You are trying to persuade someone to do something. He is resistant. You suspect it is because he has misgivings he prefers not to talk about. You don’t want to upset or offend him, but you do want to get his okay. What do you do?
According to LL, a young colleague of mine who’s recently become a real-estate broker, you should hit the prospect with “is its?”
“You want to sell the house, don’t you?”
“And you plan to list it with a broker, right?”
“Well, I suppose so.”
“You appear to be hesitant. Is it because I’m a woman?”
“Oh, no. Of course not.”
“Is it because I’m too young?”
And so on, until there are no more “is its?”
“It really works,” LL says.
LL didn’t say so, but I’d guess you would not want to offer an “is it?” that really could be “it.” For example, you wouldn’t want to say, “Is it because I’ve never sold a house this big before and I couldn’t possibly know anybody rich enough to buy it?” Ask a question like that, and you might be stumped by a “Yes, that’s exactly it.”
That qualification stated, the “is it?” technique makes a good deal of sense when you are dealing with irrational objections.[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]