Allergic to Selling – A Conversation with Bert Martinez


Say “selling” to many professional services providers, and they’ll break out in hives. Bert Martinez, host of the Money for Lunch podcast show on Blog Talk Radio, spoke with Tom McMakin about why an allergic reaction to sales is so common.

Tom explained how, to many of us, the concept of sales invokes a vision of a sleazy used car salesman. We equate selling with coercion. Selling implies the process of persuading somebody to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do. In that context, selling is anathema to most professional services providers. They understand that trust is the crux of their client relationships.

Trust is at the core of professional services because such services are “credence goods.” According to Wikipedia,

A credence good is a good whose utility impact is difficult or impossible for the consumer to ascertain. In contrast to experience goods, the utility gain or loss of credence good is difficult to measure after consumption as well. The seller of the good knows the utility of the good, creating a situation of asymmetric information.

The provider of a credence good diagnoses the problem and provides the purported solution. Such a situation screams conflict of interest. It’s no wonder that professional services providers are sensitive to the slightest whiff of duplicity. They understand what Tom means when he says there are two types of trust. The first is trust that you will do what you say. The second is trust that you’ll keep your client’s best interests at heart—particulary when they conflict with your own. Both types must be present to sustain a healthy client relationship.

Helping clients buy is the alternative to manipulative sales practices. Cultivate the conditions under which prospective clients can understand what you do, how you can help them achieve their objectives, and why they can trust your capabilities and sense of stewardship.

Listen to the excerpt from 6:31 to 13:01 in Bert’s interview with Tom below for more.

Nobody Wants to be a Salesperson