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The 3500-Year-Old Spring Lesson

Using old Jewish wisdom to succeed in business. Read More

By / May 27, 2011
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Once again, I was trying to make a point. This time, it was with my girlfriend.  Ah, the occupational hazard of being a pushy New York Jew – I am always trying to evangelize my point of view or lobby for position. Of course, I used to do it the hard way. Overwhelm my opponents until they cower or gave up from exhaustion. Little did I realize, there was an easier method. A way I had been told since early childhood. A way our ancestors had taught for 3500 years.

See, I had always thought all buyers were the same, and I would try and sell them accordingly. Recently, I learned how to ROAR!, an acronym for persuading in a way that didn’t leave people feeling run over when we were done. It stands for:

Recognize the buyer with whom you are dealing

Observe from their perspective

Acknowledge who they are

Resolve their need

Of course!  Empathy! Acknowledging the other person’s position and approaching the battle from his/her perspective allows them to be more open to seeing the benefit of my approach. But how to recognize the type? This came to me as surely as Elijah had whispered it in my ear personally.

Recently, like most Jews, I sat down for seder and was exposed to a 3500-year-old method of persuasive communication.  Every year we tell… no, sell the story of Exodus to our children.  The Haggadah makes it clear about the buyers to whom we are imposing our ideas about Pharoah, Moses, burning bushes, parting waters and 40 years of breadless wandering.

Blessed is the One Who has given the Torah to His people Israel, Blessed is He. Concerning four sons does the Torah speak: a wise one, a wicked one, a simple one and one who does not know to ask.

This made perfect sense!  Wise Buyers crave information.  My own brainy son would constantly ask questions until I helped him find the answers himself.  I don’t know many wicked people (Madoff wasn’t in my circle), but my ex was certainly a perfect example of a Cynical Buyer. Especially when I am the one doing the selling. I was most effective with her when I was forthright and self-sacrificed.  It’s still the only way to gain her trust.

I find most people are Simple Buyers generally.  They want what they want and that’s all that they want, and don’t want me to waste their time or my breath if I can’t meet THEIR needs.  If I can’t, I simply move on.  Boy, does it save time and energy.  I call buyers unable to ask the Disinterested Buyers.  They are simply unaware of the ideas I have to share with them.  This is why I find fun and creative ways to get their attention.  Soon after, they switch to being Wise, Cynical or Simple Buyers, and I have to adjust accordingly.

This time, my girlfriend is the Simple Buyer.  I ROAR! “You know what? You had a long day.  How about I cook dinner and clean up after for a change?”  “Really?!” She winks, “Maybe you deserve a little bedroom action after all.”