What is your definition for recommendation/Suggestion?
Have you ever tried to answer this question to yourself or asked your parents or grandparents?
Are you getting the same answer as what you think as recommendation? ……
But to me, Recommendation/Suggestion has completely transformed its meaning in the new digital era. It is nothing put personalized sales person sitting right next to you like your shadow to jump and take your decisions even before you attempt to think.
If you don’t believe me now, stop here – go to your google guru and key in “recommendation types”…!!!
Unfortunately, all you will get is about product recommendation engine/ recommenders/ How to convert through efficient reco engine and you tube recommendations/ e shopping recommendations / what is passive recommendations/ how to make your existing customers recommend your brand. Suggestions about ‘friends you may know’, pages you might like, movies of your choice (categorized), information you might like and so on…
Data rules the world. Aren’t we tired of saying every login collects innumerous personal data and companies/servers which collect the data know more than what we know about ourselves. Is that really stopping any one of us from browsing nor signing up before reading terms and conditions?
We all know the consequences, but it’s a tangled web and there is no easy exit.
Forget about digital medium which runs on latest fancy recommendation technologies.
Even “word of mouth” practiced since age old days are also undeniably adulterated now leading to selling their own thoughts/ideas/views.
Have you ever thought about this?
I often get this belittle look when I recommend my friends, “Hey, don’t you show your sales skills here??” huh……
So every person from the ‘non sales’ community’s suggestion are candid and fair???
As a kid, I was often warned to be beware of sales people. In the late 80’s I remember sales people as someone who walks door to door to sell/recommend petty things likes Soap/Paste/Detergent etc…or out in school selling Magic pens, memory pills & fancy paper cutting scissors.
The warning here implies that sales people are unfair and influence you to buy whatever they have in hand. It does not mean they are downright dishonest but are too pushy and are often self-serving with their persuasion.
BUT “I find this bias against sales people profoundly unfair.”
Not because all sales people are telling the truth and are trustworthy.
But the above biased statement leaves the rest of all non-sales people to be judged too lightly, denoting that they only speak the truth.
But in reality, every person or everything around us try to influence & thrusts us by recommending & selling something or the other. Does it come as a surprise to anyone here?
Selling does not have to be always physical products. More dangerous is influencing someone to view the world in the way they like it. Persuading someone to buy their own ideas/ beliefs/ thoughts does not yield any material gain. So this leads to false conclusion that what they are trying to say is an unbiased truth.
By any chance if this “non sales person” makes you all think about people in Power – A politician, an activist, a preacher, a lawyer, any leadership roles, counselor, spiritual guru, priests, rabbis or any profession in public relation – I am diverting your thoughts in a wrong path.
The fact that “influencing other people’s mind” is so prevalent in all the above mentioned type of public relation professions in the form of power or knowledge is irrefutable.
But today, my non sales people definition focusses on common people who are sitting right next to us all the time and try to snatch us and make a little clones of them by constantly feeding their ideas and suggestions.
NOW CAN I SAY “Ideological Sales People are everywhere?”
We’re all persuaders and influencers in our roles. As parents we do try to convince our kid about the benefits of going to school or put an effort to make our partner watch our favorite movie or simply persuade our friend to become part of our cult.
A person shifting his mindset from “non-sales” to “sales mode” begins by getting curious and trying to make others accept/ comply with whatever is preconceived in his mind. Or I should say that it is the sales mode which is dominant most of the time and works in many mysterious ways.
But if it is clear there is no monetary gain (I had to reiterate the monetary part, as all human behavior and social science terminologies are more used in Marketing & Sales than in real psychology), this can lead to a false conclusion that if someone has no incentive to dissemble, they’ll give an unbiased account of the truth.
Why do people project and exaggerate what they like/believe and want everyone to agree with that?
It is a natural human tendency to put forth a point and make sure it is complied and agreed by all the other people in the group. But some people might go to any extent to exaggerate and add flavors to the information, find reasoning, give detailed descriptions and bring in substantial stories etc.to make other person comply.
It definitely does give a sense of self pride and accomplishment to make others agree with their beliefs and ideas.
There are numerous ways to do that – Generally influencers try to select the strategy based on the listener’s personality.
There goes a social science term for this “Compliance Gaining” – While persuasion seeks to change people’s belief and attitudes, compliance gaining tries to appeal the emotional side to inspire actions. If you start searching about Compliance gaining you will find way too many techniques to convince a person and all of us will fall into more than one category listed. But I am not speaking about the learnt or trained way to convince and sell something. But by nature the inclination to make people agree with your thoughts is increasing a lot than ever before, it’s like getting a ‘like for your picture in the Facebook page’. Social Media enthusiast go to any extent to get a ‘like’ by enhancing the picture with numerous filters and photo shop techniques
Likewise, people want everyone around them to accept their suggestions and recommendations, by enhancing the information with various strategy applied depending on the person who is listening to it. It gives self-importance and assurance when their ideas are reinforced by others.
You can think about this — Do you agree that every person right next to you could be an influencer in more than one way?
And beware Just because the person does not carry a suitcase full of products does not mean that he is not recommending suggesting his own ideas and influencing your thoughts.
Well, now you may ask if you start analyzing the people next to you so much then it is difficult to live in a society.
Tamil Saint Poet, Thiruvalluvar has written a couplet apparently 2000 years ago referencing this issue.
எப்பொருள் யார்யார்வாய்க் கேட்பினும் அப்பொருள்
மெய்ப்பொருள் காண்ப தறிவு.
Meaning: To discern the truth in everything, by whomsoever spoken, is wisdom.
He is suggesting to evaluate the “suggestion” rather than the person who recommends.
But my humbled instinct about this fact is with or without our permission, we are being influenced by the closest people around us. The more good influences we surround ourselves with, the happier we can be.
“CHOOSE YOUR TRIBE & EVALUATE THEIR SUGGESTIONS CAREFULLY”