Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Everyone Eats Vegan

During my very brief stint in sales, I learned a little bit about getting past people's objections, and since my book Speed Vegan came out, I've had ample cause to use this technique. It's not that I need people to approve of what I eat or don't eat (it works for me, so why would I care what anyone thinks?). No, this is all about selling the book, and the title gives some potential buyers an easy out.

Most vegans get it, of course: Speed Vegan. Duh! It's fast food for people who don't want to compromise their values or their health. I say most vegans, because I've encountered some who are more concerned about the well-being of animals than their own health. People who eat animals often see a kind of challenge in the word "vegan," an affront to their diet, their culture, and sometimes even their religion. So they state an objection, by way of summarily dismissing the issue--and the book, and its author. "Oh, I'm not into that," they'll say, or "I'm not a vegan." Maybe they'll add a look of benign disdain--a face you might expect them to make if you had just passed some obnoxious gas.

I have my theories about the underlying issues driving these objections--not the least of which is the possibility that some may feel morally inferior when faced with someone who doesn't eat animals (as if they intuitively suspect that there is something not quite right about their own diet). I don't know, of course, this is all conjecture on my part. But whatever the reason, I don't like the feeling I get when people need to separate themselves from me (and from buying my book), so I usually try to bridge the gap by addressing their objections. Here is my favorite response, which works most of the time:

"Well, you know, everybody eats vegan food; it's only vegans who don't eat everyone else's food." They usually get it right away (smiles, nodding heads). For the ones who still look dubious, I have the follow-up, "Regardless of whether people eat meat or not, everyone needs to eat plants, especially green plants, if they want to be healthy." Who could argue with every article ever written on diet and health?

That's my wedge. It gets people to at least open the book, begin salivating over the photos, and (often enough) go through the cost/benefit analysis and (hopefully) buy the book. It also has the deeper effect of re-humanizing a group of fellow humans they may have written off as way too extreme to be normal. Any time I can help remove a barrier for someone, I feel like I've really done something.

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