About the Author

Michael Doig is a science teacher, web developer, and avid traveler who lives in Brooklyn, NY.

How To Get 12 People To Skydive With You

Back in my days as a waiter, I had a list of 10 things I wanted to do before I died. The other day I was reading an article over at Copyblogger and it reminded me of #5 on that list. Skydiving.

I really wanted to do it, but I didn’t want to go alone. So I convinced 12 of my co-workers to go jump with me. Normally you’d think it would be difficult to get 1 or 2 of your close buddies to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, but I got 12. So how did I do it?


The first thing I did was go around asking if anyone would be interested in going, and of course about 75% said they would. I think most people probably said yes just to not look weak or scared. After a sufficient number of people seemed interested I put a sign-up sheet, right next to the schedule so everyone would see it. In big black letters along the top it said “Skydiving Anyone?”. About 25 people signed-up, roughly 50% of those that said they would be interested verbally.

After a couple weeks I started hitting people up on the list for the non-refundable deposit, I think it was $50. Once people had both verbally and physically committed it was much easier to get them to fork over the deposit. At first the deposits came in slow, but after a few of the more popular people committed, it hit that tipping point and everyone else wanted to go.

There was a manager who said that he wanted to go, but didn’t sign up because his birthday was on the same day we were going and he couldn’t afford it. He was well liked, so I got everyone in the restaurant to chip in $5 to cover his jump as a birthday gift.

The day of the jump, you could see the fear and excitement in everyones eyes. No one was sure what to expect. Everyone jumped and lived to tell the tale, but ironically it was the women who were the most gung-ho about it. The guys were definitely the most reluctant, but at this point they couldn’t not jump. There is something about 12,000 feet that just doesn’t hit you until you’re up there.

At the time I just wanted to go skydiving with some friends, but looking back I did some very interesting things. In the end I got roughly 50% of the people who physically signed their name to pay and go jump out of a plane. The only person who didn’t go was the manager who never signed up. Even though he didn’t have to pay, he wasn’t committed and he didn’t go.

From a sales psychology point of view I suppose the set-up sequence would be, get a verbal agreement (preferably in front of other people), have them write it down, and then ask for money. If these steps are followed then you have a committed prospect and they won’t back out, plus you might have some fun. In the end 12 people jumped with me and I got my jump for free, but don’t tell them.

P.S. – That is a photo of my jump.

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