There’s a reason why imprisonment is the punishment of choice across the world.
Not because it’s very effective, but because – bar solitary confinement and capital punishment – it’s pretty much the harshest punishment there is:
To remove a person’s autonomy.
For someone to no longer be a free agent, to not control their own decisions, is horrible.
And in selling your work, removing the other’s autonomy is pretty much the worst possible thing you could do.
Right? Who in their right minds would ever want to tell a buyer what they should do?
I’ll be you agree, and yet:
It’s staggering to see how many people (unwittingly) end up removing the buyer’s autonomy.
Now you probably think “Yeah, but that’s not me”.
Are you sure though?
When you try to persuade someone…
When you try to convince someone by making a powerful argument…
When you skip over someone’s objections, fears, or doubts… and you continue to make your case…
That’s when you are in fact, in a subtle way or not, removing a buyer’s autonomy.
And because that’s the worst thing you can do to a human being, it’s not very likely to result in a sale – and if it does, chances are you’ll end up dealing with buyer’s remorse.
It’s never a good idea to push someone into a sale or a point of view.
What is a good idea though, is to invite someone in.
Invite them to consider a viewpoint.
Invite them to consider a purchase.
Invite them to ask you questions, or even better:
Invite them to tell you what concerns they have.
Doing that has the opposite effect of pushing people:
Instead of them putting up barriers, they’ll lower their guard and consider what you’re telling them.
And if at some point they accept the invitation to buy, they do so under full control and autonomy, and you bet that’s a way to buy that people love.
So today, I’m inviting you (see what I’m doing here?) to reflect on situations (with clients or with anyone else in your life) where you’d normally try to push an agenda on others (hint: it’s those times when it seems like an uphill battle), and see if you can turn your agenda into an invitation.
Next step: put it into practice. Invite instead of push.
And here’s another next step, for those entrepreneurs who, for once, just want to remove the whole awkwardness from the sales conversation.
I can show you exactly how to do that, with a 9-week training on ethical selling.
Also published on Medium.