The Most Daunting Sales Technique

in Dale Carnegie's "How To Win Friends and Influence People"

DougMaly.com


usedcarsalesperson

From: "Business Course I" by Gary North
Lesson 80

What could be so hard...

...about winning friends, or influencing people? The most challenging part for me is the premise itself: to influence people. The top purpose of Carnegie's book is to compel others to take particular actions, usually in the interest of the influencer.

Many people - myself included - have an instinctive aversion to salespeople. Every day hustlers add evidence to support this reaction. But are "Sales" people nothing more than glorified pickpockets?

Let's take a closer look.

Definitions

The techniques of Sales are muddied when the "grammar" is defined inconsistently. That is, the term "Sales" is applied to both a fast talker - wishing merely to part you with your money - and to a professional salesperson.

There is a big difference between these two roles. And we will accomplish nothing without making the distinction. So let's lay down the terms.

"Sales" is commonly interpreted as the act of tricking someone out of their currency for any value, dubious or otherwise. Let's call this "Snake Oil."*

"Sales as a Service," however has entered the parlance of the Information Age. This will be known here as Professional Sales.

Snake Oil Sales. Crass manipulation to profit by coercing others to act against their own interest.

Professional Sales. Connecting suppliers of goods and services and scouting out customers who value the goods more than the money they are holding. Are compensated for their services, and maximize commissions by adding value for the customer.

Examples

Snake Oil

Toilet Paper
An iconic example of a Snake Oil Salesperson is "Mr. Whipple." Familiar to TV viewers from the 1960s through the 1980s, the fictional character Mr. Whipple peddled toilet paper by virtue of softness. Turns out that the rolls are actually softer because they contain less paper per roll - but more air. Consumers actually pay the price of a full roll (or more, to cover advertising costs) for less paper.

Professional Sales

robotics

For an example of Professional Sales, imagine that you need a robot on your production line. You may know the throughput, Pp/Ppk fallout, and electrical and environmental infrastructure required, but many factory managers do not. The professional salesperson adds value by providing the service of answering these questions.

Litmus Test

Here is the Litmus Test to tell the difference between Snake Oil Sales and Professional Sales:

After a deal is cut, would both parties wish to repeat it?

If not then one party got ripped off, or at least felt manipulated.

The Most Daunting:

To Become the Influencer

With jargon clarified, let's address Dale Carnegie's teachings. To win friends, to influence people, to make sales, one must have a command of the basics. A salesperson must first be knowledgeable about both the product and the audience. A salesperson must be a good listener. A salesperson must see the deal from the buyer's perspective, even to cater to the latter's thirst for recognition and praise.

For me, this seems logical.

But the hardest part for me is to influence people at all.

Taboo

Personally, I have considered it taboo to persuade or influence others. This may be

My gut reaction is reinforced by the Golden Rule. I do not enjoy it when others try to manipulate me. Therefore, I do not enjoy manipulating others.

My instinct is also reinforced by social norms. For example, when I tell someone that I am working on Sales or Marketing, the knee-jerk reaction is to utter some form of disapproval such as, "That sounds sleazy."

Reality

In fact, the only people who consider sales and influence as "sleazy" are those who are unfamiliar with Professional Sales.

Sales is a service - if one is not interested in manipulation or fraud, such as Snake Oil Sales.* Influencing others is a virtue - so long as it passes the litmus test of mutual benefit.

Solutions

Do not let the act of Influence be a zero sum game. If you cajole others into acting against their interests for the sake of a buck then you have engaged in a negative sum game (you profit but they lose).

A Professional Salesperson delivers a service. A successful salesperson delivers value, and engages in a positive sum game (and can be appropriately rewarded).

In fact, in the age of Millennials the salesperson has made a comeback. No longer seen as the "used car salesperson" in movies, now the "Influencer" has gained celebrity status - and in some cases, similar remuneration.


*Snakeoil

The original "snake oil salesman," was John D. Rockefeller's father. He literally pawned off "snake oil" on unsuspecting masses as a miracle cure.



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d.maly@ieee.org

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