Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Arts of Selling - Convince, Confuse or Scare The.....

I was at The Curve recently and made a quick tour at the exhibition area. A typical sight there was, where bunch of salesman and ladies talking to some potential customers which i presume trying to convince them to buy some overprice massage seat, vacuum cleaner and other stuff which can be bought elsewhere at perhaps only 10-30% of the selling price.

Amazing!!....Three (3) to ten (10) times more expensive and yet many still subscribe to them. I guess no matter how expensive a product is, there are always some suckers out there.....and I'm probably one of them some isolated cases of course.:-)...

A typical sight at the Mall
I've always wanted to share this thoughts which I've somehow done in brief in some of my seminar talks. Very brief because I'm not really a known Sales or Marketing guru. Therefore, most of the topics of seminar /forum that I spoke were not directly related to Sales or Marketing. 

Anyway, Marketing and sales are two different things which require different set of strategies, different set of disciplines and skills. Marketing is the act to reach and persuade your prospects that you are the company or product for them. Sales on the other hand is the act of persuading your marketed prospects to engage directly by purchasing or subscribing to your products or services. Marketing is cost while sales is revenue.

If we ask any marketing people or students graduated in marketing degrees, they will know the 3 Ps in marketing : Price, Product and Place. Peter Drucker added another P - "Promotion". However, when we talk about Sales or Selling strategy, there are various versions. I learned some of these in 2 weeks intensive sales course by Dale Carnegie Training Malaysia.

Even then, nobody talks about the C C S art of selling..which stands for CONVINCE, CONFUSE AND SCARE them. This too I believe you won't get in any text books or sales literature in colleges and universities..or perhaps if any, would come in different terminology instead.

Basically in selling one would typically try to CONVINCE, failing which will then try to CONFUSE the potential customers, and if still fail to sell will SCARE them instead. Of course these strategies or arts of selling can come in  combination, sequel or just merely one or any combination of two strategies.


This is standard...every salesman will normally start with this strategy. Coming up with convincing statement persuading one to purchase. Statement like..."our products are made out of quality IMPORTED materials" or "ORGANIC product that can reduce your WEIGHT in 30 days" and many more...

However the Convince strategy will work effectively only if it touches the potential customers' emotional believe and behavior. For example, word like IMPORTED works on people who are brand conscious or with high society status ego. Word like ORGANIC would work on environmentalist, health conscious or green fundamentalist.

A good salesman would be able to read his/her potential customers emotional believe through quick observation of the person, combine with few words of conversations. A bad salesman on the other hand, will read through their standard sales pitch on everyone they meet hoping some will strike or convert to sales..


Failing to convince...try to confuse them instead. It works most of the time too. Statement like "This product consists ZPT3 elements with extra Mucostilacatic that could...." or " during market EQUILIBRIUM, HYBRID life insurance provides returns..."

These sort of statements make the salesman looks smart or the potential customers feel like an idiot. And in this idiotic feeling that most of the time one would purchase because customers feel the salesman knows better what he's talking about.

Ignorance is the reason why one can easily be manipulated. However, if this strategy is used on potential customers who are knowledgeable, it could turn out making the salesman feels like an idiot instead. Having said that too, I've seen too many times even a subject matter expert would fall into a SUPER SALESMAN.

There's a saying, a good salesman could even sell block of ice to the Eskimo. See illustrated cartoon I extracted from Mc by Mc Cracken


Have you seen this kinda weird ugly looking giant creature dummy or model at shops or exhibition area that sell some RM3,000 to RM10,000 vacuum cleaner?? It normally comes in at least  3 to 4 feet length and height. In actual fact it is model of a dust mite that is so small that can only be seen using a magnifying glass.

A Magnified Dust Mite
How else to convince one to buy a RM10,000 vacuum? Tell the customers that this is how a dust mite looks like that goes into our body system through our respiratory process. When I first heard that and at the same time look at the giant dust mite model, my nose starts to feel itchy and suddenly water start running out of eyes. Awesome!!!! But I didn't buy the vacuum cleaner because don't have that much money to spare for a vacuum cleaner...:-)

To scare, one must understand what are the things that fear the customers most. Illness, death, security, being poor, undermined dignity or even going to hell are some of the common fears.

That is why you would probably have heard this before from an insurance agent who says "Sir, if you DIE tomorrow...." or food supplement salesman would say " Sir, the daily cost in a hospital ICU is more than buying this RM1000 of 60 days program food supplement..."  and in some cases, salesman do play God too like "Sir, you don't want to go to Hell by using conventional banking. At least Islamic banking is Halal..."

All being said, we are all salesman at some stage of our daily life anyway. Just that we don't realize it. Any act of persuasion to engage another to subscribe to your desire is already an act of selling as far as I'm concern. A child is a salesman to their parents and vice versa, husband to wife and vice versa, employee to employers or even a baby to his/her mother....a simple scare strategy by a baby crying would make a mother or a daddy wake up in the middle of the night to prepare milk...

So no one can really say they can't sell when they were born a salesman anyway....Sorait.