I stumbled across a video from ATT showing a woman in a car ignoring a text message notification. Her brain (animated) pops up next to her and says, ‘Get it! There is a text notification!’ She laughs and says no, it’s just a dopamine hit when the notification comes in and it’s an addiction. Like chocolate, alcohol, or shopping- you name it- our brains have become hooked on this fix we get from seeing a “Like” show up on our screen.
Two thoughts came to mind when I saw the ad. One, good on ATT for telling people to focus on driving and not texting. Second, it reminded me of labels on cigarette cartons saying “Smoking can kill you” — we want to tell you it will harm you, but we still want you to buy it.
I sold the “wow” factor of the latest device, I showed how much better people would feel using it, and made sure they came back every two years to get the next fix. In sales- ‘sell the sizzle’, showcase benefits and value, show the customer the need. Or rather, create the need. I was told multiple times over the years in sales training (by multiple companies)- Customers do not know that they need what you sell- you have to create the need and show how it will improve their lives.
Or in the case of wireless- how important it is to always be connected, never miss a message, a text, an email, or now- Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook notification. You will be safer if you are more connected. You will be more productive if you don’t miss those emails from your management. Everyone wins- the customer is connected, the company makes money, and I collect a substantial paycheck to sell it.
I see kids with their noses stuck in a phone during family events. I sold their parents on how much safer their child would be if they could be in contact. I see Moms (myself included) scrolling Facebook watching other peoples’ lives while their own kids do amazing things that the Mom will miss. I sold those Moms the best camera smartphones on the market. I told those Moms their children needed a phone at 9- how else could they possibly keep track of them without our gps location app? Like feeding a kid fast food as a toddler, how do you break the habit of smartphone surfing years later? My son is 5- I need to pry his hands from my IPhone on a regular basis.
Guilty conscious? Perhaps. On one hand I really enjoyed my career- and the technology I sold. I was around long enough to watch the industry go from black and white flip phones to IPhone 7. I remember selling text packages in bulk; and asking customers if they needed 450 minutes or 700 a month. I was compensated well for the job, and met wonderful customers and co workers over the years. Sales can be an extremely satisfying career. I don’t know why I can’t shake the feeling that part of my job was to ‘hook’ the customer
I also felt a little weird when a parents sighs and says they can’t get their kid off the phone. Or how their phone bills for the family cost as much as the car payment. Or worse, when I see a news article about a person hurt or killed while checking their phone while driving. I didn’t tell those people to drive and text– I just sold them the phone that lets them do it.