Sales and Sales Management Blog

June 10, 2008

Metaphysics, The Law of Attraction, BS, and Sales


A simple google search will indicate how intertwined new age metaphysics and the law of attraction have become within some segments of the sales industry. In some instances, there is little or no separation between them.

There is an obvious desire on the part of many salespeople to find some mystical connection to success. Not a spiritual connection in the traditional Judeo/Christian sense that hard work is rewarded, but in the sense of having a magical formula to success. If you simply desire it enough, if you can align yourself with the universe in just the right way, if you understand that you attract what you believe and think and then align your thoughts and beliefs in the right direction, if you just invest enough money with the right new age guru they’ll teach you the secrets that only the initiated know that will make you successful, you’ll be able to have all you’ve ever wanted and more—and it’s so easy to boot.

This mystical view of sales has become so prevalent that there is a whole plethora of trainers in the market promising easy success—for a price. That’s not to say sales trainers don’t deserve to charge for their teaching and training, for they certainly do. But playing on the desire for easy success and charging outrageous fees has spiritual consequences itself.

My concern is how easily some salespeople are being influenced and quite simply ripped off by many of these gurus. On occasion I get emails asking about various trainers or systems. For instance, last week I got an email from a gentleman asking me if I was familiar with X trainer who promises that if you buy their system which includes an ebook, a 12 CD set, a series of 4 one-hour seminars, and a binder for only $2,795, you’ll increase your sales by at least 1,000% the first year. Or, a couple of months ago I received an email from another gentleman who informed me that he was only a week or two away from being fired for lack of production and wanted to know if I knew of any law of attraction trainers that could take him from where he is to bringing in enough sales to save his job over the next 5 days.

As long as there are salespeople there will be salespeople desperate for fast, easy, miracle cures to their sales woes—and consequently, sales trainers willing to offer those cures to those willing to pay the price. Although the trend for many is to look for some new, great secret that will magically change their sales business, the truth is the secret is already well known—find real strategies and techniques that work, learn them, master them, and apply them.

Sales success really is that simple—and just that hard.

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7 Comments »

  1. Paul,

    Again, you’re right on target.

    There are no new silver bullets in sales. Now, in 2008, the only silver bullets are the ones that are decades old or older: selling value (Larry Wilson and Mack Hanan), closing techniques (Zig Zigler, Tom Hopkins), influence and politics (Jim Holden), large account management (Miller and Heiman), getting access to the C-suite (Tony Parinello), relationships (Dale Carnegie), etc. There are many more. Any new challenges in selling can most often be overcome by application of strategies and skills that have been proven to work in the past.

    I get calls from sales trainers, many pitching their newest bell or whistle. Sometimes it takes me a little longer than others, but I eventually can tie their “new approach” to one that was introduced years ago. That doesn’t make them wrong. In fact, some have clever ways of positioning those strategies and skills, so that they are more readily accepted by their audience. The issue, as you stated it, is with the salespeople and their managers that are looking for that better mousetrap. They often aren’t willing to take the time and effort to do what it takes to be effective at their job.

    Let me put it simply: the best sales people I’ve known through my career (numbers of them making more than a million a year, year after year, in commissions) haven’t used schemes, tricks, shortcuts, or metaphysics. They counted on executing the basics flawlessly: know your customer, your customer’s people, your customer’s customer, your customer’s competitor, your products and services, your competition’s, and know how you can make your customer successful using the customer’s definition of the word success.

    Comment by Dave Stein — June 10, 2008 @ 9:08 am | Reply

  2. Paul,
    No doubt that your closing remarks / statements are dead on. It is not simple to succeed in professional selling and many aspects of successful selling requires hard work. My dad taught me years ago that when all else fails hard work works. But I do have a question around the metaphysical science remarks. Are you saying that the concept of ‘what you think about comes about’ is not valid? Certainly I understand that you are saying that it isn’t the answer to success but my question is: Is is a component of success? I’ve always held that success does start with what you think and what you believe.

    Comment by Tony Cole — June 10, 2008 @ 7:17 pm | Reply

  3. Tony,

    Yes, I also believe that what we believe about ourselves helps drive us to success or failure. Much has been written about both positive and self-limiting beliefs and how the brain impacts our success or failure. In fact, I’ve written about this phenomenon myself in posts.

    However, this isn’t some mystical attraction or alignment with the universe. Rather it is a natural reaction to our deepest conscious and unconscious understanding of who we as a person are.

    Our response to our positive beliefs about ourselves is based on a number of factors—feelings of guilt if we don’t do what we believe we should be doing, a drive to fulfill our deep-seated desires, a need to conform to our view of who we are.

    Unfortunately, these positive beliefs don’t guarantee our success because we can consciously override them and not do those things we know we should be doing and are capable of doing. We may be guilt ridden. We may be miserable. We may be ashamed of ourselves. For most of us, those reactions demand we conform and initiate the appropriate actions, for others, the guilt, shame and misery continues until we quit.

    I think much more important are our self-limiting beliefs that convince us that we can’t do something that we are capable of doing. Those beliefs creep into our lives and some scientific studies have indicated the reality of the impact of these beliefs on our ability to act effectively.

    So, I don’t mean to deny the impact of our beliefs upon our success or failure. I’m simply saying that our belief system isn’t a guarantee of success nor is it based on some mystical law of attraction, new age philosophy, or universal spiritual law that infallibly leads to success. I wish it were–would make life much easier.

    Comment by Paul McCord — June 11, 2008 @ 6:27 am | Reply

  4. Paul,

    Great post!

    Everywhere I turn in a world that grows more complex everyday, I see a vast majority of the culture obsessed with simplicity. Recklessly chasing after the short cut, the magic bullet, the sound bite…in short, the secret. The powers that be constantly admonishing us to simplify our message, simplify the strategy, simplify your solution, simplify the training, simplify the implementation, don’t propose or do anything to complicated or people will become confused and loose interest. The perception that the secret is the simple answer some segments of the sales industry has been looking for is the latest incarnation of an old ideology.

    Have you ever sat down and really studied the definition of Metaphysics? It’s mind bending set of complex philosophical studies that seeks to explain reality beyond objective study of the physical realm. Which means you can’t use scientific thought or observation techniques to explain what’s going on. Using Metaphysics to create sales success…now there’s a solution that’s simpler than learning from the millions of observations made on elite high-performance Sales Professional!

    Personally, I believe having values that align with goals, being passionate about the life-long process of mastering sales and sales management knowledge and skills, having a good attitude and outlook as you learn, apply what you learned, fail, succeed and grow in experience is not metaphysics…

    Comment by Martice E Nicks Jr — June 18, 2008 @ 1:05 am | Reply

  5. Paul,

    One further thought on the psychology used by the “get rich quick” practitioners.

    Often they justify their ludicrous fees with a money back guarantee of the “if you don’t double your sales in the next year we’ll give you your money back” type.

    Obvious the impression they’re trying to give is that they wouldn’t give this sort of guarantee if the system didn’t work, and that the guarantee makes the investment risk free.

    But of course, neither of these is true.

    On the first count, if everyone would care to send me $5,000 I will personally guarantee to accurately predict the toss of a coin or the spin of a roulette wheel for them. I’ll offer a complete money back guarantee if I don’t get it right. So I must be able to make an accurate prediction? Of course not. I’ll get it right (and keep the money) 50% of the time thanks to the laws of probability. The other 50% – I just give the money back, it’s cost me nothing. And in reality, many people will forget or be too embarrased to ask for their money back. Maybe thy just didn’t follow the system right.

    And on the second count, the reality is that the money spent on the system is only a small part of your risk. Your time, your money, your job or your business could be on the line if you don’t hit your sales targets. What use is your money back if you business has gone under?

    Ian

    Comment by Ian Brodie — July 6, 2008 @ 6:59 pm | Reply

  6. There’s hucksters in every industry. But using visualization and goalsetting in the context of the latest LOA movement, and applying it to sales, is not ergo incompatible.
    People have been connecting metaphysical thought with business success for more than a century in popular literature–Napoleon Hill, Wallace Wattles, Charles Haanel, Catherine Ponder, and even good ol PT Barnum. They made this connection not to rip people off (as some people admittedly do) but to identify the very real connection between the two forces of intention and success.

    Comment by Caelan Huntress — May 24, 2010 @ 9:53 pm | Reply

  7. Hey, love your blog, you have loads of great information here some I have made part of my life right now, does anyone know of any other places I can find more information like this, I find this fascinating

    Comment by the laws of attraction — November 1, 2010 @ 3:34 pm | Reply


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