George W Bush to speak on war crimes(and a very commonly overlooked sales technique)

3 min readOct 17, 2019
Picture courtesy — Wesley for Unsplash

There is no selling without trust

An integral part of the If there is one thing that Donald Trump has done is that he has made Presidents who were previously thought of to have been terrible, look better than they actually are.

George W Bush declared war on Iraq in 2003 and did so under the pretext that they were housing Weapons of Mass Destruction. As it turns out, no weapons of mass destruction were found. The ugly specter of torture reared its head when pictures of prisoners being tortured in Abu Gharib came out. People called for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld, the then-defense secretary and there was widespread condemnation of the methods and torture used by the American forces on Iraqi prisoners of war.

When President Obama came to power, he granted full immunity to George W Bush, preventing him from being tried for war crimes committed under his watch.

Views of presidents are sought out after they leave the office and they make millions in the speaking circuit after their time in the Oval office is done.

Now imagine George W Bush speaking on behalf of Amnesty International, against war crimes. Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it?

In the same vein, what about:

Lance Armstrong giving a talk on preparing to win the Tour de France, a race he won a record six times before he was stripped of everything.

S Sreesanth giving lessons to fast bowlers on how to bowl in South Africa. After all, he has bowled one of the best spells by an Indian in that nation.

Ramalinga Raju giving a talk on how he built what was once one of India’s most software companies.

It isn’t as if all the aforementioned people lack knowledge. Or even the ability. Or even a stack of achievements to their name. But all of them lack two things — integrity and believability. Lance Armstrong doped, Sreesanth cheated, Ramalinga Raju cooked up the accounts. It will be a long and arduous road for them to get people to believe them again.

While they might be extreme examples, that’s an integral part of any selling process — on some level, trusting the person who is selling something to you.

Selling isn’t just restricted to actually selling a product or service. When any interaction involves you getting someone to listen to you or take directions, it involves a certain degree of selling.

Think of someone you worked under who you respected. When they said something to you, you listened. When they called you out on something, you didn’t demur. Why? Because on some level you felt “I trust this person is saying this for my good.”

Now think of someone you didn’t hold in very high esteem. Even on the rare occasion that they made sense, you had already switched off.

The same applies to any situation and relationship.

When you get an inkling that the person isn’t being honest, you back off. Doesn’t matter if you have the best sales techniques on the back of your hand, or if you have read every single sales book, or if you attended every sales seminar there is to attend — if the person on the other side doesn’t trust you, they aren’t going to buy what you are saying.

Trust isn’t a technique. It’s earned, over time, through actions, consistency, keeping your word and showing up.

Of course, this isn’t always the case. If someone doesn’t need what you’re selling, they won’t buy it. Nothing to lose sleep over.

But if you’re not able to get your message across to someone, maybe you need to earn their trust first instead of trying to sell harder.