What’s That Bad Feeling In My Gut?

Cognitive dissonance is the bad feeling you get in your gut when you’re asked to do something you don’t believe is the right thing to do. At least that is one of the definitions and it is the one I use when someone tells me they hate to sell. They usually deliver those words with a look of someone who just ate something that didn’t agree with them – hence the bad feeling in their gut.

For example, if you believe that selling is doing something to someone rather than for someone, you are going to experience cognitive dissonance – big time!

I remember being taught years ago that when setting an appointment to give a potential customer a forced choice like, “Would Tuesday at 9:00AM or Wednesday at 3:00PM be the best time for you?” I felt like it was manipulative tactic and it was. I finally learned that by focusing on providing value the need for ALL such tactics goes away.

If you have to manipulate someone into setting an appointment how do you think that appointment is likely to go for you and for the prospective client?

By the way, current sales books still teach that same tactic and others. Sales is still years and years behind in education.

This appointment setting time tactic also works the other way. I know a self-described consulting guru who teaches his followers to never accept the first time a potential client proposes for an appointment. You’re supposed to be too busy and not that readily available so you come back with two alternatives.

That’s just as manipulative in my opinion and the tactics of someone whose ego is larger than their heart. Someone with a good heart who focuses on providing value and making the client’s life better does not engage in those kinds of games.

So, if you get a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you’re engaged in the sales process, you are definitely doing something wrong. Forget about all the tactics you have read about or even been taught.

Focus on listening to the potential customer. Ask questions that will allow her to explain her needs. Don’t talk except to acknowledge you understand her. This is not the time to start telling her everything you know. Keep that focus and keep asking questions. Some of the questions you’ll ask will be ones the prospect never even thought about and you’ll be raising your value profile to her just by asking and listening.

When she is finally done talking and you believe you have all the information you need to make recommendations then – and only then – is it time to start talking solutions.

Do this and I promise you that bad feeling in the pit of your stomach will never occur.

Unless, of course, you bought sushi from a food court vendor for lunch before the appointment.

Then I can’t help you.

Photo compliments of ukslim

3 thoughts on “What’s That Bad Feeling In My Gut?”

  1. Your post comes at a good time Bob. I have seen a number of things on the net of late that have disturbed me with the nature of sales-specifically the art of creating the scarcity mindset to get people to sign up rapidly.
    I get the psychology, but I am disturbed by the well respected blogs I follow who are using these techniques.
    Imagine if marriage proposals were done this way.
    Something doesn’t seem congruent; I have begun to unsubsribe from some of these plogs because their tactics aren’t consistent with how quality relationships are built.
    My point: If you are using a pychological ploy on me to get me to buy, then what does that say about the foundation of the relationship?

  2. @Dean – creating scarcity is just another manipulative tactic in my mind. It is unnecessary if you create a relationship and value instead. Thanks for the comment and welcome to The Water Cooler.
    @Alex – Dean just asked me if I attended Seth Godin’s event in NYC. I told him I had to cancel at the last minute and the next thing I saw you comment. I love how things worked out for you.
    @Dean – When Alex heard I had a ticket available to attend the event he hoped on a plane from FL to make it. That is showing some real desire.

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