“Is It OK To Manipulate For Good Purposes?”

James Muir published an outstanding post, “Is it ok to manipulate clients for their own good?” It’s a must read.
Basically, James describes a conversation with a sales person who feels it’s OK to manipulate and pressure a customer because that sales person knows how happy the customer will be with the solution.
Most of you would, hopefully, find this premise not only arrogant, but preposterous. The logical extension of this behavior is this sales person will manipulate and pressure every customer–because why would he be selling to a customer that would be unhappy with a product?
Some might think, “How is it that the sales person knows better than the customer what is the right thing for the customer to do–only the customer can make that determination?”
Others, as James suggests, would take the position, “Does the end justify the means?”
Those and other arguments are well founded. Let me suggest another argument, “It doesn’t work!”
Everyday, we see various forms of manipulation being attempted, for good and bad reasons. I’ll grant you, some people are susceptible to being manipulated, each of us probably falls victim every once in a while, but it is seldom sustainable. People catch on, people tend to value their ability to think independently, when they realize they are being manipulated, they tend to react negatively–even if they know it’s for good purposes.
Whether it’s selling to our customers or leading our employees, manipulation is unsustainable. First, who are we to make the determination of what’s the right way of doing things or the right decision for our customers or our people? We don’t know their situations, what’s driving them, what motivates them, how they best achieve? We can only project our interpretations of those on them–inevitably what’s good or right is a reflection of our own views, not those of the customer or our people.
Second, there is no ownership in manipulation. The customer or our people simply don’t own what we have coerced them into doing. While they may do what we’ve gotten them to accept, it has a high probability of failing, because it isn’t theirs.
We may even be right, but we fail. Any reader who is a parent knows this doesn’t work with children (forget the fact that children are pre-wired to always say “No.”). As much as we may be right, and as much as we want to see children not make mistakes, they don’t learn until they make their own decisions, they don’t know how to learn and make good decisions until we give them the freedom to choose.
This is no less true with our customers, our people, and our colleagues. None learn, grow, and improve, unless they make their own choices. None will be able to sustain that learning and growth unless they decide for themselves.
There is no argument that supports manipulation, even if the manipulation is done for good purposes. If we want to create value, we create it with our customers and our people, both discovering, learning and growing in the process.

James Muir published an outstanding post, “Is it ok to manipulate clients for their own good?” It’s a must read.

Basically, James describes a conversation with a sales person who feels it’s OK to manipulate and pressure a customer because that sales person knows how happy the customer will be with the solution.

Most of you would, hopefully, find this premise not only arrogant, but preposterous. The logical extension of this behavior is this sales person will manipulate and pressure every customer–because why would he be selling to a customer that would be unhappy with a product?

Some might think, “How is it that the sales person knows better than the customer what is the right thing for the customer to do–only the customer can make that determination?”

Others, as James suggests, would take the position, “Does the end justify the means?”

Those and other arguments are well founded. Let me suggest another argument, “It doesn’t work!”

Everyday, we see various forms of manipulation being attempted, for good and bad reasons. I’ll grant you, some people are susceptible to being manipulated, each of us probably falls victim every once in a while, but it is seldom sustainable. People catch on, people tend to value their ability to think independently, when they realize they are being manipulated, they tend to react negatively–even if they know it’s for good purposes.

Whether it’s selling to our customers or leading our employees, manipulation is unsustainable. First, who are we to make the determination of what’s the right way of doing things or the right decision for our customers or our people? We don’t know their situations, what’s driving them, what motivates them, how they best achieve? We can only project our interpretations of those on them–inevitably what’s good or right is a reflection of our own views, not those of the customer or our people.

Second, there is no ownership in manipulation. The customer or our people simply don’t own what we have coerced them into doing. While they may do what we’ve gotten them to accept, it has a high probability of failing, because it isn’t theirs.

We may even be right, but we fail. Any reader who is a parent knows this doesn’t work with children (forget the fact that children are pre-wired to always say “No.”). As much as we may be right, and as much as we want to see children not make mistakes, they don’t learn until they make their own decisions, they don’t know how to learn and make good decisions until we give them the freedom to choose.

This is no less true with our customers, our people, and our colleagues. None learn, grow, and improve, unless they make their own choices. None will be able to sustain that learning and growth unless they decide for themselves.

There is no argument that supports manipulation, even if the manipulation is done for good purposes. If we want to create value, we create it with our customers and our people, both discovering, learning and growing in the process.

Read more on Business 2 Community 

Related News
My good friend, Brian MacIver, reminded me of the struggle sales people have in doing “Needs Analysis.”I suspect there are a lot of reasons.Much is simply the fact that “we” ...
READ MORE
What does a day in the life of your typical customer look like? What’s it like to walk in their shoes?How do the spend their time? How do they set ...
READ MORE
The voice of the customer is a very important person in any company. This is the person that sees things the way your customers see them. This is the person ...
READ MORE
Listening in on this week’s AA-ISP webinar “Creating the Ultimate Collaboration Between Inside Sales and the Field,” one thing jumped out at me right away. Collaboration needs to start at ...
READ MORE
You Need These 9.5 Skills to be Friendly Enough for the Customer Service Industry
I watched her smile at everyone who passed her. Her gaze fell naturally on each person and she took the time to acknowledge the children. Waves, “high-fives” and plenty of ...
READ MORE
It’s a trap into which marketers of all kinds fall: assuming your customers are just like you in their preferences, desires, and buying characteristics. It can happen because we lack ...
READ MORE
As if they need persuading, Belvedere vodka is launching a James Bond-theme ad campaign to get New Yorkers to drink more martinis. The tie-in with the latest Bond film, “Spectre,”... ...
READ MORE
I want to share a story with you all that I think will feel all too familiar.I was browsing for a mobile phone last week in a small store full ...
READ MORE
Do We Know How To Do “Needs Discovery/Analysis?”
A Day in the Lives of Our Customers
Who is the Voice of the Customer?
5 Proven Ways To Improve Inside Sales And
You Need These 9.5 Skills to be Friendly
5 Critical Steps to Knowing Your Customers
Belvedere vodka looks to James Bond to lift
How to Stop Selling and Start Serving

Share Button

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *