How do you make a sale, really

There was an article recently in the online Harvard Business Review that stated that to close a sale you needed to be a dominating personality.

Dominance is gaining the willing obedience of the customer…

A salesperson’s goal is to gain dominance over a submissive customer.

I must admit that made me think of used car salespeople.

Then I saw another HBR article which discussed how to respond in an emotional situation which included this:

As we approached the house we could see the deck was filled with about a dozen college-aged men joking around and drinking.

My body tensed and my emotions intensified. I felt a mix of fear, insecurity, competitiveness, and jealousy…

I turned to Eleanor and told her what I was feeling. She laughed; she also felt aggressive and had an immediate, instinctual, emotional response, but the opposite of mine. She saw them as obnoxious, uncaring, sexist, and unattractive. She felt superior to them.

I read that as dominating people can actually put other people off – i.e., obstruct the sale.

Then I read Jonathan Farrington’s post on why customers buy from you:

Success in selling requires an understanding of these basics of motivation:
    • Your motivation both as a person and as a salesperson
    • The other person’s motivation both as a person and as a buyer

The most important fact to remember in influencing the behaviour and decisions of others is that – “People do things for their reasons, not ours.”

For me, this put both previous articles in context. Yes, you may be more dominating, but people still “do things for their own reasons”, not just because you think you can push them to do so.


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