People say that money is the root of all evil, but others have the view that selling itself is somehow immoral or evil.
Dan Sullivan has said that selling is “getting someone intellectually engaged in a future result that’s good for them…and getting them to emotionally commit to take action.” But what does that really mean?
Getting someone “intellectually engaged”, as Joe Polish puts it, is something that all the great teachers, speakers and healers of the world have done. In his video, he mentions famous names like Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa.
But Hitler also got people intellectually engaged and the result was millions of needless deaths.
The Best Salespeople Are Teachers
Selling isn’t inherently evil by itself. It’s more like the vehicle that gets you to where you want to be. So much of what we learn today is rooted in sales.
Joe describes the example of learning how to use a DVD player. I’m betting most of you didn’t learn by reading the manual itself, but rather by a demonstration by a salesperson. Or maybe you had your spouse or your kid set it up for you – but where did they learn it from? Chances are they were sold on the idea before you ever brought the device home.
Or doing your taxes… probably much of what you know of how to do them doesn’t come from reading reams of government paperwork, but by having a tax professional go through each step and figure it out, while answering your questions.
Salespeople spread messages – pure and simple.
Just look at shopping for a car, if you’re in the market for a new automobile, and the salesman walks you through all the makes and models to find the perfect choice, you’re elated because not only are you about to buy a new car, but the salesman has done a terrific job of selling you on everything it does and everything it has.
One Simple Truth
Joe wraps up his video with one simple truth: Usually the people who profess that selling is evil are the very ones who aren’t good at it or who fear that it can be used to manipulate others. Yes, that’s true that it can, but like anything – a gun, a knife, a pencil – it’s just a tool.
It’s the job of the salesperson to use that tool effectively and to the best of their ability.
Here’s Joe’s video:
So… Is selling evil? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below
Food for thought: Selling should always be mutually beneficial. Anything else is simple manipulation.
Every transaction should be win-win… anything else is manipulation as you say.
I think Joe’s definition of selling is a bit too broad. Sales involves a transaction; Mother Theresa acted out of charity, expecting nothing in return. That said, I agree selling isn’t evil.
I think he was referring to Mother Teresa as someone with the ability to get people intellectually engaged in her cause (and that is good because she helped a lot of people in need)
Yes, yes, yes! I’ve been saying this for years. Selling isn’t evil, it’s exactly the opposite! It’s giving someone something that will emotionally satisfy them, plain and simple.
If you are selling to fill the needs of others then there is nothing wrong with that… I do have to correct you on one thing though.
The Bible doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil. It actually says that the “love” of money is the root of all evil.
Thank you Todd
I said “People say that money is the root of all evil” I did not say that the Bible says 🙂
Actually, the Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. A good reminder to make sure you’re not just selling to make money but also to provide the customer with something that will be of more value to them than their money.
Whether it’s ethical or not depends on how the selling is done. If you are pushing too hard and not telling the truth about your product, it’s unethical.
Yes – like in everything, there’s always a right and a wrong way to do it
Manipulating other people is a bit of a strong word to use.
How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie is the best book I have ever read in terms of how you can “influence” people in the nicest possible way to achieve an end result. It also reveals how building the right rapport with a person benefits both people. So a sales person implementing Carnegie’s strategies would not only enter into a win win situation but would have influenced their target customer in an ethical way.
Yes, I digressed here! No wonder this book is a classic it has laid the foundation for all aspiring sales people to do it the right way. I don’t think I came across him denigrating money as being the root of all evil he just came up with fantastic methods which on reflection smack of common sense. Just don’t oversell or be false and put yourself in the shoes of the other person.
How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie was one of the first business books I read and I’m very thankful I came across it early on as it has helped me tremendously in my family, friends and business relationships
Great post Alex!
That’s a very interesting perspective! I think you’ve made very relevant point about salesman being messenger of good news. Just as one cannot not communicate, one cannot not sell. Every action, every word, and every behavior is a sales pitch. We are either selling intangible stuffs like our personality and our credibility, or we are either selling tangible stuffs like a product.