Friday, September 7, 2007

Sleazy sales tactics dominate Wildrose Party's registration drive

For this plan to succeed, however, we need you -- personally -- to commit two hours over the next three weeks. Will you? If yes, we'll explain exactly how you can help the Wildrose Party get this done.

Please tell us by email ( if you think the Wildrose Party is worth two hours of your own time.
The above paragraphs come from the latest edition of the Wildrose Weekly. I first blogged about this passage here.

I found this passage annoying the first time I read it, but couldn't quite put my finger on exactly what it was about it that bothered me. I have just figured it out.

This passage is a perfect example of a manipulative sales tactic called the commitment question. It is one of the ways used to get people to do things or buy things that they would not ordinarily be interested in. It is a manipulative psychological technique; the idea behind it is that once you get a person to say "yes" to your initial request, it is far more difficult for them to back out when you expound on what you are asking them to do. The target of this technique is more hesitant to decline to participate because it makes them feel as if they are welching on a previously made commitment.

Analyze the structure of the passage I have reproduced. The Wildrose Party is first getting its members to agree to a commitment of 2 hours, then it will provide the details to its members as to what they are being asked to do. The commitment is made when the email is sent in, but there is no way a member can know what they are committing to.

If the details of the plan amount to an activity the Wildrose member is not comfortable with - such as aggressively soliciting signatures at a seniors' residence - they then face a dilemma. They either have to back out of the commitment to donate time to the party, or they can hold their nose and unwillingly go through with whatever unsavoury action the Wildrose Executive has dreamed up.

It would be a better practice and more ethical if the Wildrose Executive gave the members details of the "new plan" up front, so that they can decide if they wish to partake in the process or not. As such, I hereby call on Link Byfield and the rest of the Wildrose Executive to (i) abandon this "commitment question" approach, (ii) publish the full details of the new plan referenced in the most recent Wildrose Weekly, and (iii) stop these attempts at duping the membership.