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Manipulation 101: How to Succeed in Sales

Have you ever put on a smile when meeting a prospective buyer because you wanted the prospect to lower their guard. That is manipulative in nature.

Have you ever worn certain clothes because of how that might influence another person's opinion of you? That is manipulative in nature.

Manipulation as a means to getting what you want is common and probably instinctual. How will this understanding help you succeed in sales? It will help because when you understand what's going on in the other person's mind you can better prepare and take counter measures of your own - like put on a smiley face. ;sm - by Thomas
Noun: manipulation
Exerting shrewd or devious influence especially for one's own advantage

You may think those examples are manipulation - but they hardly meet the definitional test.

I think the word you are looking for is -

Empathy: Understanding and entering into another's feelings

Manipulative selling (the kind that meets the definition) belongs in a bygone era (Sandler is a prime example.) Some still use it - but savvy, experienced buyers (both B-to-B and B-to-C) see it a mile away. It is both irritating and unprofessional. I make it a point to play with those I encounter who are dumb enough to use manipulative selling. It's fun to turn it around on them and trip them up. - by Consultant
Have you ever put on a smile when meeting a prospective buyer because you wanted the prospect to lower their guard. That is manipulative in nature.

Have you ever worn certain clothes because of how that might influence another person's opinion of you? That is manipulative in nature.

Manipulation as a means to getting what you want is common and probably instinctual. How will this understanding help you succeed in sales? It will help because when you understand what's going on in the other person's mind you can better prepare and take counter measures of your own - like put on a smiley face. ;sm
I have stapled in my brief case a card..

SMILE
BE SINCERE
TAKE THE FIRST STEP

I'm being Manipulative with this for sure. thmbp2;

Aloha... :cool: - by rattus58
Manipulate has many definitions.
1. to manage or influence skillfully, esp. in an unfair manner: to manipulate people's feelings. 2.to handle, manage, or use, esp. with skill, in some process of treatment or performance 3.to adapt or change (accounts, figures, etc.) to suit one's purpose or advantage.

Now while it does have a negative connotation it doesn't mean that it has to be in a negative way. People just usually assume that it is. - by jrboyd
Manipulate has many definitions.
1. to manage or influence skillfully, esp. in an unfair manner: to manipulate people's feelings. 2.to handle, manage, or use, esp. with skill, in some process of treatment or performance 3.to adapt or change (accounts, figures, etc.) to suit one's purpose or advantage.

Now while it does have a negative connotation it doesn't mean that it has to be in a negative way. People just usually assume that it is.
Great Point.... thmbp2; sn;

Aloha... :cool: - by rattus58
I have said to a prospect; "I do not blame you from being skeptical them say back; "I'm not skeptical ..."

I have said to someone in public, "I can't blame you for arguing ..." and had them defend themselves by saying "I am not arguing!"

The meaning or words, the study of semantics and the like, while interesting, have little to do with what it is we do when we do what we do.

Who cares if we do not agree with the meaning of a word, do we know what to do when the prospect does object, display skepticism, not explain in full what is on his/her mind or when we think we have uncovered an opportunity that can be expressed as a benefit but we are not sure ... ?

This site, like many, fails to define what sales skills are.

Now we are "arguing" about the meaning or words that do not have any direct bearing on what skills we use.

Clearly, there is an issue in the sales profession when it comes to understanding what selling skills are. And, when you mention SMILING, that is not a skill that is specific to selling, as all business people smile (at least the happy ones).

If we could define what we do, we can get into some serious discussions. This and other sites would become interesting indeed.

Just an insight ... - by Gold Calling
Have you ever put on a smile when meeting a prospective buyer because you wanted the prospect to lower their guard. That is manipulative in nature.

Have you ever worn certain clothes because of how that might influence another person's opinion of you? That is manipulative in nature.
I'm going to disagree that those examples are manipulation. There is nothing manipulative about putting ones' best foot forward. People smile when talking to their kids, their spouse, their neighbor at the mailbox...it's no different; that's not manipulation, it's trying to be human within the scope of social norms.

I just don't buy it. To me, "manipulation" signifies something far more negative than smiling at your prospect. - by Skip Anderson
I'm going to disagree that those examples are manipulation. There is nothing manipulative about putting ones' best foot forward. People smile when talking to their kids, their spouse, their neighbor at the mailbox...it's no different; that's not manipulation, it's trying to be human within the scope of social norms.
In the circles I travel manipulation is about intention. If your intention for smiling is to attempt to lower your prospect's guard then that is manipulation.

If your intention for wearing certain clothes is to attempt to influence another person's opinion of you then that is manipulation. - by Thomas
If we could define what we do, we can get into some serious discussions. This and other sites would become interesting indeed.

Just an insight ...
What is your definition for what we do? What are you defining as sales skills? - by Thomas
What is your definition for what we do? What are you defining as sales skills?
I view that line of questioning as pertinent and honest. There is also little doubt that Gold Calling can provide answers.

But the honest, and perhaps pertinent, question in my mind is Why? Why is Thomas seemingly coming from a whole different place on this topic?

Sometimes that's how I look at these threads. Sort of like the topic on top of the topic. - by Ace Coldiron
I view that line of questioning as pertinent and honest. There is also little doubt that Gold Calling can provide answers.
Those are honest questions.

But the honest, and perhaps pertinent, question in my mind is Why? Why is Thomas seemingly coming from a whole different place on this topic?
Why am I coming from a whole different place? GC brought it up, I'm just asking for his perspective. - by Thomas
To answer the question earlier on what we do its simple. We influence people to make decisions that in reality our for are personal gain. Yes, the service product may help the client greatly, but why are we in sales? To make money. Salespeople work to long of hours and put up with to much rejection to make an average paycheck. So realistically manipulation, or influencing a person's decision for personal gain is exactly what we do. We shouldn't be focusing on what we do, we should focus on what can we do to do it better though. - by jrboyd
In the circles I travel manipulation is about intention. If your intention for smiling is to attempt to lower your prospect's guard then that is manipulation.
Honestly, I just don't get it. I act a certain way to get my daughter to lower her guard. I act a certain way in delicate situations to get my wife to lower her guard. I want prospects to lower their guard, so will try to make them comfortable so they willingly do so.

What's so evil about getting people, including prospects, to lower their guard? This is somewhat shocking to me, quite frankly. - by Skip Anderson
Honestly, I just don't get it. I act a certain way to get my daughter to lower her guard. I act a certain way in delicate situations to get my wife to lower her guard. I want prospects to lower their guard, so will try to make them comfortable so they willingly do so.

What's so evil about getting people, including prospects, to lower their guard? This is somewhat shocking to me, quite frankly.
I wasn't saying that all manipulation was evil. I was saying that people manipulate others all the time and that goes for prospective customers too so be prepared. - by Thomas
So let me go a bit off the deep end here ...

I partied with some old friends last night and I meet you for the first time wearing a frown and obviously in a grumpy mood because I had a crappy commute getting to your office. I'm dressed in jeans with my shirt tail out and it's obvious I didn't shave today. I slept in and just didn't want to get all dressed up just for you.

But I'm being 'myself' right? I'm not being the least bit manipulative.

But would you be able to focus on anything I said? Would you trust me? Have confidence that I knew anything about anything?
I'd be lucky if you didn't toss me out on my ear.

Professional selling is helping people make purchasing decisions that are in their best interest and if we smile and dress nicely as a entree to building trust, I hardly consider that being manipulative. Nor is studying up on your customer's financials, their business, or asking around about the prospect you're going to call on. - by AdirondackKid
I wasn't saying that all manipulation was evil. I was saying that people manipulate others all the time and that goes for prospective customers too so be prepared.
Be prepared for what and what form would preparation take?

And--once I prepared, exactly how would that benefit me? - by Ace Coldiron
Be prepared for what and what form would preparation take?

And--once I prepared, exactly how would that benefit me?
JR said it best in another post:
Buyers are liars. This kind of goes back to the manipulation post. Buyers are trying to influence the outcome of the sale to their advantage by telling white lies. I know you see it in the car sales industry a lot. Customer comes in with a trade worth at MOST 13000 dollars and tells you "XYZ Dealership was offering me 19 thousand for it." Buyers are human, and want the best deal possible, so they may tell you something that's not completely truthful to get their desired outcome.
Be prepared by understanding that it happens and work out ahead of time how you want to respond. - by Thomas
As sales professionals, we influence and pursuade everyday. These are positives, as what we're selling will hopefully benefit our customers.

If you're selling things that won't benefit them (but you're telling them they will) or if you're doing anything that you might not want them to find out about or would lose the sale if they knew, you're probably in dangerous territory.

Manipulation is a negative tool. Helping people make up their minds is a service.

Stephen - by sfrenkel
So let me go a bit off the deep end here ...

I partied with some old friends last night and I meet you for the first time wearing a frown and obviously in a grumpy mood because I had a crappy commute getting to your office. I'm dressed in jeans with my shirt tail out and it's obvious I didn't shave today. I slept in and just didn't want to get all dressed up just for you.

But I'm being 'myself' right? I'm not being the least bit manipulative.

But would you be able to focus on anything I said? Would you trust me? Have confidence that I knew anything about anything?
I'd be lucky if you didn't toss me out on my ear.

Professional selling is helping people make purchasing decisions that are in their best interest and if we smile and dress nicely as a entree to building trust, I hardly consider that being manipulative. Nor is studying up on your customer's financials, their business, or asking around about the prospect you're going to call on.
Let me see if I have this right. Controlling your actions and behaviors in an effort to influence an outcome or produce a particular result isn't manipulation? - by Thomas
As sales professionals, we influence and pursuade everyday. These are positives, as what we're selling will hopefully benefit our customers.

If you're selling things that won't benefit them (but you're telling them they will) or if you're doing anything that you might not want them to find out about or would lose the sale if they knew, you're probably in dangerous territory.

Manipulation is a negative tool. Helping people make up their minds is a service.

Stephen
It is not the first time that the subject of "manipulation" has hit this forum, nor the first time it took the direction of semantics. In my view, dictionary definitions have to take a back seat to CONTEXT. A popular context for usage of the word "manipulation" is certainly negative. Manipulating the wiring on the back of our home entertainment center to make it more accessible, or manipulating pizza dough to make a better crust, or manipulating in gentle relationship issues with loved ones and friends, ARE DIFFERENT CONTEXTS.

We don't walk around with Webster in our hands.

In the context of ethics discussions that cover manipulation, I believe it is important to stay in context. And IN that context that I believe you are drawing from, I agree with you completely. - by Ace Coldiron
Let me see if I have this right. Controlling your actions and behaviors in an effort to influence an outcome or produce a particular result isn't manipulation?
I apologize for answering a question with a questiion, but are you discussing from the perspective of semantics, or the perspective of right or wrong?

If it is only the former, what is the value of seeking a pure definition or pure examples? The terms and language we use face to face with a prospect are much more important than the language and definitions we use for discussion here.

If everybody here finally united with the same definition, how does that help us improve our skills and our success rate in selling?

Sorry again--that was three questions - by Ace Coldiron
Hi Ace....

I'm beginning to understand this subject a little and for what little I understand, I agree with your summation...

Question... Don't we as sales people maneuver ourselves and our clients to the best of our abilities through word usage and offers to motivate them into the branding chute... so to speak.... shds;

Aloha... :cool: - by rattus58
If we could define what we do, we can get into some serious discussions. This and other sites would become interesting indeed.

Just an insight ...
What is your definition for what we do? What are you defining as sales skills? - by Thomas
I apologize for answering a question with a questiion, but are you discussing from the perspective of semantics, or the perspective of right or wrong?

If it is only the former, what is the value of seeking a pure definition or pure examples? The terms and language we use face to face with a prospect are much more important than the language and definitions we use for discussion here.

If everybody here finally united with the same definition, how does that help us improve our skills and our success rate in selling?

Sorry again--that was three questions
Both I reckon. When the same word has a different meaning for everyone that makes it hard to communicate. If you live in a world where what I call manipulation is "wrong" and I don't that makes it hard to communicate too because beliefs get in the way. If everyone had a more clear idea of what was going on around them they could make better decisions improve their success rate in selling. - by Thomas
Question... Don't we as sales people maneuver ourselves and our clients to the best of our abilities through word usage and offers to motivate them into the branding chute... so to speak.... shds;
That's what I'm talking about. msnwnk; - by Thomas
Hi Ace....

I'm beginning to understand this subject a little and for what little I understand, I agree with your summation...

Question... Don't we as sales people maneuver ourselves and our clients to the best of our abilities through word usage and offers to motivate them into the branding chute... so to speak.... shds;

Aloha... :cool:
Yes.

Part of good communication is effective communication.

Part of effective communication is communication that get's things done.

Here's something interesting. "Maneuver" is a strategic term much more than a tactics term. Strategy is about having things in place, or putting them in place in advance of tactics. When a salesperson has IN PLACE conditions of mutual trust and respect, then tactics like "word usage" will blend naturally into a selling or motivating process.

I seldom use the word rapport, because I think mutual trust and respect has a better shelf life during a selling process of any duration. - by Ace Coldiron
If you live in a world where what I call manipulation is "wrong" and I don't that makes it hard to communicate too because beliefs get in the way. If everyone had a more clear idea of what was going on around them they could make better decisions improve their success rate in selling.
But how would the world I live in effect how you see the world and how you choose to run your business?

In my case when I express my views, those views to me are literal mostly---things I actually see day by day. They are from real eyeglass lenses, not the lens of metaphoric expression. I can't change what I see through my eyes to make it fit another person's paridigm. - by Ace Coldiron
But how would the world I live in effect how you see the world and how you choose to run your business?

In my case when I express my views, those views to me are literal mostly---things I actually see day by day. They are from real eyeglass lenses, not the lens of metaphoric expression. I can't change what I see through my eyes to make it fit another person's paridigm.
My business is selling. When people walk into my office they bring in their own private world of perception. If you can't understand where they are coming from you are at a huge disadvantage. - by Thomas
My business is selling. When people walk into my office they bring in their own private world of perception. If you can't understand where they are coming from you are at a huge disadvantage.
Okay. Obviously my business is selling too. What if my understanding of where they are coming from differed from yours? Would that put me at a disadvantage do you suppose?

Better yet, let's put the cart before the horse and I'll make this bold but very honest statement. Let's start with "disadvantage" and work backwards. I don't feel any disadvantage, my results over the years don't reflect disadvantage, and I rarely find myself in a disadvantageous state in a sales interview. Would that mean, logically, that I have a very firm understanding of "where they are coming from"?

Now, having worked backwards, let's pose that same question. What if my understanding of where they are coming from differed from yours? Then what?

Assuming I'm telling the truth--which I am. - by Ace Coldiron
Okay. Obviously my business is selling too. What if my understanding of where they are coming from differed from yours? Would that put me at a disadvantage do you suppose?
The only perceptions that need to be in harmony are those between the seller and the buyer and the buyer has the last word on what is or isn't in harmony. - by Thomas
To answer the question earlier on what we do its simple. We influence people to make decisions that in reality our for are personal gain. Yes, the service product may help the client greatly, but why are we in sales? To make money. Salespeople work to long of hours and put up with to much rejection to make an average paycheck. So realistically manipulation, or influencing a person's decision for personal gain is exactly what we do. We shouldn't be focusing on what we do, we should focus on what can we do to do it better though.
This is such a great post. thmbp2; - by Thomas
The only perceptions that need to be in harmony are those between the seller and the buyer and the buyer has the last word on what is or isn't in harmony.
Okay, let's talk about one of your perceptions. On this thread you said that JR "said it best" when he said "Buyers are liars."

Is that a perception, a belief that you would want to be in harmony with the prospect if you expect to make a sale? How would you and the prospect go about laying that perception on the table to display the harmony?

Isn't that sort of like saying "Alright, Mr. Prospect, we both agree that you're a liar, let's move forward."? - by Ace Coldiron
Customers are just like sales people. They will say or do what they feel is in the best interest for themselves to influence the outcome of the sale. Now it can be an outright lie, or it can be a half-truth, but they do what they believe will get a good deal. Do you call the customer a liar? No. Do you infer they are lying? No. Just don't take everything they say at full face value. - by jrboyd
Customers are just like sales people. They will say or do what they feel is in the best interest for themselves to influence the outcome of the sale. Now it can be an outright lie, or it can be a half-truth, but they do what they believe will get a good deal. Do you call the customer a liar? No. Do you infer they are lying? No. Just don't take everything they say at full face value.
I'm sorry.... I might be unethical for believing that a contractor can provide a bid without including some major part of the required contract and saying that if they move forward today with this they'll throw it in free... but I TOTALLY REJECT this notion that a salesperson will say or do anything to influence the outcome of the sale. This is not professionalism ON ANY LEVEL. Anyone who believes this has a very jaded opinion of sales professionals in my mind and though there are those I'm sure that engage in this type of behavior, I REJECT THIS AS A NORM. - by rattus58
Customers are just like sales people. They will say or do what they feel is in the best interest for themselves to influence the outcome of the sale. Now it can be an outright lie, or it can be a half-truth, but they do what they believe will get a good deal.
I work with this:

Some customers are just like some sales people. Some of both will say or do what they feel is in the best interest for themselves to influence the outcome of the sale. With some it can be an outright lie, or it can be a half-truth, but they do what they believe will get a good deal.

Neither your paragraph nor the paragraph I ammended, which I think is more accurate, would weigh heavy in my own philosophy of selling. Perhaps a footnote, that's all.

JR, you're in a field that has been given a bad rap--unfairly--for years. All that stereotyping--when the fact is there are some great professionals selling cars. But not everybody sees the world of selling through your eyes. I don't. To each their own.

I've been accused like some others of self-congratulating statements. So I avoid saying too much about myself and my results because I don't need the flak. But I'll put on my coat of armor just to make a point. My closing ratio is 98.5 percent and has been near that for the last fifteen years. In my field a good closing ratio is slightly over 60 percent, and the average about 40 percent. Yogi Berra said it ain't bragging if you can do it. I say that to you because you are proud of your sales record and rightly so--it is to your credit. But I'm speaking here as a consumate pro, and I'm simply saying that I do not focus on the juxtaposing of lies--seller and buyer. It has no top of mind awareness for me. - by Ace Coldiron
I'm sorry.... I might be unethical for believing that a contractor can provide a bid without including some major part of the required contract and saying that if they move forward today with this they'll throw it in free... but I TOTALLY REJECT this notion that a salesperson will say or do anything to influence the outcome of the sale. This is not professionalism ON ANY LEVEL. Anyone who believes this has a very jaded opinion of sales professionals in my mind and though there are those I'm sure that engage in this type of behavior, I REJECT THIS AS A NORM.
Bravo, Tom!...Exactly. - by Ace Coldiron
And I agree with ace. It shouldn't be on the top of any ones mind. And no not every customer does lie. The point I am trying to get across is that sales people shouldn't be surprised when a customer does in fact lie. If they do don't be surprised. If they don't then no need to worry.

And Rattus I didn't mean that a salesperson will do ANYTHING to get a sale, but we as a salesforce do have alot of unfair advantages over the average consumer that we do use. Is it unethincal to use NLP to influence a person subconciously to align with you? By having them align with you it doesn't guarantee the sale but it does make them more receptive to listen to what you have to say, and by doing that in-advertantly does effect the outcome of the sales.

And again, this is a subject that can be looked at differently dependant on what sales industry you are in. One of the few subjects in my opinion. But as you can see it doesn't matter what your believes are, because if you dont earn a customers trust then you dont get the sale. Great thing about sales is that the liars, cheats and other non-ethical sales people usually don't last long. They may have a good run, but eventually it catches up to them. But again I believe that "Customer's lying" should be seen more as an objection mind frame, because not all customer's do lie, but what do you do when you know they are. We can debate about if they do or if they don't forever and go back and forth or we can concede that not all customers are liars yet not all of them tell the truth. So how can you overcome a customer's lie and not jeopordize a sale? - by jrboyd
Okay, let's talk about one of your perceptions. On this thread you said that JR "said it best" when he said "Buyers are liars."

Is that a perception, a belief that you would want to be in harmony with the prospect if you expect to make a sale? How would you and the prospect go about laying that perception on the table to display the harmony?

Isn't that sort of like saying "Alright, Mr. Prospect, we both agree that you're a liar, let's move forward."?
Like the prospect I bring to the table my own set of perceptions. One of those perceptions is that "Buyer's are Liars". This perception helps me be realistic in what I can expect from prospects as far as open and honest communication. I can expect that most prospects from the start will be guarded and not completely honest or straightforward. This may be a trust issue, it may be a manipulation issue or it may be something else. Whatever the reason the status quo is the same - most prospects from the start will be guarded and not completely honest or straightforward. My job is to get beyond the status quo. - by Thomas
Like the prospect I bring to the table my own set of perceptions. One of those perceptions is that "Buyer's are Liars". This perception helps me be realistic in what I can expect from prospects as far as open and honest communication. I can expect that most prospects from the start will be guarded and not completely honest or straightforward. This may be a trust issue, it may be a manipulation issue or it may be something else. Whatever the reason the status quo is the same - most prospects from the start will be guarded and not completely honest or straightforward. My job is to get beyond the status quo.
If you are getting results and are advancing in your career in earnings and personal satisfaction, then of course there is no reason to change your perspective.

In my life I learned a long time ago that people will trust me when I trust them. I learned it, but when I finally assimilated that way of being, I believed it. Are there exceptions? Yes..but I find so few that I would never sway from what I believed, because frankly, it has contibuted heavily to a succssful career. - by Ace Coldiron
In my life I learned a long time ago that people will trust me when I trust them. I learned it, but when I finally assimilated that way of being, I believed it. Are there exceptions? Yes..but I find so few that I would never sway from what I believed, because frankly, it has contibuted heavily to a succssful career.
Nothing I've said conflicts with that. Do you agree that most people when first meeting a salesperson, a stranger, will be guarded and not completely honest or straightforward? - by Thomas
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