The scene is a small monastery in Shaoxing, mainland China.

A young and very perplexed monk is seen scuttling toward his very blind and very wise teacher. The lad is almost in tears as he hurridly bows and kneels before the aged master of the monastery.

"Master Poe, I am very upset." said the young monk.

"Patience Grasswhopper, there is no need to fear," responded Master Poe. "What troubles you Grasswhopper?"

"Master Poe", began Grasswhopper, "I am an American." Grasswhopper pauses, chokes back a sob, and continues. "Why is it Master Poe, that every time I buy a used car or vote in a general election I feel I've been duped?"

Master Poe chuckles merrily and slaps his knee. "Grasswhopper, run and fetch me that book over there and I will read you a story. Nothing is hidden that cannot be revealed."

Grasswhopper scurries over and retrieves the book his Master has requested. Trembling with anticipation he hands the book to his Master and kneels to attentively listen to the old monk's reading from the great sages.

Master Poe clears his throat, settles himself a little more easily and begins to read. Some of the other young monks begin to stop what they are doing so they can also listen to Master Poe read:


"The alternate advance is a question that suggests two answers, both of which confirm that your prospect is going ahead (with the purchase).

"If instead of asking an alternate advance question, you ask one that suggests a yes or no answer, which will your prospect usually pick? No!

"...You can use this concept in minor situations and major closing sequence. In most kinds of sales work, it's almost impossible to make the sale without first making the appointment with the buyer...

"A professional gives them two options: "Mr. Johnson, I'll be in your area this afternoon. WHich would be more convenient, should I stop by around two o'clock, or would you prefer that I wait until 3?

"...So an alternate advance is any question that gives your prospects two alternatives, but neither of them is no. Both alternatives confirm that they are going ahead." (How to Master the Art of Selling" by Tom Hopkins, Warner Books, 1980)

Master Poe sighs whimsically and softly closes the book. "Have I answered your question Grasswhopper?"

Grasswhopper was too ashamed to say no, he hadn't. There were too many of his friends listening and so he simply nodded quickly and looked away. Grasswhopper still wasn't sure if he was a Republican or Democrat. He supposed it didn't really matter because everybody else seemed to know which side to choose. These things just had to work themselves out on their own. ANyway, whichever way he voted didn't make much difference. That is, Democrat or Republican... nothing seemed to ever change in Shaoxing, China. Grasswhopper hurridly bowed and walked away from Master Poe and the other young monks. Something was stinging his eyes....