Question 1. Why do people mistrust salespeople?
People are often right to mistrust salespeople. Perhaps mistrust is too strong. Maybe it should be why are people skeptical about their presentations? The principle is that salespeople usually know more about the subject than does the customer. That imbalance can be adverse for the customer. Consider Harvey MacKay’s observation.
“When a person with money meets a person with experience, the person with the experience winds up with the money and the person with the money winds up with experience.”
Question 2 Should they be skeptical?
It is a good idea to be skeptical in the beginning because it is the beginning. No salesperson, no matter how conscientious, can provide everything the customer needs to know in the beginning. They can’t even know what the customer knows in the beginning. From the customer’s place, a salesperson’s passionate emphasis on a single or perhaps few points should be a concern.
“One can’t say that figures lie. But figures as used in financial arguments, seem to have the bad habit of expressing a small part of the truth forcibly, and neglecting the other part ….” —- Fred Schwed Jr.
Question 3. How can people differentiate?
People cannot at first, although a passionate single issue presentation should be a deal breaker. Even a hard referral from a trusted ally is insufficient. Your situation may have fundamental differences and the experience the other had may not replicate in your world. There are things that you can look for.
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Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is now with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.