The Six Levels of Permission

(In descending order of impact)


1. Intravenous Treatment

The doctor treating you in the emergency room doesn’t have to sell you very hard on administering a drug.

2. Green Stamps

Executives suffer through long layovers to gain frequent-flyer miles. Here, the company rewards customers in a currency they care about.

3. Personal Relationships

The corner dry cleaner enjoys implicit permission to act in your best interest. A favorite retailer can “upscale” you (recommend something more expensive) without offending you.

4. Branding

Given a choice between the known and the unknown, most people choose the known.

5. Situational Selling

If you’re in a store and you’re about to make a purchase, you often welcome unsolicited marketing advice.

6. Spam

Where most marketers live most of the time: calling a stranger – at home, during dinner, without permission. You wouldn’t do it in your personal life. Why do it to potential customers?