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The man who sold the Eiffel Tower by James Francis Johnson

Stashed in: Networking, Books!, Manifestos, Selling!

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A friend of a friend was talking about his contract to tear down the Bay Bridge.  All the time I kept thinking about one of my favorite childhood books cited above.  He was able to sell the Eiffel Tower not once, but twice.

Here's his 10 commandments for being a con man.

Ten Commandments A set of instructions known as the "Ten Commandments for Con Men"[6] has been attributed to Lustig:

  • Be a patient listener (it is this, not fast talking, that gets a con man his coups).
  • Never look bored.
  • Wait for the other person to reveal any political opinions, then agree with them.
  • Let the other person reveal religious views, then have the same ones.
  • Hint at sex talk, but don't follow it up unless the other person shows a strong interest.
  • Never discuss illness, unless some special concern is shown.
  • Never pry into a person's personal circumstances (they'll tell you all eventually).
  • Never boast - just let your importance be quietly obvious.
  • Never be untidy.
  • Never get drunk.

I don't think those are bad rules for being a con man, but those are probably some pretty good rules for doing "old school" sales in general.   Thank goodness software is moving to a self-service model. 

Some of these rules are good for selling even when you're not a con man:

1. Be a patient listener.

2. Never look bored.

3. Never boast - just let your importance be quietly obvious.

You know, those rules are good for networking, too!

I agree. The most important one in any profession: Listen to what people tell you. 

Why is it so hard to listen???

(Other than, you know, that I have lots of wonderful things to say...)

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