What Pawn Stars Can Teach You About Lowering Skepticism

Pop quiz.

You walk into a pawn shop with a first edition Harry Potter book signed by J.K. Rowling.

You ask the owner what it’s worth.

The owner says, “It’s worth $350. Not a penny more”

Do you believe her?

Probably not.


You know the owner has a vested interest in giving you a lower price.

If you’re the pawn store owner, how do you lower skepticism?

Here’s what Rick Harrison, from the hit reality TV series Pawn Stars, said to the book owner:

“I don’t know what it’s worth. It might be worth more, and it could be worth less. I know a book expert. Her name is Rebecca Romney. She’ll know if the signature is authentic and if it’s the first edition. Would it be okay if I had her take a look at it?”

It turns out the signature was fake, and the book wasn’t worth anything.

However, I’ve also seen situations where the owner got more than what they expected.

Rick puts his customer’s best interests before his.

There’s a good lesson here.

To lower skepticism, be the arbiter of unbiased information.

Saying, “Based on what you told me, here are the benefits and here are the drawbacks of all your options,” makes you more credible than saying, “Here’s why our product is right for you.”

In other words, tell the entire story, not just your story.

During discovery, leverage unbiased, credible third-party sources as Rick did.

By way of example, here’s my brother, former owner of Animal Pharmaceuticals, talking with a veterinarian:

“Dr. Jim, as you’re probably aware, the American Veterinary Medical Association recently released a statement warning about the use of rawhide as a dental chew. This is especially concerning for people who leave their dogs unattended. Dogs can swallow the rawhide, which can cause blockage or inflammation.”

Good old-fashioned transparency for the win.