What I learned about sales from a con man.

Conning is selling, but selling is not conning.

Months ago I happened to meet a conman and I was intrigued by the jobs he pulled. We had a short conversation which went on like an interview, and as it progressed I was deciphering some of the tricks of the trade.

In a conning situation the conman (they proudly call themselves confidence man) has, to sell himself. He does not have a product or service to offer back at you because those things only exist in the conman’s imagination.

A perfect con is capable of convincing most of the people. He will know who his ideal prospect is, and who will buy into his pitch in less than seven minutes.

A perfect conning technique involves various stages.

The identity

The perfect cone creates an identity convincing to a plot where they encounter their target. They practice and perfect their poise, mannerisms, and panache convincingly well.  Very often they take the identities of their previous target. A conman is dressed for his part and his identity is well established with intricate details.

In sales, building conviction around what you sell is important. Once you have the conviction then transferring that emotion to a prospect is easy. A sales man must be able to trigger a positive state on his prospect. The identity you must take in sales is that of a consultant who is willing to serve his client’s interest above all else.

The plot

The perfect con finds suitable territories like public places like airport, train/ bust station, bars to set the stage and strike a conversation with a complete stranger. The method is to start casual, establish credibility, break the ice by building a conversation on familiarity, build trust and make any conversation interesting with their target.  As they proceed they will establish their identity by divulging few basic information about them. They are the smooth operators. They work like a spider who makes the web to catch its prey.

In sales building rapport with your prospect is essential. You can’t too forward asking your client to give away their money. Setting the right mood and building familiarity helps you get closer to your clients.  When you show interest in others, they tend to like you. People choose to do business with people they like. Gaining the trust of your client is essential. Prospects often open up to their trusted consultants with their problem.

Finding the target

Perfect con observes and select their target. They usually look out for individuals who are alone. Once they identify their target, they make a casual approach. They eliminate all the distractions and make the conversation engaged. They introduce a topic to strike a chord with their target immediately.

In selling, prospecting is essential. Once you know your customer’s hot buttons, you will know their real concerns and the urgency to do business with you. Understanding your prospects hurts is very crucial for sales. Once you know the primary problems your customers face, you can prescribe the right solutions for them.

The story

The perfect con has a convincing story of how they became helpless with their options of getting away from situations using extreme measures. (In one instance the con was showing off his fake thick gold chain and the lack of time to pawn them to retrieve cash urgently) Con’s story sets the stage where the con enacts his perfect play that can never go wrong and never develop a trace of doubt in their target. The con set the stage eliminating any kind of doubts their target might have. In case of doubt the con will pre-frame their logical defense against their targets suspicion. A story well said and convincingly narrated (rather enacted) gain the attention and trust of their target.

In selling the sales pitch is the story. The pitch must have compelling points, why the prospects must choose only your product or service above all other options available. A great pitch is delivered with enthusiasm and conviction.

The pitch

Con’s pitch will be assertive. They have a domineering carefree approach. They show their frustration over someone  who would have put them in a helpless situation. They never act like they need your sympathy or help. Instead they command subtly reminding you of an individual’s moral obligation to others who are in need. They never let their target know that they are targeted. Perfect con won’t ask for the help. They prepare their target to willingly offer the help they need. The con present options for their target to fall in. The irony is that,  the solutions will come from the target as they voluntarily respond to the con’s pressing need. The con may resist the generous offer of the target, but he will grab it like a smooth operator.

Great sales people assert what they strongly believe in. In sales the seller transfers his faith (in what you sell) to the prospect. Do not make empty claims. Share your faith in’ great service and quality’ or whatever you stand for. Remember selling is a process to help a prospect buy.

Deluding the suspicion

Perfect conman will not give you the idea that you are coned even after they commit the act. They will leave you with a hope guessing that they are going to fulfill their word of commitment with you.

The vanishing act

Perfect con has a vanishing act. They disappear without a trace.

The back up plan

If they are caught they will behave natural and give you a story that will make you feel bad that you thought of him/her  as a con.



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