Warning: Don’t Read This Blogpost

Well, well. You saw the title, right?  And yet here you are, reading this blogpost.

Worse yet – you’re probably here reading this blogpost because you saw the title warning you not to. What does that say about you?

We Are All Teenagers

You’re hardly alone. People don’t really ever grow out of our rebellious teenage phase.  You know, the phase where whatever someone tells you to do just drives you in the other direction?

Partly that’s about finding our wings. But mostly, I suspect, it’s about wanting respect from the Others – in teen-hood that’s parents; in adulthood, it’s Everyone Else.

Whatever the reason, I suggest to you: we are all teenagers.  We all do not like being told what to do. In fact, we are sorely tempted to do the opposite of what we are told to do.

Teenage Buying

The implications for sales are profound. Permanent teen-hood means a continual state of resisting being told what to do. It would seem obvious that the worst way to sell someone, the worst way to get your advice taken, the worst way to persuade another to your worldview, is to tell them what they should do/think/believe/buy.

And yet – salespeople everywhere insist on trying to sell us.

The best way to persuade someone turns out to be paradoxical – you mainly listen to them.

That’s right – to best persuade, first stop trying to persuade.  In fact, stop talking. Listen. The natural reaction of our species is then to return tit for tat, listen for listening.

As proof, here are some time-tested samples of folk-wisdom that express the same point more eloquently than I can.

You might even try it on a teenager. It worked for me, and on me.

4 replies
  1. sstyer@trustedadvisor.com
    sstyer@trustedadvisor.com says:


    And I just heard a good piece of advice along the same lines from Heath Slawner: You can’t make someone like you, you can only like them.

  2. Colin
    Colin says:

    I love this one. Such a funny simple point that is so true; there’s no way to get someone to do something like telling them not to do it.

  3. Robert Terson
    Robert Terson says:

    Sorry, Charlie (boy, that beginning sounds like a tuna commercial), but I didn’t read the article because of the title. I loved it, though–great piece of writing! I’m an easy sell for great value, Charlie. Show me great value and you’ll take me from zero to sixty pretty quick. Show me great value and more than likely I’ll say, “SOLD!”


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Don’t Read This Blogpost – Charles H. Green Here’s an interesting post on “selling and persuading” from Charles H. Green over at Trusted […]

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