Sales psychology and the takeaway technique, Pt. 2Article added by Steve Lewit on May 29, 2013

Steve Lewit

Buffalo Grove, IL

Joined: February 27, 2008

My Company

The takeaway, as we saw in my last article, is not something new. It’s been used for over a hundred years in traditional selling. And it has been very effective.

In today’s more savvy consumer environment, the old-fashioned, manipulative takeaway is too obvious. Consumers can see it coming and have developed their own defensive skills — stalls, put offs, think-about-its — and deal with it easily. Most times, your clients are more adept at their defense of the takeaway than you are at using it.

Unlike the old-school takeaway, the modern day takeaway is not a manipulative strategy to get a sale. It is not an old book with a new cover. It arises from a unique selling attitude, a new selling attitude that is 180 degrees different from old-school selling. Because of that, it is amazingly more effective than the old takeaway.

The modern day takeaway, rather than being a concoction you make up to get a sale, is the natural result of you ridding yourself of your old-school selling manipulations and just speaking candidly with clients from a specific point of view. That point of view is this: You are independently wealthy, do not need to make a sale, and are a very respectful person.

While the truth is that most of us are respectful, few of us are independently wealthy and we really do need to make a sale. So, achieving this point of view becomes, as I suggested previously, an acting assignment — a part you need to play well in your meetings with clients. From this point of view, your entire selling methodology will change and the modern day takeaway will become an organic part of your selling arsenal.

You must never forget your acting assignment. If you do, you will immediately go back to your old-school, manipulative selling techniques and create more selling problems for yourself than those techniques actually solve.

You know that your clients expect you to chase after them to make a sale. After all, that’s what salespeople do! You also know that if you do chase after clients, the respect they have for you diminishes. And, unfortunately, as their respect for you diminishes, so does the respect you have for yourself.

People like to do business with those they sense are strong, independent and honest. Psychologically, if you adopt the selling attitude I am suggesting, your new persona will act like a magnet that attracts people to you, instead of chasing them away.
Assuming you take on your new acting assignment with diligence, here’s how the modern day takeaway works:

Example No. 1: A client is giving you a hard time about fees and has rejected your initial attempts to justify them.

In your old-school selling habit, you would jump in deeper, trying harder to convince your client that your services are worth the fees. But now, your new persona does not need to do that.

Your new persona of being independently wealthy, not needing a sale, and being a nice person says, “John, I hear you. Please accept my apologies for not seeing this earlier. It’s become real clear to me this costs more than you want to pay, and here I am trying to convince you to spend at a level that you’re not comfortable with.

No problem. Let’s take this product (service) off the table and either go in a different direction or part ways. Fair enough?”

Now, think about this. If you really were independently wealthy and didn’t need the sale, wouldn’t you say something like that? Wouldn’t you run from trying harder and harder to convince someone that your fees are justified? Wouldn’t you say to yourself, “This is just not worth the energy, so I think I’ll pass on this client and move on to someone who really wants to do business with me"?

With the modern takeaway in place, instead of feeling manipulated, you will feel that you’re just being straight with them. Clients then find themselves in a position of making a choice — to move towards you and play at your game, or to move away from you because you won’t play at their game. They either sell themselves on what you are offering, or go somewhere else. They do all the work, while you, just as an independently wealthy person should, sit back, relax and let the events unfold.

Here are some other examples:

Example No. 2: Client says, “I’ve been with Ameriprise for seven years and I just want to see what you have.”

Your new, independently wealthy personality responds, “My goodness, Joe, if you’ve been with Ameriprise for seven years, then that must be one great relationship. I would urge you to keep doing what you’re doing.”

Every other advisor Joe has talked to has tried to convince him that he, the advisor, would do a better job than Ameriprise, but here you are sending him back. Now, Joe has to sell you on why he won't go back to Ameriprise and convince you that he is worth your time. Your independently wealthy persona switches the roles on who is doing the selling because, as an independently wealthy person, you have no need to chase him (and you know that chasing is usually a waste of time).
Example No. 3: Client says, “Steve, I don’t like the idea of tying up my money for a long period of time.”

You say to yourself, “No problem, I’m independently wealthy and don’t need this sale.” Then, you say to your client, “Oh, my mistake, I didn’t quite get that earlier. If that’s the case, then it’s clear to me that having your money liquid is more important than having the guaranteed income that we’ve been talking about. Sounds like we need to go in a more liquid direction. Let’s move on to some more suitable strategies, OK?"

Because you have adopted your independently wealthy persona, you just go where your client wants to go. No fuss, no defending, no pushing, no pulling, no manipulation; just a conversation. The truth is that if your client wants that much liquidity, he doesn't belong in an annuity. So, why not tell him the truth and then see what he does with it?

Interestingly, when you get to the truth, your client will return the favor and give you some truth in return. He will make a clear decision about which direction he really wants to pursue. And you will find that the client who is afraid of the length of an annuity contract at first will turn right around after the modern day takeaway and sell himself on why it’s actually his best alternative.


The world has changed. Old-school manipulations still work. They are, however, too dangerous, tiresome, disrespectful and self-defeating. I urge you to revolutionize and empower your selling, your relationships, your energy, and your bottom line results.
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