Why do you Believe the Baloney?

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There are not many things out there that apply 100% to every person you know. Here’s one: Nobody likes to be lied to. Period. Not one single person. It is a disgusting feeling. Do you know anyone that likes to be lied to? Didn’t think so.

We (as people & as salespeople) want to be regarded as good & valued people. We want to be respected. We want people to pay attention to us. We want our needs met. Nowhere in this formula does it say we want to be lied to. As a matter of fact, most of us will argue until we are blue in the face that we are not being lied to. Because after all, who likes to be lied to? Nobody, that’s who.

Herein lies the bane of the salesperson’s existence. Wow, that’s deep. Not really. Salespeople are lied to every day.

They may not be gigantic lies told by prospects & customers. They certainly aren’t illegal actions &/or cover-ups made by them either. As a matter of fact, most of the time they are little white lies. No big deal, right? Wrong. A very big deal.

When a salesperson does not like (or want) to be lied to, he will do everything in his power to shut that feeling down. That disgusting feeling is easy to distinguish – just don’t believe it. Just trust what people say. Here’s where the trouble starts. Some examples of things salespeople believe (because they are trusting): 

  • My contact said she wants to “think it over”
  • Prospect said they’d call me back on Thursday
  • My customer says we have a good chance of keeping the business
  • Engineering said they would talk to purchasing
  • Customer said they would use our design
  • Prospect said it was down to us & two others…
  • My contact said she’d invite her boss to our next meeting
  • New prospect said things are “looking good” for us
  • Prospect said the P.O. will be here any day, now
  • Customer says if we drop our price by 5%, we’ll get the business
  • Etc., etc., etc.

On the surface these things sound harmless. Too bad most of the sales game is played below the surface. Facts are facts: people want to believe others are truthful.

This is a tough lesson. It’s what this author’s mother thinks has “hardened” him. The lesson: Stop trusting prospects & customers. That’s right, we’ll say it. Stop trusting, in business. We did not say to stop trusting people in general. That makes you a Doubting Thomas that nobody wants to be around. But you can stop trusting prospects & customers. At the very least, you can verify what they say. There are many times when you can take the responsibility into your control. A few examples from above:

  • My contact said she wants to “think it over”

➢  Ask, “When can I call to determine next steps?”

  • Prospect said they’d call me back on Thursday 

Say, “Let’s make it my responsibility, what time on Thursday?

  • My customer says we have a good chance of keeping the business

Ask, “When you say good chance, good chance means…?”

  • Engineering said they would talk to purchasing 

Ask, “When will you talk to them… I’ll call you to determine next steps.”

  • Customer said they would use our design

Say, “Thanks, what do you like most about it?”

  • Prospect said it was down to us & two others…

Say, “Great, if it were up to you, who would you choose … & why?”

  • My contact said she’d invite her boss to our next meeting

Ask, “What’s the name & can I have a number & email to send the invitation?”

  • New prospect said things are “looking good” for us

Ask, “When you say looking good, looking good means…?”

  • Prospect said the P.O. will be here any day, now

Say, “Great, thanks. If we don’t hear from you by Thursday, can we call on Friday?”

  • Customer says if we drop our price by 5%, we’ll get the business

Say, “Ok, but if we are not able to do that is the deal over? 

It’s not a big mystery. We believe these things because we want to believe people are being honest. Truth is, in sales, many times they are not. It doesn’t make them bad people. It’s what they do. Remember, if the sales game were played above board, our moms would be the best salespeople in the world. 

Don’t stop trusting people. Stop trusting prospects & customers.

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Dave Tear

Dave is passionate about selling & helping others understand the sales process. Whether a client company has a 5 person sales team or a 300 person National sales force, Dave can Coach & Train them to be the best in their industry.
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