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Plowing

Plowing is merely the act of persisting relentlessly in terms of persuasion. It’s pure persistence, almost in a stubborn, or even delusional manner. An example can include:

  • “I’m not sure the product fits my needs”;
    • “Why wouldn’t it? What are your needs?”;
  • “Well, I’m not sure it works for my type of person”;
    • “I’m sure it does. Is that all? Is that the only reason?”;
  • “Well, I’m just not sure it works for my case…”;
    • “Why wouldn’t it? I’m sure it’s not a unique case. I’m sure it works. Is that all?”;

Plowing is not so much a technique by itself as an accelerator, that can be used in combination with other techniques

  • Plowing with preemptive labeling and negative anchoring
    • “John, I know you fear [ABC] and [ABC]. And I know that [ABC] can go wrong. Are you against buying?”;
    • “Well, I don’t know”;
    • “Look, I know that you fear [ABC] and [ABC]. And that there’s a risk of [ABC] and [ABC]. But we protect against that. Are you against buying right now?”;
  • Plowing with implementation intention
    • Similar to a technique by Grant Cardone called “The Inquisition”;
    • “How can you buy this today? How can we make it happen? How can we get this signed? What do you need from me? What can we do here? …”;

Underlying Psychology/Biases

Plowing simply works by making the person understand you won’t quit. By showing that you will be the last man/woman standing, and that it’s useless to resist, because this will be done.

It can be used ethically or not. It’s, in fact, the core technique behind high-pressure sales.

Sub-Techniques

Examples

  • “Don’t care, get it done”
    • When you have a manager in a company that wants to force something to get done, and accepts no excuses, it’s this at work;
    • “But we have no time”;
      • “Get it done”;
    • “But we lack resources”;
      • “Get it done”;
  • High-pressure sales
    • The technique behind high-pressure sales is precisely plowing. It’s a dark version of it;
    • The salesperson just keeps hammering until they “break” the person and convince them to sign;
  • “Burn it to the ground”
    • This is the expression usually used with this principle;
    • The goal is to try something at any cost, until you get a clear “yes” or a clear “no” – and you will get both with this;
  • Donald Trump
    • Donald trump was very effective at persuading by using plowing alone;
    • Even when there were no other merits to his arguments, he would just keep insisting with the same point;
    • E.g., in the debate with Clinton;
      • “Her emails. Lock her up”
      • “What do you think about [ABC]?”
        • “Doesn’t matter. Her emails. Lock her up. Her emails”;
      • “But what about [ABC]?”;
        • “Doesn’t matter. Lock her up. Her emails”;

Commercial/Known Uses

Key Takeaways

  • Plowing is all about persisting relentlessly until the other person breaks and you get your point across;
  • Plowing is an extremely polarizing technique. It’s the type that will get you very positive replies, but also very negative ones;
  • This technique, unlike other persuasion ones, is binary. It’s the type that you can’t take back. You have to go all the way with it, or don’t even bother;
  • Plowing can be used by itself or in combination with other techniques. It can work alone, but it’s supercharged paired up with other techniques;
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