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Is Assuming The Sale Manipulative?

It seems to me that when you start asking questions of the prospect such as "Would you like that in blue or black?" without even first ascertaining if he wants your product at all, then you're manipulating which I think is the major reason for returns.

Anyone have first-hand experience at this or have any further thoughts? - by Wonderboy
Manipulation is about intent. Assuming the say because you thought the customer wanted the product is worlds apart from assuming the same because you were attempting to manipulate the sale. - by Guest
So you're saying that the seller must be trying to consciously manipulate the sale to manipulate it. From a prospect's perspective it doesn't mean much since he or she wasn't given to chance to express his interest in your product if you didn't check first with the prospect. - by Wonderboy
So you're saying that the seller must be trying to consciously manipulate the sale to manipulate it.
I'm saying that manipulation in the context of attempting to persuade or influence a prospect to your advantage is about intention.

From a prospect's perspective it doesn't mean much since he or she wasn't given to chance to express his interest in your product if you didn't check first with the prospect.
The prospect is always in control of his or her decisions. That was never lost or taken away. - by Guest
It seems to me that when you start asking questions of the prospect such as "Would you like that in blue or black?" without even first ascertaining if he wants your product at all, then you're manipulating which I think is the major reason for returns.
To me it's not so much manipulative but premature. It's like asking a woman even before the first date, "And do you prefer to have sex of the couch or on the carpet?"

Yes, at one point down the road this question does come up, but not yet. Also, when the buyer is ready to buy (vs. I'm ready to sell) she will tell me exactly what colour she wants. I don't need to jump so far ahead.

Thoughts? - by Bald Dog
I don't think that asking questions is manipulative at all. It's known as a trial close and to eventually seal the deal we have to wander our way through various questions to find out if we have a customer or not.

Over time we must improve our question asking skills to the point that they don't seem to manipulative to our prospect. Example is to envelope the questions in a homespun story of sorts. That comes from trial and error and experience.

Chuck - by Sales Pro 1000
I honestly do not think it is manipulation.

I think asking such questions such as "what color would you prefer" is more assuming. It is a fine line though, I recognize that.

I think manipulation is a key part of the salesperson's most powerful tool - control. I think just going all out and asking the question is assuming, but if you do it in a manner that is not threatening, it is manipulation. Example.

So, Susan, before we move further, let's discuss the possible colors that the widget comes in. I see you are partial to blue, so can I assume that you are looking for another blue one or are you ready to move onto a red?

Remember, control with permission is usually manipulation. - by Ed Callais
If you believe in the selling process, asking questions cannot be construed as being manipulative IF "you've earned the right" (to ask those questions).

The implication being that you've established certain criteria before "dropping a bombshell question". As an illustration, there's not much point in asking closing questions if the suspect is going Chapter 11 ...

Clearly, you need to set the baseline by qualifying fastidiously.

As a newbie, I remember calling on a company near Brockville, ON. While I pressed to learn about his company, this character was literally cleaning his teeth with my business card! I pushed back from my line of probing and asked, "what does this company sell, a product or service?" To which he responded a product. I asked, "and how do your customers find out about your products?" To which he responded "my sales force". I emphatically asked, "what would your P&L look like if ALL of your prospects treated your sales reps like you're treating me ... I mean, you don't know if I have gold for $20.00 an ounce in the trunk of my car!"

A harse reaction to a rude person but I made my point because he couldn't have called me back if he'd wanted to (having chewed my business card to oblivion)!

The point is, Sales Reps have a job to do: selling a product or a service. We do this by asking questions, the answers to which advance us along the selling cycle. If we're asking the right questions and listening for the response, we're doing our jobs.

It's not manipulation if we're doing it right and a good prospect realizes this and respects good sales people for doing their jobs.

Good luck & good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
It seems to me that when you start asking questions of the prospect such as "Would you like that in blue or black?" without even first ascertaining if he wants your product at all, then you're manipulating which I think is the major reason for returns.

Anyone have first-hand experience at this or have any further thoughts?
It's cheap and shallow -- does nothing to determine
immediate and inner needs and concerns of the prospect.

These two issues are essential to being viewed as a
trusted advisor rather than a salesman. - by MaxReferrals
If you're not "assuming the sale", what are you doing? The comment seems to imply that an astute SR cannot care for his prospects (if the sale is assumed). It also seems to imply that broad probing (to identify needs) hasn't taken place.

I've walked out of more accounts (because there wasn't a fit, the timing was right, etc.).

Cheap? Shallow? Are you guys in sales for a living? The choice of words makes me think that the forum is losing traction. - by OUTSource Sales
MaxReferrals stated, "It's cheap and shallow -- does nothing to determine immediate and inner needs and concerns of the prospect."

If you pick on a single, isolated example of the selling process I suppose everything we do could be perceived as "cheap & shallow'. I (for one) feel that is a blow to the people who've been in the game the longest because we've worked hard at personalizing our approach.

By definition, "the sale is assumed" or we wouldn't be paid: Perhaps it's cheap and shallow to accept our commissions ...

Point made but quite frankly we're using up cycles and "bumping into trees" (versus the 10,000 foot picture).

Good luck & Good Selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
I thought I'd revisit this thread because it relates to some current topics on sales strategy.

My answer is "No, "assuming the sale" is not manipulative. Neither is it cheap or shallow.

What it IS is misunderstood.

The best assuming that we can do is assuming that we will NOT get the sale unless we do things right and cover all the bases of a sales process. When we do that, we can assume that the only reason we won't get the sale is because of things that are out of our control.

People that rely on affirmations might disagree. I find that strategy in sales is more reliable than affirmations. - by Ace Coldiron
I agree with you Ace and I like the way you've put it.

Assuming The Sale can often be the subtle nudge to take a customer from a browsing state into a buying state.

To effectively Assume The Sale, I believe you need to be following a sales structure (and not a script) yet through the entire process trial closing and handling their objections. Only once you've drawn out and handled all the customers objections can you effectively Assume The Sale.

Otherwise you will back your customer in the corner and the most likely response you'll get is "I'll need to think about it" - by MrCharisma
Assuming the sale is the best way to close.

If all needs are addressed, rapport and trust are built, benifits and reasons to purchase have been covered and understood/acknowledged, the client is already "sold". you dont need to ask "do you want to buy this/ do you want to take up this offer?"

You just close, as if it is the normal thing to do and the next step, because it is. e.g "I'm just going to confirm a few details and we will put this in place"

The client still has the ability to say no or come up with any objection at this point. Sometimes you will get an acknowledgement with out even asking a question and stating that you are closing the deal like "ok" etc. If they are not happy or really don't wan't to proceed they will stop you with an objection which you can try and overcome or control.

In most cases the first attempt to close should always be assumptive.

Any successful sale is manipulative, you have manipulated the client into taking what ever it is you are selling. - by mjmci
Any successful sale is manipulative, you have manipulated the client into taking what ever it is you are selling.
Without prejudging "manipulation" in good/bad, right/wrong, ethical/unethical, etc. terms I prefer to think that any "successful sale" is participatory on the part of the seller.

Manipulation is a word that has attracted the semantics junkies on these threads. We manipulate tooth brushes to clean our teeth.

Assuming the sale is a good way to close if there is evidence that the sale is there to be assumed.

Assuming the sale at a stage where readiness to buy is not in evidence is weak selling. Closing is not an event, it's a progression. The same can be said of an assumption. As the progression of commitments grows momentum, so can that assumption grow stronger. - by Ace Coldiron
I thought I'd revisit this thread because it relates to some current topics on sales strategy.

My answer is "No, "assuming the sale" is not manipulative. Neither is it cheap or shallow.

What it IS is misunderstood.

The best assuming that we can do is assuming that we will NOT get the sale unless we do things right and cover all the bases of a sales process. When we do that, we can assume that the only reason we won't get the sale is because of things that are out of our control.

People that rely on affirmations might disagree. I find that strategy in sales is more reliable than affirmations.[/quote]
It's not a well kept secret that I posted previously under a pseudonym, "Ace Coldiron." I did so because I wanted to explore sales issues with others here without the stigma of self promotion. For a time, many self-appointed sales gurus were using SalesPractice as a marketing tool.

I've been revisiting some old threads lately--specifically on the topic of "manipulation."

I like what my alter ago said here. I haven't changed my thoughts one iota.

Most of us have heard the dogma that we must "Ask for the Order." I remember seeing a training film back in the 16mm days where they had the actor actually ask "May I have your order please?"

That was ridiculous.

Alternate advance methods of "assuming the sale" have been around for ages. Here at SalesPractice we educate people that closing is a progression of consent.

I play chess. There is an old saying attributed to a famous master of the game: "Before the endgame, the Gods have placed the middle game."

That's a helluva metaphor for what we're talking about here. Before "assuming a sale" we need to know if it exists or not. A premature alternate advance can have us learning the hard way by offending the prospect. As a young salesman, I got knocked back on my heels when a prospect said firmly, "I haven't bitten yet!"

I'm not a young salesman anymore and I don't make that mistake.

If I wanted to take a peek at whether a sale was there for the taking, I would do what I always do. Whether you're selling a couch, a car, a plan, a house, or an idea, etc., I'd strongly recommend you ask this question which makes an "assumption " question pale by comparison:
Do you like the (couch, a car, a plan, a house, or an idea, etc.)?
If ever you reach a point where you are afraid to ask that question, you need to take a good look at what you've been doing. - by Gary A Boye
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