Lies designers (or entrepreneurs) tell just begs to be it’s own series. Also see a previous entry, Top ten lies of designers. I got a really funny one yesterday.
The caller was articulate, well mannered, most likely educated, certainly intelligent; their manner modulated and considerate, upper middle class were I forced to say -which is what makes this all the more striking.
Rapidly, breathlessly, coming out in one mouthful, she wanted to know if I could help her launch at the next MAGIC show. She needed an overseas ‘manufacturer’ who could supply her with goods as soon as the show closed so she could fill all those orders she surely will have taken. She said she had a backer to pay for it all.
On the face of it, she seemed like a good prospect but what do you think I said? Yep, I loused it up. I always do. I said she couldn’t launch at the next MAGIC (you know why). The overseas manufacturer to fill immediate orders was too big a topic to even contemplate so I told her the best thing was to buy my book. I paused. Dead air. After a moment, she said “are you still there”? Responding in the affirmative, she asked “what else?”. I said, “buy the book, that’s the first thing”. She said, “okay, I wrote that down, what else?” I said, “anything I tell you comes from there”. She said she didn’t have time to read it and wanted someone to explain it to her. She said she preferred to fly out somewhere and talk with someone one on one. No, I’m not kidding. This isn’t the first time either.
Pressed -this is when she committed the cardinal sin- she said she couldn’t buy it because she had to confer with her partner. Ouch.
Never say this, the only person who believes it is you. If you really must confer with your partner over something like a book purchase, you won’t be going anywhere because you’ll have to confer over every minor detail. How can you have your partner’s carte-blanche to fly out someplace and pay consulting fees but not have it to buy a book? It’s best to be honest and say you don’t think it’s of value. Otherwise, no one will believe another word that comes out of your mouth. Ethical parties will only continue the discussion to amuse themselves, otherwise, they’ll ring off. Perhaps rudely, and then you can kvetch to your friends about how mean everyone is in the apparel industry. The unethical will become more charming, imbuing trust. You’ve made a new friend, assuming of course, your credit card number is forthcoming. If your partner approves such profligate extravagance, I wouldn’t trust them either.
Resigned and willing to play her game -if only to amuse myself- (she had a nice voice) I said sure, you can fly out somewhere and sit down with somebody and pay them $100-$250 an hour to explain it all. Toying with her, I asked her how that would save any time. It’d take longer to fly out someplace and spend a day with somebody than it’d take to read the book, to say nothing of the expense (we don’t trust clients who blow money). She insisted she had too many books to read as it is. Resigned and having nothing to lose at this point (other than entertainment value), I said she could come and see me. Heck, for an all day consult, I could give her a book for free. Or two books, one for her partner.
She said she’d email but I haven’t heard back from her. Somehow, I don’t think I will. I’m sure she’s already hired another consultant. Dang. Properly milked, I could have bought a new car. Mine’s nearly thirteen years old with a windshield so cracked, it’s a ticketable offense in 35 states. I’ll never get a new one at this rate.
- Never lie. We’ll know you’ve lied before you do.
- You can usually trust someone who’s telling you something you don’t want to hear, particularly if said party has more to lose by selling you a less expensive product.