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back to article Leaked Genius Bar manual shows Apple's smooth seductions

A copy of the training manual used to prepare Apple employees for work at its in-store Genius Bars shows the smooth patter and sales mindset Cupertino seeks to indoctrinate into staff. Before donning the sacred blue t-shirt and becoming a Genius Bar operative, staff must first pass through a 14 day training course teaching not …

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Devil

To paraphrase Orwell...

Don't you see the whole aim of Applespeak is to narrow the language of thought? In the end we shall make purchasecrime literally impossible because there will be no words in which to express it.

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Coat

Re: To paraphrase Orwell...

You're thinking of Appletalk... since deprecated and replaced by Bonjour...

*cough*

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Anonymous Coward

Being of sound mind

Being spoken to in a Apple Speak context, I'd feel distinctly patronised, and annoyed the same way a politician speaks to you on your doorstep when canvassing. Don't use amateur psychology on me.

Personally when in this situation, I just say, 'cut the smarm, the crap and the tech speak, I'm here because I'm here to buy, I want that and I want to pay.'

I don't want the 'experience' I just want the goods, usual transaction time 1 minute subject of course to the queue.

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Anonymous Coward

And for out next trick

Please take off you shoes and socks walk around on out Apple inductive flooring (patent 2312345/324-7A) relax, while perusing we offer our Apple head massage (patent 12/223/768765788/3) to help your brain make the right choice. When purchasing your goods, because you will, breath in the Apple additive air (patent 96756463/768-5646423-987/7676) to help your heart slow and reduce palpitations when you see how much it cost.

Finally, as you walk out of the door look up at an angle of 65 degrees into out Apple Customer Mirror (patent 45/23980-98734/9/647264/8900) and you will see the most amazing person in the world, while out Apple shoe and sock retriever (patent ASER/3458/910/86-5) washes your feet in purified Apple Water (patent H2O) and replaces your footwear.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To paraphrase Orwell...

Definitely deprecated, in fact giggled at.

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Re: To paraphrase Orwell...

Bonjour. A net discovery service that is too pig thick to figure out that if you aren't *on* a network it should quietly sleep for progressively longer times.

Amazing how people slander Symantec for larding up their systems with useless clock-hogging crapware but give iTunes a pass for the same behavior with the added bonus of filling the log with error messages.

Not to mention the stupidly inadequate level of indirection in the iTunes app that results in albums being broken up and scattered all over the bloody interface instead of being dealt with properly.. But that is another subject.

"Better design". Riiiight.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple

... sound more like a cult every time I read about them. And that's coming from someone who works for a company which sounds like it has gorged itself stupid on marketing drivel and motivational speaking.

Anon for once because my reg name is my real name and my boss wouldn't approve. After all, my company is "renowned for project management excellence" rather than being renowned for having to refund a cool billion plus to a state-run healthcare system. We all have to play along with the game now, which includes young men and women on barely more than minimum wage (and less training than they'd get in a fast food bar) being called geniuses; products that do what they are supposed to do being "AMAZING" and ....

[ *explodes into full-on Victor Meldrew rant* ... deleted ]

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Boffin

Not a cult... Re: Apple

There really is nothing new here. Seriously.

Selling is a profession, regardless of what you sell. So understanding what makes the potential buyer tick, is important. I'm not talking about the fast talking idiot of a car sales rep who think's his shit doesn't stink, but the professional who works for an Apple, IBM, Oracle, <insert your favorite Tech company here.>

IBM does a week long course teaching Solution Selling Methodology. It was actually one of the few training courses I was allowed to take and it was one of the best courses out there.

Looking for non verbal signals is crucial in understanding how your customer perceives you.

The concept is everyone is a sales rep isnt new. While at IBM, I tried to ingrain that message in to our consultants every time I have them on a project. Not so much to get them to sell something, but that its part of their job to always be professional and to put on the best face. Also if they uncover a latent opportunity, they should alert me so I could handle the sale.

If you think Apple is bad now... you should really look at IBM during the 60's.

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Re: Not a cult... Apple

Dear God! A sensible comment on a thread about Apple!

I must watch out for flying pigs on the way home.

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Bronze badge

Re: Not a cult... Apple

Absolutely true. MOST companies use Brainwashing to indoctrinate employees into the ways of its culture.

It's just that the folks who BUY the merchandise are equally Brainwashed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not a cult... Apple

> If you think Apple is bad now... you should really look at IBM during the 60's.

Which is amusing given the lengths Apple goes/went to distance themselves culturally from IBM. There's pages that could be written about the whole "THINK" vs "Think different" business.

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Pirate

Re: Not a cult... Apple

I agree, nothing new here. This is how Marketing works. Apple has figured out how customers make technology decisions and they are addressing these customer's concerns.

However, marketing gets evil when someone is manipulated into buying something they can't afford.

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Paris Hilton

Impervious

"... if Apple's retail sales are anything to go by, the techniques certainly work."

Except on those of us who are MOSTLY immune to bullshit and possess the intrinsic ability to detect empathetic patronization, or patronizing empathy, a mile off. Though, I would wager any with said ability would generally avoid the Genius Cave altogether. We're not the Apple target demographic, anyway.

Paris, perfume makes me gag; Genius P needs a shower.

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Devil

Re: Impervious

Some intrinsic... Some acquired...

If you grew up on the east side of the iron curtain during the days of the great gerontocracies you are probably immune to any sort of patronization (empathic or not).

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JDX
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@Alan W. Rateliff, II

Seriously, get over yourself. You're nothing special.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Impervious

unfortunately, quite the opposite. The Poles, I know rather well, for example, gobble bullshit en masse, and never seem to learn from previous failures, including "consumerism". Yes, there's always this tiny minority who resist, but like elsewhere, this group is insignificant to the sales masters. Everywhere the majority swallow, rather than spit. And, arguably, their philosophy has some merits, e.g. life's too short,etc.

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Stop

Re: Impervious

You wish. Truth is that we're all vulnerable to being read and manipulated by subtle use of language and non-verbal cues.

If you don't at least admit or acknowledge it, you're essentially walking down dark allies decrying the existence of muggers.

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Prolefeed | Polefeed

Do you mean 'Proles'? The good burghers of Poland may not be too happy with your generalisation.

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Re: @Alan W. Rateliff, II

@JDX

How the hell do you know? What a puerile comment.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Impervious

You would think so, but some seem especially naive to Western marketing methods! OK, they are probably self-selecting :P

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Facepalm

Breaking news: Stores teach employees to sell stuff

Full story at 11.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Breaking news: Stores teach employees to sell stuff

Yeah, to some degree. Back in the old days when I sold shoes, tacos, and computers, I was trained, taught, and learned to know my products and understand the customer. That never included not admitting that a product could be flawed nor power tactics which put me in charge of a sale. Take ownership, yes; give guidance and advice, yes; but never to seize a position of power over the customer. Nothing pisses of a customer more than realizing at some point they were duped or manipulated.

Provided they ever realize it at all. In my current life I have dealt with customers who believe the salesman of MegaMiniSoftwareCorporation, Inc. is actually their friend and confidant and said salesman would never tell them an untruth or statement lacking in fact.

Paris, taking power over us all.

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Re: Breaking news: Stores teach employees to sell stuff

We all love corps who slimily fake friendliness for cash.

If Cupertino was bovvered about the punters it could ask its boys and girls in blue to fill in issue feedback forms and use them to fix problems and improve products based on real customer needs.

Instead it's all about controlling the punters emotionally and faking the happy.

Smooth.

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Gav
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Devil

The horror

Sales people receive training in sales!

This is most unfair. While it is acceptable for IT people to be trained in IT, sales people, being lower life-forms, should remain inept at their jobs and only succeed through blind-chance or the abilities they were born with.

Customers are entitled to believe these people are employed to assist them and have little interest in selling anything. Actually training them to sell is deceiving the customer and the sort of shameful trick you'd expect from Apple.

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Alien

Re: Breaking news: Stores teach employees to sell stuff

"We all love corps who slimily fake friendliness for cash."

If that were true, then the sales training team failed to do their job.

The art of the sale is to not be fake or slimy, but to be real.

Its all a bit of Jedi mind tricks, only you don't see them happening.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The horror

This is most unfair. While it is acceptable for IT people to be trained in IT, sales people, being lower life-forms, should remain inept at their jobs and only succeed through blind-chance or the abilities they were born with.

I'll correct:

This is most unfair. While it is acceptable for Sales people to be trained in Sales, IT people, being lower life-forms, should remain inept at their jobs and only succeed through blind-chance or the abilities they were born with.

There, fixed.

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Re: Breaking news: Stores teach employees to sell stuff

Finding out that Apple wants customers to think they care only deepens the mystery of why Apple Retail is run by the ex-head of Dixons.

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Re: Breaking news: Stores teach employees to sell stuff

There's a difference between teaching someone to sell, and teaching someone to use cult indoctrination techniques.

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Anonymous Coward

yeah

the cult shit gets results

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FAIL

Dúh

Honestly...

Crapple used the same pitch since time immemorial (especially for the Young 'Uns), their walled garden lasted through an age where really smart people opted for a PC/hardware choices/driver issues/proprietary software/hacking/open source and all the stuff that made the world as it is now.

Which took some really, *really* bright people to make it actually work.

All this proves is that the average Fanboi is a shill, and nothing else.

Move along peeps, nothing to see here.

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Anonymous Coward

Really smart people?

As you suggest, they generally have open-source solutions that they've adapted to suit their particular needs and ways of working. But I do feel obliged to point out that they do often recommend OSX to their family and friends simply because its stability and lack of widespread malware minimises the amount of dreaded family computer support needed.

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Re: Dúh

Another market segment is older, richer folk who are intimidated by computers, and don't need to be encouraged by word like "crash, bomb and freeze" in order to believe that all computers are full of temperamental gremlins. Don't let conspicuously irritating hipsters confuse you as to the demographics of Apple customers.

It should be noted that in a survey of their member's, the UK's Consumer Association 'Which?' found Apple Stores to be highest rated in terms of customer experience, just ahead of John Lewis and Richer Sounds. (PC World, Curry's et al aren't as crap at this as they used to be, but can still just read out the specs of a computer to my old man until his eyes glaze over.)

The inevitable car analogy? In the early days of motoring, Rolls Royce cars didn't break down, they merely 'failed to proceed'. Tis true... but then of course one's chauffeur would have spent a week being trained by RR in mechanical matters. The owner would have no interest in what happened under the bonnet.

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Headmaster

Re: Dúh

Survey of their member's what?

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Urrgh

I feel dirty^Wunclean^in a non-optimal sanitary state after reading that.

Not that Apple are unique in employing projectile vomiting^W^Whigh velocity emission inducing sales techniques.

How ever much I wish they were.

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Re: Urrgh

Don't think that every large company you deal with *doesn't* do this.

"The manual reinforces a constant message that staff must be empathetic to a potential customer's needs and should employ what it calls the Three Fs: the words "feel," "felt," and "found.""

This is the same technique as TSB use on customers to sell them stuff. Y'know those people we call cashiers? TSB calls them sales staff.

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Every now and then[1] ...

... I'll drop into an apple store to needle the idiot "blueshirts". I tell 'em I'm in the market for a new BSD home server, and proceed to boot the most powerful/expensive Apple box I can find into single-user to poke around. Half the time they go red & yell for security ... the other half go completely white and call for a manager to bail 'em out. The fucking idiots have no clue how the OS works, all they understand is the GUI interface.

The iFad generation is going to become a swear-word in tech circles. Mark my words ...

[1] On the rare occasion there isn't a line out the door full of fanbois/grrls trying to get help with their supposedly "easy to use" systems ...

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Meh

Re: Every now and then[1] ...

Personally I wouldn't publicly admit to being such a sad cunt that I feel the need to waste the time of some low paid shop staff just to make myself feel better.

Just because you're forever alone doesn't mean you take out your anger on people just for working in a store that caters to people with different tastes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Every now and then[1] ...

Of course if you really want to make them explode, you could always just drop in comments along the lines of "you know Apple just ripped off all this stuff, its not like they wrote it or anything - but that's OK, the true innovators don't mind when people copy"

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Meh

Re: Every now and then[1] ...

Is your life really that empty?

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JDX
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Is your life really that empty?

I bet he tries to strike a conversation with cold-callers too, what a life.

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Facepalm

Re: Re: Every now and then[1] ...

"Personally I wouldn't publicly admit to being such a sad cunt....." Well, your post did kinda imply you fall into that demographic. The post was obviously made to bait fanbois such as yourself and you nearly fell over yourself jumping up to get hooked.

But it's not just Apple's salesgrunts that draw such ire, it's patronising sales types that actually don't have any technical knowledge but pretend they do. I used to work with a guy who had a vendeta with PC World and used to like sneaking into their stores to mess with their laptops.

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Mushroom

Re: Every now and then[1] ...

so you are that empty you need to stamp your geek authority over other people who might know less than you? How sad is that. Do you pull wings off flies to prove you are higher up the food chain? Beat kids at scrabble to prove you know bigger words?

Go to a hackers convention or whitehat for a while if you are that bored. Alternatively just get a life you sad wanker.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Every now and then[1] ...

Every now and then Jake wakes up from his fantasy world and makes another pot noodle

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Every now and then[1] ...

If you do this in the UK you'd arguably be liable for prosecution under the Computer Misuse Act.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Every now and then[1] ...

Just because you're forever alone doesn't mean you take out your anger on people just for working in a store that caters to people with different tastes.

Oh come on... you've never used the CTRL-ALT-Arrow key combo to rotate the screen in some PC outlet? You have no sense of humour (or should I say "humor"? That might explain a lot).

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Gold badge

Now you know..

.. why I prefer to buy online. I have Apple kit because it works for me, but the wannabees in the Church (Apple Store) annoy the hell out of me and I thus avoid their stores unless I absolutely have to. All this friendliness and touchy feely stuff they told to enact feels about as genuine as Tony Blair's smile, so it creeps me out.

Besides, I'm a male - when I enter a shop I already have a pretty good idea what I want.

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Re: Now you know..

+1. But in their defence, they did twig eventually that I was a guy in "shopping mode":

Me: "I'd like a base MB Air 11' please"

Genuis: "Have you considered the 13'? It has..."

Me: "No. Just the base 11."

Genuis "Would you like the 4GB option? It's better for..."

Me: "No. Just the base 11."

Genuis "Ok, sir - have you considered a thunderbolt display?"

Me: "No. Just the base 11."

Genuis "Ah, ok, sir, I'll check the stock now. How will you be paying?"

Me: "Immediately."

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Anonymous Coward

Standard Tech-Corp style training...

Been done by many other corps over the years.

Nothing new or innovative.

Did they patent this too, by any chance?

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Devil

Re: Did they patent this too, by any chance?

Now that's one patent I wish they had and which they strictly enforced!

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Anonymous Coward

Pretty much every other high street retailer could learn by this... one thing I've noticed is apple staff will approach and immediately engage in conversation about a product you are looking at. Far more likely to gain a positive response on my part than every other store where some numpty just goes "can I help?" - "no thanks." Where as if they came up and said "Oh GalCiv, I played that, good game though the AI has its moments"

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