I have a visceral response when I feel like someone is trying to sell to me.
Perhaps it has something to do with the cartoon character in my head of the sleazy car salesman. The second I make that association, you’re toast. But I think the real reason is that when I notice I’m being sold to, it’s because I sense something disingenuous. I don’t want to feel like a person in your pipeline, or a number on a spreadsheet. I actually do not give a fuck about the success of your business and what your revenues are like. I do not care about you, I care about me.
It all hinges around where I feel your interests lie. If I feel like you are trying to sell me something that I might not need: game over. I’m not going to spend money on something that I do not feel I need. The best salespeople out there will attempt to figure out first if I actually do need the product that they are selling in my life.
What really gets my attention is when a salesperson tries to learn what I actually want. Note: this is not the same as asking leading questions that lead me right to their product. In Never Split The Difference, Chris Voss urges you to get to NO instead of to YES. I hate leading questions because I feel like I’m being walked into a trap. I will say YES and YES and YES just to play along with them because how can I say no to “do you drink water?”… but I’m definitely not going to end up buying what they are selling. The sooner I get to say no, the more control I feel I have: and the more information the salesperson has on what I actually want.
I have no problem with sales, I have a problem with some of the tactics that get used. If you are not trying to make my life better with your product, than I am not interested. I don’t care how good of a car salesman you might be: I prefer to ride a bike.