Feeling guilty about money making methods
This is my 1st post here, although I've been a fan of Steve's articles for a long time now.
This is what this post is about: any of you feel guilty about the way you make money assuming the method is not illegal and your services are good if not best? I hope my question makes sense.
As far as making money is concerned I suscribe to Ayn Rand's philosophy.
To mutually exchange value for value. I do my best in my field and then simply exchange whatever value I've made with yours.
The problem with me starts when you are not doing your best, or the product you are offering is not the best but is simply average. For e.g.: I was working in this antivirus call centre. The customers used to often ask me point blank whether what we were offering was the best on the market. The truth was what we were offering was good, comparable to most of the other products on the market but not the best. But as a part of my job we were supposed to say: "yup!this offers the best value for your money!" which is wrong. I would've rather given the customer some objective answers about our good points and told him that this is also what most other companies offer.
I'm trying to get into network marketing and 1 line of our products include supplements. Now in this case they are much better than a lot of other supplements on the market but again there are a few companies who do have the same quality products. So we a prospective customer asks me how my products stack upto that x company, I feel like I should tell him that they are about the same quality. But of course if I do that then I'll lose that sale.
If I want him to buy it then i have to tell a blank faced lie that "yes! my products are better than theirs.."
I just want to know your views on this subject. If you prepare what you know to be an average product.....then you advertise it as the next miracle and actually outsell your competetion who has better products than you- is that unethical? Are my beliefs even practical or am I being a romantic fool?
^ There's a few issues there. One is that you may not necessarily lose that sale, as long as the prices are comparable between the two products. Sometimes you'll have to throw in an extra something to get the customer to go with you. I don't know the situation in which you're doing this so I don't know if this applies, but the customer is there with already, why woudl htey go through the hassle of finding another person with the same quality as yours for the same or similar price?
The other thing is, it sounds like you're operating in essentially a commodity market (supplements are hard to differentiate). You can either find some way to add some more value, differentiate your product, market more or get out of it.
Don't compromise your values, you'd be surprised at how many people can and do appreciate the truth. A simple, "I want to be honest with you about this, even if it loses me this sale: Our products are very similar. However, they're over there and you're right here, right now." might help. I'm sure you can think of other stuff.
Excuse me if I completely misunderstood your post, but I hope this helps.
If you gonna lie, then lie to the old money grabbing, war organizing geezers! Now i know you wont ever meet that kind of people.
Now for the honest person on the block you should tell him: yes, our products are of quality (be a guinea pig to make sure they really are, in different case tell your manager that you doubt the product and want to sell something else - i am sure he will tell you to go F# your self so don't even ask him if you are not sure you can find another job in short time!).
When telling him that the product is of quality(and you are sure it is because you tested it on your skin), and you had examined opponent products describe the differences in ingredients, therapeutic reactions, price, quality (is it made from quality natural resources)...
Here is the chapter excerpt from Starbucks Experience book:
McGraw-Hill Professional - Business
just started reading it, but on the skimming it has some great public relations ideas
All the best in your work!
Is switching jobs feasible?
There are a lot of really good products out there. If you know who makes the best supplements, go see if they're hiring. I guarantee if they ask, "Why do you want to work here?" and you say, "Your products are the best, and I didn't want to sell anything but the best" they'll hire you.
If you're tired of supplements, pick another field. Pick something you like, and think of the brand name that you'd most like to buy -- sell that. Sell Bose speakers or Capezio dance shoes.
If you only sell the best, then "Is this the best product?" is never a scary question.
Additional possibility that just occured to me: check the price. If you're selling Dell computers, and a customer asks you, "is this the best computer I can get?" you can honestly reply, "No, Sony is better. But Sony will charge you twice as much, and they're not twice as good. This is the best value for your dollar." People will still appreciate your honesty, and you'll still make the sale most of the time.
Believe the world is abundant and you will never have to lie. That one sale isn't going to make or break you. Lying will.
You will find integrity is the reason why companies who only market via word of mouth are so successful. So follow suit.
And to reiterate, you never have to lie if you a) believe in your product and b) believe that the world is abundant. If you feel that you have to lie to get ahead, then you need to revisit these two points because either you need to find another product to sell or you need to relook at your view of the world.
Thanks to all who replied back.
So all of you guys do agree with me. Cool.
1 thing which I completely failed to consider was RT_Wolfs' response :" Our products are very similar. However, they're over there and you're right here, right now." might help. I'm sure you can think of other stuff."
Hopefully this should carry the day for me.
But even then I'm sure you guys must've all experienced this: the best sales-men are not the ones who sell the best products. The best sales men are the best saes-men. Period. They can sell anything to anyone. And then they are the ones who always get applauded. You know- in the end its the numbers that really count.
Its that thing which really gets to me.
For eg- say theres x supplement which delivers everything it promises. Then theres this customer who can be helped by the x supplement. But he doesnt 'need' it- esp at that price. If you look at the price/benefit ratio- it would've been a perfect supplement for an elite athlete or somone who is sick. But for this guy, although the supplement will help him, he doesnt need those advantages cause he is not into sports. A less expensive supplement which might give even lesser results might be perfect for his situation/ his goals.
What is generally taught is that if the customer doesnt have a need for it, then you create a need for it. You dont lie to the customer but just paint a rosey picture about how he will be if he takes it.
So what should a salesmans' purpose be? To find someone who needs what he has - or to create a market for his products even though it might not be needed?
In 1 way I think this is wrong- cause this might cause the person to change his long term goals and all. In the heat of the moment he might go in for instant gratification but later feel bad about his descision....
On the other hand- since I am not forcing him to buy, not lying about anything, the products are delivering the best possible results -theres nothing wrong in trying to create a need for the product. After all- if he does buy it although he doesnt need it, its him who needs to put his priorities straight.
P.S.: honestly now, do you guys think I'm a wimp for asking these questions?
When it comes to sales, the product is only one component. In any sale there are only three areas that a customer can really define necessity in - quality, service, and price. You're lucky if you two out of three and getting all three is mostly unheard of. What makes an honest good salesman a good salesman? He sells what he has. If price isn't the thing he's got, he better make sure that the quality and the service is there. If quality isn't the thing he's got, he better make sure the price and the service are there. If the service isn't there, he better forget sales because he is the service, and if he can't recommend that, he needs to get out of sales.
Or are you going to face the problem head-on, decide whether it's possible to be a salesman without being a lying, cheating bastard, and decide what to do with your life based on an honest answer?
IMHO, it's perfectly possible to be a salesman who provides good value to everyone he meets (I'm kind of assuming you're a guy... switch genders if necessary) and honestly helps the world. But only by the method you call method 1: to find people who need what he has. Trying to sell people stuff they don't need, although it is the American way of life, is almost always cheating. It's mean. It's seperating people from money they need to give them stuff they don't.
But look at the people who need your stuff. People who can't get out of bed in the morning from pain, and your supplement will let them have their lives back. People who are losing money because they don't have a website, and your technology will make it possible for them to put one up. People who spend extra hours in the kitchen because their knives aren't sharp enough to cut their food. You're doing them no harm by selling to them. You're doing them harm by not selling to them.
So search your soul, and determine whether there's anyone who needs your product. If not, find a different product. If so, find those people. The rest will follow.
When in sales, you need to gain people's trust...
A lot of 'sales gurus' out there have written long presentations for their sales forces to follow... Those presentations are full of powerful hooks and dangerous barbs to catch the typical consumer, and the sales people are trained to stop thinking of the consumers as people... (hence the word 'consumer')
Well, that's all fine and dandy, except that you aren't actually gaining people's trust, you're gaining people's attention for a hard sell, which drives many sales people insane.
Here's a novel approach. Actually take your customer's interests to heart. Find out for yourself if they need your product, or can even benefit from it. If the product is good for them, then you can feel good about selling it to them. If the product isn't right for them, use them as a network hub so that you can find people who could use the product. If your product doesn't supply any value, then find a way to give it value, or find people who it would be valuable to.
Just a thought. Don't be afraid to laugh at me... but maybe try it out on just one customer: actually find out if they need your product or not, then see if you can sell it to them.
Thnx again to Amanda and Adam.
So you guys do agree with me that as a sales person you have to add value- as you would in any other field... Thnx guys. I was feeling very low cause it looked like I'm the only one who has these views. Everyone else it looked like- just sell the bloody ************......a lot of those used to ask me :"look what are you here for? to make money ,right? why do you care so much about them....."
It does feel kind of good knowing you are not alone :D
You sound like a good person with your heart in the right place but it doesn't sound like sales is the right job for you. No product is or ever will be perfect and your customers know that, they just want your encouragement and if you can't do that because you really don't believe in the product you can't help them and you are not doing the right thing by your employer.
And its not that I dont beleive in the products. I've had very good personal experiences with them. Its just that when it comes to the cost-benefit ratio I'm uncomfortable of recommending them to everyone. Sales/MLM is not my main earning line- although I want it to be in a few years. I'm an animator. Anyway, thanks for posting.
I'm new here, so my opinion may not hold much weight, but your post inspired me to register to post a reply. I've taken a peak at this site a couple times, but haven't officially posted until now.
You seem like a person of strong integrity. To me, that is THE most important quality that a salesperson must have, especially in the network marketing field. You have to strongly believe in your products or services, or you will always be struggling, personally, as well as financially. You have to be "sold" yourself to sell anything to anyone. It seems to me that you might be better off selling something you can truly believe in. Why sell something mediocre, when you can sell the best.. and know it?
I don't want to "spam" your post, but if you would like to learn about a company in the MLM industry that differentiates itself above all others and can actually prove that they truly do have the best nutrition products, let me know. I will not post the details here, but if you would like to learn more, feel free to PM me on this site.
Thanks for the reply and the positive reinforcement.
But I have to disagree with you on the above point. Yes- its ethical to believe in your own services and products. But thats not a necesity.
I've been conned by a lot of slick salesmen who personally would never use their own products- from cell phones, to ISPs, computer dealers, books, hell! even personal development guys!.....in fact from what i've seen the best salemen , defining a good saleman as someone who can sell the most, are the guys who are slick, have word power, who seem to have no conscience, can lie with a straight face and whatnot.
Guys like me, who concentrate on giving value, really searching for people who need your products, will never be able to measure upto a guy whose sole focus is selling and just getting money by any means possible.
That sucks- something that I hate:mad: - but I've realised that thats the reality. What matters is not products/services but pure marketing/business system.
An important issue would be that when the salesman lies just to make a sale, he doesn't gain customer's respect. People will always return to those who care about them, and will avoid those who lied to them.
Actually, I think your definition of 'best' isn't quite appropriate. Best is at best, a flexible definition, because you are not selling a product, but you are looking for a problem that your product can solve better than other ways.
We have many customers in our business: we are sure we're NOT the best school in the area for languages, but that is NOT what we sell our customers on. We sell them on our experience, our passion for teaching, our success in producing students who mostly will be able to use the language.
Moreover, we are trying to solve a number of other problems, as well. So our customers factor in a number of issues into making a decision: price, convenience, location, etc.. When there are so many factors, you cannot boil down the whole thing to just one factor.
If you just want to go shopping on a Saturday, would you buy a Ferrari or a Volvo? Which is better? If you want to race in Lemans, which would you buy then? If you want to go offroading, ... etc.. There isn't ONE answer to the question, which is the best car?
There is another reason: a customer's reason to buy your product may not always be the same as the reason you provide the product. You need to understand more about how your customers see you. Avoiding words like better, worse, etc. can avoid some of the moral complications.
Moreover, even if you don't make a sale, you can still 'educate' your customers on your product. That is an aspect that is seriously underrated. Even if they don't buy from you the first time, they will surely remember where they learned about the product. So do a good job teaching your customers, and they will learn to trust you. They will then likely buy from you at some point, if not today, perhaps tomorrow.
Just my 2c.
InvestorBlogger — So Blogging, Tech, and Making Money Can Go Hand-in-Hand
you can't find a product that is "best" in every aspect...
it is not wrong at all to tell your potential customers that your antivirus product gives the best value for money (unless it is really more expensive and has fewer features)
the customer may not be willing to pay for the "best" antivirus software that catches the most virus
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