A skilled sales agent will steer your attention to the experience of some of the after-sale emotions before ever concluding the transaction.

All Salesmen Are Selling—Are You Buying, or Being Sold?

All Salesmen Are Selling
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

# 68 on my 99 Life Tips–A List is: All salesmen are selling. They are a part of the experience you are buying. If you don’t like the salesman, don’t buy the experience he is part of.

I spent 18 years of my recently former life as a salesman. In all honesty, I’ve never not been a salesman. As a little kid, at Christmas, I’d sell my brother on the idea that he wanted a football helmet, and my sister on the idea that she wanted a Johnny West. I’d go through the huge Sears wish book and mark their selections for them. 

But this isn’t about my selling ability, other than to sell you on the idea that all sales attendants are selling. They all have a vested interest in you buying whatever it is they’re pitching. Salespersons are not altruistic and disinterested. Shocker, right?

Consider: If you are ready to part with money to buy something, you already have an idea about what you’re trying to buy. (It may not be the correct idea, as discussed here, but it is what you think you’re buying). So, you know what you’re hoping to gain from your purchase decision. Your purchase is a means to those ends. All good. Just keep a couple things in mind. 

You’re buying an experience

1- You’re not just buying a widget, or a service. You’re actually buying an experience (or a series of experiences). You are going to have different emotions before, during, and after you take ownership of the particular item or service. The feelings will change at each stage of the transaction from pre-purchase to newly minted owner.

A skilled sales agent will steer your attention to the experience of some of the after-sale emotions before ever concluding the transaction. They will target your emotions attempting to create positive feelings. In fact, this technique may precipitate and accelerate the conclusion the salesperson wants. Pay attention and watch for this during your next interaction with a salesperson. Remember the premise; all salesmen are selling. Listen for clues like these.

“Those earrings look so beautiful on you.”

“Man, you look good in that car!”

“You are smart to get in now before this opportunity is gone.”

One of the world’s most famous salespeople, Zig Ziglar, said, “Selling is essentially a transfer of feelings.”

There is nothing inherently wrong with this. Good sales associates know it to be true and help their customers determine what it is they’re really trying to buy. They know the customer is trying to buy a feeling. And they help them get there. But, a line is crossed when the sales associate over promises or misrepresents just to close the sale. In that type of interaction, you’ve been sold.

As the customer, or buyer, you also need this awareness. Behavioral economics predicts you won’t make rational economic decisions. Nine times out of ten you will make emotional ones. You feel one way, you convince yourself that getting “X” will make you feel better, so you decide to purchase “X”.

The sales process is a transition of feelings

2- The transition between your emotions before a purchase is made, the emotions you anticipate will result from the purchase, and the after-sale feelings is the sales process. The entire experience of which becomes part of the after-sale feelings. Buyer’s remorse occurs when the post-sale feelings don’t match the pre-sale anticipation. Your mind will link the sales process to the item or service forever, to either enhance or erode your feelings about the thing itself. The sales experience will be part of your future memories of the thing itself.

It’s because of the inescapable linkage of #2 to the purchase that I caution you. If you don’t like the salesperson during the sales process, you won’t like their memory afterwards. All salesmen are selling. Just make certain you want to own the whole package, including the associated memory of your sales associate, before you close the deal.

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