Are all Salespeople Manipulators?
The word manipulation is an interesting word – one that has an overall negative connotation in English. I say in English because like many words in English there are many words that can describe the same thing. The key to interpreting meaning is in the semantics.
For example if you influence someone is that negative in the general definition of the word?
If you persuade someone is that negative?
What about if you talk someone into something ? or talk them out of something for that matter?
Is a doctor a manipulator for influencing you to give up smoking and exercise more?
Is a personal trainer a manipulator for getting you out of bed in the morning to train?
What about a parent that influences his child to avoid drugs?
Are they manipulators?
In most cases I think you will agree with me that the answer is generally no.
Leaving Manipulation alone for a sec let’s look at all the English words to cause a life to end.
There is euthanized, killed, passed away, assassinated, murdered, lynched all of which different connotations and clearly different contexts.
If you are killed it was by a murderer. If you were assassinated it was by a political opponent. If you passed away no one did it it was natural causes etc etc.
ALL these things described the same outcome – Death – yet all have different meanings or semantics.
So if the popular meaning of manipulation is to deliberately deceive or trick someone into doing something that they don’t want to do or that has no benefit to them, when is manipulation not manipulation?
Well, if the meaning of words is in the semantics then where you influence someone to move them to action that will benefit them and add to their quality of life what is that?
Is it manipulation? not in the popular definition or meaning of the word in English.
English is one of the few languages where there exist these “grey areas”
for instance in French and many other European languages there are very few words that describe these variations of the same thing. For example words such as “maybe” or “perhaps” don’t really exist or have a direct translation from English, if fact you simply either DO or DO NOT.
Likewise in Asian cultures, manipulation has neither good nor bad definitions it simply just is.
So how then do we then distinguish between what is positive persuasion, influence or manipulation?
Good questions huh?
The only thing we have to go on is the “manipulators” or the “influencers” INTENT.
So how do we know what someones intent is?
All we can go on is the reputation of the individual and what we see and judge for ourselves.
Like so many ways people reveal themselves it will ultimately come down to a pattern of behaviour as to if you are perceived as a manipulator or someone who moves people to positive action that benefits both you and them.
Some will say that I just manipulated readers into seeing my point of view. In fact in a conversation about exactly this subject with one of my mentors who routinely gets up on stage when talking about sales, copy or marketing tactics and says “Is this a manipulation ? Yes get over it”, He told me I was manipulating him to see my point of view.
Well, if that is true what was or is my intent?
It is simply so that all sales people, marketers, pick up artists, NLP practitioners etc etc are not tarred with the same negative “manipulator” brush
Because as a sales person who trains other sales people to be better, I am intensely proud of what I do. I believe sales people often get a bad wrap and don’t want to see it get worse by using a negative label to describe what we do.
I make no distinction between whatever influencer you see yourself as other then your intent.
If your intent serves only you and subtracts from your client or prospect and you are in fact a manipulator, then I have no time or tolerance for you.
However, in my experience most people are inherently good and have the best intentions it’s only the minority that stuff it up and cause the sort of bad blood that we often see in the media.
So why should we all be labelled manipulators when it’s only the few that truly manipulate?
After all being Honest is the most powerfully persuasive thing you can be.