I recently went do to a free workshop for a group of “100%” commissioned sales people. These people decide the size of their paycheck because they only get paid when they actually sell something. There are several definitions of a sales person. Unfortunately, many people have preconceived notions of a salesperson looking sleazy, wearing an outdated suite, and someone who will do anything to “sell” even if he or she must lie.
This is more the exception than the norm. Unfortunately, there are sales techniques out there that are used for the sole purpose to “manipulate.” “Bait and switch” is a classic one. They will tell you over the phone the price of the car that they will give (just to you) and then when you show up they will forget what they told you and make the price higher. This is poor selling because it is based on “manipulation,” which means that the sales person is only concerned with himself or herself and not taking into consideration the needs/wants of the customer.
However, popular stores like Best Buy and Wal-Mart do the same thing to us in a more subtle way. Have you noticed they advertise popular items at a discount or very low price only to find when you get there, it’s sold out and they hook you to buy something else. There is a fine line between “motivation” and “manipulation.”
To know the difference is to know the genuine intention of the sales person. There are several definitions of a sales person but they all lead to the same conclusion: to persuade individuals to make a purchase, to seal the deal with prospects who otherwise wouldn’t make the decision to buy, to motivate someone to buy something that they don’t necessarily need, want, or have in their budget to buy. This is influence and this is sales.
“Manipulation” is using the same definition of selling, but using it to meet the sales person’s needs and not the customer’s desires. Think about something you purchased that you really didn’t know you needed/wanted, or had in your spending budget. Let me tell you about my trip to Costco!
I was sold (persuaded) on buying a “Blend Tech.” I didn’t know I needed one until they showed me how much more healthy I could be by mixing greens into my smoothies. And I didn’t know I wanted it until I realized my $30 blender wouldn’t do the job and I certainly did not have $350 saved in my budget for a “Blend Tech.” But guess what? I am so happy they sold it to me! This is not about being a sales person and letting the product sell itself.
Seeing someone make a smoothie at Costco doesn’t mean I want to spend $350 for it! You must lead people to buying it, if you think it’s worth it? If you are selling something you don’t believe in, then find another job. If you are in sales and unwilling to learn how to be great at what you do to provide the benefits and show your client how your product or service is so awesome that they should buy it —(then if that’s the case) — you are actually doing a disservice to your customer.
Think of it this way, wouldn’t you do everything you could to motivate (influence) your teenager to stay OFF of drugs? We are all in sales whether we like it or not. If we don’t learn to be great at influencing and persuading, then the drug dealer will be for sure! Remember, someone is always selling someone. How good are your skills as a Sales Coach?