“If you don’t buy this now, you’ll never find success!”
“You’ll always be sorry if you don’t purchase now!”
“This is the one and only answer to what you so desperately need!”
Intuitively, you know the drill. They build your enthusiasm and excitement, getting you in touch with your deepest desire and dreams, building your trust, and then they tear you down – leading you to believe that you are powerless, useless, and a failure without the “proven system” or the “blueprint to success.”
Doesn’t this sound all too familiar?
The “art” of sales has been fueled by fear, scarcity, and greed for many years now. Oh, and guilt. And comparison. And competition. And anxiety. Whee!
No wonder so many people hate going to buy a car at the dealership. No wonder we have to be bribed for sitting through the high-pressure sales at the resort presentation. It’s torture. It’s designed to be. It’s a specific form of manipulative torture that motivates people to buy. In my mind, it’s Sorcery. The bad kind.
In my industry of internet business education and the like, there are plenty of Sales Sorcerers. And they are even proud of their tactics. For example, it’s commonplace now to set up “fake” webinars that are not really live when they say they are. It gets more sales! And it’s typical to host rah-rah in-person events in big hotel ballrooms that use NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) techniques to surreptitiously program participants’ brains to say “YES!” when the time comes! A a magical cue is dropped to buy an expensive training program. And of course well-planned sales systems use plants in the audience for peer pressure. Yes, there is an art to it. A dark hidden art. And much of this art is not even noticeable to most people.
Yet I see how audiences are growing more and more cynical and suspicious of these tactics. They have been used and overused. And people are waking up to the game.
OK but – Sorcery??
Wow, Mellissa. Sorcery is a really strong word!
Yes. Yes it is.
See, I see “magic” as using real energetic tools, that are often invisible to many, to affect reality. And I define “sorcery” as using magic to go against what is in the highest good – to get what you want personally, regardless of the effects on others or the community as a whole. And since the old art of sales includes sneaky emotionally manipulative tactics, some of which are advanced energy-tweaking techniques that work undercover – I see much of our manipulative sales tactics as Sorcery. So yes – to me – Sales is often Sorcery.
Let me show you what I mean from another angle.
I see energy. That’s part of my shamanic gift. And I’ve had occasion to attend several “free” or “bonus” weekends, and a few paid courses, where I saw the energy of Sales Sorcery in action.
Here’s what it looked like to me. The leader stands on stage and gets everyone really riled up with light energy – rah rah, visionary, clapping and jumping around kind of stuff. The leader says really cool stuff, really interesting stuff, and positions himself/herself as powerful/knowledgeable/rich. What I see then is how the audience hands over their energy to the powerful leader.
Note – this part (where the student hands over their energy) is not bad in itself. From my viewpoint, it is typical, when a person becomes a student to someone, that they hand over some energy to the teacher to hold for them. I imagine that the student needs to do this – so that they can respect the leader and hear them. As a teacher myself, I can feel when my audience floods me with their energy. And it is a high. It can be quite a power rush. It is real to me.
The important thing is this: as a teacher devoted to the highest good for my students as well as myself, my job is to hold that energy in trust for my student, until they learn what I have to teach, and then I intend to hand that energy BACK to the student, empowering him or her to do their own work in the world – to make their own decisions – and to choose what to do with that energy. When I do this, the student feels empowered, dignified, and bigger than when she came. She feels respected by me. And I try to handle these energies out in the open, with full disclosure. I don’t hide my faults or mistakes in order to keep my students energy longer than what they’d choose. I avoid shaming them, pressuring them, or questioning their own ability to choose for themselves. I’m not saying I’m perfect at this stuff, but I am saying it’s important to me. I don’t want to steal energy. And there are other teachers I respect who also consciously hold this balance.
But in the Sorcery of Sales, the trick is to HOLD that energy of the students/participants, and not give it back. The trick is to try to get them to BUY it back. And this is what I’ve seen at some of these events. The participants get hungry for the energy that they gave away. And they are even encouraged to race to the back of the room to compete for the energy. They compete to pay for the energy they just gave away!
And then I see the aftermath. Because even if the participant buys the FIRST product, the sales sorcerer will hold out. They will give them back just a little of their energy at a time, keeping them on the hook for the next class – the next experience – the next chance to get some of their own energy back.
How does the participant feel at this point? They are starved for their own energy. They feel smaller, not bigger, than when they came. They feel desperate to be like their teacher – their guru.
And what is so ironic and amazing to me – those students are actually just jonesing for their OWN power back. And people often pay tens of thousands of dollars trying to buy their own energy back. That is what my Shaman’s eye sees.
But you don’t need to have a “Shaman’s eye” perception level to grok this. And you don’t have to believe me. I’m probably describing it in a less than perfect way. Maybe I’m being too dramatic. So I’m sure plenty of people would want to argue with me. But the truth is…. You’ve likely FELT it in your own body.
You go to an event (or a car dealership or whatever) and you get pumped up with big dreams. Then you are subtly led to focus on your need. Then you are shown how you don’t know how to choose wisely on your own. Then you find yourself with your credit card out of your wallet, in a bit of a daze, feeling agitated, worked up, and a bit desperate.
Afterwards, when the buzz wears off, and you feel regret. You feel small. You feel vaguely ripped-off. But you’re too embarrassed to claim that, and you don’t think anyone would believe you or respect you for feeling so. Where did your energy go?
Have you had this kind of experience?
So, what’s the alternative to Sales Sorcery?
Well, the thing is… if you are offering something of value, you are likely to get worked up about it – I know I do! And you are likely to share your enthusiasm with the people you’re telling about it. Of course!
The key is this: let your audience choose.
I would suggest that you don’t use mind games to work on your clients’ minds without their consent. I would caution against using NLP and pacing and hypnosis to sell, because I haven’t seen a good way to use it in full integrity – unless the audience is a bunch of NLP practitioners who are in full informed consent with what’s happening in their minds through the language.
And of course, don’t use scare tactics, please. And don’t lie! It feels weird just to type those words, but I feel like I have to be that blunt! Don’t lie! Lying is bad! (Yes, EVEN in business. Sheesh.)
Do you wonder if you are (accidentally or purposefully) using sales sorcery?
I think the big tell-tale is this: Do the participants feel bigger or smaller after purchasing with you? Do they have the time and space to feel themselves making their choice? Do you give them this space and respect to decide? Do you end up with a lot of requests for refunds right after they buy? Or chargebacks? Or people who accuse you of being a shyster?
And how do you feel after your event? Do you feel pumped up with energy that is way bigger than what you had before the event? Does it leave you feeling entitled to other people’s money and time? Do you feel feisty and agitated afterwards? Do you feel extra horny and on the hunt, or even feel like you are entitled to seduce or sleep with your participants/clients? You might be carrying others’ energy that is not yours to hold. You might be feeling the effects of playing with sales sorcery.
If you find you’ve been involved with Sales Sorcery on either end, and you want to clear it, I encourage you to go into a prayerful state and passionately intend that you cut all cords and clear yourself of anything that is not yours, and that you call back to yourself your own energy from wherever it has gone.
On a more active level, when you find yourself getting too grabby, I challenge you to admit it, loudly and clearly, when you find yourself riding the edge. Jesse Koren of Thrive Academy is a great model for this. He puts his inner salesman on audible right from stage – not only to assure his integrity in the moment, but also to use himself as a teaching model in the moment! I’m happy to have such mentors and colleagues, such as I have in the Conscious Business Network, to collaborate with in finding new ways – new systems.
So – if you find yourself in a Sales Sorcery aftermath, it can be simple to clear your system of the muck. Get humble and call in your heavenly help. Call your energy back. And release what’s not yours.
After all, we’ve been trained to do Sales Sorcery for a long time, and trained to fall prey to it. Don’t beat yourself up if you got sucked into either side. Just wake up to what’s true for you, and start over.
I think it’s a great step to just open the discussion about what has been undercover for so long. Let’s talk about it.
I know I don’t have all the answers. But I do enjoy speaking what I see, and I love learning together. We are all learning how to make magic together, without letting negative sorcery get in our way. I’m committed to that. Are you?
Want to create a business based on new principles of integrity and contribution? Check out the Inspired Messenger Training program with Mellissa!