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The Best List of Manipulative Sales Techniques

For those who want to use them and those who want to avoid them, but don't know what they are, let's put together a list of manipulative sales techniques.

Anyone game? - by Guest
Emotional Buying Triggers. If you can tap into someone's emotions, you're ready to sell something. - by susana
The definitive book on manipulative techniques is "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert B. Cialdini. It is a very good read.

If you have a psychological need for power and control, this book will probably turn you on and feed your neurosis. If you have a healthy ego, you will probably do everything you can to learn how to sell without manipulation.

Cialdini seems to advocate the latter. However, that might be my own biased opinion. - by JacquesWerth
The TO sales system used in auto dealerships is a manipulative sales technique. - by Guest
Yes, the "Take Over" is a very manipulative sales tactic.

As you may recall, I used to own a car dealership. Two of the first things I did was get rid of the TO, and greatly modify the Up system. And, our dealership's profits increased almost immediately.

It is unfortunate for car dealers and their customers that most dealers haven't changed their selling tactics since the 1960s. Lately, some dealers and one car manufacturer (Saturn) have been introducing more modern selling systems - with excellent results. - by JacquesWerth
The most effective manipulative technique in selling is to tell the truth. In life also. - by Gary Boye
The most effective manipulative technique in selling is to tell the truth. In life also.
Ok Gary, I'll bite, how is telling the truth the most effective manipulative technique in selling and life? - by Guest
Ok Gary, I'll bite, how is telling the truth the most effective manipulative technique in selling and life?
It's something I would rather live my life experiencing, rather than intellectualizing. But I'll give you a brief answer, and I'm afraid it will have to suffice.

The truth in our world is very rare, and, because of that, it has the tactical element of surprise. It's been my experience that the surprise, much more often than not, leads to very positive results. In selling, in relationships, and in life.

Just to clarify--by "truth", I'm in the context of honest statements to the best of our knowledge--not the context of the age old philosophical question, "What is truth?' - by Gary Boye
The truth in our world is very rare, and, because of that, it has the tactical element of surprise. It's been my experience that the surprise, much more often than not, leads to very positive results. In selling, in relationships, and in life.
What about that is "Manipulative"? - by Guest
What about that is "Manipulative"?
In strategy, the aforementioned tactical element of surprise is akin to manipulative.

"Manipulative" might mean something else to you, and that's OK. - by Gary Boye
In strategy, the aforementioned tactical element of surprise is akin to manipulative.

"Manipulative" might mean something else to you, and that's OK.
I'm open. What does "Manipulative" mean in strategy? - by Guest
I'm open. What does "Manipulative" mean in strategy?
In order to grasp a concept, it helps to see both the genus and the differentia with regard to comparative concepts. For instance, a dictionary definition of "manipulative" is: devious: using clever, devious ways to control or influence somebody or something. (Encarta)

In strategy, manipulation may or may nor be "devious". The determinants of "control" or "influence" consist of the ways used to advance one's position. Manipulation would be a way or movement to advance a position.

In the post which drew forth your queries, I descibed telling the truth as a form of manipulation within the context of a discussion on selling. Certainly it would not fall under a definition which includes "devious".

Again, the topic is something I would rather live and experience, rather than intellectualize or spend an inordinate amount of time discussing here. - by Gary Boye
The most effective manipulative technique in selling is to tell the truth.
If anybody ever finds a definition of manipulation that sheds light on Gary's statement please post it here. - by Guest
I wish I could invent an Automatic Hair Splitting machine for those poor ignorant people that do not have the aptitude or inclination for this kind of conversation. - by JacquesWerth
If anybody ever finds a definition of manipulation that sheds light on Gary's statement please post it here.
I think Gary is talking about using "Surprise" as a way to manipulate or advance a position and telling the "Truth" is a cause of this surprise. - by Guest
I think Gary is talking about using "Surprise" as a way to manipulate or advance a position and telling the "Truth" is a cause of this surprise.
Yes. I think that summarizes it well.

Many people say that "honesty is its own reward", but that would be a matter for a different discussion. - by Gary Boye
How does the TO technique work? - by Guest
The technique goes something like this... you're working with a salesperson (liner) who lands you on a vehicle. When you've agreed that you'd be interested in talking about a deal the salesperson turns you over to another salesperson (closer). - by Guest
The technique goes something like this... you're working with a salesperson (liner) who lands you on a vehicle. When you've agreed that you'd be interested in talking about a deal the salesperson turns you over to another salesperson (closer).
And if the closer can't close you, then the "sales manager" Takes Over and then the General Manger, and then the Dealer.

Of course, most people leave before the Closer is fininshed hammering them. No matter when they leave, hardley anyone ever comes back. - by JacquesWerth
Jacques in the past you've suggested that a large number of salespeople are currently employing manipulative sales techniques. Which manipulative sales techniques are those? Can you be more specific? - by Guest
Jacques in the past you've suggested that a large number of salespeople are currently employing manipulative sales techniques. Which manipulative sales techniques are those? Can you be more specific?
Here are some of the ways most salespeople manipulate their prospects. It is not a complete list.

Enticing, Persuading, Convincing, Building "Rapport," Overcoming Objections, Most Closing Techniques, Feature and Benefits without Detriments, Exaggeration, Puffery, Positives without Negatives; Half-Truths, Withholding Pertinent Facts, False Enthusiasm.

Note: Rapport is in quotes because most salespeople do not build rapport. Rather, they try to get prospects to like them. - by JacquesWerth
Jacques,

I always built rapport by finding what's going on in 'their world'. That tends to create likeability. My goal wasn't to get them to like me, but to get a good understanding of why I was there.

Susan - by susana
Jacques,
I always built rapport by finding what's going on in 'their world'. That tends to create likeability. My goal wasn't to get them to like me, but to get a good understanding of why I was there. Susan
That is very good.

What most salespeople do not understand is that if all other things are equal (which is impossible) prospects will buy from the salesperson they like best. However, only about three percent of all prospects will make their buying decision based primarily on whether they like salesperson. - by JacquesWerth
That is very good.

What most salespeople do not understand is that if all other things are equal (which is impossible) prospects will buy from the salesperson they like best. However, only about three percent of all prospects will make their buying decision based primarily on whether they like salesperson.
I can't recall when likeability got me a deal. However; listening, good follow up, providing product proof and being likeable have certainly given me the edge in many situations.

Susan - by susana
That is very good.

What most salespeople do not understand is that if all other things are equal (which is impossible) prospects will buy from the salesperson they like best. However, only about three percent of all prospects will make their buying decision based primarily on whether they like salesperson.
In larger sales especially, I wouldn't be suprised to learn that statitistics show a high percentage of prospects won't buy from a salesperson they dislike. - by Guest
In larger sales especially, I wouldn't be suprised to learn that statitistics show a high percentage of prospects won't buy from a salesperson they dislike. ;wi
I think you're right.

However, it would probably be a very small percentage of prospects that make their buying decision (or non-buying decision) primarily on the basis of a salesperson they dislike.

If your "wink" gargoyle suggests that you were replying to Jacques' post on percentage, note how you reframed the syllogistic aspect.

Not apples for apples. - by Gary Boye
And if the closer can't close you, then the "sales manager" Takes Over and then the General Manger, and then the Dealer.

Of course, most people leave before the Closer is fininshed hammering them. No matter when they leave, hardley anyone ever comes back.
I have actually used the TO technique and it does work, maybe its just because I'm new, and I don't see it as manipulitlve, maybe the person you are TOing the customer to will relate better with the customer, or just has more experience than you. I usually have my friend/mentor help me out because he knows way more about the business than me. This has worked on a couple of sales for me. We dont use it as a pressure technique though so maybe its different than what you guys are talking about.

One technique we use is when someone wants to think about buying a car and come back tomorrow we will have them drive the car overnight and that forces them to come back no matter what their decision and gives us another attempt at the sale.
thats just my 2 pennies, enough of my late night rambling. Good night all! - by RyanJ
The subject of manipulation fascinates most salespeople.

If persuading, convincing and other forms of manipulation consistently produced good results salespeople who sell that way would be the highest paid in the business. Most of them are not.

Only 26 percent of the top salespeople that we studied utilize manipulative sales techniques. However, almost all of those that are poor producers utilize manipulation. - by JacquesWerth
Jacques said that the subject of manipulation fascinates most salespeople. In my opinion salespeople are more interested in persuasion and influence. This is because I don't see manipulation as being the same as persuasion and influence. - by Guest
Jacques said that the subject of manipulation fascinates most salespeople. In my opinion salespeople are more interested in persuasion and influence. This is because I don't see manipulation as being the same as persuasion and influence.
Well, you are on the right track.

Persuading and convincing are both manipulative. The whole idea is to get people to change their minds and their behaviors. Influence" is neutral. Whether it is manipulative depends on how you define and use it.

The bottom line is that manipulation causes almost everyone to resist the manipulator. That is why most salespeople that use manipulation find their jobs to be so very frustrating. - by JacquesWerth
All my old schoolfriends [1945-1957] wear casual clothes, they do manual jobs, they act and talk in a manual way, their hobbies are blue collar, most of them have never read a good book, or want to, they have 3 days of stubble on their chins, nicotine on their fingers tips and live in the same small town. They say they get bored easlily, could do with going for a drink and thats them.

It would be cruel exposing them to business people who went to University, cruel to show them millionaires homes and mansions, and hopeless to think they can sell ,or would want to sell something to anyone. Here's the nitty-gritty, they will not pass the 5 second approval test. In sales personal appearance mattters, what you did last year matters, what you did last night matters, and your Face is [or can be[ a worn out tyre.

Passing the BUYERS five second personal approval test, obtains for us admission into offices, an extra long hearing, an invitation to see the factory or works manager, and what we need to remember is that the boss, owner or manager having met us, is WORKING ON PURE INSTINCT. He values his/her own judgement, and you strike him as the sort of person who knows what they are speaking about, you seem convinced this product you have is a winner, and take it from me he/her is more than willing to go along with you for the ride, to check out whatever it is your selling. Why? Curiosity.

You do not need manipulative methods, just kick the ball in the goal and leave. - by Incidentally
You do not need manipulative methods, just kick the ball in the goal and leave.
Playing devilís advocate. It is easier to score with a feint.

My favorite manipulative sales move though is the pen in hand. Where you salesman presents you with a contract explains everything nice a easy like then puts the contract down in front of you and in the same move puts the pen in your hand before you can raise any questions, objections, or get any clarification on what you are signing. You have your name on the dotted line

I love watching this backfire. - by n1i1c2k5
You carry a little money box, your selling encylopedias cost $5000, true value lets say $500. Salesmans commission lets say $850.
* You ask the client does he smoke, the answer is yes, then you guilt trip him by saying "this beautiful set of encylopedias which will aid your sons entrance into Harvard, will only cost you 10 cigarettes a day" and, "are you aware you can save [produce money box] $4.22 cents a day by giving up 10 cigarettes a day, and this sum will pay for these wonderful, red, vellum bound books - that will grace your home for ever". You then drop some coins in the money box, hand it to him and try not to smile?

[2] Mr Lucky Luciano, I can see you want this lovely new Cadillac, its written all over your face, I've told you we will take your old bullet-ridden sedan from you, check it for fingerprints and dynamite wired to the ignition switch and bury it for you in New Jersey, but, we seem to have a slight problem, you've offered £12000 dollars tops, we want $13750, lets say we agree on $13 000 straight, if I phone my manager now, and if he agrees to drop the price to £13000, can we shake hands on it. You then pick up the telephone and speak to a phoney, a guy sat waiting for your call, who says "try and squeeze him for £13250". Either way your betting on a 2-1 shot.

The list is endless, better to keep it clean and straightforward is my motto, anyone need 3 sticks of dynamite, guaranteed not to have been used. - by Incidentally
In retail sales I love to watch the salesman talk to the customer. Show them the bells and whistles of the widget. Tell them how this will change their lives for the better. As has asked for the sale looking the customer in the eyes he says

“Want to go ahead and take this home with you”

(as he asks this question he nods his head up and down)

(I used this when I asked my wife on our first date. She called me on it)

They say “Yes” looking at his visual signal when their mind is screaming at them “NO, I don’t want that stupid widget”

The customer usually walks away with something they did not need, did not want, and probably not coming back.

I think it is so much fun watching people do this kind of CRAP when it is just as easy to be honest and upfront with your customer. - by n1i1c2k5
David Sandler on closing techniques (from an interview in Selling Power magazine c.1990):....

There is nothing wrong with the programs taught by Tom Hopkins, by Zig Ziglar or by Dale Carnegie and other traditional trainers. The problem with those programs is that they're old.......

Everybody knows these programs. Everybody knows the kind of questions Tom Hopkins graduates use. Don't you? Everybody knows how Dale Carnegie trainees repeat your name over and over. Thousands of people have gone through the Xerox selling skills course. Tens of thousands have seen Zig Ziglar on stage, on cable TV and on video. The problem is these training courses have been around for so long that everyone knows your strategy the minute you start talking. So when you tell a customer that the price will go up next week, they'll tell you, "That's the 'impending event' close, isn't it?" How can you win a Super Bowl if the opposing team has a copy of your playbook? - by salesxpert
WE have had thousands of people pass through SalesPractice, and there have been many references to Xerox training, Zig Ziglar, Tom Hopkins, and Dale Carnegie....and David Sandler also. You would be hard pressed to find more than a smidgeon of actual descriptions of any techniques they taught in the posts here--in spite of the fact that this is a sales forum. I seriously doubt that the general public is educated in the work of those authors to the point where they would immediately recognize "techniques" that those courses contained.

I will point out that if you think of clients and prospects as "the opposing team", your chances for long term success in selling are slim regardless of what "techniques" you use. - by Gary A Boye
I have just read this entire thread and I've found it very informative! I'm thinking of writing a book about this very subject quite soon. It will be from specifically 2 angles: The salesperson (using these stragegies - positive and negative effects), and the consumer (being sold to, and how to ensure they get what they want regardless).

It's kind of a self defence book for consumers, at the same time as a handbook for salespeople looking to widen their skills to become aware of the "not so nice" strategies that are out there too.

Here's my addition:

I was shopping in Thailand, and walked into a store to check out the stuff. There was one sales rep in the back of the shop who saw us enter. She kindly walked away from us to allow us the room to enter and browse (good strategy considering the amount of "in your face" selling we'd already encountered that day).

The other sales rep we didn't spot casually walked to the front of the store, and behind us as we came in. TRAPPED!

We were confronted by a friendly staff member at the rear of the shop once we'd walked in, and a less friendly one as we turned to "browse our way out".

They had quite a good double team going on there! I'm sure there are many other examples of similar teamwork out there too. (I've used others in my work to help me sell, but not so overtly as this example).

Has anyone experienced this? - by Dvevwr
If you set an expiration date for a promotion, you have to stick to it. We always had price increases at the start of the year. If somebody buys at 11;59 on the 31st, they get the '06 price. Any time after that, they get the '07 price. If you start moving a line you've set, you lose crediblity.

Susan
Susan, I like the way you say "if" you set an expiration date. Drawing lines in the sand is tantamount to painting yourself into a corner. Professionals rarely do that. There are more creative ways to create urgency and still maintain credibility. However, when forced into the paint yourself in the corner you must maintain credibility by not allowing in after the deadline. - by triadtraining
I was shopping in Thailand, and walked into a store to check out the stuff. There was one sales rep in the back of the shop who saw us enter. She kindly walked away from us to allow us the room to enter and browse (good strategy considering the amount of "in your face" selling we'd already encountered that day).

The other sales rep we didn't spot casually walked to the front of the store, and behind us as we came in. TRAPPED!

We were confronted by a friendly staff member at the rear of the shop once we'd walked in, and a less friendly one as we turned to "browse our way out".

They had quite a good double team going on there! I'm sure there are many other examples of similar teamwork out there too. (I've used others in my work to help me sell, but not so overtly as this example).

Has anyone experienced this?
Thailand is very aggressive when it comes to their sales, however; due to the sheer volume of tourists I believe their strategy is a pure number game. Harass enough customers and eventually someone will say yes. Often when a customer realises the poor quality it's when they've returned back to their country. Their tailors are notorious for it. - by MrCharisma
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