A conversation on selling vs. having conversations with people.

Secret Friend: I’ve been having difficulty with something they’ve asked us to do in (insert product/service of choice)
ME: what’s that?
Secret Friend: this weekend – we’re supposed to make “enrollment appointments” with people
ME: DON’T DRINK THE KOOL AID!!!! really? they want you to do sales pitches? ugh. that’s the phase of my mom’s involvement with (insert product/service of choice) that i avoided her like the plague.
Secret Friend: yeah – on one hand, yes – they are sales pitches
ME: and on the other hand – they’re still sales pitches. 🙂
Secret Friend: I agree – and that’s the part of it that I have a problem with. I don’t like that. I don’t like how that comes across to people.
ME: talking about what it’s done for you, how much it has helped you grow is one thing.
Secret Friend: I’m perfectly fine with telling people about it, and trying to inspire them to do something about getting their visions accomplished – and I know how much this can help with that
ME: all of a sudden it comes back to what kevin spacey’s character said in the big kahuna.
Secret Friend: I know – and that’s where I get hung up. I think a big part of it is me making too big of a deal about it
ME: i think it comes back to conversation. if, in talking to someone, you sense their need my be helped by (insert product/service of choice), you talk about that. if their need is more spiritual, then you direct them to the church you think would help them most.
Secret Friend: so my plan is to see these “appointments” as opportunities to connect with people. will I bring up (insert product/service of choice)? sure, because it’s a big part of my life right now, and I believe in it. will I pressure them to do it? no – although I will encourage them to see how it could be a tool that could really help them in their lives. and if they’re not open to the possibility – that’s ok. I still want to inspire them to accomplish what’s important to them, whether or not (insert product/service of choice) is a part of that.
ME: these appointments, are they times you set to meet with people specifically to bring up (insert product/service of choice)?
Secret Friend: yeah, pretty much.
ME: oh. yeah. i’d have problems with that too. especially as much as we talked about how we do evangelism wrong. much of the time. i mean, is that how you would “witness” to someone?
Secret Friend: but you know what? the REAL intention behind it is to help people accomplish their vision and more of what they want in their lives. so I’m going with that as my intention – if they’re open to (insert product/service of choice) as a part of that, great. if not, I’m not going to make it this huge pressurized sales pitch. yep – and I agree with you about the witnessing – you know that. that’s why I’ve struggled with this.
ME: i can imagine. you’re simply substituting (insert product/service of choice) for Christ. you might as well be standing downtown and start passing out (insert product/service of choice) tracts. cause essentially, you’re evangelizing in the name of (insert product/service of choice).
Secret Friend: so what do you think about what I said, about how I’m choosing to see it? even if I see that as what they’re about with this – I don’t have to be about it that way.
ME: i think you can choose to see it that way. but 1) you KNOW what you are doing, and 2) you KNOW how you felt when people did the same thing, selling Christ instead of (insert product/service of choice).
Secret Friend: you don’t think there’s a difference in approaching these appointments as just a sales pitch time as opposed to approaching them as a time to connect with people?
ME: if you were making appointments just to connect with people you haven’t connected with in a while, that would be great. if you are going in with an agenda of any sort, you are really about the agenda, not about the person.
Secret Friend: this is a tricky thing to think about
ME: i know. because if you can rationalize it with (insert product/service of choice), then you would have to be able to rationalize it to evangelize. “witness”
Secret Friend: this may sound weird – but honestly, all the stuff we’ve been taught at (insert product/service of choice) about having conversations with people – does line up with what you just said.
ME: remember what kuroshii said. there’s a fine line that the “enrollment appointments” crosses. it’s fine, if that’s the route you want to go with things. if you’re selling (insert product/service of choice #1), (insert product/service of choice #2), or Christ. if you believe in your product, sell your product. but know that you are giving a sales pitch, not there to connect with the person. i don’t care if people make appointments to hook up with their old friends and see where they are spiritually and talk to them about Christ. but they should at least be self-aware enough, honest with themselves, to know that they are salesmen. salesmen with a good product. and i hate to say this, but ben would have no problem with this strategy. that’s just not where i am or where i want to be. but like i said, there’s nothing wrong with the (insert product/service of choice) strategy. it’s an approach that has worked for a long time and will continue to work. there is a place for it.
Secret Friend: I know – and it’s frustrating. because I believe in (insert product/service of choice), and I think it’s an awesome thing that really would benefit a lot of people, and be life-changing for some. But one of our “pillars” that we try to live by is being authentic – and you know how I already feel about all this when it comes to sales and evangelizing. And I’m trying to live my life authentically – so it’s hard to line it all up. I’ve really struggled with this since they told us about making these “enrollment appointments” the other day.
ME: i can imagine. the struggle is because it DOESN’T line up with the other things they’ve taught. though i suppose it could if you were authentically a salesman. salesperson. sorry.
Secret Friend: It does, but it doesn’t. I know that doesn’t make sense. What it looks like – doesn’t. At all. But the intention behind it – does. And so does the way they want us to be about it. That does line up. And even lines up with what you’ve said. Which is impossible for me to explain, but it’s the truth.
ME: and that’s fine. the intention behind evangelism is fine too. great. important. what we are to be about. doesn’t make us anymore than salesmen if we go about it that way though. salesment in a righteous cause. but salesmen. and thus, ultimately, inauthentic. because we AREN’T there about the person. we’re there about (insert product/service of choice). or Christ. and frankly, those folks would have a better argument for being “inauthentic” about Christ because that IS what we are to be about (Christ, not the inauthentic part)
Secret Friend: well – I am going to make m
y “appointments” this weekend be about the person I’m meeting with and connecting with them. I’m not going into any of them with the agenda of talking about (insert product/service of choice). If they want to know about my life, then yeah – (insert product/service of choice) will be talked about as part of my life. If they want to know more about (insert product/service of choice), I’ll tell them more about (insert product/service of choice). But my intention is to be authentic.

ME: THERE YOU GO. just like if Christ came up, you’d talk about him because that’s an important part of your life.
Secret Friend: right.
ME: see, tension all resolved.

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