Coco Deet, 26, a salesman at the new clothing store, Shoppers Unite, recently discovered how effective the technique, "Good Cop, Bad Cop," can be when applied to potential shoppers.
"Since the economy has been so bad, our store has really suffered. Most stores have decided to sell clothes for less than what they did a few years ago, but I grew up in a family of winners, and dropping the price would be the exact same thing as throwing in the towel. So instead, we decided to do something crazy. 'Good Cop, Bad Cop.'"
In the world of shopping, 'Good Cop, Bad Cop' is a psychological tactic that involves a team of salesmen who take apparently opposing approaches to a shopper. The 'bad cop' acts aggressive and pessimistic, often insulting the shopper about his or her weight, gender and/or race. This practice creates resentment between the salesman and shopper, which opens the door for the 'good cop.' The 'good cop' acts supportive and understanding, doing his or her very best to make the shopper feel at home in the store. By the end of the 'good cop' act, the shopper usually trusts that salesman so much that he or she binges at the register. It's a technique that is used on the young, frightened, or naïve, which is why it is so effective on shoppers.
It's also a technique that Deet believes will make her the first Shoppers Unite Salesman of the Year not to make her quota.
"I know you're probably thinking the shopper would just leave, but no. Not if you do it right," says Deet.
WHERE DID SHE LEARN IT?
On Saturday, November 2nd, Deet was taking a leisurely stroll around the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica with her girlfriends when she saw a familiar face sitting at an outside table at the restaurant, Cabo Cantina.
Her ex-boyfriend, Robbie Lyons, 28, was drinking with his buddies. And since it's her ex, she just had to walk over. But what she thought was only going to be a quick hello turned out to be a fortunate surprise for Shoppers Unite. Lyons told her of a recent shopping experience in which he was looking to upgrade his wardrobe in preparation for his new job.
"This salesman basically invaded his personal life by sending him countless Facebook messages, text messages, emails, and phone calls about the new deals this store was selling," Deet said. "She even Linkedin messaged him, which is, like, crazy."
[Linkedin is a publicly traded social networking website where young professionals, usually those holding entry-level positions, can boast about how awesome their job is without appearing to do so.]
"I tried to send messages via Linkedin, but I couldn't figure it out."
But what Deet did figure out is how to take this seemingly crazy story and implement it into her own work life.
At first the numbers don't add up for Deet. Sources say her sales have plummeted by 260%. But underneath that shows the store's overall sales have increased by 18% this quarter since 'Good Cop, Bad Cop' came to Shoppers Unite. Why?
"People want to buy clothes. They don't care from whom, but they will buy, buy, buy." Deet said. "It's my job to make them buy as much as possible. And when people are vulnerable, they binge buy."
OUTSIDE THE NUMBERS
If you're worried Deet's personal life is suffering from her mean streak, think again. Deet and Lyons have resumed dating again.
"Robbie and I broke up when I searched through his text messages while he was showering and I found suspicious text messages from a girl named Susan. He has a sister named Susan, but I mean, come on, let's be honest, there's like a million Susan's out there. But after learning of this technique from Robbie, I had to give him a second change. And you know what, this time our relationship is different. Plus, the time away is really going to help our love life."
Though that's not all Deet's gained. She's got a wicked new nickname and a coworker who will be sad to see her go.
"I'm 5'2'' and 117 lbs, so people used to always bully me. My nickname in high school was 'Pushover.' I'm still the same size and all, but now I've got a new nickname. 'Coocoo Crazayyyy'," Deet said. "I know it has negative connotations, but my friend, Mark, says not to look into it."
Her friend, Mark Jefferson, 32, is also her coworker. He has been working at Shoppers Unite for the last six months after being fired from the accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers.
"First off, let me say I love working at S.U. (Shoppers Unite)," Jefferson said. "And although I no longer make a decent salary, my relationships with women have really gotten better. I'm surrounded by women all day, which is awesome. And CooCoo Crazayyyy has made our shoppers and my coworkers so freaked out, that I get to be the knight in shining armor and comfort them after one of her crazayyyy sales techniques."
Although CEOs at Shoppers Unite are proud of Deet's work, they are always looking for new sales techniques. Deet knows this, and although she's excited to see the new method of sales invade the shopping world, she wants to enjoy her time being the 'bad cop.'
Deet even came up with a new slogan she plans on trademarking - as she says every morning when she looks in the mirror, "It's cool to be bad."