I took my first sales training course back in the 1980s. The Glengarry Glenn Ross “coffee is for closers” scene pretty much nails the experience.
I learned that it was “us” against “them.” Whoever speaks first “loses.” Never take “no” for an answer. Ask questions to get “ammunition” you can use against people in order to overcome objections and close the sale.
Silence was used to intentionally make people uncomfortable: “If you make them squirm enough, they’ll decide they’d rather buy instead of spending another moment with you.” <- actual word-for-word advice I received.
I left the course knowing that “sales” was not for me!
Ah…but things have changed since then, yes?
It might look that way on the surface. The language may be softer. Especially within the coaching world.
We still hear advice like: “grind in the pain.” Make people feel worse so that they’ll buy.
We still see high pressure tactics. “Decide now” or miss out on the bonus, the lower price – or the entire offer (seems the cart is closing in X hours – complete with countdown timer.)
And the psychology is becoming more and more sophisticated. Robert Cialdini wrote a book called “Persuasion” to WARN us about these tactics so we can see what marketers do to manipulate people.
Instead, marketers use Cialdini’s book as a “how to manual” for making their marketing more effective. (Read the book and it will become obvious!)
Where it all starts: trying to sell something that people don’t want
When you really dig down into some of these tactics, at the core they are designed to try to get people to do things they don’t want to do.
The intention is to bypass a person’s logical thought processes and have them hand over a credit card before they realize that they are about to:
- Buy something they don’t need or want
- Pay more money than what something is worth to them
- Be fooled into buying something of low quality (or that doesn’t do what it promises to do)
If you’re selling a product or service that people would WANT to buy, at a price they are willing to pay – why would you use sales techniques designed to sell crap?
Can we do business in a better way?
One of my favourite quotes:
BE the change you wish to see in the world
~ Some really smart person who may or may not have been Gandhi
When I started this business 5 years ago, I was determined to make it work MY way – through honesty and integrity – by serving with love.
I believed that I could attract clients by working within my values. I trusted that the right people would respond positively to my honest approach. And if I was wrong about that? I would quit.
There have been times when I wanted to throw in the towel.
It’s frustrating (and a little heart-breaking) to have someone nod along with the ethical approach I offered, yet choose to spend their money with someone who is “more visibly successful” and offering an “easy path to success.”
I’ve made a steady living with my business and I’ve had the honour of working with amazing ethical business people who make a positive difference in the world.
Let’s market with love instead!
If we want to change the world of business – it starts with us.
Let’s approach the sales and marketing part of our businesses with the same energy we bring to the actual services we provide.
In the wise wise words of one of my clients: “Coaching is a trust-based relationship. How can you establish trust if your first interaction was all about skeazy tactics?”
What if we:
- Connect to our potential clients with empathy – instead of “grinding in the pain”
- Focus our marketing efforts on being helpful – instead manipulative
- Provide honest information – instead of persuasive language
Perhaps promoting our businesses with love would remove the hesitancy a lot of us have with marketing.