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This power-unaware salesman played manipulation games and lost his chance

A few months ago, an entrepreneur reached out to me looking to network (we happened to be in the same community).

We spoke on Zoom and got to know each other better.

Eventually, later in the interaction, he told me he'd doubled his income working with a high-performance coach (we'll call him Charles).

When he introduced us, I got on a Zoom with Charles and he started asking some personal questions.

Knowing the psychological model he was using to assess my current performance level, I had a choice to make. I could:

  • Withhold personal information: and lose out on the potential value of his final analysis or
  • Give that personal information: and gain that potential value while also minimizing the chances I'm wasting my time on this call (mainly, if he waited until the end to tell me something like, "Well, I don't know enough to give you a fully accurate assessment...")

I didn't care much if this guy knew my personal life and past. I saw it as a learning opportunity.

So, I opened up.

And, when he heard the awful parts, he didn't have the social skills to say once, "I'm sorry to hear about that."

At one point he tried to, looking down as if searching for the right words and saying, "That's...that's...". I helped him, saying, "That's not a story you hear every day :)." He said, "No," agreeing, but then moved right back to the sales presentation (a bit too quickly, in my opinion).

I was glad I opened up. The final assessment was very valuable (and that's not something you see often from a sales call these days).

But, he was also asking for $14,400 which, for me, is a lot to give someone I just met with poor social skills (and, at the time, no website).

So, I thanked him and let him know I'd probably join at a later date (which was true, I was surprised by the level of insight I got from his free value, so I  was happy to join sometime in the future and mainly wanted some more time to get more comfortable with the decision).

I offered for us to reconnect over another call to get to know each other better (he knew a lot about me by now and I knew virtually nothing about him, so on top of the money he was asking, I felt it was fair to have at least one normal chat before the sale).

He agreed and, since we'd been introduced over WhatsApp, he started texting me:

"K" is Charles.

After that last message, he follows up a month later (good timing, not pressuring me):

Notice I said, "I'd be happy to hop on another Zoom call to get to know you better," and not, "...so we can get to know each other better."

I think the latter format is more appropriate for 90% of situations, but I also felt that this is one of those exceptional cases where he already knows the 98% about me that I keep private (as well as the professional and surface-level stuff anyone can Google), so there's not much more to know.

Therefore, while the former format does set a frame of "you'll be doing most of the sharing now" (which I dislike), it's also more honest (since there's far less for me to talk about now about myself).

Now, here's where things start to take more of a turn:

So, after that large sales text bubble, he wants to know my availability?

Seems like he's looking for a close, not a (normal) conversation.

So, I ignore him.

And, he follows up with this:

For me, this confirmed my original feeling that he was probably just looking to reconnect for the sale.

And, there's nothing wrong with that. But, that's not what we agreed upon (we agreed on a regular, normal conversation), so now it feels like he only cares about me as a customer, not as a person. (It also felt like short-sightedness, only thinking of maybe one deal he could get out of me rather than the massive value I could give if he thought of the relationship. For example, I have an email list I might've promoted his free work to if it was a win-win which could've led to multiple sales for him. But, he made it seem like he only cared about getting my money which was a huge turn-off.)

So, I ignored that message too.

He recently reached out to me one-on-one, outside the group chat we were introduced in.

So, this time (admittedly annoyed), I give him a response and he proceeds to blow up my phone:

I don't even remember how much I told him, but now I wish I didn't tell him anything.

If the next message he sends isn't an apology, I might block him. (And, now that I'm thinking about it, I might block him anyway regardless.)

Happy to read any thoughts or feedback.

Lucio Buffalmano, Transitioned and Bel have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoTransitionedBel

Thank you for sharing this, Ali.

Just some sparse thoughts on my part here.

Having the personal information about you shared up front and "too quickly" may have created an imbalance in the relationship that, paradoxically, may have created more distance between you.

After the initial contact and your telling him "I'll maybe join later", his best chance could have been to remain silent.

I think Ramit Sethi says "People don't hate you. They just have a life". Meaning, sometimes the best thing to do if you hope for a relationship of whatever kind is wait, and be kind and "normal" in the meantime.

Instead, his "pushy sales techniques", somewhat fastidious in themselves, sounded even more "out of place" after you had shared your personal information.

On the one hand you had entered into a "personal relationship frame" (even if due to his "assessment model"); on the other hand he has "remained out of the frame" he himself had triggered. This seems and sounds much manipulative, even if it were not deliberate.

When you sent your last text where you said "When I'm interested I'll tell you", he could have taken it as a "no", and he could have thanked you, and gone silent.

That's when, instead, he applied even more pressure, and tried to turn it on you. He used the info you gave him to "paint you as in need of his services".

When he said "based on your past, it's understandable": I think there's no return from that. Game over.

From your side, I would say you were able to learn quickly he was not worth your time and money.

I think we could even derive a principle from this: sometimes, unconsciously or consciously, waiting is precisely meant to verify if someone (a professional, a potential friend, a lover) is really worth his salt. Time has a way of revealing the real character of people.

Lucio Buffalmano, Ali Scarlett and Transitioned have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoAli ScarlettTransitioned

Yeah, great analysis and awareness in recognizing all the red flags, and great analysis from Bel as well.

Also note the psychologizing, already very annoying in itself, is also very self-serving:

  • You are low trust, the problem is you (not me, who's... Doing what instead? Just helping you out of... Pure selflessness? Insert "LOL" here)

Also if you accept his lead, then your only way to prove you're improving and are fixing your "low trust issues" is to take that call with him, show yourself as more open... And show your openness to buying his product.

Quote from Ali Scarlett on December 1, 2022, 4:53 pm

And, when he heard the awful parts, he didn't have the social skills to say once, "I'm sorry to hear about that."

At one point he tried to, looking down as if searching for the right words and saying, "That's...that's...". I helped him, saying, "That's not a story you hear every day :)." He said, "No," agreeing, but then moved right back to the sales presentation (a bit too quickly, in my opinion).

Homie there was expecting Heidi's childhood running through the green grass mountains? 🙂

He's not a top manipulator though, which may be either a good sign, or the sign that he hasn't grown his skill from very low-level manipulation, to top ones.

The top ones would have tried to leverage the difficult past in far darker ways.

The biggest favor you can make this guy is probably to send a link to this thread, and hopefully he'll understand and do/become better.


BTW, you made me curious as to the insights he provided, would be curious to know more about his approach/model/method.

Ali Scarlett has reacted to this post.
Ali Scarlett
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

-OFF TOPICS-

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on December 2, 2022, 6:47 am

BTW, you made me curious as to the insights he provided, would be curious to know more about his approach/model/method.

Yeah, there's no name for it because it seems to be a combination of methods rolled into a new approach to peak performance that he's spearheading (one that I'd say works based on what I've seen so far).

But, from what I can remember, that combination is made up of:

  • Identifying a metric for measuring progress: he's a high-performance coach, so what tangible metric can we use to determine if I'm making actual progress? I chose income, to which he assessed what activities are (and will be) the most income-producing for me to focus on. (The recommendation being to focus on those and cut the rest.)
  • King, Warrior, Magician, Lover analysis: analyzing my habits and past experiences for if my neurochemistry (mainly dopamine) and psychology (based in large part on the book, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine) are in line with my goals.
  • Asking clarifying questions to form (and partially validate) hypotheses: from here, he was able to read me like a book. I didn't like it, the fact that a seemingly normal guy who was also a complete stranger could make predictions about me that were all so accurate as well as recommendations that all made so much sense in a matter of mere minutes. (I have a professional, licensed therapist I've been working with for years who still doesn't seem to understand me the way this guy did.)

From there, he creates an action plan.

But, keep in mind, since I haven't worked with him, I don't know the nitty-gritty details of his actual process/method for people who become his clients.

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on December 2, 2022, 6:47 am

Also note the psychologizing, already very annoying in itself, is also very self-serving:

  • You are low trust, the problem is you (not me, who's... Doing what instead? Just helping you out of... Pure selflessness? Insert "LOL" here)

(...)

Looked through PU for the right name for this manipulation technique and the closest one I found was "pathologizing" in "Emotional Manipulation Techniques":

Pathologizing

If you resist their manipulation, then you’re ill, crazy, or need some help -maybe their help (urgh!)-.

Questioning your ability to love when someone wants your love is an example of pathologizing.

In this case, he questioned my ability to trust him when he wanted me to trust him with my money.

And yet, your label seems to be a better fit:

Psychologize

To analyze or regard in psychological terms, especially in an uninformed way.

Taking that therapist/teacher role definitely seemed to fit this definition.

But, "psychologizing" actually isn't in PU (I Googled that definition above).

So, if you have a quick minute, which would you say it is, Lucio? (I think that it could be both.)

-OFF TOPICS-

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Thank you for sharing, Ali!

If I had to pick, I'd pick "pathologizing in this case".

-OFF TOPIC-

Quote from Ali Scarlett on December 2, 2022, 1:52 pm
  • Asking clarifying questions to form (and partially validate) hypotheses: from here, he was able to read me like a book. I didn't like it, the fact that a seemingly normal guy who was also a complete stranger could make predictions about me that were all so accurate as well as recommendations that all made so much sense in a matter of mere minutes. (I have a professional, licensed therapist I've been working with for years who still doesn't seem to understand me the way this guy did.)

From there, he creates an action plan.

But, keep in mind, since I haven't worked with him, I don't know the nitty-gritty details of his actual process/method for people who become his clients.

Dang, just made me even a lot more curious 😀

But it feels to me like from here on it would get very personal, so we can end the off -topic here.

-OFF TOPIC-

Ali Scarlett has reacted to this post.
Ali Scarlett
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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