This story on how to sell suits is absolutely fantastic.
Of course, it is basically a hustle. And some would even call it a lie.
The crux of it is to make the customer think they are getting a great deal – even when they might not be.
And honestly, this same tactic is used today when many retailers say they are having a “sale.”
- Buy wholesale mattresses for $250.
- Price them for $500.
- Tell the world that these mattresses are normally $1000.
- Let customers marvel at that huge discount!
Understand: Showing contrasts is persuasive.
And how to sell suits is the same a how to sell anything – make the customer think they are getting the better end of the deal.
Culturist and author Leo Rosten gives the example of the Drubeck brothers, Sid and Harry, who owned a men’s tailor shop in Rosten’s neighborhood while he was growing up in the 1930s. Whenever the salesman, Sid, had a new customer trying on suits in front of the shop’s three-sided mirror, he would admit to a hearing problem, and, as they talked, he would repeatedly request that the man speak more loudly to him. Once the customer had found a suit he liked and had asked for the price, Sid would call to his brother, the head tailor, at the back of the room, “Harry, how much for this suit?” Looking up from his work—and greatly exaggerating the suit’s true price—Harry would call back, “For that beautiful all-wool suit, forty-two dollars.” Pretending not to have heard and cupping his hand to his ear, Sid would ask again. Once more Harry would reply, “Forty-two dollars.” At this point, Sid would turn to the customer and report, “He says twenty-two dollars.” Many a man would hurry to buy the suit and scramble out of the shop with his “expensive = good” bargain before Poor Sid discovered the “mistake.”
-Robert Cialdini, Influence