The Dirty Little Secret

Oscar Wilde, one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890’s once said:

“If you want to tell people the truth¸ make them laugh¸ otherwise they’ll kill you.”

I wish I were better at using humor in my writing, because this article contains more truth than some people can easily digest. But it also may be one of the most important articles I’ve ever written because it answers a problem that has plagued sales people for far too long.

Now, it’s time to let the truth be known. and damn the consequences. Here is the dirty little secret that every salesperson knows – but doesn’t want to admit.

Overselling creates sales resistance

Do you get that? It creates resistance that wasn’t there to begin with.

So what is it?

Overselling comes from using methods that overwhelm the customer with pushy, bullying methods used to intimidate, to dominate and force the prospect into buying from you.

Anytime you have to resort to forcing someone to buy, you’re creating resistance. You are making job harder, and this tends to make you feel that you have to use even more force.

It’s a trap. And there is only way out of the trap: Don’t do it in the first place.

This is based on a natural law that you can take to the bank: Force creates resistance.

Here is the true reason behind sales resistance.

Either you, or some earlier person, forced that customer into doing something they didn’t want to do. Now, they have an “instant-resist button” that rears its ugly head at the slightest hint of being forced into something.

A crude example is this: A customer digs in their heels and feels you are moving too fast. You, having used up all your more subtle tools of persuasion, resort to shouting at the customer or client. This drives them further away and creates an effect that is the opposite of what you wanted. It is also an admission that you haven’t done your homework.

It is an indication that you don’t understand selling and you don’t understand people. It is also a sure way to end up scuttling your sales stats and leave you wondering why it happened.

Sometimes it’s aptly named, crush selling, as it attempts to seal the deal by crushing the customer into submission.

By whatever name, the customer knows it when they see it. It is what creates sales resistance. It’s an act of desperation resorted to after you’ve skipped the earlier steps in the sales process. What you should be doing is adjusting your selling techniques to the customer, not forcing them to adjust to you.

Be kind to your prospect, they’ve already got enough to worry about without you adding to their burden. To them, especially if it’s a large purchase, it’s a bit like stepping in to Mare Incognito (uncharted waters).

Help them. Don’t force-feed them. Products and services are not sold, they’re bought. They’ll buy when they see a personal benefit for themselves, they will not see it when it is being pushed down their throat.

Overselling is your worst enemy. Just don’t do it. If for no other reason, it’s very unprofessional, and also is just bad manners.

Instead, do it the easy way. Help the customer get what they want and they’ll do the same for you.

daniel w. jacobs
(c) 2009-2030, all rights reserved


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