When L. Ron Hubbard was alive he made sure that his sales force used Les Dane’s book, “Big League Sales.” to hone their sales skills. His successor, David Miscavige, gives nothing up to his mentor when it comes to the art of the hard sell. In this latest story about the cult of greed an OT, Luis Garcia, tells of how he came a cropper to the cynical and hard-bitten sales force in Clearwater, FL. To say that the cult has no shame when it comes to prying money out of their members is an understatment.
Pervasive pitch: Scientology book and lecture series, ‘The Basics,’ unleashes a sales frenzy.
By Joe Childs and Thomas C. Tobin, Times Staff Writers
In Print: Monday, November 14, 2011.
Standing before a 20-foot-high display of book and CD covers, Miscavige announced the release of the improved scriptures — 18 volumes of books and 280 digitally enhanced lectures called “The Basics.”
“If the reality hasn’t sunk in yet, it soon will. This is the event you have been waiting for … in terms of your past, present and future as a Scientologist.”
For the 53-year-old Church of Scientology, this was a “golden age of knowledge,” Miscavige said.
With the Basics going for $3,000 a set, it was also a golden age of revenue. Selling the scriptures would become an obsession within the church.
Longtime Scientologist Luis Garcia of Irvine, Calif., didn’t get a seat at Eckerd Hall but watched Miscavige on closed-circuit TV with an overflow crowd of 600 in the auditorium of the church’s Fort Harrison Hotel in downtown Clearwater.
As he headed out, he noticed something unusual: Church staffers were in the concourse, holding clipboards and standing firm, like colonial soldiers.
They stopped Garcia and other church members as soon as they filed out.
Cash or credit? staffers asked. How many sets are you getting?
Garcia, tipped off about the big announcement that afternoon, had already bought two, one in English, one in Spanish, paying with an American Express card.
But as he milled around the snack tables, church staffers kept hitting him up.
Garcia told them: I bought two.
In his 25 years in the church, he had grown accustomed to Scientology sales pitches. But he wasn’t prepared for what staffers said next.
You bought two? Buy more.
After Miscavige’s announcement, the church issued an “all hands” directive: Staffers everywhere must help disseminate the important new scriptures. Driven by their bosses’ demands and the threat of punishment, Scientology staffers became hard-sell pitchmen, relentlessly pushing the pricey Basics sets on other believers.
Former church insiders, including those who sold and those who bought, said the Basics campaign consumed the whole organization, derailing spiritual pursuits and alienating Scientologists who grew weary of the church going for their wallets.
The Basics campaign pushed Scientology fundraising to new dimensions:
• The church set up elaborate telemarketing operations at its major hubs, Clearwater and Los Angeles. Satellite call centers popped up in smaller Scientology churches such as Chicago and Tampa. Day and night, church staffers called active and inactive Scientologists. Parishioners got as many as 15 calls a day.
• Even Scientology ministers joined the sales effort. Some ended highly personal counseling sessions with sales pitches, insisting church members buy thousands of dollars of Basics.
• Church-assigned quotas drove sales. Scrambling to meet their individual, daily targets, harried staffers hounded parishioners, imploring them to pay for 10, 16, even 20 sets. Many gave in. Crates of Basics sat on wooden pallets in driveways, garages and basements.
The campaign “turned the staff into telemarketers dialing for dollars — just not a spiritual place to be,” said former Chicago-based staffer Synthia Fagen.
For the rest of this very interesting story go here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/scientology/article1201177.ece
Luis Garcia and his wife are suing Scientology over their IAS contributions.