I’m A Person, Not A Sale

*Press the rewind button*

I am in college. I am younger, less experienced, and more naive about the world. I am looking for something that I can call a professional position before I even graduate, because I’m tired of the restaurant job I’m doing to make ends meet so that I can be a full time student. I have an old teacher from my home town use this and try to explain the concept of selling this private long distance calling service to others. My dad likes the idea. We buy in (since when do you pay someone to be employed? These are things that you learn in life). We try it together for a month. We bail quickly after making back our initial investment.

*Press the fast forward button*

A friend tries to get me sold on the idea of selling Melaleuca products. I remember this type of  experience from my undergrad days with the long-distance calling thing. I politely decline. They push. I eventually agree to go to a meeting, knowing in advance that I’m going to say no (I had learned from past experience, but not quite enough). When I say no, the friend becomes irritated with me.

*Press the fast forward button again*

I have just moved to the city in which I currently live (for another week and a half, at least) for grad school. I’m filling my car up at the gas station, when the guy at the pump across from me strikes up polite conversation with some small talk (that happens in the Southeast…you get used to it). Within four sentences he is asking me if I like to make money. Having learned from past experiences (see above), I can smell what he’s doing, and I shut him down quickly, pay for my fuel, and leave.

*Return to present, where we re-join a work day already in progress*

I stop by a colleague’s room to say hello. We chat for a few moments about my coming move. She hands me a business card for a nutritional program that she has tried, and with which she has become so enamored that she is now trying to sell. I’m polite enough to keep my mouth shut and only adopt a glazed look in my eyes. I toss the business card quickly upon leaving her room.

I really, really, really have an issue with this stuff, and I’m so glad that I learned quickly that it’s either all-consuming, or a dead end. I’m no salesperson, because I don’t like seeing people as sales targets. They’re people, not objects. Thus, for me it was a dead-end.

I know people who make their living with this stuff, and I see it consume them, because a huge percentage of conversations that they have with others end up as a pushy attempt to sell their product. Soon, you stop believing that they have any legitimate interest in talking to you at all, but are rather either selling something, or trying to maintain a relationship in order to sell something later.

My attitude about this is that people can find this stuff out there if they want it, whether it’s natural household cleaners or long-distance services (I guess some people still use landlines?). The more you push your product onto me, the less likely I am to even consider purchasing what you’re selling. If I am your friend, then I expect you to see me as a person, not a potential sale.

That is why the business world as it currently exists de-humanizes all of us, because it is no longer your friend owning a business that you can go visit when you want to buy hardware or a good meal. This is your “friend” coming to you to harass you into buying something. This approach reduces our value as people to what we are willing to pay, and there’s certainly enough of that mindset already in our country.

I’m a person, not a potential sale. It would be groovy if we all saw each other in that way.

*Stop*

5 thoughts on “I’m A Person, Not A Sale

  1. I feel the same way as you do. I immediately turn off if someone is trying to sell me something, no matter what it is. If it’s something I’m actually interested in, I have to force myself to endure their annoying behavior. But if they are too annoying, I might just walk away. I often wonder if they realize what damage they might be doing to a potential customer. There is a difference between being pushy and being informative.

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