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Lying Isn’t a Strategy

Today, I am disappointed. Sad, really.

My phone rang. I answered. It was someone who works for me. She said, “[Salesperson] is on the line. She insists she has an appointment with you at 2:30 PM.” I live on my calendar. How could I have been so careless? I open my calendar app, Tempo, on the iPhone. I don’t have an appointment. I asked, “What is this person’s name and what company are they with?”

The answer is [Salesperson] with [Shady Company].

I don’t know [Salesperson]. I do recognize the name of the organization. But only because they’ve continued to call me to try to sell their service. It’s something to do with federal contracts.

In an attempt to speak with me, this salesperson lied. I am certain that had I taken her call, she would have told me that there was some misunderstanding, that she didn’t say that she had an appointment, that she was only trying to schedule an appointment.

There’s a reason so few salespeople use lame, old, worthless tactics like these: Relationships are built on trust, and attempting to begin a relationship with a lie is its undoing.

It doesn’t matter how bad you need business. It doesn’t matter how difficult it is to get someone on the phone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a little white lie. There isn’t any excuse for using any strategy for selling that is built on a lie. This is true even if from time to time this dreadful strategy works.

If you are going to be a professional salesperson, the rule is this: The truth at any price, even the price of your deal. If you are going to be someone worth doing business with, then be that person.

What disappoints me most is not that a salesperson would attempt to open an opportunity by lying about an appointment. What disappoints me most is that somewhere there is a sales organization and a sales manager that is teaching, training, and coaching this behavior. I wonder how they will feel when the salespeople they train end up being the salespeople that call on their elderly parents and grandparents.


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