There is a dirty truth to selling. I can’t call it a dirty secret, because everyone knows about it. It’s the reason you hesitate to walk into a car dealership even when you are excited to buy a new car. It is the reason we give the entire cosmetic section at a department a wide berth – who wants to get sprayed with perfume by an overeager salesperson?
There is a noticeable lack of ethics in sales culture.
The dirty truth is people who are working immersed in sales culture are under pressure to perform. In order to make sales, many are encouraged to do things that are out of character. That they would not do in normal social interactions.
There is no situation I would find myself in naturally that would call for me to walk up to a total stranger and ask them to do something for me, buy something from me. But salespeople are taught to do that everyday. And doing that, they compromise their ethics.
The greater the pressure to make that sale, the bigger the compromise of their ethics they are willing to make. And what is the cost to the consumer?
Consider the news last year about Wells Fargo and those ‘fake’ bank accounts, which ended in a big lawsuit and legal settlement.
In an article published by Forbes.com: Wells Fargo and the True Cost of Culture Gone Wrong, the author wrote,
“This settlement started a landslide of commentary, calls for deeper investigations, increased regulation of the banking industry and questions around how such unethical behavior might become the norm of acceptable behavior across an entire organization.”
“In this article, one former Wells Fargo employee shared that managers actively coached workers on how to inflate sales numbers. Another reportedly discovered that employees talked a homeless woman into opening a total of six checking and savings accounts.
Publicly, Wells Fargo officials have espoused the value that they place on ethical conduct. It seems that, in reality, employees were regularly expected to force “unneeded and unwanted” products on customers to satisfy sales goals.”
A homeless woman needs 6 bank accounts? It’s ridiculous, we all know that. But for that employee that was under constant daily, soul-crushing pressure to perform, what must they have been feeling to go that far to reach those goals. Employees of Wells Fargo in various interviews have talked about the daily pressure from supervisors to meet ever increasing sales goals. Daily and monthly sales targets that kept going up and up until they were impossible to reach. If the employee cracked under the pressure they were taken into windowless conferences rooms, to have one-on-one ‘coaching’ sessions with their supervisors.
It doesn’t take that much pressure to cause a person who would otherwise never behave in such a despicable way, to go against their principles, and do whatever they have to do to make that sale.
In my industry of real estate the same is true. I believe the pressure is even greater for a Real Estate Agent, than it is for an employee, like ones working at Wells Fargo. Those employees are getting base pay after all, it’s only their bonuses at stake. In an industry like real estate where Agents work for 100% commission, what is at stake is not your bonus, but your rent money, or your house payment, or food for your family. That kind of pressure can cause Agents to behave unethically.
Then added to that are the tactics most agents are taught by their leadership and coaching programs. Most “New Agent Training” is not focused on actual skills to become a great real estate agent. New Agents are not taught, to understand and properly explain the complexities of real estate transactions. They are not taught the fine art of negotiations.
Not a day goes by that I don’t see something like this in my Facebook News Feed. An advertisement targeted at me because I’m an Agent.
I read this and cringe. WHY would I want to crush my clients objections?
Recently I had a conversation with one of my clients. She sweet lady who worked hard in the public sector her whole live. Now she is retired and lives alone. We were discussing the sale of her home and whether or not she should buy a condo or rent an apartment. She explained to me she wanted to live close to her Doctor’s office. She still enjoys the ability to live on her own, but need to it to be in a location convenient to her health providers. We discussed her options to buy and found that she couldn’t afford a condo in that neighborhood. So she decided to rent instead.
Now if I was an avid student of the type of training being advertised in the picture above, I wonder just how many tools I’d have been taught to help CRUSH my clients objections?
I pity anyone that spends their career as a professional trying learn OR even these tactics.
I don’t want to crush my clients. I refuse to compromise my ethics just to make a sale. I want to listen to my clients, understand their needs, and truly help them make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
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