The Secret of Socrates


How to get irrational customers to think rationally


The diplomatic communicator builds a psychological path toward an affirmative response by strategically getting their “opponent” to say “yes” a number of times.

Get the customer to say yes and keep them, if possible, from saying “no.”

When a person says “no,” all of their pride demands that they remain consistent with themselves. And it is very difficult, once they’ve said ‘no’, for them to change their mind and become “agreeable” with you, because their sense of pride is now involved. And we invest so much in our pride.

Let me give you an example of how this works:

Years ago when I was heading up consumer affairs for a car rental company, I had an escalated call from a very upset customer. The customer was demanding that the company pay him three thousand dollars and some change because our mishap caused him to be three hours late to a meeting. He explained that he was a consultant and his billable rate was $1,000 per hour.

The problem was our fault; there was no way around that. But the demand was unreasonable, and I knew we weren’t going to be able to give in. So, I used the Yes, Yes strategy on him…and here’s how it worked.

“Mr. Jones, you are an astute businessman, are you not?”

 I knew he’d say yes, as he boasted proudly that his clients paid him $1,000 per hour, for his services.

Next, I said…”And, as an astute businessman, I’m sure you only make decisions that make good business sense.”  “Absolutely!”, he said.”

I knew I had him, because I had built an affirmative path. Each of the questions I asked him yielded a positive ‘yes’ response.

So, finally, I said. “I am quite sure that if you were in my shoes, talking to a customer in this situation, that you would not simply give a customer three thousand dollars, because they experienced an unfortunate delay.”

After about three or four seconds, he said, “Ms. Golden, you’re right. If I were you, there’s no way I’d give a customer three thousand dollars for waiting three hours.”

It was that easy…and it will be that easy for you!

Build an affirmative path by asking your customer two simple and obvious questions that you know will result in a YES response. It’s very much psychological…your customer won’t feel comfortable disagreeing with himself…and will feel compelled to say yes so that he agrees with himself!