The two blondy tumbleweeds of weird hair, Pres. Donald J Trump and newly installed UK PM Boris Johnson are renowned for mistruths, dubious facts and that other thing – downright lying.
There are enough fact checkers out there to highlight this. They’re also the same people who tell you that you have a big zit on your chin, spinach in your teeth and bad breath.
Despite the facts, many people vote for the dynamic duo of FibMan and RobYou (of the truth)
If we supposedly abhor being lied to, why do these fine exponents of the fib seem to thrive and what does it mean for our client engagements?
One of the key psychological paradoxes of buyer behaviour is that beneath the risk aversion, the analysis and the caution, we desperately want to Believe.
Buyers are keen on acquiring that new piece of shiny software, new equipment, new handbag or new car because it’s attractive to them and they project all manner of wonders will occur if they have it.
It’s a form of sexual attraction and don’t tell me you haven’t forgiven a few fibs because s/he was hot, at some point in your life.
Executive level selling is obviously different because there is a contract filled with deliverables BUT…your clients want to believe too.
There is never a place for lying in professional selling. Period.
Aside from the integrity issue, the sales profession has spent years shaking off snake oil, vaporware behaviour in order to create trusted advisors. As it should. And there is more work to do.
However, do we douse the buyer’s passion with unnecessary, anxiety laden comments which destroy the inner tingle of excitement they feel about your shiny, new widget?
‘Look, we can’t guarantee that in 6 months’ time the figures will be exactly the same, because it depends on usage blah, blah, blah. (Client thinks: Does your solution deliver results or not?)
‘We sort of do it, in a different way, and we may have an update due in September next year, especially if we partner with a US company that seems to do a lot of this. (Client thinks: So you don’t do it then)
‘We could potentially meet that timeframe if we subcontracted a part of it to supplement our existing staff’ (Client hears: “Whoosh – the sound of a deadline whizzing by at the speed of light)
The client wants more definitive answers – remember, they want to believe in you.
So, if your widget literally can’t handle A3 or the software isn’t compatible with their CRM, tell the truth, don’t skirt around it or fib – just say ‘No, it doesn’t’ and explore how important that feature set is.
Equally, just say yes to the things that you can do, even if it requires a bit of a re-jig of how you would normally do it. Clients don’t want to know all your backroom dramas.
They just want a result and something that works and they want to believe you can do it.
So, there’s no need to go to the fancy dress shop, buy blonde wigs and start stretching the truth.
You could however get a Pirates of the Caribbean outfit and in your best Jack Sparrow voice shout:
‘The problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude to the problem’
Elliot Epstein is a leading Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, Corporate Sales, Negotiation and Presentation trainer who gets sales results rapidly. He has coached and trained high profile corporates globally in presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching. He has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, Avaya, Hitachi , Asciano, Samsung and Lend Lease
He is the author of # 1 International Best Seller ‘ Confessions of a Pitch Consultant‘ and Sales Vs Procurement – The Secrets Unveiled at the Negotiation Table and is internationally renowned for ensuring sessions are engaging, interactive and relevant to winning business in competitive markets.
Elliot is based in Melbourne where he lives with his wife and two negotiators.