Sales and Sales Management Blog

August 31, 2010

Please, Seller, Cut Out The Lies

Filed under: prospecting,sales,selling — Paul McCord @ 11:02 am
Tags: , , ,

What does partnering mean to you?  Is a partner someone who you join with to accomplish a common goal or is a partner someone you use to accomplish your goal?

According to The Free Dictionary, a partner is “one that is united with another or others in an activity or sphere of common interest.”  Synonyms are “colleague,” “ally,” and “confederate.”

Notice anything about that definition and the implication of the synonyms?  None of them imply that one of the partners is a customer of the other.  They imply an equal position; a unified objective; a shared responsibility and shared beneficial return (or loss).

If I am to partner with you I expect that you and I will be working together to achieve some common end.  That implies that we have a shared workload of some sort.  It implies that if I gain, you gain.  If I lose, you lose.  It implies that we march together to the same fate, whatever that fate may be.

That’s what partnering means to me.  I’m old fashioned.  I have a tendency to think words mean what they’ve meant in the past.

I obviously need to catch up to today’s marketing and sales language because partner has now become a manipulative synonym for customer.

I receive at least one—and usually multiple—emails each week asking for a phone meeting to discuss how the salesperson or company can partner with McCord Training.

Sounds nice don’t it?  Getting a request from a company that I’m not familiar with or that I’m not currently engaged with to partner with me?  Why that could be a tremendous opportunity to expand my reach and to significantly increase my sales potential.  Who knows what fabulous opportunity I might be given?  That’s certainly an email I should respond to immediately isn’t it?

But, alas, to my disappointment, it isn’t a tremendous opportunity.  In fact, it isn’t an opportunity at all.  It’s nothing but a salesperson or marketer trying to trick me into giving them an appointment. 

It is nothing more than a cynical use of language to garner an opportunity to try to sell me something. 

It is nothing more than an updated play on traditional manipulative selling techniques grounded in a belief that the goal is to get an appointment and to hell with ethics.

Whenever I get an email requesting a partnership discussion, it immediately gets trashed—or on occasion I’ll respond to the sender asking them whether their intent is to discuss a true partnership or to set a sales appointment.  To date, I’ve yet to receive a reply. 

I know the game and I’m not playing it.  So, seller, if you want to sell me your products or services, cut out the lies and then maybe we can talk.



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by True Small Business and Paul McCord, GoodSelling. GoodSelling said: Please, Seller, Cut Out The Lies […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Please, Seller, Cut Out The Lies « Sales and Sales Management Blog -- — August 31, 2010 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  2. Partner = “If I lose, you lose.” Boy, you said it.

    Comment by Matt Bertuzzi — August 31, 2010 @ 11:14 am | Reply

  3. Paul, this is a fantastic and important post! A lot of our work is in the area of strategic alliances and partnering. We see too many sales organizations (and organizations in general), using and abusing the word partner. As you highlight so nicely, it seems everyone wants to partner, when in reality, what they really want to do is sell you something.

    True partnering is much deeper, it is an alignment of goals and objectives. It requires shared vision and values, shared risks, resources and rewards.

    Using “partnering” inappropriately also demeans selling. If we cannot produce real value in satisfying a customer need, is “partnering” going to overcome the gap?

    Thanks for this important reminder. Regards, Dave

    Comment by Dave Brock — August 31, 2010 @ 11:36 am | Reply

  4. Thank you Matt and Dave. Certainly as Dave points out, a partnership is far deeper than the sneak attack some sellers and companies try to make it. I think the saddest part of this whole thing is what it says about a number of sellers and marketing departments. It is simply an indication that we have a long, long way to go in cleaning up the sales and marketing functions. Of course there will always be those who have little or no regard for ethics and others who don’t recognize the inconsistencies between what they do and what they proclaim (to an extent I think we all fall into the second group–I certainly know I do).

    Comment by Paul McCord — August 31, 2010 @ 4:38 pm | Reply

  5. Thanks for following me back, Paul:) And that is certainly true! If there is no trust, there is no partnership. You can’t send an email asking to partner with someone you’ve never met in person. You have to build that relationship and trust before there’s an actual partnership.

    Comment by CCelli — September 11, 2010 @ 2:25 am | Reply

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