Not sure whether to laugh or cry

Reading this article about the six Jedi tricks that salespeople use to hoodwink you, I found myself in a quandary. Can I post this? Should I? (Please forgive the occasional profanity – not really my style).

Well, it’s clear to me that salespeople still aren’t a very trusted bunch!

Interestingly enough, I didn’t know these techniques even existed. Maybe it’s not true that all sales professionals have thought this stuff through. Maybe it is. Probably about 1% of salespeople are and just giving the rest of us a bad name!

But, buyers can take some responsibility, too! If you learn what triggers you to make decisions that aren’t consistent with your values, your needs, your budget or your research…….you, too, can bring a dash of dignity to the art of selling.

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Buyers be smart!

Sellers – knock it off!  Provide real value. The rest will take care of itself.

Love ’em up!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

Thoughts about this...

4 thoughts on “Not sure whether to laugh or cry”

  1. Okay, so I have wrestled with this topic for over 20 years. I generally advocate 100% transparent, authentic communication and believe we all need to do what we can to elevate the sales profession. I have even blogged about that sales/service stewardship recently.

    At the same time, some recent consumer research in the insurance industry, as just one example, indicates that buyers sometimes need a little push to make a financial decision, even when… get this… it’s in *their own best interest!*

    Interesting, huh? Apparently, people are so afraid of making a mistake (according to the research), that get get paralyzed. I don’t know whether this applies to B2B or other industries, but I have to believe it’s fairly universal.

    So, I wonder sometimes, if the *intent* isn’t more important than the *technique.* Which would make using a sales technique much like using a knife. If you use it to make a free, wonderfully-prepared, healthy meal for a homeless shelter, it’s a great use of the knife, right? In the hands of a psychopathic maniac, the same knife yields horrible destruction.

    Okay, weird analogy, I know. And I have a hard time believing that the intent is often selfless when these sort of “Jedi mind tricks” are used. And I still do find some techniques more repugnant than others. But I do know people who use “sales psychology” or “buyer psychology” to help move buyers forward, when a move-forward decision seems to be in the buyer’s best interest. I believe their intent is good, because I’ve also seen some of these same sales people tell buyers that it’s not in their best interest to move forward, or make a change right now. This seems to be akin to the Challenger model, too, where reps challenge their prospects’ thinking, educating them, and making recommendations to move forward.

    I’m curious for your take on this, ISG? Still repugnant? Or, if the psychology is used, without pressure or other unethical tactics, and it helps the buyer do something that is good for them, does that make a difference? Does intent matter?

    1. Mike,

      As usual, thank you for your thoughtful reply.

      Yes, intent matters. Context is always the most important thing.

      I think there are three complexities here, each one of them a key to bringing a dash of dignity to the art of selling.

      First, a salesperson’s job is to sell their product. John Elway was paid to be a great football player. As a salesperson, your job is to hone your skills AND play for the right team. When John Elway was drafted by the Colts in the first year of his career, he declined. He held out for the Broncos because he wanted to play for them. He stayed with the Broncos for his entire career. He is still considered one of the best. Be a great salesperson – use all of your skills – and KNOW that you’ve got the best options and that you’re playing for the right team. Period.

      Second, as a professional, you can assume the responsibility of being not only someone who sells a product or service, but also someone who is a resource and who educates your customers. If you are willing to do the work to find out what someone is really trying to accomplish, it will be clear to you if your product/service is right for them – or WHICH product/service is right for them. Then, you have every right to stand behind this and not back down. Which may employ such activities as being REALLY like-able, offering someone a refreshment, helping someone to act consistent with what they’ve already stated, etc. I do all of these things as a self-expression, not as a ploy to get someone to do something that I’ve decided is right for them. I stand to gain MUCH more business when all of my clients are happy and my non-clients are happy that I helped them on that path as well.

      Finally, and I think this is the missed opportunity in sales, EVERYBODY is a buyer – almost daily. A large part of the reason that sales has such a bad reputation (or it could get one, if we’re not careful) is that buyers are not willing to be responsible for making good decisions for their own life. Since your well-being depends on making good decisions – you might want to learn how you make decisions and what influences you. After you’ve done this work, you can have a responsible, professional, dignified conversation with a salesperson. You could be straight with them. And they could be straight with you right back!

      Selling is a two-way street. Sadly, buyers have become such “victims” and not responsible for their own mistakes, that selling doesn’t have a chance to be a great profession until BOTH sides realize that a shift to dignity in the art of selling would benefit all. And some salespeople have become such “vultures” that the profession is undermined totally.

      Let’s educate EVERYBODY.

      People LOVE to buy stuff from people they like!

      Let’s keep it clean on BOTH sides!

      The Irreverent Sales Girl

  2. I’ve read the article and Mike’s great comments and ISG’s reply. So many interesting, provocative ideas are floating around. But this is what I’ll repsond to: ISG’s sense of urgency that buyers should be educated and empowered to make good decisions and be responsible for decisions.

    Articles like the Jedi Mind Tricks That Salespeople play … baaah!
    That places the focus somewhere else other than one’s own needs and desires. The focus is inside someone else’s head, trying to detect their tricks and fend them off.

    How can a person make a good buying decision when they’re on guard for being hustled? Let’s say the salesperson excuses herself to go to the bathroom. The potential buyer is waiting and thinking, “yeah, she’s really gone to talk with her boss about the next strategy to put the pressure on me to buy these frikken $75 shoes.”

    This person isn’t playing the game of “I need some shoes.” They’re playing the game of “Don’t get tricked.” Not good. Not empowering.

  3. This post has my mind flying.
    Where does Sales get a bad rap?
    Part of the answer is in people who don’t want to do sales. They are either purely sales or their role has a significant sales component. Now you’re dealing with a salesperson who resents it; they’re being hounded by their higher-ups who are being hounded by THEIR higher-ups. Then, incentives, punishments and demands get introduced … and then bizarr-o, unethical, negligent stuff happens. Example:
    – Reward people for taking the most calls? Great. Let’s take the easy calls and either transfer or hang up on the complicated calls.

    Ultimately, sure, sales gets a bad rap from the people who are con artists. I’d bet that a large portion of bad sales experiences are also due to salespeople who resent being there in the first place. It’s not a Jedi mind-trick, it’s really a person who’s frustrated that life didn’t go the way they planned.

    This is where buyers can be educated, have some compassion and help the interaction go smoothly.

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