Selling To The Stupid


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It’s probably not good form to talk about stupid people, in public at least. Sort of politically incorrect, although there are no laws preventing discrimination against the unintelligent, that I’m aware of at least. (That’s probably next on the dogooders list? They seem to have ways of claiming victim status for anybody.)

But in selling we all come across people who just don’t think the way we do, which is fine, and act as if they know more about our subject than we do, which isn’t.

For sales professionals this is a dilemma of the first order. Do we take advantage of their naivety, for the short term gain? The sales version of Hit and Run. Do we try to educate them. The sales version of acting the Good Guy. Or do we walk away? The grown up thing to do.

The traditional sales approach to take advantage. A bit like judo, using the strength of the opponent against him. If he’s daft enough to think he knows best, why not go along with. Why not take the money, and get ready to blame the customer when things go wrong, as they invariably do.

After all, somebody came up with the concept of Caveat Emptor (Let The Buyer Beware) for a reason. Why not?

But the sales professional adopts a different view. Exploiting weaknesses is bad for business. Educating customers pays dividends whereas taking advantage of idiots only results in customer service issues, complaints, and a reputation no serious professional wants.

It’s more rewarding, more profitable, more fun, to convert pilgrims into players. Once they realise the gift we’ve given they become ardent fans who tell their friends, basking in the glory of their new knowledge.

That’s the intelligent ones of course.

Unfortunately, some just can’t make the leap.

They’re so focused on what they think they know, even generous sharing and coaching doesn’t work.

In such circumstances, the sales professional agrees to disagree, and walks away.

Ultimately, Integrity is the sales professionals only asset.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Reeves
Consultant, author, software entrepreneur, business development professional, aspiring saxophonist, busy publishing insight and ideas. Boomer turned Zoomer - thirty year sales professional with experience selling everything from debt collection to outsourcing and milking machines to mainframes. Blogger at Successful Sales Management. Head cook and bottle washer at Front Office Box.


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