《人性的弱点》第5篇 创造奇迹的信件

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I'll Bet I know what you are thinking now. You are probably saying toyourself something like this: " 'Letters that produced miraculousresults!' Absurd! Smacks of patent-medicine advertising!"It you are thinking that, I don't blame you. I would probably havethought that myself if I had picked up a book like this fifteen yearsago. Sceptical? Well, I like sceptical people. I spent the first twentyyears of my life in Missouri—and I like people who have to be shown.Almost all the progress ever made in human thought has been madeby the Doubting Thomases, the questioners, the challengers, theshow-me crowd.
Let's be honest. Is the title, "Letters That Produced MiraculousResults," accurate? No, to be frank with you, it isn't. The truth is, it isa deliberate understatement of fact. Some of the letters reproducedin this chapter harvested results that were rated twice as good asmiracles. Rated by whom? By Ken R. Dyke, one of the best-knownsales promotion men in America, formerly sales promotion managerfor Johns-Manville, and now advertising manager for Colgate-Palmolive Peet Company and Chairman of the Board of theAssociation of National Advertisers.
Mr Dykes says that letters he used to send out, asking forinformation from dealers, seldom brought more than a return of 5 to8 per cent. He said he would have regarded a 15 per cent responseas most extraordinary, and told me that, if his replies had eversoared to 20 per cent, he would have regarded it as nothing short ofa miracle.
But one of Mr Dyke's letters, printed in this chapter, brought 42 1/2per cent; in other words, that letter was twice as good as a miracle.You can't laugh that off. And this letter wasn't a sport, a fluke, anaccident. Similar results were obtained from scores of other letters.How did he do it? Here is the explanation in Ken Dyke's own words:"This astonishing increase in the effectiveness of letters occurredimmediately after I attended Mr Carnegie's course in 'EffectiveSpeaking and Human Relations.' I saw that the approach I hadformerly used was all wrong. I tried to apply the principles taught inthis book—and they resulted in an increase of from 500 to 800 percent in the effectiveness of my letters asking for information."Here is the letter. It pleases the other man by asking him to do thewriter a small favour—a favour that makes him feel important. Myown comments on the letter appear in parentheses. Mr John Blank,Blankville, Indiana.
Dear Mr Blank:
I wonder if you would mind helping me out of a little difficulty?
(Let's get the picture clear. Imagine a lumber dealer in Indianareceiving a letter from an executive of the Johns-Manville Company;and in the first line of the letter, this high-priced executive in NewYork asks the other fellow to help him out of a difficulty. I canimagine the dealer in Indiana saying to himself something like this:"Well, if this chap in New York is in trouble, he has certainly come tothe right person. I always try to be generous and help people. Let'ssee what's wrong with him!")
Last year, I succeeded in convincing our company that what ourdealers needed most to help increase their re-roofing sales was ayear 'round direct-mail campaign paid for entirely by Johns-Manville.(The dealer out in Indiana probably says, "Naturally, they ought topay for it. They're hogging most of the profit as it is. They're makingmillions while I'm having hard scratchin' to pay the rent. ... Nowwhat is this fellow in trouble about?")
Recently I mailed a questionnaire to the 1,600 dealers who had usedthe plan and certainly was very much pleased with the hundreds ofreplies which showed that they appreciated this form of co-operationand found it most helpful.
On the strength of this, we have just released our new direct-mailplan which I know you'll like still better.
But this morning our president discussed with me my report of lastyear's plan and, as presidents will, asked me how much business Icould trace to it. Naturally, I must come to you to help me answerhim.
(That's a good phrase: "I must come to you to help me answer him."The big shot in New York is telling the truth, and he is giving theJohns-Manville dealer in Indiana honest, sincere recognition. Notethat Ken Dyke doesn't waste any time talking about how importanthis company is. Instead, he immediately shows the other fellow howmuch he has to lean on him. Ken Dyke admits that he can't evenmake a report to the president of Johns-Manville without the dealer'shelp. Naturally, the dealer out in Indiana, being human, likes thatkind of talk.)
What I'd like you to do is (1) to tell me, on the enclosed postcard,how many roofing and re-roofing jobs you feel last year's direct-mailplan helped you secure, and (2) give me, as nearly as you can, theirtotal estimated value in dollars and cents (based on the total cost ofthe jobs applied).
If you'll do this, I'll surely appreciate it and thank you for yourkindness in giving me this information.
Sincerely, KEN R. DYKE, Sales Promotion Manager(Note how, in the last paragraph, he whispers "I" and shouts "You."Note how generous he is in his praise: "Surely appreciate," "thankyou," "your kindness.")
Simple letter, isn't it? But it produced "miracles" by asking the otherperson to do a small favour—the performing of which gave him afeeling of importance.
That psychology will work, regardless of whether you are sellingasbestos roofs or touring Europe in a Ford.
To illustrate. Homer Croy and I once lost our way while motoringthrough the interior of France. Halting our old Model T, we asked agroup of peasants how we could get to the next big town.
The effect of the question was electrical. These peasants, wearingwooden shoes, regarded all Americans as rich. And automobiles wererare in those regions, extremely rare. Americans touring throughFrance in a car! Surely we must be millionaires. Maybe cousins ofHenry Ford. But they knew something we didn't know. We had moremoney than they had; but we had to come to them hat in hand tofind out how to get to the next town. And that gave them a feelingof importance. They all started talking at once. One chap, thrilled atthis rare opportunity, commanded the others to keep quiet. Hewanted to enjoy all alone the thrill of directing us.
Try this yourself. The next time you are in a strange city, stopsomeone who is below you in the economic and social scale and say:"I wonder if you would mind helping me out of a little difficulty.Won't you please tell me how to get to such and such a place?"Benjamin Franklin used this technique to turn a caustic enemy into alifelong friend. Franklin, a young man at the time, had all his savingsinvested in a small printing business. He managed to get himselfelected clerk of the General Assembly in Philadelphia. That positiongave him the job of doing the official printing. There was good profitin this job, and Ben was eager to keep it. But a menace loomedahead. One of the richest and ablest men in the Assembly dislikedFranklin bitterly. He not only disliked Franklin, but he denounced himin a public talk.
That was dangerous, very dangerous. So Franklin resolved to makethe man like him. But how? That was a problem. By doing a favourfor his enemy? No, that would have aroused his suspicions, maybehis contempt. Franklin was too wise, too adroit to be caught in sucha trap. So he did the very opposite. He asked his enemy to do him afavour.
Franklin didn't ask for a loan of ten dollars. No! No! Franklin asked afavour that pleased the other man—a favour that touched his vanity,a favour that gave him recognition, a favour that subtly expressedFranklin's admiration for his knowledge and achievements. Here isthe balance of the story in Franklin's own words:
Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce andcurious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire ofperusing that book and requesting that he would do me the favour oflending it to me for a few days.
He sent it immediately, and I returned it in about a week withanother note expressing strongly my sense of the favour.When next we met in the House, he spoke to me (which he hadnever done before) and with great civility and he ever afterwardmanifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that webecame great friends and our friendship continued to his death.Ben Franklin has been dead now for a hundred and fifty years, butthe psychology that he used, the psychology of asking the other manto do you a favour, goes marching right on.
For example, it was used with remarkable success by one of mystudents, Albert B. Amsel. For years, Mr Amsel, a salesman ofplumbing and heating materials, had been trying to get the trade ofa certain plumber in Brooklyn. This plumber's business wasexceptionally large and his credit unusually good. But Amsel waslicked from the beginning. The plumber was one of thosedisconcerting individuals who pride themselves on being rough,tough, and nasty. Sitting behind his desk with a big cigar tilted in thecorner of his mouth, he snarled at Amsel every time he opened thedoor, "Don't need a thing today! Don't waste my time and yours!Keep moving!"
Then one day Mr Amsel tried a new technique, a technique that splitthe account wide open, made a friend, and brought many fineorders. Amsel's firm was negotiating for the purchase of a newbranch store in Queens Village on Long Island. It was aneighbourhood the plumber knew well, and one where he did a greatdeal of business. So this time, when Mr Amsel called, he said: "MrC——, I'm not here to sell you anything today. I've got to ask you todo me a favour, if you will. Can you spare me just a minute of yourtime?"
"H'm—well," said the plumber, shifting his cigar. "What's on yourmind? Shoot."
"My firm is thinking of. opening up a branch store over in QueensVillage," Mr Amsel said. "Now, you know that locality as well asanyone living. So I've come to you to ask what you think about it. Isit a wise move—or not?"
Here was a new situation! For years this plumber had been gettinghis feeling of importance out of snarling at salesmen and orderingthem to keep moving. But here was a salesman begging him foradvice; yes, a salesman from a big concern wanting his opinion as towhat they should do.
"Sit down," he said, pulling forward a chair. And for the next hour,he expatiated on the peculiar advantages and virtues of theplumbing market in Queens Village. He not only approved thelocation of the store, but he focused his intellect on outlining acomplete course of action for the purchase of the property, thestocking of supplies, and the opening of trade. He got a feeling ofimportance by telling a wholesale plumbing concern how to run itsbusiness. From there, he expanded into personal grounds. Hebecame friendly, and told Mr Amsel of his intimate domesticdifficulties and household wars.
"By the time I left that evening," Mr Amsel says, "I not only had inmy pocket a large initial order for equipment, but I had laid thefoundations of a solid business friendship. I am playing golf now withthis chap who formerly barked and snarled at me. This change in hisattitude was brought about by my asking him to do me a little favourthat made him feel important."
Let's examine another of Ken Dyke's letters, and again note howskilfully he applies this "do-me-a-favour" psychology.
A few years ago, Mr Dyke was distressed at his inability to getbusiness men, contractors, and architects to answer his lettersasking for information.
In those days, he seldom got more than 1 per cent return from hisletters to architects and engineers. He would have regarded 2 percent as very good, and 3 per cent as excellent. And 10 per cent?Why, 10 per cent would have been hailed as a miracle. But the letterthat follows pulled almost 50 per cent. ... Five times as good as amiracle. And what replies! Letters of two and three pages! Lettersglowing with friendly advice and co-operation.
Here is the letter. You will observe that in the psychology used—even in the phraseology in some places—the letter is almost identicalwith that quoted on pages 188-89. As you peruse this letter, readbetween the lines, try to analyze the feeling of the man who got it.Find out why it produced results five times as good as a miracle.
Mr John Doe,
617 Doe Street,
Doeville, N.J.
Dear Mr Doe:
I wonder if you'll help me out of a little difficulty?About a year ago I persuaded our company that one of the thingsarchitects most needed was a catalogue which would give them thewhole story of all J-M building materials and their part in repairingand remodelling homes.
The attached catalogue resulted—the first of its kind. But now ourstock is getting low, and when I mentioned it to our president hesaid (as presidents will) that he would have no objection to anotheredition provided / furnished satisfactory evidence that the cataloguehad done the job for which it was designed.
Naturally, I must come to you for help, and 7 am therefore takingthe liberty of asking you and forty-nine other architects in variousparts of the country to be the jury.
To make it quite easy for you, I have written a few simple questionson the back of this letter. And I'll certainly regard it as a personalfavour if you'll check the answers, add any comments that you maywish to make, and then slip this letter into the enclosed stampedenvelope.
Needless to say, this won't obligate you in any way, and I now leaveit to you to say whether the catalogue shall be discontinued orreprinted with improvements based on your experience and advice.In any event, rest assured that I shall appreciate your co-operationvery much. Thank you!
Sincerely yours, KEN R. DYKE, Sales Promotion Manager.
Another word of warning. I know from experience that some men,reading this letter, will try to use the same psychology mechanically.They will try to boost the other man's ego, not through genuine, realappreciation, but through flattery and insincerity. And their techniquewon't work.
Remember, we all crave appreciation and recognition, and will doalmost anything to get it. But nobody wants insincerity. Nobodywants flattery.
Let me repeat: the principles taught in this book will work only whenthey come from the heart. I am not advocating a bag of tricks. I amtalking about a new way of life.
2011-02-15 10:25 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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