Home > Social Influence > Can You Sell Without Manipulation?

Can You Sell Without Manipulation?

We are told to listen to the customer then offered techniques regarding overcoming their objections.

One major difference between sales experts and novices is knowing which "no" to ignore and which one to acknowledge. It seems that by moving a prospect from a "no" to a "yes" we are manipulating them.

If we are not manipulating them, then how would the definition of manipulation look different? - by John Voris
We are told to listen to the customer then offered techniques regarding overcoming their objections.

One major difference between sales experts and novices is knowing which "no" to ignore and which one to acknowledge. It seems that by moving a prospect from a "no" to a "yes" we are manipulating them.

If we are not manipulating them, then how would the definition of manipulation look different?
Selling is not about overcoming objections in spite of the misguidance on the topic that permeates sales training today. Good sales are effortless, as strategy expert Gary Gagliardi has said. Winning a sale with a great deal of effort might give you a sense of pride, but it merely shows limited ability. If you're presenting a proposal that invites objections, you are not engaged in a good selling process. Finding ways to manipulate the customer when your are positioning yourself poorly is a poor way to try and win sales. - by Gary A Boye
Selling is not about overcoming objections in spite of the misguidance on the topic that permeates sales training today. Good sales are effortless, as strategy expert Gary Gagliardi has said. winning a sale with a great deal of effort might give you a sense of pride, but it merely shows limited ability. If you're presenting a proposal that invites objections, you are not engaged in a good selling process. Finding ways to manipulate the customer when your are positioning yourself poorly is a poor way to try and win sales.
Thank you. This is an excellent beginning.

Your major points are:

1 Selling is not about overcoming objections

2 Good sales are effortless

3 Unusual effort merely shows limited ability.

4 The lack of effective preparation invites objections

I think this is an accurate interpretation hpy3;

I often find that experienced sales people such as yourself, point to the distinctions between traditional sales training and the reality of selling. I feel this contra information is crucial for those entering sales and their future sustained success in sales.

You have shared what I would consider "advanced" advice that many new to sales would take years to discover. IMO this is very helpful and offers a solid foundation for us all in sales development.

Could this also apply to door-to-door cold-call selling? - by John Voris
Thank you. This is an excellent beginning.

Your major points are:

1 Selling is not about overcoming objections

2 Good sales are effortless

3 Unusual effort merely shows limited ability.

4 The lack of effective preparation invites objections

I think this is accuratehpy3;

However, could this also apply to door-to-door cold-call selling? It seems the objection rate would increase at no fault of the sales rep.
I quote Gagliardi again:
"Only you can create the situation where the sale is lost.
Only the customer can make the purchase."
- by Gary A Boye
WHY HAS ONE TO MANIPULATE TO GET SALES? Isn't manipulating similar to cheating or deceiving. Selling is telling the truth. Explain and relate. Answer the questions and provided there is a NEED and the product justifies, the customer will buy, ONLY IF YOU HELP HIM TO BUY by clarifying his doubts and fears of something new and parting of his money. - by Thiruselvam K
Selling is manipulation! Plain and simple.

From childhood to the grave we live on a planet where 6+ billion people manipulate each other in one form or another. Whether it be to eat your veggies or where you want to be buried at the cemetery and what direction you want to face or how close to the road do you want to be.

One way or another you or your client made a choice to buy on what was presented to either of you by someone else. Whether it be a formal presentation, price in a store, product recommendation, service offered or what the salesperson implied.

Everything about sales, from b2b to b2c is and has always been about getting the prospect to buy.

You can wine them and dine them you're still trying to manipulate them.

You can offer better price or services which is still trying to manipulate them.

You can listen to all their objects and by you overcoming their objections you are still manipulating them.

Going to a business to present what you offer or follow up on is manipulation.

When you walk into a store to buy what persuaded you to make that purchase? Was the multiple sizes, prices, packaging, discounts, what was it?

It doesn't matter, you were manipulated to buy.

Why are so many sales people and trainers afraid to face this? This is selling.

People need to get over this politically correct approach to selling.

Here's a clue. NOBODY WANTS TO PART WITH THEIR MONEY!
It's your job to show them why they should. - by ThePromotionalGuy
It's perhaps a truism that manipulation is always present in the human experience. So is breathing. So is blood flow. Can we then say that selling is breathing? That selling is blood flow? The presence of something does not define an activity.

To define selling as manipulation is off the mark. The question is can we sell without manipulation. - by Gary A Boye
Hey Gary,
To define selling as manipulation is off the mark. The question is can we sell without manipulation.
After 41+ years of selling around the globe my answer is, Nope!

But let's discuss who really is manipulated. The salesperson. - by ThePromotionalGuy
Hey Gary,


After 41+ years of selling around the globe my answer is, Nope!

But let's discuss who really is manipulated. The salesperson.
That infers then that that we cannot sell without being manipulated. Is that correct?

I took the original question to mean manipulation by the salesperson. I believe others here did also--based on the responses. - by Gary A Boye
That infers then that that we cannot sell without being manipulated. Is that correct?
Marketing, Advertising, Packaging, Color Schemes, Effective Copy, Compelling headlines, Letter sequence programs, Customer Acquisition programs, Customer Reactivation Programs, cold calling, warm calling, Multiple choices, hotsheets, toll positions, SEO & so on...

Manipulation in and of itself is not bad. The intent of the seller and getting what they want, rather than what the client wants first is bad.

But no one will ever buy anything unless they were first influenced by some form of manipulation prior. Even Cialdini, Ziglar, Hopkins, Kennedy, Halbert, and Underhill teach this. - by ThePromotionalGuy
But no one will ever buy anything unless they were first influenced by some form of manipulation prior. Even Cialdini, Ziglar, Hopkins, Kennedy, Halbert, and Underhill teach this.

Actually Zig Ziglar has recently voiced an opposite view:
Manipulation self-destructs the individual doing the manipulating. - Zig Ziglar
You can reference his entire commentary on the topic of Motivation, Manipulation, and Leadership at:

http://www.ziglar.com/newsletter/?tag=vacation

Cialdini's work focused primarily on influence which is not synonymous with manipulation.

Paco Underhill addresses influence also, and spends very litttle energy referring to manipulation. The thrust of his work, based on his observations, is that sellers must conform to buyer behavioral trends and idiosyncrocies rather than trying to get buyers to conform to what the seller wants.

I would agree that what Tom Hopkins has taught is somewhat manipulative. - by Gary A Boye
Marketing, Advertising, Packaging, Color Schemes, Effective Copy, Compelling headlines, Letter sequence programs, Customer Acquisition programs, Customer Reactivation Programs, cold calling, warm calling, Multiple choices, hotsheets, toll positions, SEO & so on...

Manipulation in and of itself is not bad. The intent of the seller and getting what they want, rather than what the client wants first is bad.

But no one will ever buy anything unless they were first influenced by some form of manipulation prior. Even Cialdini, Ziglar, Hopkins, Kennedy, Halbert, and Underhill teach this.
Often where there is a dispute, it is a matter of threading the linguistic needle with a frayed end.

According to the Oxford American Dictionary:

Manipulation: to manage to one's own advantage, esp.unfairly or unscrupulously.

Influence: the sense imperceptible or indirect action exerted to cause changes...

Manipulation demands self-serving intent. However, if we are to be very specific, a sales event can move from manipulation to influence and prospect compliance within moments.

Imagine being at a gas station and someone asks you the best direction to a hardware store. Assuming there are more than one way to get there, you choose what you feel is best and share this information.

Is telling that person the best route manipulation or influence? Would there be a better word description?

Now imagine being a sales rep at a car lot and someone asks you the best car for their needs. Is giving that person your opinion of the best car for that person manipulation? Would there be a better word description?

For many, manipulation is a tool to be avoided. - by John Voris
  • One definition of "Manipulation" is "Exerting influence, especially for one's own advantage".
  • One definition of "Influence" is "An action exerted by a person or thing with such power on another to cause change".
  • One definition of "Advantage" is "A benefit resulting from some event or action". Many believe that salespeople and customers can both benefit from a sale - the customer gets what he/she wants (e.g.; intended benefits) and the salesperson gets what he/she wants (e.g.; credit for the sale).
A.) Does this mean when a salesperson acts with the intention of causing a change which will benefit both salesperson and customer that the salesperson is selling with manipulation? If that is selling with manipulation would that be viewed as an acceptable sales practice?

B.) How about when the salesperson's intentions are "self-serving" and not in the customer's best interests? (Rhetorical Question) - by Jeff Blackwell
  • One definition of "Manipulation" is "Exerting influence, especially for one's own advantage".
  • One definition of "Influence" is "An action exerted by a person or thing with such power on another to cause change".
  • One definition of "Advantage" is "A benefit resulting from some event or action". Many believe that salespeople and customers can both benefit from a sale - the customer gets what he/she wants (e.g.; intended benefits) and the salesperson gets what he/she wants (e.g.; credit for the sale).
A.) Does this mean when a salesperson acts with the intention of causing a change which will benefit both salesperson and customer that the salesperson is selling with manipulation? If that is selling with manipulation would that be viewed as an acceptable sales practice?

B.) How about when the salesperson's intentions are "self-serving" and not in the customer's best interests? (Rhetorical Question)
We must never forget that words are merely symbols. Many such symbols are not even directly translateable from one language to another. Everybody has their own assemblage point for what is right and what is wrong, determined by many factors.

I can respond only for myself. A.) would depend on what meaning we attach to the word symbol "manipulation." B.) My personal intentions would not fall into the category/description in that example. To address the original question, I personally can sell without that intention. It's possible that some people can't, but that slightly modifies the context of this discussion.

Rather than fetter on the semantics of "manipulation", would it not advance this discussion if members described what they would do and what they would not do to make a sale? - by Gary A Boye
  • One definition of "Manipulation" is "Exerting influence, especially for one's own advantage".
  • One definition of "Influence" is "An action exerted by a person or thing with such power on another to cause change".
  • One definition of "Advantage" is "A benefit resulting from some event or action". Many believe that salespeople and customers can both benefit from a sale - the customer gets what he/she wants (e.g.; intended benefits) and the salesperson gets what he/she wants (e.g.; credit for the sale).
A.) Does this mean when a salesperson acts with the intention of causing a change which will benefit both salesperson and customer that the salesperson is selling with manipulation? If that is selling with manipulation would that be viewed as an acceptable sales practice?

B.) How about when the salesperson's intentions are "self-serving" and not in the customer's best interests? (Rhetorical Question)
I appreciate your willingness to tackle the linguistic jungle with its abundant dangers lurking everywhere. :un

You are truly brave.

____________________________________________

When dealing with abstract concepts, language definition ultimately becomes a living tautology. That means the answer is in the question.

What is the definition of "manipulation."
The answer is "manipulation."

This answer occurs after exhausting all of the associative words with "manipulation" and finally returns back to "manipulation."

Your definition of manipulation refers to "influence." If you look up the word "influence" you will find it also refers to the word "interference" and "interference" refers back to "manipulation."

This phenomenon becomes very clear when using the Oxford English Dictionary, where the reader can follow the changes of meaning over centuries for every word.

This is why when debating abstractions always begin with an agreed definition, otherwise arguments become circular with no end in sight.

______________________________________________

If

1 manipulation is influence
2 influence is advantage
3 advantage is benefit

Therefore: Manipulation is beneficial?

I certainly understand your direction but this is again a misleading symptom of a tautology.

______________________________________________

Your first definition was best of the three and embraces the spirit of the question. - by John Voris
We must never forget that words are merely symbols. Many such symbols are not even directly translatable from one language to another.
Everybody has their own assemblage point for what is right and what is wrong, determined by many factors.
B.) My personal intentions would not fall into the category/description in that example. To address the original question, I personally can sell without that intention.
Hello Gary. I believe we are on the same page.

Rather than fetter on the semantics of "manipulation", would it not advance this discussion if members described what they would do and what they would not do to make a sale?
In my opinion, it is rather difficult to advance any discussion without agreement first on what is specifically being discussed (i.e.; manipulation, influence, etc.).

Your first definition was best of the three and embraces the spirit of the question.
Hello John. Thank you for the clarification.

In my experience with discussions on "Manipulation" and "Selling" more times than not those who view "Manipulation" in a negative light present or hold the perspective that the salesperson's intentions are "self-serving" and not in the customer's best interests.

The absence or suspension of such bias, at least for the sake of discussion, can open the door to the presentation of what some perceive as an equally valid perspective such as that presented by ThePromotionalGuy. - by Jeff Blackwell
Without manipulation you will get the kick ins but that's it.You will be an order taker. - by smashy
Without manipulation you will get the kick ins but that's it.You will be an order taker.
What is your definition of an "order taker" in is that a good or bad thing--in your opinion? - by Gary A Boye
Hi Gary,thanks for the q.

I hope I didnt come across wrong there.:un

Ok order taker.

You present, you give a price the customer says" Ok thats good ill go with that"
Or they say "leave that with us ,we are getting 2 more quotes and well get back to you" Ok you say.

Here no manipulation.

But surely a salesman not an order taker has to manipulate the customers mind?

" "May I ask what your hoping to achieve by getting those quotes is it a cheaper product etc etc."

"The thing is if you google kitchen replacement doors you will get 333000 results there are literally 100s of companies out there all selling the same sort of product at around the same prices you couldspend the next year getting quotes and still be none the wiser.

Can I ask you if we were having a free draw and you won and it was these doors free would you be happy? "Yes" ok so its a budget thing etc etc well this is what I can do ......

Would you agree Gary that I am manipulating the customer to get my way? Good Luck Pete

Great site you are moderating thmbp2; - by smashy

Would you agree Gary that I am manipulating the customer to get my way? Good Luck Pete

Great site you are moderating thmbp2;
Thanks, Pete.

I can't give you an honest answer here because I have never asked the type of questions you are exampling. However I have made over 50,000 presentations in my career.

I do know that I Influence people to buy. I would not say I Persuade them.

Let's put it in this paraphrase: Manipulators manipulate. That said, I would not include myself among them in discussions.

Please understand I'm not setting myself up as a model here. I'm simply a product of my own experience and observations. However, when I mention things like "up front" and "setting the stage", I do think it reveals the proactive style I believe in. Much of the material here reflects reactive styles.

Let's take a very basic well known model for almost all presentations which you may be familiar with:

Tell them what you're going to tell them.
Tell it to them.
Tell them what you've told them.

So simple, it's often ignored. But it transcends natural resistance by showing people you are prepared to meet their criteria. It will often make the very thought of your competition pale by comparison.

Proactive--not reactive. - by Gary A Boye
Hi everyone,

I completely disagree that a salesperson needs to manipulate to sell.

Manipulators are manipulators, whether in sales, teaching, law, medicine, politics, or wherever.

Most people are procrastinators, by nature. More so when they have to part with money and buy things, esp. higher cost things that they can defer (- sometimes, even things they can't defer).

A good sale is made when the client gets more than her/ his money's worth. More the merrier.

How can a seller give more than money's worth to the buyer and still make a profit? This is where economies of scale comes in.

Let's say I'm a professional and need a pen, to write. How much is a pen worth to me? If there are no pens available in the market, I may be willing to pay even $1,000 or more to get one. It is that important to me.

But such a huge demand brings in plenty of manufacturers (sellers) and so, I can buy one even for less than $1. Even at that price, the seller makes his profit.

So, when I buy a pen, I buy the best possible one I like at much less than $1000+, my perceived value of the pen. I don't take much time in taking this decision. Here, both the seller and buyer have a win-win.

You can see that the cost of "manufacture + transport + retailing" has no relevance to my value for the pen. Cost is for the manufacturer to worry about.

When I want to buy a house, my budget and perceived value for it may be much higher than the market price, and so I may not even be willing to buy it at cost price (hypothetically, zero profit). Here, the market size narrows, and if the supply is adequate, selling becomes difficult.

I may procrastinate a lot to buy. If as the seller, you can show me how, by buying now rather than staying in a rented house, I profit in the long run, and show me a way to raise loan to buy it, answering all my doubts and objections, you facilitate my purchase. You're NOT manipulating me, but rather assisting me, assuming you do it genuinely. You're a genuine friend to me. (My first apartment seller was one, to me, and I consult him as a friend, even to this day.)

Good salespeople would be honest human beings They won't attempt to manipulate and sell. They are intelligent solution providers who understand their products and prospects' possible wants & needs, from experience, and attempt to make an honest match, where exists. They will tell the prospect that they better not buy when they are convinced it's not worth for that prospect, to buy, notwithstanding their loss of income. That genuine.

Most buyers can't perceive the value of things, and need genuine facilitators. Good salespeople are just that.

This is where intelligence of good salespersons comes in. If the client won't truly benefit, they won't sell. Period.

Good salespeople should want to be remembered for life, like good teachers and good bosses.

Ganesan. - by ezynes
I revisited this thread because I'm currently doing some writing on the topic.

My thoughts beforehand were very similar to what this member points out.

A person brings his/her very own traits to the profession they choose. Those traits, often inherent, frequently take precedent over the norms, values, protocols, and, prescribed "ethics" of that profession.

Historically, medical doctors take the Hippocratic Oath, which contains the phrase, "First, do no harm." In the past year, a well known physician in my area, while driving intoxicated (a very serious and costly infraction where I live) hit a teen age girl with his vehicle and drove from the scene. She died.

Can I believe that doctor would suspend such despicable behavior while practicing medicine? For me, the answer is NO.

Devious Manipulators manipulate deviously. Thieves steal. Con men con. It's not the role of sales educators to change the world. It's about exploring what works and what doesn't.

On this thread, we've been provided with definitions of "manipulation." Those definitions do not prevent us from running in circles in this discussion. That's why I used another term here: Devious Manipulation.

On that topic: Some is. Some ain't.

He who has never manipulated in life please raise your hand. - by Gary A Boye
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