How To Spot When You’re Being Manipulated By A Presupposition
Got this in my Linkedin Inbox yesterday. It's the first message from someone I connected with a couple of days ago and it's a perfect example of how NOT to build relationships.
First off, it begins with a lie. Or at least an inaccuracy. I didn't reach out to her, she reached out to me to connect.
So immediately I'm on my guard. Either this is a canned message or she's hitting up so many people she can't remember whether she reached out or I did. Or she's trying to fool me into misremembering and thinking I reached out.
Then there's a beautiful line. The sort that annoys the heck out of me.
“I was wondering if you can take on 3-4 new customers a month? If so please contact me”.
It's pure manipulation. Looks like a question, but really its making a presupposition. “I was wondering if you can take on 3-4 new customers a month?” implies she can get me 3-4 new customers a month.
If she'd made the statement “I can get you 3-4 new customers a month” I'd have immediately questioned it. But by embedding it in a question she wants me to assume it's true without raising an eyebrow.
Of course, there's no evidence that she knows anything about my business at all let alone being capable of getting me 3-4 new customers a month. But she doesn't want me to think of that, she doesn't want me to think rationally at all. She wants me to accept the presupposition.
I get similar emails every now and then whenever a local BNI chapter is looking to drum up new members.
“We're looking for someone to refer marketing clients to. Would you be able to take on more clients?” or similar. Another presupposition (that they have a bunch of referrals ready to pass on) that they don't want me to think about or challenge because it's highly unlikely to be true. That's why they phrase it as a question instead.
Clever, I guess. But I like my marketing to be open and honest.
Sure, I want it to be persuasive. I want to highlight all the factors that will show my ideal clients I'm the right person for them to work with. I want to cover off all their potential objections.
But I want to do it out in the open.
I'm hoping you do too.
If so, watch out for people using presuppositions like this to manipulate your thinking and to try to get you to accept what they're saying without questioning it. Keep your guard up.
PS you won't be surprised to hear I'm no longer connected to this person :)