High Court Judge Michael Burton agreed to allow Al Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, to be shown to students only if the teachers also present another side of the issue. In making his ruling, he said that he believes Gore’s points are broadly accurate, but thought they were made in “the context of alarmism and exaggeration.” Exactly!
Gore could have presented the material in a more boring and bland way (like he did when he first started talking about the issue of global warming) but information presented that way is ignored and overlooked. By passionately showing the pain, excuse me, Judge Burton, the possible pain, he gets us to sit up and listen. He overcomes initial resistance (Global warming? Oh honey, can’t we go see a drama or something?), moves us away from our original neutral position (Is it such a big deal? I’ll be dead anyway), persuades us we have a problem, and sells us on his solution (Let’s stop at Home Depot on the way home and pick up those energy saving light bulbs).
The best sales presentations create a sense of alarmism. Don’t like that word? How about drama or show biz? The most successful sales presenters understand that most prospects don’t want to hear what they have to say. “Yeah, thanks but we’re happy with our current supplier,” and “can you do better on price?”, and “thanks, we’ll think about it” are common responses to sales presentations that create no reason for the customer to pay attention.
One software salesperson walks in to the prospect’s office with a large glass bowl full of cooked spaghetti. Before walking in to the office, he places one strand of spaghetti on the top of the bowl. He says, “Based on the research you’ve allowed me to conduct, this (and he points at the squiggly bowl of spaghetti) is how your networking system looks today. When you work with us (as he lifts the perfect strand from the bowl), this is how it will look.” Alarmism? Exaggeration? Yes! Yes!
To sell the state of Hawaii to meeting professionals who were also considering venues in Mexico and Brazil, the creative sales people placed 3 glasses of water in front of their prospects. To the first glass they added water and a bit of cola, the second glass had even more cola, and the third was clean and pure. As they were closing their presentation, hopeful they would win the series of meetings at stake, a sales manager says, “Oh and just one more thing.” She points to the first glass, “Water in Mexico: $2.00 a bottle.” She points to the next glass, “Water in Brazil, $4.00 a bottle”. After a pause, to let what she is saying sink in, she takes a sip from the last glass and says, “Water in Hawaii. Priceless!”
Alarmism and exaggeration are keys to beating sales quotas and the competition. Oh, and Judge Burton, replace your energy guzzling light bulbs with an environmentally friendly option, unplug your phone charger when it isn’t charging your phone, and turn your thermostat off. Seems like there’s enough hot air being generated.