Convincing is not sales – Matchmaking is sales.
You are a salesman. You’ve been a salesman ever since you can remember. The day you started to form a personality was the day you fell into the marketplace. We may like to think of ourselves as reasonable, intelligible people, but our day-to-day is riddled with emotional input and output. These emotions are fueled by a set of beliefs and ultimately dictate our character. A salesman understands this, embraces all types of characters, and helps the character play his or her role in the game of life.
Unfortunately, the word ‘sales’ and the professional title of ‘Salesman’ have become tarnished in popular culture. Degrading sales into something entirely different than the prophetic role it plays in society – the distribution of goods and services within society.
Yes, there were conmen and swindlers branding themselves as “salesmen” with an ability to dawn the veil of a charismatic gentleman. These abilities allowed them to portray a personalized genuineness for each individual they interacted with and engaged. Their understanding of the psyche and the games people play coupled with a selfish outlook to get ahead, can turn any buyer into a mark. And when the plot climaxed the buyer believed the salesman’s game was the solution to their problems. So they bought into the conman’s game.
Now, this is where it gets interesting. In any sales scenario, we wait to see if the buying actor experiences cognitive dissonance. Let’s assume that, now, our salesman does not intend to con the buyer and instead is someone helping to find a solution. If the dissonance does set in, the salesman has exposed a vulnerability. In that moment of truth, the actor reveals a con. Unfortunately for our actor, this conman was not the salesperson they believed him to be. Or, was he? Whether or not the intention of the salesperson was to provide a solution or a con is almost irrelevant at this point. The conman in this scenario is actually the ego of the buyer.
A true conman exposes vulnerabilities and weaknesses possessed by their mark. A true salesman exposes needs, desires, and values in their customer. Neither is convincing their target of anything. Both are matching a proposed solution to an ideal held by the psyche of the buyer, long before the two ever met. The equation is dependent on the buyer’s ego to deduce and accurately represent their best interest in the transaction.
The two contrasting characters of Salesman and Conman provide us with a spectrum for business exchange. A third role emerges between the two, comprised of a myriad of actors who provide Customer Service.
Customer service wants to help everyone.
The Conman wants to help himself.
The Salesman wants to help individuals find the perfect solution.
The Entrepreneur wants every individual to have the best solution. This is where things can get tricky. Is the entrepreneur a salesman or a customer service provider? Obviously, they must be both. An Entrepreneur’s job is to recognize the conman, provide customer service, and lead their audience to find the best solution that fits their needs. A great Entrepreneur exposes both the conman’s findings and the salesman’s findings and provides a solution that solves for both the desire and the fear harbored in the ego. If successful, he becomes the greatest salesman.
The thing that torments me is that most Entrepreneurs don’t seem to believe themselves to be salesmen. They’ve been equipped with a fear of the word and have put a barrier along their path to success. Instead of providing great salesmanship they provide customer service – which is limited to the products they are willing to provide. Somehow they believe their decision to provide goods and services to the market is too altruistic to be placed on the same spectrum as the convincing Conman. Or, perhaps, deep down they are afraid a selfish reason for entering the market will be exposed and that that selfish reason will make them a conman. For most entrepreneurs, this is downright silly.
Most Entrepreneurs are selfishly providing goods and services they believe in and enjoy. These Entrepreneurs must not forget that they exist to provide these goods and services to others. To do this you must sell match people with your good or service. You’re only a con if you convince someone to do something that directly opposes what you perceive to be their best interest… Is that why you went into business?
Find Satori, my fellow Salesman.
Author: Jeff Donnelly
Game Designer. In both business and life, the potential is limited by the number of transactions available. Life is like a game. Jeff designs games that allow people to realize their full potential.