Manipulative Selling

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.

Two Words to Change Your Life

Yes or no? That seems like such a simple question. Except the results that come from the answer are often anything but simple. 

 

The answer can literally change your life. 

 

Most people focus on the “yes” side of that question. That’s because they often assume that their success will come from what they decide to do. That’s often a correct assumption. It’s also often not a correct assumption.

 

Your success will just as often be determined by what you don’t do as what you do. The things you say no to, the thing you choose not to do, some of the things you’ve been doing that you decide to not do anymore can have every bit the impact on your success as the things you say yes to.

 

It’s common to assume that to have more you must do more. Every day business people talk about the need to do MORE, often with less resources. We hear more more more all the time. 

 

But here’s the problem with doing more…and more and more. You don’t get more time to do it. You can only do so much and by saying yes to everything you’re asked to do you will eventually wear yourself out. 

 

Unless…

 

Unless you say no to some of the things you’re already doing. When I offer that “say no” advice to people in workshops or presentations I’m told “but I can’t stop doing anything, it’s all important.”

 

Well not exactly. If you would stop for a minute or two and actually evaluate how you use your time each day I’d bet you would discover LOTS of things that you do that add no value to you or anyone else. Maybe they did at one point but they don’t anymore. Yet you keep doing them because you’ve “always” done them. 

 

What actions or activities do you preform on a daily or almost daily basis that give you no return for your investment of time? When was the last time you asked yourself that question? 

 

You have 1440 minutes in a day. No more and no less. Exactly like every other person on the planet. 

 

So how is it that some people seem to have so much more time than you? Well they don’t automatically say yes to anything and they say no to far more things than less successful people. 

 

It’s probably true that if you want more you’re going to have to do more to get it. But don’t forget, in order to do more productive things you have to stop doing less productive things first. 


Say no more often so you can enthusiastically say yes more often too. One no or the yes that follows it could even change your life. 

Tomorrow I’m going to…

Tomorrow I’m going to write a post about the dangers of procrastination. It will say something about how harmful procrastination is to your chances for success. I’ll probably write something about how procrastinating makes easy things hard and hard things almost impossible.

I could put some stuff in there about how to avoid procrastinating by doing immediately everything that takes less than 30 seconds to complete. People will be surprised when they learn that something like 90% of the things they procrastinate on take less than that 30 seconds to do. (It’s somewhere around 90% I’ll look up the exact percentage later)

I’ll think I’ll call it “the 30 second rule” and encourage people to try it for a solid week and see the difference it makes in their productivity. I don’t know, maybe I’ll save that for a post I do at some point in the future.

I’ll almost for sure put something in the procrastination post about a “Prioritized Daily Task List.” That’s like a do-to list except everything on it is prioritized in order of importance. Successful people use those all the time, like on a daily basis. (guess that’s how it got it’s name) They also don’t allow themselves to work on the second highest priority until the highest priority task is complete. 

That takes some pretty strong discipline which is another topic I should post about someday. 

I would write the procrastination post today except I’m really busy. There are a whole bunch of decisions I need to put off. I also need to come up with excuses for why I didn’t get yesterday’s work done and my fantasy football team needs work too. 

Plus, I’ve got to get to the gym. I’ve been putting that off too long and the last time I was there I left my brand new iPod Nano behind. I hope it’s in lost and found…they wouldn’t throw it away after only 14 years would they? 

I’m thinking I’ll close the post by reminding people that they won’t find “someday” on a calendar. They won’t actually find tomorrow either. 

I learned that whole tomorrow lesson thing by attending baseball games in my hometown in Minnesota. All the beer vendors wore t-shirts that said “free beer tomorrow.” I went to something like 18 games in a row until I finally figured out that if you always wait until tomorrow you’ll be waiting one heck of a long time. Alas, there would be no free beer for me. 

I can only hope people will read the post on procrastination as soon as they first see it but something tells me many of them will put it off until later. What they won’t be able to answer however is exactly when “later” is. 

 

I also hope you’re not one of those!

Actually, You Most Certainly Can

Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” Mr. Ford was right about that. 

 

I’ve written before about the damaging attitude of “can’t”. Telling yourself that you can’t do something is about the most limiting thing you can say to yourself. Believing something is beyond your capabilities almost certainly makes it true. Even thinking you can’t do something is enough to stop your progress or at least slow it down.

 

Thinking you “can” on the other hand is often enough to push you past obstacles, whether real or imagined. 

 

Telling yourself that you can’t is habit forming. Once you convince yourself that you have limitations you’ll actually behave as if you have those limitations. But you most likely don’t. In fact you’ve probably blown past those limitations at other times of your life. You’ve already proven than you can do it, you only have to remind yourself of your past success. Sometimes you have to remind yourself often. Again and again. 

 

You may not have overcome the exact obstacle in the past that you are currently facing but you’ve overcome so many obstacles in the past that one more new one hardly matters. You blew past the other ones and this one is more of the same. 

 

Remember how tough those past obstacles seemed…..before you ran over them? Think of how many things you do today that you once thought you would never be able to do. Think of all the times in the past when you thought you couldn’t only to discover that you actually could. 

 

Thinking that you can’t do something causes you to forget about all the things you CAN do. Thinking you can’t tricks you into not even trying. Imagine all the things you can do that you wouldn’t be doing if you had fallen for that trick in the past. 

 

People of unlimited success think in terms of CAN! People of more limited success think in terms of CAN’T. Which one are you?


It matters that you know the answer to that question because while you won’t ever just think your way to success you most certainly will think your way to failure if you’re thinking in terms of can’t. 

What’s Your Best Thing?

What do you do better than almost anyone else?

 

It’s amazing and maybe a little sad how many people can’t answer that question. It’s also very concerning how many business leaders can’t answer that question on behalf of their business either. 

 

It’s concerning because the fastest way to grow your business, or yourself, is to build on your strengths. Many people focus on eliminating their weaknesses but the most successful people will tell you it’s far easier to simply overwhelm them with your strengths. 

 

I’m not saying to ignore your weaknesses, you certainly should eliminate them where you can. What I am saying is that if your strengths shine bright enough they will blind people to your weaknesses. You won’t be thought less of because of what you’re not good at, you will be thought more of because of what you’re great at. 

 

There’s some guy named Tom who plays football in the New England area. I hear he’s a pretty good quarterback. Some people say he might even be the best quarterback ever. But guess what, I also hear that he can’t hit a curveball when playing baseball. 

 

Nobody cares whether he can hit a curveball or not because he most certainly can throw a football. He uses his strengths to succeed and he keeps himself out of situations where his weaknesses could be exposed. 

 

You, me and everyone else can do the same thing in our lives and our careers. But first you must know what your strengths are. You must know what you’re better at than most everyone else. You must know what you do best!

 

Don’t mistake what you’re most passionate about for what you do best. Sadly they are often not the same. “Follow your passion” is advice often given during Commencement Speeches. It can be and often is some of the worst advice ever given. 

 

“Follow your passion” is great life advice and you definitely want to have whatever you’re passionate about be part of you life. But following your passion is not sound career advice. “Do what you’re best at” is much better advice for a successful career. If you’re fortunate enough that what you’re best at is also what you’re passionate about then good on ya. Don’t assume that because you’re passionate about something that it’s also what you do best.

 

It may take some time and deep reflection to know for sure what you’re best at. Some people know almost instinctively but most people need to noodle on that a while. But figuring it out is well worth it. Playing to your strengths is rewarding both financially and emotionally. 


So let me ask you again…what’s your best thing?


Learning is Never Wasted

I had just finished up a large project. By every measure it was a tremendous success. I was proud of the effort I had put into it and especially proud of the efforts of my fellow team members. 

 

A person a little higher in the organization than me told me the event was a huge success. I commented that I had learned a lot and they said “that’s too bad cause we’re never doing that again.” The implication was that whatever I had learned would go to waste. 

 

They were wrong about what I had learned going to waste. They were wrong because learning is never wasted. All learning, I repeat, all learning is beneficial.

 

I had an outstanding teacher in the 7th grade. His name was Cyril Paul. He was a life changing kind of teacher and I’ve never forgotten him or the lessons he taught me. I tried finding him several years ago to give him a proper thank you and to let him know how he changed my life. My search unfortunately did not succeed.

 

I remember complaining to him one day about some junk (in the infinite wisdom of a 12 year old I was certain it was junk) he was teaching in math class. I said “I’m going to be a baseball player, I’ll never use this.” 

 

He said I could be right, I might never need that particular knowledge. But he quickly added that learning how to solve problems would benefit me the rest of my life. He said that every class I was in was serving two purposes. Teaching me whatever the subject was and teaching me how to learn. Every single class was teaching me how to learn! I’m not sure when I discovered he was right about that, I think it came upon me slowly. But he was absolutely right.

 

I am still learning today. I hope you are too.

 

No one can take your education from you. Don’t think for a minute that something you’ve learned will be of no use to you in the future. You never know when some tidbit of knowledge from your past will come in handy. 

 

It’s never been easier to add to your base of knowledge than it is today. There are tons of good online classes and many of them are available at no cost to the learner. Remember, the most successful people learn something new almost every single day. 

 

Don’t use lack of time as an excuse for not learning. If educating yourself is a priority then time won’t be an issue. 


So, what are you learning today?


Fast Leadership

Are you a leader in a hurry? Are you rushing to lead? Do you feel urgency to “get your people up to speed?”

 

Those are all normal circumstances for many leaders, particularly new leaders. But here’s a word of caution. If you go too fast, if you get too far out in front of your people, if you’re dragging them along more than pulling them along you might not be leading them at all. 

 

You may want to consider slowing down to speed up your leadership potential. If your people can only see your back it makes it hard for them to hear what you’re saying. If your people are constantly looking at your back it will be hard for you to show them that you care for them. 

 

If you never slow down enough for your people to catch up then when you do eventually turn around you’ll discover there is no one there. You will have lost the opportunity to lead.

 

Inexperienced leaders often feel that leadership requires them to be out front at all times. More experienced and successful leaders would tell you that you lead from the middle at times. Other times you’ll have more success actually leading from the rear. 

 

Living out front all the time makes it harder to connect with your people. It separates you from them and only provides you with a one dimensional view of their capabilities. It doesn’t take long for your people to believe you’re disconnected from their world and they are most likely right about that. 

 

It’s tough to coach from out front. The farther out front you are the tougher it is. You’ll discover it’s far more effective to coach your people when you’re along side of them. Your closeness will indicate you care and make it much harder for your people to claim you don’t understand what they are going through. 

 

Sometimes your people will need a push and they only place you can push them when you’re out front is to the rear. To push them forward you must be leading them from the rear. It takes an Authentic Leader to let their people be out front but out front is where the real growth takes place. 

 

Look around. Are some of your people along side of you? Are some of them in front of you? Are they all behind you? Are some of them way behind you? Are all of them way way behind you?

 

If you don’t like the answers to those questions then perhaps you need to slow down a bit and realize that leading people isn’t a sprint, it’s more like a marathon. It takes perseverance and stamina and heart. 


Do you have what it takes to authentically lead? Slow down a bit and consider your answer to that question before rushing to the front of the pack.