Miracle Workers and False Profits
Salespeople are an interesting bunch. We are so easily sold on an idea ourselves that, when we buy into a product or company, we go all out to get everyone we know excited about it. One company I represented had an herbal product that created the most amazing testimonials ever. At the meetings you would hear everything like deliverance from cigarettes, arthritis healed, blood pressure down to normal, asthma gone, and on and on. When a friend of mine went home and told her pastor husband about the meeting, he responded, “Hey if you’ve got that product who needs Jesus?”
You know that really is a good question! With products that seemingly create life-changing results, we begin worshipping the product and its creator. Our zeal becomes directed toward getting people saved, well, or healed by the product we sell. The sales person considers himself a miracle worker for the difference his product can make in the lives of others.
Our focus is misdirected. What about scriptures like James 5:13-15
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
Why is it that we are always rushing to a miracle cure instead of rushing to the master physician?
Gimmicks in Disguise
In sales, you have to believe in what you are selling. Once you do, you seem to learn all the right buttons to push to get someone to buy your product. I would justify to myself that since the product fills a need, it’s okay if I had to manipulate people to get them to buy it! I’ve found that many of the best sales training seminars around are based on the following techniques:
1) Build Rapport With The Customer
The unsuspecting customers are warmed up by our friendly manner of complimenting them on their house, their pets, whatever we can find to identify with. We mirror their body language. If they cross their legs, we cross our legs, if they fold their arms and sit back, we do the same. We spend a lot of time chit chatting, becoming friends to make them comfortable with us. We show them that we “care” about them (if we really cared about them, we would be sharing the Lord with them!)
2) Find Out What Your Customers Hot Buttons Are
By finding out what is important to our customers, what their fears are, what makes them happy, what frustrates them, and what their goals and dreams are, we then have the ammunition we need to take the sales process into the direction we want.
3) Gear Your Presentation to Make Your Product or Opportunity Push Your Customers Hot Buttons
We control the conversation. At the appropriate time, we throw into the sales presentation an explanation of how our product will give them what they want, relieve them of frustration, help them achieve their goal, or whatever. We are taught to go for the close when we push their hot buttons, and to use the assumptive close — why, they’d be crazy not to want to do this!
The Personality Test Gimmick
This technique reminds me of when I was involved in Scientology years before I became a Christian. I worked in the department that recruited new people into the organization and got them signed up for their first course. The gimmick the Church of Scientology used was a personality test. After the prospective client would take this test, it would be graded and all the areas where he graded low would be highlighted. These areas, we were trained to tell him, we’re ruining his life. Then, the close. We would always tell him that, no matter what the perceived problem area was, Scientology would help him handle it. There would always be deep emotions attached to the area of his life that was in shambles. The hope that Scientology could fix that problem would suck him right into spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars just to “get better.”
The sad part about the sales techniques is that it works! It is one of the most successful forms of sales. Without being a high pressure, arm-twisting kind of sales person, you can subtly get your customer doing what you want him to do. These gimmicks are nothing less than manipulation and witchcraft.
A sales trainer I met told me a story of how he would go through the three step process and close the sale, or recruit the “big fish.” One time he was selling a limited partnership opportunity to very wealthy businessman on the East Coast. He wined and dined one successful businessman, learning about all his weaknesses, frustrations, hopes and dreams over martinis in a dark corner of a prestigious hotel lounge. He then used all his ammunition to turn the meeting into $100,000 commission for himself by painting a picture of stress-free living through income from the limited partnership. He pushed all his buttons and got what he wanted … his commission! This type of manipulation devalues people made in God’s image. In fact, they almost become like a piece of meat or some other prize for the one who can successfully master the circumstance to their advantage.
My father used to tell me how he had a line that would always get him in the door when he was selling encyclopedias. He would get his foot inside the screen door, work magic with his words, and slide right into the house. He would push all the right buttons he was trained to, silently insinuating that if the parents really love their children, they would give them the gift of knowledge. He even recounted stories of single mothers on welfare to whom he would sell a $500 set of encyclopedias, all because he was such an incredible closer.
New Age Success Techniques
One major area of concern is the way New Age success techniques have crept into most sales and multi-level organizations. Almost all consumer sales companies suggest that the representatives read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Most use it for its helpful goal-setting techniques, but buried away in the last part of the book are rituals of calling up the wisdom of great men, like George Washington, who are dead. Calling up the wisdom of dead presidents sounds to me like some kind of séance.
Or how about visualizing the car we want, driving into the circular driveway in front of our 6,000 square foot mansion, or our family vacationing on the beaches of Maui? Many leaders suggest that their people go to the Lexus or Mercedes new car lot and test drive their favorite model. As they drive around they are to drink in the feel and sensation of driving the luxury car. Afterwards they’re able to recreate in their minds that positive image of them driving their dream car. They are told their dreams will eventually become reality. “If you can believe it, you can achieve it,” is a favorite slogan in MLM.
One Christian leader I knew used to suggest that everyone close their eyes and see themselves standing in front of a room full of people with the idea that those people filling the room were all in their organization.
I recently read the literature for a Christian multi-level marketing where you earn money by sponsoring a needy child. Sadly, only 25% of the money actually goes to the agency providing the support to these children. What disturbed me the most about this program was reading about their Wealth Builders Series and lending library. This is a program within their MLM where you can buy or borrow the best books on success in the country. When I saw that they included books like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, I was really concerned.
Many Christians will now open the door to the enemy by using new-age techniques to ensure their success in multi level marketing! It’s bad enough that this company is trying to link a worthwhile project like helping children with getting rich quick. They are trying to make it seem holy because the money being spent is going to a worthy cause. However, leading Christians into worldly and New Age techniques is an outright abomination. Christians are being caught unaware in their drive to succeed.
There are even books that insinuate that Jesus was all in favor of multilevel marketing. One is named, Jesus Was A Double Diamond. Yes Jesus was a great example of networking. He told 12 who told some, who told some, who told some, and today we have millions and millions of Christians. I guess the glaring difference is that, in all the telling and sharing, there was no financial reward involved. The heart motives were pure, even if man’s pride and basic sin nature still got no way. It does come down to heart motives, and when the bottom line is making money, you’d better watch out.
When sales people consider themselves miracle workers, they are taking the glory away from God. Those who exploit others for their own selfish gain are making false profits. Where are the prophets in our day who will stand up for truth and righteousness?