I am an inquisitive, skeptical guy by nature. I had a good time with the product rep from the largest Canadian hair care line when she was in the school giving us all an introduction to their line. I won’t get into details – suffice to say by the end she was probably crossing her fingers behind her back hoping I wouldn’t ask anymore questions. “This is our flat iron spray, and it smells just – ” “Does it contain glycerin?” “I…umm…I’m not…entirely…sure… but just smell the wonderful smell…”.
Everyone’s selling something in this industry and wording plays a big role in whether you perceive someone as a salesman or an educator. I’m going to use an easy example to demonstrate how insidious the wording and the renaming of “salesman” to “Educator” can be. I’m sure we’ve all heard this “fact”:
“Clients are 60% more likely to return when you have sold them a product.”
It’s the kind of thing that rolls off the tongue of salesmen, and rolls right into the brains of little hairdresserettes across the country. It’s got statistics! 60% is a lot, boy, I bet you never realized that the type and amount of retail you sell is so key to your client retention!
The hairdressers then proceed to disseminate this quote among their co-workers, with the authority of having heard it from someone who is paid to travel around and talk about products.
Pretty soon it’s one of those things that is just taken as self evident among the hairdressing community.
But correlation does not imply causation. Maybe 90% of all the serial killers in the world eat bread regularly. Does that mean eating bread will make you a serial killer? Would you jump off a bridge if a product rep told you it would get you more business?
For instance, I can pull a random statistic out of my arse too:
“Return clients are X% more likely to buy product from you”
Makes sense – they know and trust you, like you enough to keep coming back, so of course they’re more likely to buy product from you, right? And I basically just reworded “Clients are 60% more likely to return when you have sold them a product” to take the bias out.
The snake oil salesmen of this industry bug me sometimes.