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While touring Mumbai, I was guided by my driver to a shop that sells things my wife would like. (Not revealing details. Don’t want to spoil the surprise.) When I entered the store, the owner grabbed my hand, wished me a prosperous and healthy New Year. And kept my hand for a minute or so.

Let me get something straight: I’m a typical male buyer. Don’t bug me. Let me look. Let me leave. Don’t try to sell me anything. If I want something, I’ll let you know. So, this handshaking thing is not my style. But, hey, I’m in India. Things are different here, better roll with the punches. So I did.

A theatric spectacle came to life right in front of my eyes:

“Normal people buy A. I would never sell this to you. I would rather give it to you for free and go bankrupt.”


“Your wife deserves B. When you buy her B, she will give you a million kisses.”

Talking about hyping a product.

“How many are you going to buy? 10? 20? When you buy 25, it only costs you $50 per product.”

I think they call that anchoring in Neuroscience.

“What, only 1? Your wife will never forgive you that you didn’t buy more than 5.”

More anchoring and the guilt is piling up.

“Ok, for 1 it’s going to $75. If I ask for less, I should just give you the key to the store, a gallon of gasoline and a lighter.”

Now, that’s an interesting scenario.

“Or, how about I’ll give you this one for free and you can send money when your wife sees it?”

Yes, what about it?

“Tell you what, last offer: $70.

More like $20.

“Ok, I’m getting the gasoline. This is not the junk they sell you in department stores. This is the real deal. $65.”

Too much. I’m getting up. Not annoyed. Just enjoying the spectacle. Feeling like I’m in the middle of a Bollywood story. A lot of dramatic gestures and colorful language. I’m saying goodbye, trying to shake his hand. And reminding him of the pay-as-you-value-the-product offer. He must have forgotten it.

“Ok. I give up. What do you think this is worth?”

I have no clue. I like him. I like what he does. Ok, I up it: $25.

It gets interesting now. He calls his closer (or the guy who handles the money). They confer without me being able to understand one word. Both shake their heads. I will ruin them. They will have to close the store. Enough left to buy gasoline. Nothing more.

“50. Last word. We make no money but we like you.”

Ok, if you like me that much, you can lose more money. $35.

We shake hands. Done.

I left the store happy. I have no clue if I got a good deal. I looked the product up on Google but it’s such a bizarre category with hundreds of quality variations. It doesn’t matter. Both of us enjoyed the show. Sometimes that’s more important than the actual purchase.

As a sales person, your artistry is in finding out if people want to dance with you, dance by themselves or just walk across the dance floor, not even acknowledging the music.