6 Lessons Your Business Can Learn From The Panhandler Who Conned Me.

It didn’t work.  The CD, that is.
I got conned.  Played.  And right in front of my wife.

Here is what happened.

Sara and I were out for a rare night alone away from our three children.  We enjoyed dinner at a local gastro pub, a beer or two, and coffee — apparently because we’re old and need to stay alert if we are going to maximize our time together.  After wandering into a few stores downtown, we decided to head back to the car.

That’s when he stepped around the corner of the street.

“Here you go…” he said.  “It’s my latest rap album.  I want you to have it”.

For some reason I took the CD that was being shoved into my hands.  It was a CD.  No cover.  No sleeve.  Just a CD that the artist had signed with his name using a Sharpie.

“This is my second mix,” he went on to tell me. “It’s been playing on 97.3 this week.”

I still had not said a word.  I was still trying to figure out the situation.  One minute I was holding Sara’s hand talking about how the kids were doing in their classes, and the next minute I was in the the middle of a hop-hop discussion holding a CD.

“We’re raising money for charity.”

That’s what I heard next.  “If you can help us do some good, we would appreciate it.”

The next thing I know I am reaching into my wallet and handing the artist a ten dollar bill.

“Wow.  Thank you very much,” he said.  And the way he said it brought me back to reality.  I knew I had just been played.

Sara knew it was happening way before I did.  And accompanied it a few minutes late with a “I told you so”.

The CD was blank.  Had I turned it over earlier, I would have easily seen that.

I got fooled.

But I also learned an important lesson from a panhandler who sold me $10 worth of nothing.

  1. Give your prospects something they can hold on to. — It’s not enough to have information on your website.  You have to create interaction.  That comes from putting your product or service into the hands of your prospect.  That makes it harder for them to shove you away.
  2. Keep your presentation short. — Don’t use extra words that don’t help you close the deal.  Know your lines.  Know what works.  Just keep it simple.  Pitch as simply and as clearly as you can.  If you are saying more than a sentence or two at a time you might be saying too much.
  3. Have a good story to tell about who you are. — You can make it personal by telling a story about yourself. Don’t just offer a product or service, tell them about yourself.  People want to buy from other people, not from big faceless companies.
  4. Being believable matters. — If you can’t get your prospects to believe that you can do what you are saying you can do, then you won’t get them to purchase from you.  You have to be believable.  That’s on you – not your prospects.
  5. Be clear about what you want your client to do. — Don’t give your prospects 17 different things to think about.  Just lead them to do the next step.  Make it simple to understand and exclusive to them.
  6. Keep it honest or you won’t close the next deal. — Don’t do “anything” to close the deal.  Frankly, you can win one sale from just about anything. Lying makes it impossible to build a loyal customer-base.  Be careful what you promise.  It might come back to bite you.

You might not think that you are in the same business as the panhandler who conned me on a downtown sidewalk.

But you are.

You need customers and need (desperately) to move products and services.

From time to time you need to stop and ask yourself: “Are you taking shortcuts?”  

The difference between growing your business and wallowing in your own bad habits is a series of decisions.  There are lessons to be learned from the panhandler I met Saturday night.  Important lessons.

Remember though – no one like to be conned.

I have a CD to prove it.

0 Replies to “6 Lessons Your Business Can Learn From The Panhandler Who Conned Me.”

  1. Dan, this is a very edgy blog post. I was captivated at every word. Great story, great conversation, there is a lot to be learned here. I agree there are some takeaways in the way he set up the “sell” but at the end of the day he lied. Anyone in business…or better said ‘repeat’ business who lies, won’t be in business for long.

    Very very edgy conversation and it elicited exactly the type of response you’d imagine when writing.

    Due props dude. Due props.

    Jon
    http://salesloft.com

  2. Dan, this is a very edgy blog post. I was captivated at every word. Great story, great conversation, there is a lot to be learned here. I agree there are some takeaways in the way he set up the “sell” but at the end of the day he lied. Anyone in business…or better said ‘repeat’ business who lies, won’t be in business for long.

    Very very edgy conversation and it elicited exactly the type of response you’d imagine when writing.

    Due props dude. Due props.

    Jon
    http://salesloft.com

  3. Dan, this is a very edgy blog post. I was captivated at every word. Great story, great conversation, there is a lot to be learned here. I agree there are some takeaways in the way he set up the “sell” but at the end of the day he lied. Anyone in business…or better said ‘repeat’ business who lies, won’t be in business for long.

    Very very edgy conversation and it elicited exactly the type of response you’d imagine when writing.

    Due props dude. Due props.

    Jon
    http://salesloft.com

  4. Read Cialdini’s Influence. Reciprocity works! That’s why charities do it, like the Moonies, Red Cross, etc. That’s why restaurants and grocery stores do it. And, that’s why con men do it.

    Cialdini will inoculate you from future cons.

  5. Read Cialdini’s Influence. Reciprocity works! That’s why charities do it, like the Moonies, Red Cross, etc. That’s why restaurants and grocery stores do it. And, that’s why con men do it.

    Cialdini will inoculate you from future cons.

  6. Read Cialdini’s Influence. Reciprocity works! That’s why charities do it, like the Moonies, Red Cross, etc. That’s why restaurants and grocery stores do it. And, that’s why con men do it.

    Cialdini will inoculate you from future cons.

  7. Read Cialdini’s Influence. Reciprocity works! That’s why charities do it, like the Moonies, Red Cross, etc. That’s why restaurants and grocery stores do it. And, that’s why con men do it.

    Cialdini will inoculate you from future cons.

  8. Read Cialdini’s Influence. Reciprocity works! That’s why charities do it, like the Moonies, Red Cross, etc. That’s why restaurants and grocery stores do it. And, that’s why con men do it.

    Cialdini will inoculate you from future cons.

  9. Read Cialdini’s Influence. Reciprocity works! That’s why charities do it, like the Moonies, Red Cross, etc. That’s why restaurants and grocery stores do it. And, that’s why con men do it.

    Cialdini will inoculate you from future cons.

  10. Great advice, I hope all the Bad Marketers keep doing what they are doing and don’t get an opportunity to read this article

  11. Great advice, I hope all the Bad Marketers keep doing what they are doing and don’t get an opportunity to read this article

  12. Great advice, I hope all the Bad Marketers keep doing what they are doing and don’t get an opportunity to read this article

  13. Great advice, I hope all the Bad Marketers keep doing what they are doing and don’t get an opportunity to read this article

  14. Great advice, I hope all the Bad Marketers keep doing what they are doing and don’t get an opportunity to read this article

  15. Great advice, I hope all the Bad Marketers keep doing what they are doing and don’t get an opportunity to read this article

  16. Great blog- the panhandler could have really ignited mankind’s belief in ingenuity and self-determination had he given you something worth holding on to.

  17. Great blog- the panhandler could have really ignited mankind’s belief in ingenuity and self-determination had he given you something worth holding on to.

  18. Great blog- the panhandler could have really ignited mankind’s belief in ingenuity and self-determination had he given you something worth holding on to.

  19. Great blog- the panhandler could have really ignited mankind’s belief in ingenuity and self-determination had he given you something worth holding on to.

  20. Great blog- the panhandler could have really ignited mankind’s belief in ingenuity and self-determination had he given you something worth holding on to.

  21. Great blog- the panhandler could have really ignited mankind’s belief in ingenuity and self-determination had he given you something worth holding on to.

  22. Funny- but CLEAR!! I’d add that the guy was down in a target rich area physically for prospects. Seems to me more people are forgetting that a physical visit sure helps move projects along. Social media is great;but its media.
    Get up and go see the people who can make decisions. It’s harder to tell anybody no in person.
    I love your blogs . You took the 10 bucks and reinvested it in a thought provoking moment for a bunch of us.
    THANKS!!!!!!!!!

  23. Funny- but CLEAR!! I’d add that the guy was down in a target rich area physically for prospects. Seems to me more people are forgetting that a physical visit sure helps move projects along. Social media is great;but its media.
    Get up and go see the people who can make decisions. It’s harder to tell anybody no in person.
    I love your blogs . You took the 10 bucks and reinvested it in a thought provoking moment for a bunch of us.
    THANKS!!!!!!!!!

  24. Funny- but CLEAR!! I’d add that the guy was down in a target rich area physically for prospects. Seems to me more people are forgetting that a physical visit sure helps move projects along. Social media is great;but its media.
    Get up and go see the people who can make decisions. It’s harder to tell anybody no in person.
    I love your blogs . You took the 10 bucks and reinvested it in a thought provoking moment for a bunch of us.
    THANKS!!!!!!!!!

  25. Funny- but CLEAR!! I’d add that the guy was down in a target rich area physically for prospects. Seems to me more people are forgetting that a physical visit sure helps move projects along. Social media is great;but its media.
    Get up and go see the people who can make decisions. It’s harder to tell anybody no in person.
    I love your blogs . You took the 10 bucks and reinvested it in a thought provoking moment for a bunch of us.
    THANKS!!!!!!!!!

  26. Funny- but CLEAR!! I’d add that the guy was down in a target rich area physically for prospects. Seems to me more people are forgetting that a physical visit sure helps move projects along. Social media is great;but its media.
    Get up and go see the people who can make decisions. It’s harder to tell anybody no in person.
    I love your blogs . You took the 10 bucks and reinvested it in a thought provoking moment for a bunch of us.
    THANKS!!!!!!!!!

  27. Funny- but CLEAR!! I’d add that the guy was down in a target rich area physically for prospects. Seems to me more people are forgetting that a physical visit sure helps move projects along. Social media is great;but its media.
    Get up and go see the people who can make decisions. It’s harder to tell anybody no in person.
    I love your blogs . You took the 10 bucks and reinvested it in a thought provoking moment for a bunch of us.
    THANKS!!!!!!!!!

  28. Funny- but CLEAR!! I’d add that the guy was down in a target rich area physically for prospects. Seems to me more people are forgetting that a physical visit sure helps move projects along. Social media is great;but its media.
    Get up and go see the people who can make decisions. It’s harder to tell anybody no in person.
    I love your blogs . You took the 10 bucks and reinvested it in a thought provoking moment for a bunch of us.
    THANKS!!!!!!!!!

  29. Funny- but CLEAR!! I’d add that the guy was down in a target rich area physically for prospects. Seems to me more people are forgetting that a physical visit sure helps move projects along. Social media is great;but its media.
    Get up and go see the people who can make decisions. It’s harder to tell anybody no in person.
    I love your blogs . You took the 10 bucks and reinvested it in a thought provoking moment for a bunch of us.
    THANKS!!!!!!!!!

  30. Funny- but CLEAR!! I’d add that the guy was down in a target rich area physically for prospects. Seems to me more people are forgetting that a physical visit sure helps move projects along. Social media is great;but its media.
    Get up and go see the people who can make decisions. It’s harder to tell anybody no in person.
    I love your blogs . You took the 10 bucks and reinvested it in a thought provoking moment for a bunch of us.
    THANKS!!!!!!!!!

  31. In the moment we’re all subject to being persuaded. We’re all suckers for a good pattern interrupt followed by a good story. I remember the first – and only time – that I gave a bum bus money. It was the first time I heard the “I need money for the bus…” panhandler reason. After the bus passed, and he didn’t get on, I knew I had been had. My bullshit filter 5X’d in size that day. Like you said, there’s a lot to learn from the pandhandlers, and bums – they gotta sell constantly just to stay alive. Imagine if they could clean up and become productive members of society…

  32. In the moment we’re all subject to being persuaded. We’re all suckers for a good pattern interrupt followed by a good story. I remember the first – and only time – that I gave a bum bus money. It was the first time I heard the “I need money for the bus…” panhandler reason. After the bus passed, and he didn’t get on, I knew I had been had. My bullshit filter 5X’d in size that day. Like you said, there’s a lot to learn from the pandhandlers, and bums – they gotta sell constantly just to stay alive. Imagine if they could clean up and become productive members of society…

  33. In the moment we’re all subject to being persuaded. We’re all suckers for a good pattern interrupt followed by a good story. I remember the first – and only time – that I gave a bum bus money. It was the first time I heard the “I need money for the bus…” panhandler reason. After the bus passed, and he didn’t get on, I knew I had been had. My bullshit filter 5X’d in size that day. Like you said, there’s a lot to learn from the pandhandlers, and bums – they gotta sell constantly just to stay alive. Imagine if they could clean up and become productive members of society…

  34. In the moment we’re all subject to being persuaded. We’re all suckers for a good pattern interrupt followed by a good story. I remember the first – and only time – that I gave a bum bus money. It was the first time I heard the “I need money for the bus…” panhandler reason. After the bus passed, and he didn’t get on, I knew I had been had. My bullshit filter 5X’d in size that day. Like you said, there’s a lot to learn from the pandhandlers, and bums – they gotta sell constantly just to stay alive. Imagine if they could clean up and become productive members of society…

  35. In the moment we’re all subject to being persuaded. We’re all suckers for a good pattern interrupt followed by a good story. I remember the first – and only time – that I gave a bum bus money. It was the first time I heard the “I need money for the bus…” panhandler reason. After the bus passed, and he didn’t get on, I knew I had been had. My bullshit filter 5X’d in size that day. Like you said, there’s a lot to learn from the pandhandlers, and bums – they gotta sell constantly just to stay alive. Imagine if they could clean up and become productive members of society…

  36. In the moment we’re all subject to being persuaded. We’re all suckers for a good pattern interrupt followed by a good story. I remember the first – and only time – that I gave a bum bus money. It was the first time I heard the “I need money for the bus…” panhandler reason. After the bus passed, and he didn’t get on, I knew I had been had. My bullshit filter 5X’d in size that day. Like you said, there’s a lot to learn from the pandhandlers, and bums – they gotta sell constantly just to stay alive. Imagine if they could clean up and become productive members of society…

  37. In the moment we’re all subject to being persuaded. We’re all suckers for a good pattern interrupt followed by a good story. I remember the first – and only time – that I gave a bum bus money. It was the first time I heard the “I need money for the bus…” panhandler reason. After the bus passed, and he didn’t get on, I knew I had been had. My bullshit filter 5X’d in size that day. Like you said, there’s a lot to learn from the pandhandlers, and bums – they gotta sell constantly just to stay alive. Imagine if they could clean up and become productive members of society…

  38. In the moment we’re all subject to being persuaded. We’re all suckers for a good pattern interrupt followed by a good story. I remember the first – and only time – that I gave a bum bus money. It was the first time I heard the “I need money for the bus…” panhandler reason. After the bus passed, and he didn’t get on, I knew I had been had. My bullshit filter 5X’d in size that day. Like you said, there’s a lot to learn from the pandhandlers, and bums – they gotta sell constantly just to stay alive. Imagine if they could clean up and become productive members of society…

  39. In the moment we’re all subject to being persuaded. We’re all suckers for a good pattern interrupt followed by a good story. I remember the first – and only time – that I gave a bum bus money. It was the first time I heard the “I need money for the bus…” panhandler reason. After the bus passed, and he didn’t get on, I knew I had been had. My bullshit filter 5X’d in size that day. Like you said, there’s a lot to learn from the pandhandlers, and bums – they gotta sell constantly just to stay alive. Imagine if they could clean up and become productive members of society…

  40. At the risk of sounding contrarian here, I don’t think you got conned by the panhandler’s technique. I think you were vulnerable because you were distracted. And your defenses were down. A typical scamster’s ploy.
    In true essence I think you paid him ten bucks to get him out of your face. Probably cheap at the price considering precious time-out with you family ending well, as opposed to dealing with the potential acrimony of beating him out of your way with argument.

    For a lot of us, placing a proposal in front of a client is a lot more complexed. Often there are lots of stakeholders to appease, you could be selling yourself, your company, your product and/or service. And last but most importantly, a relationship.

    Panhandler techniques are for hit-and-run situations.

  41. At the risk of sounding contrarian here, I don’t think you got conned by the panhandler’s technique. I think you were vulnerable because you were distracted. And your defenses were down. A typical scamster’s ploy.
    In true essence I think you paid him ten bucks to get him out of your face. Probably cheap at the price considering precious time-out with you family ending well, as opposed to dealing with the potential acrimony of beating him out of your way with argument.

    For a lot of us, placing a proposal in front of a client is a lot more complexed. Often there are lots of stakeholders to appease, you could be selling yourself, your company, your product and/or service. And last but most importantly, a relationship.

    Panhandler techniques are for hit-and-run situations.

  42. At the risk of sounding contrarian here, I don’t think you got conned by the panhandler’s technique. I think you were vulnerable because you were distracted. And your defenses were down. A typical scamster’s ploy.
    In true essence I think you paid him ten bucks to get him out of your face. Probably cheap at the price considering precious time-out with you family ending well, as opposed to dealing with the potential acrimony of beating him out of your way with argument.

    For a lot of us, placing a proposal in front of a client is a lot more complexed. Often there are lots of stakeholders to appease, you could be selling yourself, your company, your product and/or service. And last but most importantly, a relationship.

    Panhandler techniques are for hit-and-run situations.

  43. At the risk of sounding contrarian here, I don’t think you got conned by the panhandler’s technique. I think you were vulnerable because you were distracted. And your defenses were down. A typical scamster’s ploy.
    In true essence I think you paid him ten bucks to get him out of your face. Probably cheap at the price considering precious time-out with you family ending well, as opposed to dealing with the potential acrimony of beating him out of your way with argument.

    For a lot of us, placing a proposal in front of a client is a lot more complexed. Often there are lots of stakeholders to appease, you could be selling yourself, your company, your product and/or service. And last but most importantly, a relationship.

    Panhandler techniques are for hit-and-run situations.

  44. At the risk of sounding contrarian here, I don’t think you got conned by the panhandler’s technique. I think you were vulnerable because you were distracted. And your defenses were down. A typical scamster’s ploy.
    In true essence I think you paid him ten bucks to get him out of your face. Probably cheap at the price considering precious time-out with you family ending well, as opposed to dealing with the potential acrimony of beating him out of your way with argument.

    For a lot of us, placing a proposal in front of a client is a lot more complexed. Often there are lots of stakeholders to appease, you could be selling yourself, your company, your product and/or service. And last but most importantly, a relationship.

    Panhandler techniques are for hit-and-run situations.

  45. At the risk of sounding contrarian here, I don’t think you got conned by the panhandler’s technique. I think you were vulnerable because you were distracted. And your defenses were down. A typical scamster’s ploy.
    In true essence I think you paid him ten bucks to get him out of your face. Probably cheap at the price considering precious time-out with you family ending well, as opposed to dealing with the potential acrimony of beating him out of your way with argument.

    For a lot of us, placing a proposal in front of a client is a lot more complexed. Often there are lots of stakeholders to appease, you could be selling yourself, your company, your product and/or service. And last but most importantly, a relationship.

    Panhandler techniques are for hit-and-run situations.

  46. At the risk of sounding contrarian here, I don’t think you got conned by the panhandler’s technique. I think you were vulnerable because you were distracted. And your defenses were down. A typical scamster’s ploy.
    In true essence I think you paid him ten bucks to get him out of your face. Probably cheap at the price considering precious time-out with you family ending well, as opposed to dealing with the potential acrimony of beating him out of your way with argument.

    For a lot of us, placing a proposal in front of a client is a lot more complexed. Often there are lots of stakeholders to appease, you could be selling yourself, your company, your product and/or service. And last but most importantly, a relationship.

    Panhandler techniques are for hit-and-run situations.

  47. At the risk of sounding contrarian here, I don’t think you got conned by the panhandler’s technique. I think you were vulnerable because you were distracted. And your defenses were down. A typical scamster’s ploy.
    In true essence I think you paid him ten bucks to get him out of your face. Probably cheap at the price considering precious time-out with you family ending well, as opposed to dealing with the potential acrimony of beating him out of your way with argument.

    For a lot of us, placing a proposal in front of a client is a lot more complexed. Often there are lots of stakeholders to appease, you could be selling yourself, your company, your product and/or service. And last but most importantly, a relationship.

    Panhandler techniques are for hit-and-run situations.

  48. At the risk of sounding contrarian here, I don’t think you got conned by the panhandler’s technique. I think you were vulnerable because you were distracted. And your defenses were down. A typical scamster’s ploy.
    In true essence I think you paid him ten bucks to get him out of your face. Probably cheap at the price considering precious time-out with you family ending well, as opposed to dealing with the potential acrimony of beating him out of your way with argument.

    For a lot of us, placing a proposal in front of a client is a lot more complexed. Often there are lots of stakeholders to appease, you could be selling yourself, your company, your product and/or service. And last but most importantly, a relationship.

    Panhandler techniques are for hit-and-run situations.

  49. These are 6 great selling tips from a pretty unfortunate situation, Dan. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is the name we give to our mistakes”, so thanks for sharing knowledge from your “experience”!

  50. These are 6 great selling tips from a pretty unfortunate situation, Dan. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is the name we give to our mistakes”, so thanks for sharing knowledge from your “experience”!

  51. These are 6 great selling tips from a pretty unfortunate situation, Dan. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is the name we give to our mistakes”, so thanks for sharing knowledge from your “experience”!

  52. These are 6 great selling tips from a pretty unfortunate situation, Dan. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is the name we give to our mistakes”, so thanks for sharing knowledge from your “experience”!

  53. These are 6 great selling tips from a pretty unfortunate situation, Dan. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is the name we give to our mistakes”, so thanks for sharing knowledge from your “experience”!

  54. These are 6 great selling tips from a pretty unfortunate situation, Dan. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is the name we give to our mistakes”, so thanks for sharing knowledge from your “experience”!

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