He was brilliant. Polished. An asset for the company he represented. In less than an hour, he worked up the crowd to fever pitch. Hundreds of people lined up to sign up for the next step—which involved a no-cost, eight-hour financial investment training day.
He was also an author. He told his story of how he met a man who invited him to several investment meetings. And those meetings changed his life forever.
He became wealthy from practicing those investment strategies. He turned from amateur to pro. He had finally arrived. And now he wanted to teach those same strategies to investors.
He made the audience laugh, repeat “yes” for the umpteenth time, and put everyone at ease with his low-pressure persuasion techniques. He was even crawling on the floor to illustrate a point. There’s no doubt he graduated Sales Mastery with honors.
But the crowning moment was when he invited four investment newbies to take the stage. He showed them how easy it was to make money whether the market was going up or down. He had them bobbing their heads the entire time. This provided the social proof people needed to participate in the next step.
But many knew better…
I spoke with Ashley, a graphic designer who signed up because Carmen, her realtor mom, wanted to check out the training. Ashley was suspicious of the sales pitch and she wanted to protect her mom from these cleverly disguised sales wolves. I hope Ashley doesn’t lower her guard either.
Because once they get you into their training room, they will hit you with a variety of persuasion techniques to scramble your radar. They will make you feel like you have an IQ of a slug for not investing in their program. Don’t forget to take prescription strength “stubborn” pills with you on that day.
And my colleague, Dana, didn’t approve of the fact that she was being sold. She was skeptical from the start of the presentation. She never cracked a smile during the entire talk. She may have been half-fuming. (Or half-envious.)
But let’s be real…
Salespeople have to make a living. Selling is their job. The economy becomes stagnant when nothing gets sold. I hope you agree that selling is a good thing.
Yet people don’t like to be sold. They like to buy, but not be sold. Buying puts us in control. We own that power. We lose that power position when we’re being sold.
So the speaker did a great job. He racked up hundreds of people into the next phase. He’ll receive a nice bonus for his persuasive presentation.
Yet the question remains: If you could—should you?
If you could bottle fountain water to sell to unsuspecting supermarkets: should you?
If you could pay off the FDA to market your medicine: should you?
If you could pressure people with their last dollar to invest into your program: should you?
If you could sell company secrets to competitors: should you?
If your boss commanded you to lie to consumers: should you?
If you answered “yes” and can sleep well at night, then you are lower than the slime on the bottom of my shoe. You may dress in business attire on the outside, but the inner person is polluted with soot. Despite the media coverage that white collar criminals get incarcerated to Club Fed: You should hold yourself to a higher standard.
Besides it’s hard to become stealth with unethical conduct. Your inner circle of friends and closest allies notice what you do. Especially in a hi-tech society where everything is traceable.
But if you decide to burn people anyway—the Universe always has a way of settling these accounts. Eastern philosophers call it karma. Western ministers label it “reaping what you sow.” And enlightened people name it the Law of Cause and Effect.
So why would anyone corrupt themselves for a buck?
Avoid the scandals, fines and embarrassment. Do the right thing always. And leave a legacy of integrity, accountability and upstanding character for generations to admire and model.