Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Why Your Idea Isn’t Spreading (The Salesman’s Problem)

This one’s inspired by you, Mr. Pushy Salesman who tried to sell me a home security system by coercing and shaming me (instead of wooing and charming me):

What? You don’t want your family to be safe?

Yeah, buddy. This list’s for you and all those like you who try to convince the customer to do what you want instead of empowering him to make the right decision.

Salesman's Briefcase Photo

Photo credit: Kelly B. (Creative Commons)

Please stop this

Here’s why your idea isn’t spreading, why your product isn’t selling, and/or why people generally don’t want to listen to you:

  • You’re too pushy.
  • You’re impatient.
  • You don’t solve a real problem.
  • You insulted me.
  • You’re rude.
  • You put your needs before my own.
  • You lie.
  • You don’t listen.
  • You’re intrusive.
  • You don’t understand permission.
  • You think your job is to push people. (It’s not; it’s to help people.)
  • You can’t control your temper.
  • You maintain objectivity when I have a subjective problem.
  • You can’t take constructive criticism.
  • You try convincing instead of conversing.
  • You pretend to care.
  • You have a prepackaged, formulaic approach (instead of one that involves an equal exchange of ideas and information).
  • You think you’re right and everyone else is wrong.
  • You invent problems to solve.
  • You’re inflexible.
  • You resist alternative solutions.
  • You told me I was wrong.
  • You don’t listen!
  • You have a script that you never deviate from.
  • You’re insecure.
  • You didn’t ask, “Is this a good time?”
  • You didn’t tell the truth.

Can you relate?

Are you guilty of these crimes? (I admit that I sometimes struggle with cutting a few corners to get a message out there.) If so, it may be time to reinvent what you do. I’m talking to myself here, as well.

Selling is serving. Not pushing or forcing people to do things they don’t want to do. It’s caring enough to listen, paying attention to what people say, and having the humility to admit you’re not what they need right now.

It’s disciplining yourself to wait another day, believing that trust and permission are worth your time.

Thoughts? Share your own pushy salesman stories in the comments.

*Photo credit: Kelly B. (Creative Commons)

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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