The Rewards of Caring by Michael Oliver

Michael OliverThe most powerful and effective way to remove cost barriers  “Would you like your shoes cleaned sir?” I was asked out the blue while walking down a street in Seoul, Korea this week. My instant reaction was to say “No, thank you!” (Still some old conditioning in there, I thought later). Undeterred, he looked down, pointed to my shoes, and asked in a half questioning half stating kind of way, “You look good and feel better with clean shoes?” That broke the old conditioning. I looked down and saw what he meant. “OK,” I said, not even thinking about asking the price. He guided me into a warm little hut on the sidewalk, where I was invited to sit down and take off my shoes. He looked at each one carefully and then asked: “You like these shoes?” NULL

“I do,” I said. And I do! They are comfortable, look good, and are light, which means not having to take another pair when traveling. “Then you need repair them when you get home” he replied in broken English, while showing me the worn down heels. “Or, I can do for you for 20,000 Won including cleaning!?” he suggested using that once more inquisitive tone. “Go ahead” I said, feeling intrigued and being drawn toward him with his line of questioning. “You like walking on sidewalk without soles?” he asked again, with a slight grin. “Because soles are very thin,” and he offered a shoe to me with his hand inside it to accentuate the thinness. I had the feeling I was going to be a few more thousand Won lighter in a moment). “If you like, I do everything for 40,000 Won,” and looked at me without saying a word. It took a nano-second to work out that though the price was a little more than I would pay back home, I didn’t have to go through the inconvenience of taking them to the shoe repair shop. “Fine,” I replied, and spent the next 40 minutes watching a real craftsman concentrate on his work, oblivious of the noise coming from the commercial activity on the street outside the hut. Why did I pay more in an environment that was unfamiliar? Why didn’t I attempt to bargain, especially as we were on a street renowned for its notoriously low prices?

Because by asking of the right questions at the right time (remember, one of the principles in Natural Selling), he created value in himself and what he represented, he involved me without telling me what I should do, and he showed respect by allowing me to come to my own natural conclusion.

In doing so, he effectively removed any cost barrier. Asking questions will do the same thing for you to.


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