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Mike Hirschfield

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Manipulation? Salespeople are not the Problem!

3676fe005a2bc5af9a50d719479a1251.jpg?t=1I am absolutely fed up with the recent assault on salespeople. I'm tired of salespeople being classified as manipulative, self-serving, hard closers that care only about money. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe everyone (especially salespeople) are generally good and want to do the right thing. Salespeople are not the problem!

Last week Brian de Haff CEO of Founder of AHA published an article entitled "Why This CEO Will Never Hire Another Salesman." Brian is quoted, "At Aha! we purposefully don't have a sales team nor do we pay commissions on new customers. That's because we believe it drives the wrong behavior and outcomes."

Having a sales team drives the wrong behavior….what? Getting paid for your impact (how many people you serve and how well you serve them) drives the wrong behavior….excuse me? The only organizations that truly maximize employee potential are the ones that employ intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. All people have a deep need to be rewarded for their efforts (extrinsic) and feel good about what they do (intrinsic).

Also last week, renown & respected sales trainers Grant Cardone and Jeffrey Gitomer were live discussing Jeffrey's new show on the W.I.T. Network, when Jeffrey (to my surprise) begins to talk about how car salespeople have been upsetting customers for years, and GM is sick of it. He goes on to share his opinion that GM is just sitting on the "buy now" button, and that ultimately the sales landscape has and is changing.

I absolutely love Grant & Jeffrey (and own most of their books)….yet I must say that all of this makes me sick! Listen, sales is not harder now….it's easier...if you have the right sales culture. In a social world where many communicate, yet few connect...people are just dying for someone to take a "real" interest in them, truly listen, and offer solutions. Sales is not changing...we are changing sales! Shortening the sales process and commoditizing our products & services is not the answer. Companies are dramatically reducing their ability to influence and help others by removing the opportunity for their salespeople to connect and build relationships. Customer loyalty is at an all-time low... HELLO...customers were never loyal to a company...they were loyal to a person…a salesperson!  …and don’t even get me started on lost profits…

Salespeople are not...and were never "the problem." The problem was... and is, the companies and their culture!

Is your sales process manipulative? Are the sales techniques that you train & develop manipulative? Is engaging emotions manipulative? Is mirroring, matching, leading, pacing, presenting, positioning, questioning, and closing manipulative?

Here's the litmus test: Who do you (the Company) instruct your salespeople to serve?

If your salespeople are encouraged & required to serve the bottom line (ie. the Company) than everything they do and say is manipulative. If your salespeople are encouraged & required to serve their customer, encourage & required to work relentlessly to utilize your products and/or services to improve their customer's lives, and encouraged to demonstrate a passion and determination to make a difference... than the sales techniques above are not manipulative. defines manipulative as "influencing or attempting to influence the behavior or emotions of others for one’s own purposes"  Who are you serving?

Nothing is more important in sales than intent!  Your intent / purpose must originate from the top, and is the cornerstone of a great sales culture! I take a lot of pride in our proprietary CS3™ Sales System. Businesses could recognize increased growth and revenue by creating a sales culture that Connects, Serves, Solves, and Supports!


Michael Hirschfield


Cornerstone Dealer Development, LLC

Megan Barto
Great post - in another thought, isn't a server at your favorite brew pub or diner a salesperson, too? How well they do directly influences how much you tip them - which is obviously tied to how much money they make.

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