At some point in most of my sales and communication training, I admit that a particular strategy or tactic can be manipulative. I remind them to “start with heart” – to use the concepts and words from a place that intends to help the other person and to enable a robust conversation.
Example: When responding to an upset or difficult person, you can often quickly disarm them by beginning your response with an exclamation like, “Oh!,” “Wow!,” Oh no!”. (Of course the words that follow are incredibly important too!) But the actual initial exclamation is what disarms the listener because it feels like you are being genuinely empathetic.
Today’s client was a highly respected multi-national luxury group. One of the participants thoughtfully commented, “You’ve told us that authenticity is key to success but now you’re teaching us this manipulative tool. How authentic are we being?”
He earned a prize for his question!
Just as I add make-up to present a more polished and professional appearance (in my opinion), it’s still authentically me. Is it manipulative? Not unless I’m trying to sell snake oil.
Same thing with the words you choose. You can choose words and strategies that create likeability, commonality and care or you can just say what you mean without regard to what research tells us is most likely to resonate – and make easier – for the other person.
Then, the company’s president asked, “Does manipulative have to be bad? When a chiropractor manipulates the body, the result is very positive.”
I love learning from my clients!
Before you go—
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It’s time to stop sending email after email only to be ignored! You can write quick, strategic, smart messages that get results and drive sales!