Spy Vs. Salesman: 3 Ways Spies Beat Salespeople at their own game

Andrew Bustamante | September 28, 2019

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“I used [FIRST STRIKE] today and it worked!
Once the client understood [how I told them to win], they ate it up immediately!”
– Aaron, 2019

Greetings Everyday Spy,

I recently held my first international webinar and was blown away by the feedback!

Folks logged-in from around the world to hear me teach ‘FIRST STRIKE – How to Beat Salespeople at Their Own Game.’ 

The webinar was based on my observations being a trained CIA operative dealing with salespeople. I can only imagine how these interactions might have been different had the salespeople known my background…

     – I remember the Reston, VA Subaru dealership that tried to pressure me into paying too much for a car. The salesperson told me Subaru was ‘an elite brand for people who want to be seen as elite.’ I don’t think he realized that elite people don’t want to be seen at all – we lose the advantage of anonymity.

      – I remember a Florida bank lender calling to tell me I qualified for a low-interest home loan. The salesman told me that a ten thousand dollar loan could change my life. Sorry sir, the US government has invested millions of dollars into changing my life already. Mission accomplished!

     – I remember my US cable provider telling me that they were upgrading their system and had to increase my cable bill to pay for it. When I told them I was not going to pay, they threatened to cut off my service. An hour and 2 phone calls later, a senior manager was apologizing to me, discounting my remaining year’s service by 50%, and permanently waving any new system fees for my account.

Salespeople are predictable.

And their predictability is their greatest weakness.

But you have to know how they think. That’s what ‘FIRST STRIKE’ is all about. When you can predict an opponent’s behavior, you can strike first.

You just need to understand your opponent. 

Here is what you are up against:

  • The US economy employs approximately 15 million sales people.
  • Companies spend more than $2,000 per salesperson per year on sales training.
  • $87.6 million is spent every year training salespeople how to sell.

Salespeople are the most highly trained opponent you will encounter in your everyday life.

     They receive training in psychology, human behavior, and indirect sales tactics.

     They spend their entire day, every day, practicing and perfecting their craft.

     They understand the average buyer better than buyers understand themselves.

They are masters at selling… to everyday people. 

But they are not equipped to sell to an #EverydaySpy.

Espionage is the art of control. 

     Control of yourself.

     Control of your environment.

     Control of your adversary.

So that you can achieve your mission.

Spies and salespeople have a lot in common: we are both competitive, our targets are human beings, our careers become our lifestyle.

But there is one important difference…

Salespeople are trained to defeat untrained people
Spies are trained to defeat trained people


Here is how Spies beat Salespeople:


  • You control WHEN

Salespeople know that time is money, and they only have a limited amount of time to close a deal. Salespeople are under constant pressure to sell:

  • 68% of salespeople lose their job for poor sales performance every year.
  • 57% of salespeople missed their sales quota in 2018.
  • The 2019 turnover rate for salespeople is 34%.

As one FIRST STRIKE attendee put it, “Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, sellers gotta sell.” If they don’t, they die. 

Time is a powerful tool to use against a salesperson.

The goal is to buy at a time when the salesperson feels the most time pressure. At the beginning of the month, they have no pressure to sell. They aren’t motivated; they are still celebrating the fact that they kept their job from last month.

Buying at the end of the month changes the battlefield. 

At the end of the month, salespeople missing quota will be the first to approach you when you walk in.

Salespeople are hungry for the sale at end-of-month. Every hour is precious, so they don’t want to let you leave without selling you something. That means you have strong negotiating power for prices, warranties, bonus features, etc.

Control the WHEN and you control the salesperson.


  • Make them emotional FIRST

Every one of us buys with emotion and justifies our purchase with logic. It is a proven fact of the human condition. And salespeople use that condition against you all the time.

  • That’s why they make you big promises (to make you excited).
  • That’s why they give you free coffee, snacks, and a cold-drinks (to make you happy).
  • That’s why they ask you what you want to watch while you wait (to make you feel safe).

Once you are emotional, you can be controlled.

Ever notice how buying a car starts out exciting, goes from fun to overwhelming, and ends up frustrating? That is by design. Salespeople know you will buy whatever they are selling just to escape; to end the frustration. And then you will justify your purchase to yourself and others with logic later.  

Salespeople don’t want to sell you what you WANT, they want to sell you what they need you to BUY. And the only way to do that is to make you emotional.

But emotions work both ways.

Salespeople are still people. And they rationalize their emotional decisions just like the rest of us.

Once you control the WHEN, you can make your salesperson get emotional first.

  • Get them excited that they might make a sale
  • Overwhelm them with detailed questions about the product, add-ons, bonus features, etc.
  • Then make them frustrated about the time they’ve had to spend trying to make the sale.

Once you have a frustrated salesperson sitting across from you, they will be ready to accept the deal YOU want to buy. Not the deal THEY are trying to sell. 


  • Tell them how to WIN

Salespeople are born competitors. If they are not competitive, they don’t last long in the sales profession. They know that their livelihood, career, and paycheck depends on them winning the sale.

When you sit down with a salesperson, you need to understand that they see you as their competitor. 

They want to win; they want you to buy; they want the sale. That makes you the enemy.

Unfortunately, buyers assume that salespeople are there to help; to assist; a trusted partner rather than a ruthless competitor. I agree that it’s a nice idea, but it simply isn’t true.

  • If you don’t buy, you go home with your money safe/secure; but their money is less safe/secure.
  • Time spent asking questions gives you new opportunity and new advantage; it takes their opportunity and advantage away.
  • While a large purchase can be meaningful and significant to you, it’s just another sale to them; and they have to sell more after they are done with you.

A salesperson’s competitive nature – their desire to WIN – is the key to beating them.

They know they need to sell, but you control WHEN. When you approach them at the end of the month, they are under significant pressure to sell… to WIN. That makes them emotional. And that puts you in control.

The final step is telling them exactly how to WIN…

How to win your business; how to win the sale; how to win their quota; how to win their job. 

Now you set the price. You define the warranty. 

Now you can sit happily waiting in the lobby while the salesperson scrambles from manager to manager trying to meet your requests.

Because if they do not win, they lose. And they lose much more than you do.

They know that. 

Now you do, too.


These 3 tactics will help you beat salespeople at their own game:

  1. You control WHEN
  2. Make them emotional FIRST
  3. Tell them how to WIN

These tactics are designed to combat three secrets that salespeople don’t want you to know.

If you want to learn those secrets, click on my video presentation for FIRST STRIKE below.

Your best purchases are still ahead of you. And I look forward to seeing you defeat your enemy.

Godspeed, #EverydaySpy

Author: Andrew Bustamante, Founder of www.EverydaySpy.com. Andrew is a former covert CIA Intelligence officer, decorated US Air Force Combat Veteran, and respected Fortune 500 senior advisor. Learn more from Andrew on his Podcast (The Everyday Espionage Podcast) and by following @EverydaySpy on your favorite social media platform.

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