Spike the Kool-Aid/Financial Flippers/Selling With Integrity

Selling With Integrity

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Selling With Integrity

Businesses need to stop treating people like numbers.

I may ruffle a few feathers with this one, but it’s something that has been on my mind for awhile now. And I was just reminded again today of how disconnected some businesses are from the people they claim to serve.

So, here we are.

Obviously, I’m speaking in generalities, and I know that not every business operates by ignoring their audience. However, there have been enough instances where I just want to slap the people in charge for treating their customers/clients/audiences like a number.

But with that being said, let me set this up for you…

Today, I was on a sales call, where I was the one being sold to. Now, I knew this was going to be a sales call because it was for a company that provides sales training. As a new business owner, I’m always looking for opportunities to improve myself - because improving myself means I can help more people with what it is that I do.

It’s a one-on-one presentation; and while I am on video, the person selling is not. Okay, fine.

The salesman starts off by talking about how he’s filling in for one of his 53 coaches and I learn very quickly that this individual is the CEO of the entire company. I actually recognized his voice from yesterday, when I accidentally joined my scheduled call a day early. (It happens.)

Now, the conversation starts off fine. There’s a little bit of banter, some newly-vested interest in what it is that I do, and then it dives into the presentation.

This is where it starts to go off the rails a bit.

You know those kinds of questions that are given to you where the person asking KNOWS that you aren’t going to give the exact answer they are looking for - no matter what your background is?

Yeah…those kinds of questions which, by the way, don’t work very well in one-on-one conversations. They can make a guy feel pretty awkward.

But that’s how this guy presents a couple of his initial questions to me. I’ve had some sales training before, so I did have answers … but I was immediately made to feel “dumb” because they were not the exact answer on the next slide.

So it’s going well.

The salesman then proceeds to ask me what I ‘should’ do if I were given an objection.

Feeling it was a setup, I responded with something like, “Well, it would depend on the previous conversation what exactly I say, but I would repeat the objection back to show I was listening and understood.”

“Let me show you what you should do.” (There’s that word again.)

The salesman pulls up a slide which shows an objection handling method - which, if you Google “overcoming objections” and go to images, you’ll see very similar versions of what I saw. But it started with asking the person giving the objection, “Hey, can I ask you a question?”

He then asks me if it made sense.

“Yeah,” I said. “It kinda reminds me of an AI sales video which went viral.” (Referring to the Air AI video where AI books a Tesla sales meeting.)

He seemed a little offended and said that AI wasn’t taking his job anytime soon, to which I apologized as that was not the implication I was meaning to make. I was simply saying that I had seen a similar response demonstrated before.

He gives a polite humph and moves onto a “hypothetical scenario.”

For a visual, I’m sitting with my arms crossed. I’m at my desk, in my office, listening to this presentation. There was no option to cancel. No option to reschedule. But I’m still here. Hoping for that great information that’s going to make me a better salesperson and lead me to wanting more training.

The salesman begins talking about body language and asks if I know how to get someone to uncross their arms in 30 seconds or less.

Ugh, with the setups.

“No,” I said.

He then “demonstrates” what one should do in this scenario by saying something like, “This is what you do. You add in some ums and yeahs, and slight stuttering. Then you say something like, ‘You know, it looks like you’ve got something on your mind holding you back.’”

Nothing happens. He gets quiet. I’m still sitting in my chair with my arms crossed waiting to hear what’s next.


He calls me out for not being “into this” and says that if I’m not interested then he’d rather get off the call so that he can “go back to making money.” (Yes, that was the reasoning he gave me. He wanted to end the call so that he could go making money.)

Wait a minute…all because I didn’t uncross my arms?

(Hey, buddy, you might wanna pull your pants up. Your greed is showing.)

Are you kidding me?

I started to say that I was simply sitting and listening to the presentation, but he cut me off and said we can end it now and he’ll still send the free video (I didn’t even know there was a free video). But he wants to know if I’m “into it” or not.

My response? “No, honestly, I’m pretty checked out right now.”

And the sales call, with the CEO of the “world-class” sales company, ended right then and there.

Here’s the thing…

I don’t care what this company offers, sells, or even gives away in the future. I’m no longer interested.

But I BET that this salesman doesn’t care.

Look, I’m a big fan of “give me the ‘no’ so I can go.” But I’m sitting and watching a live presentation about sales training and the salesman selling it to me decides I’m not worth the time to even finish the presentation.

Wanna know the best part?

This was an hour-long presentation and we were done within 10 minutes. I have no idea what kind of assistance this company provides, what the cost is, how the training is laid out … nothing. I don’t know enough to even tell you if I’d be interested in the training at all.

For 10 minutes, I was made to feel a bit dumb and then told I’m not worth the time because this individual would rather be working and making money.

I’m not going to apologize: This is not how you sell with integrity.

The exact same thing happened when my wife and I first went to talk to a financial advisor for the first time. We were newly engaged and attending a retreat as part of our marriage prep. As a bonus for joining this retreat, we had the opportunity to sit down with a financial advisor who would look through all of our financials and help put us on a plan for retirement.

My wife and I have great communication, but when it came to money, we didn’t. We grew up in homes that didn’t really talk about money, and so we just didn’t have the muscles to really talk about it. So we thought that by taking them up on this meeting with the financial advisor, that we were really doing something right, something responsible - even though we felt extremely vulnerable.

The meeting was a disaster.

This man had seen all of our financial information and was going to help us get on track financially. Right? Wrong.

He pulled out some papers and laid them out on his large, opulent, wooden desk; and then proceeded to tell us everything wrong with our financial situation.


He started by saying, “Well, I’m not sure what you’ve done with your life and your money.”

(So you know it’s going to go well after that, right?)

We were made to feel stupid for choices we had made in the past with money, told we would never be able to provide for a child, given a big ol ‘good luck’ on the idea of buying a house, along with a few other gems; but then, as we were walking out the door with my wife in tears, we were told that if we ever wanted to invest that we should come back and give the guy a shot.

No. You will never see us again.

And this is why the whole story is so important…

People need help. They decide to get really vulnerable and place some trust in a business, or coach, institution, or even a person. And then, they get this ‘you’re only worth something if you make me money’ attitude.

And you don’t think that their walls are going to go through the roof after approaching them like that?

Of course they will! Ours definitely did.

And the shittiest part is that the individual STILL NEEDS HELP. But now, they are so beat down, embarrassed, ashamed, etc. that they don’t open up the conversation again.

It hurts too much.

And yes, I’m talking about emotions in the workplace.

I’m talking about emotions when you’re selling.

Because you’re “selling” to a person.

After the conversation with the financial advisor, it took my wife and I another two years before we had the financial conversation again.

Of course, all businesses need to make money. That’s completely understandable. But when the business normalizes treating people as numbers, they show that person what truly matters to them and what doesn’t.

It makes me want to ask the salesman, or the financial advisor, why they got into their fields in the first place. I’m sure the answer would be, “I wanted to help people.” But I believe actions speak so much louder than words. And it’s really difficult for me to believe that the salesman or financial advisor were ever thinking about anyone other than themselves.

Remember: the way you do business is being watched, and listened to.

What about you? Have you experienced something similar?

Because here's the truth: the way we conduct business, the way we treat others, it's not just an isolated interaction. It's a ripple in the pond of human connections. Every exchange leaves an imprint - one that's not easily erased. And it's a lesson I've learned firsthand, both as a customer and as someone striving to offer value in peoples’ lives.

And let's not forget, we're not just recipients of these negative tactics; we're also complicit in enabling them. How many times have we fallen into the trap of sales pitches that prioritize profits over people? How often have we encountered businesses or salesmen who seem more interested in their commission than our well-being?

Look, I get it. Business is about bottom lines, sustainability, and growth. But it should never come at the cost of basic respect and empathy. The essence of any transaction, any deal, is a human being on both sides.

It's about respecting the vulnerability someone shows when they seek help or guidance, no matter if they’re looking to improve sales techniques or secure their financial future. It's about understanding that numbers on a spreadsheet don't encapsulate the intricacies of a person's journey or the depth of their aspirations.

I've been on the receiving end of dismissive sales calls and condescending consultations. It's not just about the disappointing outcome; it's about feeling devalued, reduced to a figure, and discouraged from ever opening up again. That's not just bad business etiquette; it's a failure in acknowledging the human element.

So, to all of us - whether we're consumers, salespeople, advisors, or businesses: let's remember why we started. It wasn't just about profit margins; it was about making a difference, about being the solution someone needs. How about we add a dash of empathy into our strategies, prioritize understanding over targets, and embrace the responsibility we hold in nurturing trust.

I believe in a business world where success isn't measured solely by revenue but by the impact we have on those who place their trust in us. It's time we stop seeing people as mere numbers and start seeing them for who they are: individuals with dreams, fears, and a genuine need for assistance. That's the kind of business landscape I want to be a part of - one where humanity and empathy prevail over statistics and quotas.

So, the next time you're on the receiving end of this, remind yourself that this person is showing you their true colors. And you don’t have to continue the conversation.

And to those businesses engaging with a potential client or offering advice, remember this: you're not just making a sale or sealing a deal. You're touching a life. So let's do it right.

Because, if you do that...the money will come.

Stay Human. Stay Compassionate.

Stay Curious,



Kyle Fowler

Founder of Financial Flippers

The personal finance world is packed with TONS of information. And while it's not all bad, it's not all good. I work hard to make sure I am sharing helpful content that keeps you on track while still providing different perspectives. If you ever have questions, want to share ideas for other topics, or want to know more, shoot me an email: kyle@financialflippers.com

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