Any of you who have followed me know that one of my soapboxes is raising the level of professionalism with sales people. Too often, it seems we take one step forward and too giant steps backwards.
I hate to criticize other bloggers, but I just saw something at BNET that has caused me to comment. The title is “Five Ways To Lure Recession Battered Customers.” The article has some good concepts, but I do get concerned about some of the words used both in the title and in the article. This article is a great example of what all of us sometimes do, probably unintentionally, sometimes to attract readers. I fall victim to this myself—but then I remember what my father says: Don’t do as I do, do as I say.
If we want customers to stop thinking of sales people as manipulative, we have to eliminate the use of manipulative words on our communications. My first reaction to the concept of “luring customers” is one of manipulation. The picture of luring, hooking and reeling in a customer is not a great image. The only thing left is gutting and filleting them—I would imagine sales is not into catch and release. I’m certain that is not what the author intended, but the words used and the way customers were described as being lured and reeled in don’t convey what trusted advisors are trying to achieve with their customers. These words, when read by sales people, reinforce bad practice by sales professionals and lack of trust by customers.
Our words are important–both when we communicate with our customers and when we communicate in our community. If we want to establish trust, value, and confidence, we have to use words that reinforce that. We have to eliminate words that reinforce manipulation, trickery, deception and all the bad attributes we are accused of (justly or unjustly).
Words, as are actions, are important. We need to be careful with how we use them.