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Bait and Switch, Selling and Telling the Truth

bait and switch

The other day, Sharon who is my long-time trusted “gatekeeper” covering our live chat box on our site, sent me this chat conversation she had:

Subj. “Possible LARGE Sale”

Sharon: Hello…its Sharon
Sharon: Welcome
Visitor: I need Ari’s phone number
Sharon: ok, can i ask what it is in regards too please?
Visitor: I am with a huge agency in LA, (– name withheld –) and I want to introduce our firm to him.
Visitor: I also need help with a script
Sharon: ah ok i see
Sharon: lets do this
Sharon: is it possible you can give me your contact information
Sharon: name phone and email
Visitor: have him call me @ 919.268.xxxx
Sharon: ok, i will pass our chat along to have someone call you back
Visitor: Thanks

Now normally, any leads that come from our chat box (which by the way, is a major profit channel for our business), are handled by one our staff members. And if the lead turns into a large opportunity requiring my input, then I’m made aware of it.

But this particular day when Sharon had this chat conversation, all of our team members were busy on the phones and I just happened to be available for a few minutes, so I decided to call this person back to see what they had in mind.

As always, as I picked up the phone to call him, I kept my mindset in check by not making any assumptions about where the call might go.

So I called and reached him on the phone and the first thing he says to me is, “Ari, I’ve been on your site for an hour now and have listened to your audio seminar and just love your philosophy of not pitching, being authentic and creating a conversation rather than trying to just ‘close’ someone.”

So I’m thinking to myself, “Well, here’s someone who really ‘gets it’ and will truly be a success story if he decides to come on board with our program.”

After a few minutes of talking about how much he resonates with the Unlock The Game Mindset, he starts pitching me his company’s online marketing services.

I was a bit startled by the “flipping” of the direction of the conversation, especially since he gave me the impression that the idea of “pitching” was exactly what he was trying to get away from.

He said “You really NEED to have a conversation with my manager because you don’t know what you’re missing in terms of how we can help you grow your online business. We have all the latest technology of how to bring you more visitors to your website that I’m sure you don’t have.”

He continued on without allowing me to say a word “…It will only be a 10 minute call with us, you really don’t know what you’re missing.”

As he was saying all of this, he was raising the volume of his voice and accelerating the momentum of his speech, putting immense pressure on me — making me feel like I was being “cornered” with no where to go.

After he paused for a moment, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and asked him to give me some examples of the online technologies that he says I was “missing”.

He started listing them one-by-one.

As it turns out, I’ve been using everything he said I was “missing” for the last few years in my business.

(I’ve been online for 7 years now, so I’m pretty up-to-date on the latest internet breakthroughs).

After I told him I’m already using everything he listed, instead of backing down, he started to get more aggressive trying to “overcome” the fact that we were obviously not a fit.

He started using aggressive sales tactics designed to make me feel like if I had any decency, I should close my business and start again: “Ari you have no idea what we can do for you…you just aren’t understanding what I’m saying…we have a “guru” on staff you need to talk to…we work with your competitors and you’d be making a BIG MISTAKE by not talking with us.”

He kept going and going and getting more aggressive with every word — creating a massive barrier between us and making me feel very agitated.

Finally I said to him “Look, you began this call with saying you hate people who try to pitch you and you want to learn to break away from being rejected on the phone. Yet, you continue to do EXACTLY what you are trying to get away from. You aren’t LISTENING to me. You’re talking yourself into trying to make me say ‘YES’.”

Hoping that would knock some sense into him, I waited to see if he’d back down so we can at least end our call in a pleasant manner.

Not a chance. He came at me even HARDER.

I was completely shocked by his inability to connect with me.

It was like he was a ROBOT given instructions to pursue his mission regardless of the casualties along the way.

Finally, I decided I had been as reasonable as I could and I said to him “You know what, I’m going to hang up the phone if we can’t end this in a pleasant manner.” Which is something I haven’t done for years.

After I said that, he tried to overcome that “objection” also.

I hung up the phone, feeling a pain in my stomach….that’s how much this call affected me.

Here was someone coming from the completely OPPOSITE mindset of what I teach in my program.

And someone who really needed to “detox” to come to his senses, so he could understand what he was doing to other people and how many sales he was losing because of it.

Here’s the world he lives in:

  – Feeling completely comfortable having a hidden agenda while pretending to be really listening

– Being numb to the destructive manner in which he is treating other people

  – Happy to “dominate” his conversations because that’s how he thinks selling should be

  – And no qualms or ethical struggles with using a “bait and switch” tactic, giving me the initial impression that he was interested in making a change in his sales approach, then using that as a technique to get me to listen to his pitch.

 Sad isn’t it.

In a day and age when what we need most is trust and connectedness between other human beings, here’s someone whose been trained to completely disregard that in pursuit of his own goal.

People like him (and there are thousands of others just like him) continue to buy the books and tapes of the old-school sales “gurus” who continue to teach that it’s perfectly acceptable to treat your prospects as puppets to control and take advantage of.

Funny thing is, we have hundreds of old-school trained sales people making the transformation into the Unlock The Game way of sales success all the time.

And they have two things in common:

  1. They are open-minded

  2. And are willing to “let go” of their old notions of what they believe selling is

Those two, what I call “success ingredients”, are what it takes to experience tremendous sales success while at the same time creating genuine trust with others…and feeling a lot better about yourself.

To your success,

Ari Galper

Ari Galper

Ari Galper is the world’s number one authority on trust-based selling and is the most sought-after sales conversion expert for Business Owners. His newest book, “Unlock The Sales Game”, has become an instant best-seller worldwide. Ari has been featured in CEO Magazine, Forbes, INC Magazine and the Australian Financial Review. He is considered a contrarian in the sales industry and in his book, everything you learned about selling will be turned upside down. No more chasing, no pressure, no closing.

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  1. Edwin

    Ari, I often here the word “guru” used very loosely. What does “guru” even mean? It’s referred to someone that brings another out of darkness into light. So, by definition Ari, YOU ARE A GURU! Thanks!

    Avondale, PA, USA

  2. Rod Farrell

    I feel your pain. I had a very similar experience with a lady who called me and offered a free listing on an online directory.

    After taking my details she came on heavy trying to sell an upgrade. She just wouldn’t take no for an answer and just kept getting more and more aggressive to the point of just short of strongly insinuating I was an idiot for not accepting her offer. I ended the call by hanging up because she simply stopped listening to anything I said.

    One downside of the internet is that people like this have a never ending source of leads so they never stop to think “I’m burning all my leads, is there a better way?”.

    Gold Coast

  3. StephenPHall

    Interesting read. I find it fascinating to be cold called personally and I find I have similar experiences.

    Two weeks ago I was called by someone trying to sell Google Adwords (not from Google) and I explained to him that I am happy to be cold called, and that I will give him the courtesy of being 100% truthful so he will know where he stand, no games no delay tactics.

    After ‘pitching’ me his idea I explained the truth which is that until we get to work on our websites to increase their conversion rates, there’s no point for us in the foreseeable future to drive extra traffic, plus we have a relationship with someone we feel is an Australian expert on Adwords, and as such have no intention now or ever to seek other help with this area.

    From that point on he applied so much pressure and started using every trick in the book to overcome my objections and try and close me to a presentation.

    Like Ari’s guy he got more and more excited, spoke faster and with a higher pritch, tried harder, applied more and more pressure until I was finally able to get him to stop (he just wasn’t listenting to me at all and I had to shout myself just to get him to hear me).

    I explained to him that I was in fact giving him the courtesy that few other prospects will give him of telling him my truth which is that we have zero interest in his service, now or ever.

    I also kindly explained my perspective on how sales calls should be approached – which is when I call people I find my job much easier and less stressful for both parties when my goal is to see if they have a need, and if they have a need to then find out how much desire they have to get a solution.

    There’s no point me trying to get appointments with people who feel no need or desire for my solution as it wastes my time and theirs.

    I thanked him for his call and asked him not to call me again as I will never buy that service from him. :o)

    Neutral Bay, Sydney Australia

  4. Eric Niergarth

    Ari, the guy chose YOU to try and pitch – not a rocket surgeon for sure!

    Springfield, MA USA

  5. Djordje

    A month ago, I was back in insurance industry. I was recommended to my first prospect by a friend, so I easily got an appointment. During a conversation with the potential client I found out that he was interested in car insurance, so I swiftly cracked some numbers and presented him a possible solution.

    In return, he gave me the numbers from another insurance company, and they had a better offer. Reluctantly, I told him that. He looked at me like I’m growing a third eye on my forehead and said:”Well, that’s a first!”. I left him empty-handed, or so I thought.

    In last month alone, I sold him (or to be precise, HE bought from me) a large life insurance and in addition he referred me to no less then six of his friends and business partners. My dream to be a trusted adviser is achieved! Thank you ARI!!!

    Selling should be fun, and the guy from your story is either sick or very sad creature. I wish him all the luck in the universe. He’ll need it!

    Novi Sad, Serbia, Europe

  6. John McCabe

    Ari, I can identify with the sick feeling you had after hanging up. I went through some of the same kind of “training” this bozo had back in my MLM days. We were taught to go after prospects and keep hammering until they either signed up for a service or threw us out.

    One trainer gleefully told a story about how she bullied the mother of one of her downline reps into signing up. Had she tried that with any of the people I might have introduced her to, she would have landed hard on the curb on the softest part of her anatomy.

    I’ll admit I did try it a few times. After all, these were the methods the “successful” people were using, right? I quit when I found myself sitting in the car one day, physically sick to my stomach and trying to force myself to get out and go in.

    That’s why I now try to teach my clients to get the prospects to approach them, and to spend time looking for a fit–and moving on if there isn’t one.

    I’m glad I found this blog…

    SW Florida, USA

  7. Danni

    I’m new in this, and are so curious to learn more about your teaching. Your videos are priceless, and somehow makes the whole idea of selling less “painful”, and instead fun! Thx Ari !

    Copenhagen, Denmark

  8. Brian

    I had an inside sales person with the same mindset as the person trying to “sell” you. He never got it and eventually we let him go due to poor professionalism and other issues.

    Ari – keep up the great program!

    San Diego

  9. Terri Cooper

    Hi Ari,

    Great to be back on your mailing list as I had lost touch with your wisdom and honest transparent approach to the sales process. Great to have your influence here in AUS… we need you! All the best Terri

    Brisbane Qld Australia

  10. Dave

    Ari, great story.

    This reminds me of an interview I once heard where someone was saying that the sales industry has a dollar spend in the area of ‘motivation’ and ‘personal development’ training second only to the armed forces yet sales still has one of the highest attrition rates of any industry. This demonstrates that something across the ‘selling’ industry is profoundly wrong and this example highlights just what that is. It also reinforces the point that regardless of what we sell, we can be our own best ‘Unique Selling Point’ by the way in which we treat others.

    The other point that’s interesting is that it pays to be totally honest and up-front. Getting through the ‘gatekeeper’ by giving the impression that the call recipient knows us already when they do not or by employing devious means is just plain wrong. Much better to be humble, to ask for help and to explain the problem solving area we offer. Then ask if they’d be kind enough to point us in the right direction. This is why so many have a problem with calling new sales ‘suspects’, they’ve been taught to be aggressive and devious when doing it by the sales gurus – yet it just does not feel right at a gut level. This story should give real hope to any of us who use UTG as our sales vehicle. The likes of Mr Bait & Switch my friends is what we are up against much of the time. Who would you prefer to buy from?



    That’s the reality of sales. Unfortunately the ones that make it are people like us who care and listen to clients and their needs. Keep up the good work Ari…. Keep it up…

    Orange County CA

  12. Bob

    My guess is he just said “Next” and went on to the next person. How they do not burn out is beyond me. My foster father used to tell me, “A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still”. Ari you have a great direction for those that use the phone to create business.

    Lihue, Hawaii

  13. Rob

    Scary that people use tactics to decieve others for their gain and not for the benefit of the person they are trying to reach. However, we can learn something from this incident. He gave you the impression that the call was important to you. This helped you make the decision to pick up the call.
    Unfortunately, that was the end of the positive. To increase our success ratio, we need to concentrate on how our products or services can benefit others and communicate it effectively. We should also do our homework so we don’t make promises we cannot keep. Every situation can be a learning experience. Thanks for sharing this one so we can all learn from it.

    Jericho, NY

  14. Mary


    I’m so glad you shared this story with us. I had a very similar experience just last night. I personally don’t have any old school practices, as I’ve only been in sales for 3 years now, and “fortunately” started learning from you in the early stages of my sales experience.

    Anyway, the longer this sales agent talked, the more uneasy I became. While he was talking, I was tearing up his business card. I sincerely wanted to tell him how inconsiderate and under-educated he was, but I figured it was of no use to share with that mentality.

    What I learned from that experience was – I NEVER want to be anything like that, nor do I ever want anyone to feel that uncomfortable after speaking to me EVER. His successes will most assuredly be minimual. As for long-term professional relationships, I can only assume they will be with friends and family only, so each sale will always be at his expense for creating that “new” sale vs. using current clients to help grow business. As for referral business, I’m sure it won’t be of the positive nature.

    Ari, Thank YOU for all you do to help us be better “consultants.”

    Roanoke, TX

  15. PJ

    Ari, thanks for sharing with us. I bet Mr. Bait and Switch is thinking about changing his tactics. That call could have prompted an epiphany!

    Annapolis, MD

  16. Marcus Baker

    Hi Ari,

    I was feeling a knot in my stomach while reading your post. While I am sure the experience must have been very frustrating for you I guess the good it does is reinforce for you and all of us(your converts) that we will never go back!

    Warmest Regards

    Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK

  17. Dwight

    Ari, you’re way too nice a guy. You stayed on the line with him way longer than was necessary.
    I guess it’s the teacher in you, always trying to pass knowledge on while being aware of what you’re learning at the same time.
    Keep up the good work!

    Miami, Florida

  18. Darryl

    You know Ari, the very unfortunate thing is… this mind set (the old way of approaching people) generated the largest gap between product and service providers and potential customers, who may actually have needs they’d like help with. The DO NOT CALL LIST. I wonder if the calm, unintrusive approach of Unlock The Game were taught by the gurus of the past… would there have been a need for the US Congress to stop such unpleasent intrusions (in the residential market).

    I do understand that volume of calls to residences was the major factor that caused the push for Congressinal action. However, I’ve heard people say they no long have the experience of someone calling “just at the right time” when they actually “want or need” a particular product or service… or great offer.

    Image if people knew when they picked up the phone (at home… or at work)… the person on the other end would be honest and first discover if they truly had a need. And, that the person making the discovery would accept the truth of the situation. What if the experience of taking a phone call was always pleasant… “an open Conversation”. Perhap there would not be a need for the US Gatekeeper or that $15,000 fine for those who dares to cross.

    I’m such a believer in the fact that people know when they have a need for products and services. You obviouly did not have a need for the “lasted and greatest” internet marketing technology. What’s apparent was… there was absolutely no concern for you or your needs. Dude was tring to wrestle you to the ground, no matter how painful the experience… to make you talk to they’re guru.

    The worst thing is, even if you had a need… how could you trust that person or his company. The entire fondation of the exchange was based upon dishonesty. “Trust Me I’m Dishonest”. There’s a mind set.

    I had a customer buy a service agreement yesterday. A wonderful experience. As I was explaining the package, she stop me after two minutes and said… “Darryl, I TRUST YOU… what’s the price”. Those three words… “I TRUST YOU”… they made my week. That’s the experience we all want.

    – They Have A Need
    – They Trust Me and My Solution
    – They Have The Budget
    – Without Reservation, They Want to Buy
    – They Deside to Buy.

    This is great food for continuing to teach the mind set of “honest conversion toward discovering and accepting the truth about the other PERSON’S need and situation”. Try some yoga or meditation for that stress knot in your stomach :).

    Columbus, OH

  19. Jim

    Ari, that was so dramatic, i was hanging on every word! I’d love to see you put it up on YouTube in a skit format, then do another version the UTG way, it could be fun. The bottom line is the truth lives. jim http://www.mysuccessgateway.com

    Boston, MA

  20. Paul Stone

    Hey Ari,

    Great post – really interesting story to read and well written. You did the right thing, good reinforcement of the concept of not having many expectations – at least you didnt expect too much anyway. If nothing else, the takeaway is an interesting blog post! =)

    Perth, Australia

  21. Frank Marlin

    I have had these calls (pitches) as well). The usually start out with – “may I speak to the owner / director of IT / etc..)

    I always want to stop the person and ask – is this really working for you? Do you really enjoy doing this day in day out?

  22. Rob Carsello

    Well, he certainly filled his promise to “introduce” his firm to you.


  23. Kris S Tengberg

    Hello Ari,

    Two thoughts occur to me: First, what a pioneer you are, (with an old-fashioned, honest approach, no less!) Second, how your integrity shows by your gut-reaction to this attack. Thank you for being a mentor to those of us who seek to live and do business by the Golden Rule. Regards, Kris S Tengberg

    Carson City, Nevada

  24. Adrienne Goodeve

    Dear Ari

    A situation sent to teach others.

    A perfect instance of leading by example.
    Your respect for yourself and others shines through.

    Kirwee, Canterbury, New Zealand

  25. Ryan Pitz


    I’ve had this exact same thing happen to me although I haven’t been as patient about getting off the phone.

    I wonder if that guys manager knew what he was doing if they would condone the sales approach?

    This reminds me of a line from the movie Boiler Room, Ben Affleck says “everytime you pickup the phone a sale is made – either you sell them our stock or they sell you why they’re not buyin. Now go out there and sell something!”

    Sounds like this guy has Ben Affleck as a Sales Manager 😉

    Greensboro, NC

  26. Dave Pipitone

    Hi Ari,

    Thanks for sharing this unpleasant experience and the lessons involved in it. It only points out that your system, when used honestly and integrity, shines out from those who use intimidation and manipulation to “get a sale.”

    I hate that aggressive approach too, and I normally hang up without the niceness that you offered.

    Keep up the great work,

    Streamwood, IL USA

  27. David

    Thanks for this little example. I surfed in here accidentally just following ‘bait-and-switch’ definitions down the rabbit hole.It’s exactly the same deal with people trying to make conversions to their faith. They pretend to be listening while all the time planning to talk you into a corner using a script they have been taught. It’s robotic and alienating and I’m surprised that it ever works.