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Maverick's Morning Thoughts

How Narcissists Sell and How to Spot Their Pitch

Maverick Steffen  -  1/11/2024

Like most of you, I've known a narcissist.

One in fact was a very good friend, and I assumed we were close. Little did I know they secretly hated me, and behind their charm and seemingly loyal intentions, the second my actions did not fully align with their wishes, I became their worst enemy.

I didn't even know what narcissist was back then. Today, I want to make you aware of them, and the typical sales pitch they will use to manipulate you and possibly ruin your life.

People who have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) tend to act with grandiosity and self-importance, with a fixation on unlimited success, control, brilliance, or beauty, among many other things, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), the manual used to diagnose mental disorders.

The tactics employed by individuals with narcissistic tendencies stand out for their effectiveness and potential for manipulation.

For starters, narcissists are known for their grandiose self-view, a strong sense of entitlement, and a deep need for admiration and attention.

In sales, these traits manifest in unique ways:

  • Charm and Charisma: Narcissists often exude a magnetic personality that can be incredibly persuasive. They're adept at making a connection, often appearing very interested in the client's needs. However, this interest is usually superficial, serving their end goal of making a sale.
  • Exploitation of Emotion: They skillfully play on emotions, using flattery and apparent empathy to build a false sense of trust and admiration. This emotional manipulation is a key tool in convincing clients to make decisions that may not be in their best interest.

A hallmark of narcissistic sales tactics is relentless pursuit. They push boundaries, often disregarding a client's hesitations or objections, to close a deal.

  • Aggressive Persistence: A hallmark of narcissistic sales tactics is relentless pursuit. They push boundaries, often disregarding a client's hesitations or objections, to close a deal.

Several high-profile sales scandals can be traced back to narcissistic traits.

Take the case of Elizabeth Holmes, for instance.

Her relationship with Sunny Balwani is often cited as narcissistic and psychopathic.

Reports suggest that Holmes may have utilized her personal and romantic relationship with Balwani to influence and delegate the more ethically questionable operations of her company.

This strategic manipulation allowed her to maintain a facade of innocence and integrity.

However, as the company faced increasing scrutiny and her downfall became imminent, Holmes swiftly severed ties with Balwani.

In a calculated move to preserve her image, she shifted the blame onto him, distancing herself from the controversial decisions and activities that led to the company's crisis.

This scenario illustrates a classic maneuver in narcissistic manipulation – using close relationships to achieve dubious goals and then disassociating and deflecting responsibility when faced with consequences.

So let's go over the 3 red flags in a Narcissistic sales pitch:

Excessive Flattery and Charm: While friendliness is common in sales, be wary of over-the-top flattery and charm. It's often a tool to lower defenses and create a sense of obligation or rapport.

Pressure to Make Quick Decisions: Narcissists may pressure you to make fast decisions, often using urgency as a tactic to prevent you from thinking critically or exploring other options.

Time-sensitive sales tactics are great, but when these tactics don't work, the narcissist will not be able to retrain physical signs of their disappointment in you. Again, showcasing that sense of entitlement.

Lack of Respect for Boundaries: They might persist even after you've said no, showing little regard for your boundaries.

This disrespect can manifest as incessant calls, emails, or meetings.

Recognizing these tactics in sales is crucial for protecting yourself from potential manipulation.

While not every persuasive salesperson is a narcissist, being aware of these red flags can help identify when a charming sales pitch is veering into manipulative territory.

Stay informed, stay critical, and remember that a good deal should feel right (in the gut), not just sound convincing.

To your success!


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