I have this theory: there are two types of salespeople and this is fundamentally why you hate sales.
Let’s get right into the first one: the Mall Guy.
The Mall Guy *insert immediate shutter*
You know the feeling: you’re trying to get a quick errand done and all of a sudden you hear his voice, almost physically, like it’s creeping up the back of your neck. Your heart starts to pump a bit faster, and your eyes are darting every direction looking for the escape route that will save you.
Do you pretend not to hear him? Do you fake a conversation or act like your phone is suddenly ringing? Do you awkwardly take the longer route or even just abandon your mission altogether?
The Mall Guy. It doesn’t matter what he’s selling: perfume, lotion, straighteners. You’re the light to his moth, the candy to his kid. You are his customer. And his only job is to land your credit card number.
The mall guy has a fundamental understanding that every single individual is a prospective client. The mall guy’s only duty is to ensure every conversation lands in a closed sale.
We experience Mall Guy everywhere.
Once you acknowledge him in any way, you’re even more fucked.
We see this with the car salesman: when you walk into a dealership, there is no world where you are walking out without a car (in their eyes).
We see it even more so with the street fundraisers: you get a moment of weakness, say hello because you feel bad they’re being ignored, and BAM. You have essentially put a giant flag on your forehead that says, “Pick me! Pick me!” and they won’t let you go until you’re signed up for an automatic monthly donation to some charity you didn’t even register because you were too busy sweating.
The credit card salesperson at the airport. The personal trainer when the gym has a flash promo.
Everyone is a customer. Every deal must end in a sale.
What did Mall Guy do to our psyche?
The mall guy and sales tactics are like PB&J. They’re made for each other: the sudden price drop, the fake urgency, the information overload, the selective language…
These experiences leave us feeling cornered, harassed, manipulated, tricked, and even foolish. We feel like someone played us and we don’t like it.
We replay the moment in our head, try to see where we went wrong, and we never leave it feeling stoked about what just happened. It always feel a little dirty, even when you think you got a good deal.
This leaves us with two conclusions, whether consciously or unconsciously:
- We hate being sold to
- We would rather die than take on the role of the seller
The Selective Seller *we love her*
The Selective Seller doesn’t see everyone as a customer. In fact, the selective seller loves turning people away.
Their only job is to find and filter the customers who feel like a perfect match. You can also call them, the Qualifiers.
Their job is not to finish every deal in a sale, but rather find the right customers and only sell to them.
This salesperson feels more rare because we don’t get to experience them as much, and when we do, the selling is so subtle it doesn’t leave us with traumatic memories or stories worth sharing with friends. Think total shooting star vibes: “Wait, did you guys see that?” “It was so magical, but yet I’m not even sure it was real…”
It feels good to be sold to this way. The Selective Seller still uses sales strategies, but with largely different intentions and tactics. This person uses tools like law of attraction marketing and screening processes to do a lot of the work for them, so the selling portion becomes pretty minimal, and most importantly, extremely comfortable for all involved.
I don’t believe you, what’s she like?
Need some examples? Think software tech companies: they want to find companies that are the right size with the right problems that their product will fit.
Most of these are subscription style services so there’s no point in wasting time tricking the “wrong” customers into a deal, because they’ll just cancel next month. They also know the “wrong” customers won’t value their offer as high, because they aren’t craving a solution as much as their spot on customers.
We also see it with (Canadian) mortgage companies: they will not hand out a mortgage to anyone. They are filtering and qualifying all day long to make sure you’re a fit.
The tough thing is these are still only “okay” examples. They’re missing the feel good element I really love and for lack of a better example, we’re going to put the ego aside and shoot it straight: Me.
You’re likely on this email list because you don’t feel like I’m constantly selling to you or about to attack you with a pitch.
In my world, everyone is NOT a customer.
I often send people to alternative resources or give them “free advice” when I don’t feel like they’re a fit for my courses or my coaching. If you want to hire me as a business coach, we have to have a call first and it’s not about selling you. It’s about deciding if I want to work with you and if you have a problem we could crush together.
We also see this in niche consumer product markets. When we see an ad or a piece of content we vibe with, we get excited if we’re a fit, and if we’re not, we likely ignore it or barely notice it. But when you do get excited, you head over, you grab that product, and you sit at the door until FedEx drops it off and you can do a happy dance. You don’t feel manipulated, cornered, or harassed. You feel like you found your perfect match.
Can you think of some other examples where you’ve found someone or a company that makes you feel good, like you’re not being aggressively sold no matter who you are?
The problem? Mall Guy is everywhere.
I repeat, Mall Guy has infiltrated the internet. He’s in your email, she’s in your DMs, they’re all over your feed trying to cash in.
It’s the fake personalized, mass email from Kyle that you ignore but he keeps following up with creative subject lines and acting like your bffs that are mutually trying to catch up (insert *book something in my calendar if you’re interested* link even when you’re clearly not interested).
It’s the cold DMs from Becky that “loves your content” and “was wondering if you’ve ever considered coaching” or “thinks this free challenge would be so perfect for you, babe!”
With Mall Guy everywhere, we have our guard up pretty well 24/7, and honestly, for good reasons.
What do we do with this information?
That answer is two-fold, depending if you’re being sold to or acting as the seller.
1. Identify when you’re being sold to as a number and decide how you want to move forward. Nine times out of ten, you’ll likely want to remove yourself from that interaction whether that’s leaving them on read, unfollowing, muting, blocking, or simply addressing it head on.
2. Choose to be a Selective Seller. The kindest, most genuine people are often those terrified of making anyone else feel manipulated, harassed, or “sold to” in any capacity because they hate the gross experiences they’ve had with sales. You get to choose what kind of salesperson you get to be, and just by having an offer or selling a product, you are not automatically Mall Guy. I promise.