Written by Raisinberry
In my first life, I had the task of teaching sales to a large sales force in a multi-state region. As part of my job, I went to all the motivational programs, heard all the famous speakers, and sat under the tutelage of the greats… Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar, Dr. Peale…you know, the old school guys who really knew how to rev up a crowd and tie ethics and passion and sacrifice together in a nice “feel good” package.
Over the years, I started noticing a sales tactic being used on the sales force that was generally used on the customer. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Sales is sales. Back in the day, the sales training greats used to talk about a technique called “overcoming an objection before it is verbalized.”
This is a tricky technique because you don’t want to give away an objection that the customer wasn’t even considering. And if you use it too soon, that is exactly what will happen. In other words, you could never use this “tactic” on a person who wasn’t even thinking along those lines.
Let me give you an example. You just finished showing product and the customer isn’t saying much. You go for a trial close like, “so what do you think?” She responds, “well, I guess it’s nice.” You read her wishy-washy response as a request for more info about the product. So you say, “It has done wonders for my skin…my husband says it took about ten years off my face!” Her turn. “Hmmm..thats nice, and this is how it comes?” she says looking at the closing sheet…
Moment of decision! What is holding her back? You could ask or you could assume and before she gives you a price objection, use the “overcome the objection before it is verbalized” technique. You suspect “price” is the objection so You say, “ yes it comes in sets so you have everything you need to get the best results and because the product lasts so long, the price is economical costing just pennies a day!”
This is a great technique provided her objection was “price”. If it wasn’t, you just brought it up. See the problem?
The leadership of Mary Kay does the same thing. Faced with the growing discontent that draining finances, garage loads of product and credit card debt produces in a sales force, directors are being “handled” by the skillful National Sales Directors trained on “overcoming objections before they are verbalized” – using that tactic on the vulnerable hamsters in heels.
In a recent gathering of the greats, the topic came up on the “risk of leadership” where Directors (most with a whole lot of “experience”) were told that in their positions, they should expect to spend a great deal of their time calming problems with discouraged consultants and offspring, facing the negativity of their sales force, being strong in the middle of conflict…you get the picture. This is the price of leadership…to be in the middle of the hornet’s nest and be a rock and keep on pressing on. This is the privilege of leadership, that you risk friendships and confrontation and so on.
The stage is set! Now the hamsters return home and at the first sign of discontent, confrontation or presentation of information gleaned from Pink Truth, that “rock-like” imagery is conjured up in their minds and they remind themselves that this is the price and risk of leadership! One of the oldest sales tactics in the book is to prepare the subject for the objection before it ever comes up in an effort to replace their objective thinking with the acceptable thinking that the manipulative salesperson prefers.
The tactic is designed to insulate the perceptions of the Director so that their knee jerk reaction will be, “Oh I remember this…this is what they told us about…I am at the next level, this is what the big girls face…I must be ready and strong…etc” (Closing down objective thought)
In an attempt to overcome the objections of all the sites that are forming to expose Mary Kay’s long time financial manipulation and abuse of the sales force, Directors have been tricked into believing that Leadership is that place at the top where you label real concerns as “negative” and mentally prepare yourself to let these “nellies” go and steel yourself against their opposition and possible cancerous negativity to the rest of your Unit.
What a rare privilege you have to be perched upon the top of the hamster cage convinced that anything negative can’t be legitimate and all people who do not conform to the Mary Kay way must be flushed from your life…painful as that is. You are being trained to believe that your ability to ignore or counter any attack on Mary Kay is a sign of your true and great leadership ability.
Masterful! Excellent job, you crafty Inner Circle Nationals! Great use of the “overcome the objection before verbalized” model. Preparing your top unit Directors for the collapse of their units or growing areas, will keep them working just so much harder and for quite a bit longer!
Instead of objectively looking at the reason for the collapse, and trouble shooting trends that might be cause for the decline, asking questions or familiarizing themselves with problems, they will go happily along, wearing the Blinders you gave them, patting themselves on the back, for being those Directors who expect the “Risks of Leadership” and who never once question the validity of the charges against MK.
You ladies are good.