Save Your Breath

PERSUASION POWER POINT #97

Save Your Breath

   by Michael Cloud

   Mr. J said, "Your idea about privatizing Social Security
   intrigues me. But I'm really unsure about the numbers. How
   much could we realize from the sale of Federal assets? Could
   we really be sure that everybody saved for their golden
   years? And what if they didn't? What about these people?"

   Ms. R asked, "But if we did end the War on Drugs, could we
   really be sure that a lot of kids wouldn't go out and get
   hooked? If people are buying drugs while they're illegal,
   wouldn't more people buy them when they're legal? Can you
   show me that it would work out as well as you think it
   would?"

   Mr. D said, "Your idea about making the Federal Government so
   small it doesn't need an income tax is really interesting.
   But how would we handle welfare? What about people that
   bought assault weapons or machine guns? And if the FDA didn't
   handle impartial testing of pharmaceutical drugs, wouldn't we
   get a lot of shoddy and substandard drugs and wouldn't people
   die? And if what if the Department of Agriculture didn't
   inspect beef or milk?"

   ...You've probably heard questions like these many times. I
   have.

   Probably you spent a lot of time explaining how and why the
   marketplace would meet these needs and provide better service
   at lower cost.

   You probably explained how the voluntary way is generous and
   effective.

   Sometimes you had great discussions. Sometimes you realized
   you needed to study up on the subject a little more.

   But many times you found yourself embroiled in endless
   arguments and debates.

   "After all, didn't the Industrial Revolution give us
   sweatshops, robber barons and child labor?"

   "And before Medicare and Medicaid weren't there millions of
   Americans who went without medical care?"

   "And what about those greedy corporations polluting
   everything in sight?"

   "And lumber industries clear-cutting everything beautiful and
   leaving Bambi with no place to live?"

   And at the end of a two-hour, knock-down, drag-out debate,
   with every anti-free-market cliche, every anti-capitalism
   myth taught in our government-run public schools and
   colleges... you probably needed a cold glass of milk, a
   cookie and a nap.

   That's the way I used to feel at the end of those kinds of
   debates.

   That's when I learned the "Save Your Breath" Technique. When
   someone raises objections, when they want to know what the
   numbers are, or all the details about the plan, or more
   history than you ever learned in school... you need to Save
   Your Breath.

   Whenever they want to see your plan, when they ask for
   complete details, when they want to go through the complete
   American History of Business, when they want to know what
   your numbers look like... Save Your Breath.

   How?

   Ask them:

     * "If the numbers are right, do you want it?"
     * "If the plan is workable, do you like the concept?"
     * "Suppose history bears me out. What will you do?
     * "If the facts show us, if the numbers show us that this
       approach is dramatically better than what we have today,
       will you support it?"
     * "Suppose I'm right. Do you like the approach?"

   Before you go into proving your case, before you go into
   selling the product, make sure they want it.

   Before you sell the details, before you sell the 'How,' ask
   if they like the approach.

   Ask if they like the concept. Ask if they like the premise.
   If they answer, "NO," the discussion's over. It doesn't
   matter. It will have zero impact on their beliefs or
   behavior. There's no reason to bother.

   Save Your Breath.

   If they say, "I'm Not Sure, but I'm Interested," (which is
   what many people say when they don't want to commit), ask
   them, "Are you interested enough to read just one book
   cover-to-cover on the subject?" "Are you interested enough to
   spend a couple of hours of your time to take a thorough look
   at the facts?" Usually, the answer is No. If so, Save Your
   Breath.

   But if the answer is YES, ask them to read Why Government
   Doesn't Work by Harry Browne, or The Great Libertarian Offer
   by Harry Browne. Or The Incredible Bread Machine by Richard
   Grant. Or Libertarianism by David Boaz. Or Libertarianism In
   One Lesson by David Bergland. Or a similar great book. And be
   sure to sign them up for the Liberator Online, so they can
   read Dr. Mary Ruwart's "Short Answers to the Tough
   Questions."

   If they answer, "Yes, I like the approach," or "Yes, I like
   the concept," tell them some of the details. Give them some
   of the facts that you've learned. But then ask them if they
   would do you a favor. Would they be willing to take just a
   little bit of time and read a really important book that
   could answer all their questions? And then give them their
   choice of any of the above books.

   If you talk to the same kind of people I do, about 50% would
   say, "No, it wouldn't make any difference."

   30-35% will be "Interested," and a small fraction of them
   will be interested enough to learn more.

   And the remaining 15% will say "Yes."

   Save Your Breath on the No's. Save Your Breath on the 'looky-
   loos' who are "just interested." But cherish, educate and
   communicate with everyone who says "Yes." These are the
   people you Saved Your Breath for.