One time I was supposed to meet a couple of friends in Scotland.
I had arrived a couple day earlier. It was for a three week backpacking trip.
However, I had arrived late at night, and I wasn’t sure where I was going to stay.
This was before smartphones, so I couldn’t look anything up easily.
As I was standing there, jet lagged (after flying for twelve hours and taking a train for another three), dazed and confused, an old guy came up.
“Son, you look lost,” he said. He sounded a lot like Sean Connery, but with a mouthful of marbles.
He showed me where a bunch of cheap hotels, for which I was grateful.
Most of the time, though, when some stranger comes out of nowhere to offer advice, it’s rarely taken with a hundred percent gratitude.
Especially if the advice has some kind of ulterior motive behind it.
Most people have heard that giving unasked for advice rarely works.
Why is this?
Consider the presuppositions.
Imagine you’re at the grocery store, looking at the different flavors of peanut butter. You’re going to go home and make a sandwich.
Then some goof comes out of nowhere and acts like he’s the holder of supreme peanut butter knowledge.
What does this presuppose?
It presupposes that before he even introduces himself, he looks at you and KNOWS that HE knows MORE about peanut butter than you do.
Which is kind of insulting.
AND it robs us of the pleasure of peanut butter discovery.
This is why it rarely feels good if somebody we don’t know gives us unasked for advice.
It presupposes they know more about the situation than we do.
Even when people we know give us advice, it still doesn’t feel right.
Because it has the same presupposition of “superiority.”
Unfortunately, for most of us, this ALL WE KNOW when it comes to influencing others.
Sure, we find out a little bit about what they want, but that’s usually just the tip of the iceberg.
Then we proceed to tell them (or suggest to them) why they should do what WE want based on the little information they’ve given us.
It still is kind of insulting.
We’re basically telling them that with only that LITTLE BIT of information, we know MORE about the situation than they do.
This is why any kind of sales always has both low conversation rates and high stress.
You’re GIVING ADIVCE to people hoping they’ll buy something.
Luckily, there is another way.
Not just in sales, but any time you want to influence others.
And it doesn’t rely on YOU at all.
All them. All their ideas. All you’ve got to do is turn off your brain and ask a few questions.