When I got there, I realized I had a problem. There was no video store. It had been completely transformed into an auto parts store. I’m assuming it was an auto parts store because they had a gigantic stack of tires out in front, and this big inflatable gorilla on the roof, who happened to be purple. He was holding an inflatable sign that said something about that week’s particular sale.

I checked the back of the DVD. I was in the right address, and I double-checked the date. Whoops. It wasn’t due three weeks ago; it was due a year and three weeks ago. I checked the title. Nothing I remembered watching. But how did it get where I found it? Sometimes you find the strangest things in the strangest places.

For example, once I was in Taiwan, doing my laundry. I had been there for about eight months, and hadn’t seen American money in quite a while. So imagine my surprise when I found a dollar bill in there with my socks and jeans. How in the world did that dollar get there? Was it some message from beyond? Was it a sign from the gods of wealth? Was I hallucinating? I’m not sure, but a dollar is a dollar, if you catch my drift.

When I was a kid I used to watch those guys down at the beach with their metal detectors, hoping to find chests filled with gold and silver, or at least a quarter. I don’t think I ever recall watching them find something. I think I remember watching them bend down a couple times, and pick something up, but I don’t ever remember their faces showing delight or that expression you get when you experience sudden and unexpected wealth. It was more like an, “oh crap,” kind of expression. Then they’d look around, and then toss it back into the sand. Couldn’t have been worth much. I suppose people that do that have a couple different criteria that they are satisfying at once. Obviously, if they were after money, and only money, there are better ways to get it. But if they like the idea of searching for money, rather than finding it, while doing it a nice place like the beach on a pleasant afternoon, well, then I can understand why they’d go down there and take their sweet time.

It’s interesting when you take apart your desires, and really take a hard look at all your criteria underneath your desires. The other day I wrote something about “integration of parts” where you take something you’re after and figure out all the underlying criteria. Sometimes your criteria can surprise you. I’m sure most of those guys that were looking for coins at the beach would tell you they’re looking for money, but if you asked them how much they’d like to go home with, and then gave it to them in exchange for them not looking, they might not take your offer.

It’s a combination of wants and needs, largely unconscious that make up our seemingly conscious desires. And since most of our wants and needs have overlapping deeper criteria, it can be hard to change one thing without changing everything else.

Humans, and animals in general, are funny like that. Most of our biological parts serve a couple functions, at least. Take your hair follicles for example. The ones on your face, arms and back serve two purposes. One is to grow hair, and the other is to let out oil secreted by your sebaceous glands. It would be a waste of time to build two separate tubes on your skin, one for the hair to grow, and one for the oil, so nature built a shared piece of equipment. When everything is working together, you grow hair and keep your skin moisturized. When things don’t get along, you get a pimple. Or at least you did when you were in high school.

Same goes with unconscious intentions. Many times a behavior will serve two intentions. If the intentions are working well together, the behavior will be a good behavior, like smiling at people, or being patient in line at the supermarket when the goofball in front of you has eight billion coupons and then all of a sudden wants to pay in pennies when you’ve got that important meeting that starts in three minutes and if you’re late it will mean certain doom. Or something like that.

Of course in the above situation, it would be helpful to alter your behavior, such as take a step back and look for a line that is moving quicker. It probably wouldn’t do to well to strangle the guy, despite how good it would feel.

I was talking to a friend the other day, and he was telling me all the problems with the American educational system. He said the main problem is that this one humungous institution serves many different criteria, sometimes conflicting, and the learning of students, at least according to a few, is arguably not the most important. At least depending on how you describe education, which is one of those vague nominalized verbs that has as many different meanings as there are people who work in the system.

Anytime you tweak the system in one direction, you maybe increasing the effectiveness of one criterion, but lessening others, and that will cause immense pressure to move back to the status quo. Kind of hard of steer that ship, unless you crash it into a big iceberg, which you couldn’t see because so much of it was below the surface.

So after asking around, I figured out that the video store that had been there switched to pure mail order. So I’m stuck with this DVD that I don’t want to watch. They have my phone number and address, so I suppose that if they want to get a hold of me, they know where to find me.


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Success with NLP

Success with NLP

Get to the Root of All Desire

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. He was a relatively new friend, one that I had met recently, in a bowling alley of all places. It was one of those big places that has several lanes, a bunch of pool tables, a full-blown sports bar, and a group of karaoke boxes in the back. Here when you go and sing karaoke, you don’t sing in a big room in front of strangers, you hire a private room so that you and your friends can drink and belt out tunes to your hearts content without worrying about being judges by others.

It’s interesting when you think of all the bowling alleys you can go to. Some are set up just as bowling alleys, some are set up like the one I went to above, or before, where you can get many entertainment needs met in the same place. If you go with a big group of people, you don’t all have to hang out together. You can break off into smaller groups and kind of do your own thing, and still be together in the same place. It’s interesting when you think of how many ways there are to satisfy different levels of criteria.

So my friend was telling me about his consultant he’d hired to help him start his business. He has several different products, related of course, and he needed help to figure out how to sell them as effectively as possible. This is a lot harder than you think, because when you are a business, and you hire a business consultant to help you sell as much as your product as you can, the business consultant is doing the same thing. His job, as a business consultant is to sell his consulting services to as many people as he can. And most people don’t have look very far back in your experience to find people selling stuff that is more in there best interest than your best interest.

But this particular consultant came highly recommended by many people, so he was fairly confident he was going to get his moneys worth. The consultant told him that when he attempted to sell his product, the idea was to elicit as much as the customers criteria as possible. That way, he could easily show how his product was a good match to fit the customer’s criteria. When you fit your product to your customer’s criteria, it is almost certain that a large percentage of them will buy your product.

Of course, this isn’t quite as easy as it can seem. Because many people aren’t even aware of their own criteria, getting it out of them can be tricky. This is where some really good non-confrontational conversational sales skills can come in handy. Of course if you are selling cars, and somebody knows they want a red car, it’s fairly easy. When you are selling something harder to pin down, like landscaping services or estate planning, this can be a bit more difficult.

It’s like another friend I had. She is getting close to thirty years old, and around this part of the world, if you are female and thirty and not married, that can carry quite a negative social stigma with it. So of course she took some steps to make sure that didn’t happen to her. Nobody wants to have a negative social stigma. So she went to a relationship counselor. And the first thing she asked her was what was important to her in mate. She had never really thought of this before, so she didn’t really know how to answer. It took several sessions with her coach to final flush out all of the things she thought were important.

Her coach had her put them in three different categories. Must haves, Like to have’s, and must not haves, or deal breakers. When she had her list set up like that, it became much easier to go out and meet people. She said a really interesting thing happened when she developed her list of criteria. Before, whenever she went out into a social situation, she was pretty shy, because she always thought people were judging her. But as soon as he developed her mental list, she felt a lot more power and control whenever she found herself in a conversation with somebody. It was as if guys were unconsciously trying to qualify themselves to her, to fit her list, even though she never overtly communicated it.

That was several weeks ago, and I’m guessing, since I haven’t heard from her she’s doing pretty well.

And my friend that had hired the business consult said that as a result, his sales were slowly increasing, and he is really starting to get excited about his future.

How Other People’s Criteria Can Get You Everything You Want

I was sitting in a bookshop the other day, like I like to do, as those of you that read this blog on a daily basis have noticed. And I saw some guy walking around the shop giving out his business cards. He was very bold. He would just walk up to somebody, introduce himself, and give a quick introduction, and then before his mark knew it, they were holding one of his business cards. I wasn’t near enough to listen to what he was saying to people, because I was sitting in the coffee shop section of the bookshop.

I was reading this interesting book on metaphor. The book was talking about how all word are really metaphors for things that, with our limited capacities of understanding, can only approximate through our language. The best we can do as communicators is share our metaphors with each other, and hope that our underlying understanding of what it is that we are talking about overlaps enough so that we can communicate our ideas and feelings to each other. Sometimes though, when people communicate, there are several different meanings on several different levels, and you can never be quite sure what it is that this person is saying, even if you can lip read and have a clear view of their mouth.

But as this guy kept handing out his business cards, and judging by the expressions on the faces of the people that were on the receiving end, I got the sinking suspicion he was trying to sells something. I don’t think he was giving out free information like how to keep your car in tip top shape or how to make sure that when you bake your thanksgiving turkey it comes out with a moist juicy inside, and a crunchy delicious outside. I got the sinking suspicion he was a network marketer of some sort.

And judging by his approach, he seemed to be going for the shotgun marketing technique, or what is sometimes called the spaghetti marketing technique. This, as you are well aware, is when you throw your pitch to as many people as possible, and inevitably you will get a few that buy into your ideas. If you do this enough, you will likely be successful, so long as you follow the old ABC rule of sales: Always Be Closing.

“That works, but it takes a lot of energy. And the thing is, for every sale you get; you are going to have a few people that are angry that you approached them. Which is fine, you have a thick skin. But some people starting out, that’s not the best way to go.”

I heard a voice from behind me say. I looked, and I guess it was obvious that I was watching this guy.

“Oh?” I said.
“What do you recommend?”

“Well, the best way is to have a business card with a website on it. Then just give out the business card to as many people as possible, but without asking for a sale. Just tell them to visit the website if they are interested in the general kind of products you are offering. The on the website you have information about your product, and an email form to fill out if you are interested in more information. The people that fill in the information are called warm leads. These are much easier to convert to sales than cold leads, like that poor fellow is trying to do.”

“Hmm, sound interesting.” I said.

“What do you do when they say they want more information?”

“It’s all about criteria. All you need to do, is to find out what’s important to them. Once they tell you what’s important to them, all you have to do is show them how they will satisfy that need in buying your product.”

“Interesting. You are in sales, I take it?” I asked him.

“Oh, no,” he said.
“I’m an architect. I just like studying human behavior as a hobby.”

“So where did you learn this?” I asked him.

“I took a seminar from a guy a few years back, and he said that selling things to people, ideas, products, new behaviors is all really part of the same structure. People are a walking set of unmet needs. And these needs go very deep. He said that when you can elicit just one or two of these needs, and show them how it can be satisfied by one of your products or ideas, or new behaviors, they will not only eagerly accept it, but they will thank you afterwards.”

Hmm, interesting, I thought, turning back to my book on metaphors. In case you’re interested, the book is “Metaphors We Live By,” by George Lakoff. It’s fascinating, and I highly recommend it.

Find the Right Fit

I had a rude awakening this morning. As I was heading out, I noticed that I had forgotten to take out the trash last night. As stepped out for my morning walk, I noticed that the garbage truck was just pulling up. I ran inside, grabbed my bag of trash (today is burnables day) and ran down the five flights of stairs in my apartment. I got to the trash truck just as they were finishing up, and the trash man told me they couldn’t accept my bag, because it was the wrong color. Furious, I turned and walked back upstairs in shame, holding my improperly colored garbage bag. I thought of plenty of insulting things to say to that garbage man. Stupid rules. I can understand rules, but the wrong color? Some rules are meant just to annoy me, I’m sure of it.

A friend of mine used to have a rule about girls that he dated. He was looking for a specific type, with a specific personality. He had a really good job as an investment advisor for a very large company. He was looking for a girl to settle down with, as he was reaching that age. He had set up a system, so that he could, after only a couple of dates, determine if the girls personality and intelligence level met his criteria. Some of the girls wanted to date him again after he’d disqualified them, and although they seemed to be determined to get another shot at him, he refused to change his standards. At the time I wasn’t sure if I believed that he was really searching for “the one” or if he was just using it as an excuse to date as many women as possible.

I had a girlfriend, way back in high school that I knew wasn’t right for me, but we went out for a long time anyways. I was really relieved after we broke up, and she was as well, because we had spent so much time trying to keep something going that shouldn’t have been started in the first place. I realized that you can’t make something fit, regardless of how much you want it to. I think many people try and do things backward, in a way. They tend to create a image of what they think they want, and instead of taking the time to sort through the possibilities, and make a determination whether or not something fits, they try to fit things where they really don’t belong. I think it’s a lot easier, in the long run, to figure out exactly what you want first, and then spend your efforts to find the right fit, instead of forcing a square peg into a round hole.

Which is exactly what my friend was doing. He found his girl, they were exceptionally compatible, and ten years later, they are still incredibly happily married with three kids. It turns out he really did know what he wanted, and determined as early as possible. You really have to develop courage and a strong belief in yourself to pull something like that off. Many people just roam through life and take what they can get.
I suppose that’s exactly what the sanitation worker did as well. Who knows how much trouble he’d get into if he showed up at the sanitation processing plant with the wrong color bag. It might throw off the whole system they got. I’m sure he wanted to finish his morning route and whatever he needed to do back at the sanitation processing plant as quickly as possible. When you have a clear destination in mind, it’s easy to reject things that will only slow you down, and not waste time with somebody that is too busy to learn the rules of the game.


Reading for Pleasure

So you’re sitting there, reading this, wondering how you got here. You may be wondering whether or not you can find this useful, or you may be wondering if you will find this interesting. I know the feeling. You start to do this, and wonder how much you are going to get out of it. Sometimes you find benefit, sometimes you don’t. It can be a metaphor for life, if you think about it. You wonder exactly what it is you’re doing, and if you can really find this useful. Many others that regularly read this blog, like you, have been able to find really cool stuff here. Like book reviews.

I have a friend who works at a bookstore. He doesn’t really make that much money. In fact it makes barely above minimum wage. Despite the less than stellar pay, he is able to find it really interesting. He just loves to read. He finds it fascinating looking through all the books, arranging them on the shelves, picking up the ones people leave on the table when they are sitting around drinking coffee. (I love doing that.) He says just picking up the books and reading the backs as he is returning them to the shelves is the second best part of the job. He has this cart that he wheels around, and he takes his time, so he can read this and that. And he finds some really fascinating things that he didn’t even know existed. Cookbooks, exercise books, photography books. It’s absolutely incredible the amount of information you can find in a book store. And like I said, that’s not even the best part.

I actually met him a few weeks ago after he finished working. We met in the cafe section, and there happened to be a Toastmasters group that was meeting. And this guy gave a speech about goals. He was talking about setting goals, and how you need to make sure you know what is really important when choosing the things that you want to make come true in life. He said that it starts by thinking of something, now, that you want to achieve in life. Something really nice that you want to achieve. And when you think of that, you can ask yourself, what’s important about that? What is really important about having that thing that you want to achieve? And when you really start to imagine what is important about that, you can really begin to imagine how nice it will be when achieve that. And as you read this, you  might be able to do that yourself. I don’t know if you are able think of that now while you read this, but you can really find value in this, because doing this can help you achieve many things in life.

So after the guy finished his speech, my friend told me the absolute best part of working at a bookstore. He gets to talk to all kinds of different people each day. Especially when they come in to his shop, but they aren’t sure exactly what they want. He can help them make a decision, find something that they can really enjoy. And then he takes them and guides them to where the book is, and shows them how to choose from many options, so they can be sure that this is what they really want, and they can be really happy that they’ve chosen this. And since my friend is single, and half of the customers are females, well, you get the idea.

Which is what many people find when they read this blog on a regular basis. Because I like to write on so many different subjects, you can find many things here to read and enjoy. And reading things that you can enjoy is one of the greatest pleasures in life.