There are quite a few definitions of manipulation. The one that closely fits some, likely too many, selling situations is: to change by artful or unfair means for one’s own benefit or purpose.
In research conducted a number of years ago, 312 of the top one percent of salespeople were studied to determine how the most highly successful sales professionals sell. Of that group, 263(84%) used little or no manipulation and 49(16%) were highly manipulative. None in the top one percent group fit into an in-between “somewhat manipulative” category.
The salespeople were also rated on their inclination to tell the entire truth. The non-manipulators almost always tell their prospects the whole truth about the negatives and the positives of their products. The manipulators usually tell only the positives, and often embellish those truths. Yet, both groups appear to be equally successful, at least when measured only by the number of sales earned.
The main difference between the two groups is emotional. Most of the non-manipulators work considerably less than their manipulative counterparts. They’re much happier in their work and seem to be mostly free of stress. Customers seem to treat the non-manipulators with a higher level of trust and respect. Non-manipulators are also seldom if ever lied to by a prospect or customer.
Also studied were a group of 400 of the remaining 99 percent of all salespeople, the “average” salespeople. Using the same criteria, about 72% were classified as very manipulative, 19% as somewhat manipulative and about 9% as non-manipulative.
It seems clear that the only way to earn more money selling and enjoy doing it is through open, honest business relationships with customers. People unfortunately can and do make a living selling dishonestly but it wears on them over time.
I hope it comes as no surprise that honesty pays. It pays both financially and emotionally. It pays off both short term and long. Manipulative selling may help a few salespeople make some cash but it does not help them make a life.
So which would you prefer? A good income and less than desirable life or a good income and a enjoyable life to spend it on?
The choice, as always, is yours to make.