My Blog

9 White Lies People in Sales Like To Tell You

When it comes to looking at trusted roles around the world, there are a couple of professions that seem to rank lower than others. If we were to take a straw poll, it’s quite likely that we would see used cars salesmen and realtors sitting towards the bottom of the list.

Does that make them all untrustworthy? No, far from it.

I’m sure that we can all recall people within those professions and rank them amongst our best and most trusted friends.

So why are some sales professions disliked so intensely? The reason might lie not in what they do, but rather in what they don’t do.

So here’s my take on 9 white lies people in sales like to tell you…

#1 I’m 5 minutes away

Picture the scene. You’re sitting in your office, waiting for the salesperson to arrive for the meeting that you have allocated your precious time for. And, as you look at your watch for the fifth time, and check your calendar app, you know that they are already 20 minutes late.

And that’s when you receive the call. They tell you that they are “Just 5 minutes away!”

You know that is code for “I place no value on you as a client and I have no respect for your time. After all, it’s all about me!”

Chances are that the salesperson will not be drawing the commission cheque this month.

#2 I’ve just sent you the proposal

You will often hear this lie after you have followed up with the salesperson for the (fill in the blank) time.

Your ability to deliver the budgets to your boss have been hampered because the salesperson does not have either: (a) the product knowledge to prepare the proposal (b) what you have asked them for is beyond their capabilities or (c) they’re too busy putting out fires.

Either way, it’s time for you to start shopping for a new salesperson to look after your account!

#3 I’ll call you back with that information

This is a subtle lie that can go undetected.

The skill in deciphering if this is the truth or a lie is tied up with whether a deadline has been offered for the information. A confident salesperson who has contacts to individuals or teams within their organisation, trained and knowledgeable on the product or service, will be confident offering you a timeline for the answers.

No deadline means that you could be waiting a long time for a resolution to your question.

#4 The traffic was outrageous

Refer to lie #2 above.

This person has poor time management skills and doesn’t put enough thinking about planning ahead.

If they are willing to put the lame blame on external forces, then when is he or she willing to take accountability for their actions? Problems that arise in the future will invariably be avoidable. The trouble is that they will continue to be the route cause of them.

#5 I thought that I responded to your email

This lie is almost as old as “The cheque is in the post!”

Really??! Were you born yesterday?

#6 We’ve never had the problem reported

If that isn’t a lie, then the likelihood is that you are one of the first clients to use their product or service. Now you know what it feels like to be a guinea pig!

Go back and look for the earlier lie. Ask them for client testimonials and more specifically if you can speak to satisfied clients in person!

#7 We’ll discount the price if we can use you as a case study

This is code for “We’ve never implemented this before, so we’re willing to take a hit just to see if we can get it to work.”

And if they can’t get it to work, then they’ll try to make you feel guilty that you got it for a substantial discount and to stop whinging! Whilst we all like a bargain, I would encourage you to get a Service Level Agreement with penalty clauses in place prior to signing the deal. At least this way you have a comeback IF anything goes wrong and can claw back some of your investment.

#8 It’s plug and play

Yeah, right!

Unless you have plenty of spare time, or a degree in rocket science, run Forrest, run!

#9 We’re confident that it’ll deliver everything that you need

When you hear this lie, make sure that you have a full user requirement documented for the functionality that you require. Split the list into ‘Must Have’ and ‘Nice To Have’. Ensure that you have consulted with all the key stakeholders and get them to agree on which functions are non-negotiable and build that in to the user acceptance testing.

If the functionality fails, then you don’t pay the cheque…

The next time you’re in a meeting with a salesperson, look out for these 9 lies and see if you can spot them a mile off.

Nsanz GSF