Thursday, February 28, 2008

This Guy's Good

The other day I pulled into a Mobil in Valencia to fill up the tank so I could make my trek back to Egypt.

As I began to fill the tank (and empty the bank account), a Honda Element zoomed in on the opposite side of the pump. I barely noticed as I was deep in thought, brought on undoubtedly by the gas fumes.

My visions of evil oil executives disappeared in a puff of smoke when a guy's head peaked around at the pump.

Guy: Is the gas any cheaper over on this side?

Me, coming out of my daze: Huh?

Guy: I was just wondering if gas was any cheaper over on your's an arm and a leg over here.

Me: Nope, it's the same on my side.
At this point, I couldn't tell if the guy was hitting on me or just being super friendly. It was a little awkward, much like urinal talk, but it was a good line so I went along.
Guy: Do you have a long commute home?

Me: Yep, all the way out to the Antelope Valley.

Guy: Wow, and you work here in the industrial center?
I preceded to tell him what I did for a living then there was a long, pressing silence. I figured it would be rude of me not to show interest in what he I bit.
Me: How about you?

Guy: Have you heard of Yeah, I set up successful online franchises so folks like you can make extra money, or even work full time from home.
In the time it took me to fill up my tank, we had gone from complete strangers to being one "Wow, that sounds interesting" away from being hooked into his work-from-home spiel.

I was the helpless Millennium Falcon locked in the Death Star's tracking beam of this guy's pyramid scheme sales pitch.

Thankfully, the clack of the gas nozzle shutting off broke the sales pitch trance I was in and I politely wished him a good day and said it was time to hit the road.

Reflecting back, his pitch was beautiful in so many ways. First, I was compromised because I was caught off guard. Second, I fit his mold perfectly - long distance commuter filling up for the ride home wondering how much this tank was going to cost (in dollars and in hours worked that day). Finally, like a good magician, he led me down the path he wanted me to take. Bringing up high gas prices and the commute, but making me question him about his work instead of forcing it on me.

I bet he didn't even fill up, he probably drives from station to station preying on commuters like me. If I was that close to biting (and I usually have a pretty good sales pitch radar), his hit rate must be pretty good.

Anyone else have any good sales pitch stories to share?