Salespeople in smaller companies face huge pressure on a daily basis. Your team needs you to close deals because sales pay the bills. Why add more stress to your (already full) plate by losing your integrity?
Sales are demanding – that’s why tricks and manipulative techniques are very tempting. But honestly 😉 – honest and successful closers are a real thing. Even in everyday life, if you start being 100% honest all the time and avoid small and big lies alike – you’ll open up surprising new ways to interact with the people around you. And reduce a significant amount of stress. I want to start by defining what lies really are.
Let’s talk about types of lies first
One of the best categorizations of lies divides them into:
Lies of commission
stating something is a fact when there is no evidence to back it (most people would say this is the only type of lie)
Lies of omission
leaving out important information
Lies of influence
It’s when people tell you something completely unrelated to the truth to cover up a lie. It’s a tricky one so here’s an example:
“Why did you tell my competitor our plans? I told you it’s a secret!”
“I’m an honest man. I’ve been in this business for 20 years and I’ve always supported my clients.”
Remember the classic oath you’ve heard in hundreds of movies? It goes like this:
“Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, (so help you God/under pains and penalties of perjury)?”
In B2B sales IT, it’s possible to be as honest as in everyday life
Are you a 100% sure you haven’t used at least one type of lie over the last 30 days?
That would already be a lie of commision. And it’s not just a b2b Sales IT thing to use one of these every now & then. It’s a human thing.
With that said, let me lay out what I believe is the foundation for honesty in sales.
There are a few key components that allow you to be honest:
1. Good solution
You know and can highlight why your company’s offering:
- is helpful
- adds value
2. Many qualified, prospective clients
You have zero leads, but need to make the quota to pay your monthly mortgage rate? You will be more inclined to cross the line to reach your goals.
Pro-tip: Don’t get a mortgage at the beginning of your career in sales. It’s a risky business and you don’t want the pressure of monthly rates on your back when you suddenly lose income and have to get back on your feet.
3. Lead Qualification
If you can’t help someone with any pains, or they’re simply not interested – you disqualify them as a lead and go elsewhere.
4. Defining risk
People appreciate it when you’re after something else than just commission and short-term wins. Be more consultative and they won’t picture you as a sleezy salesman, but as a trusted advisor. This takes time – so play the long game, and be completely honest about any risk related to your business.
If you adjust the sales process to these assumptions, you end up focusing on serving your clients, which means:
- Above all else you learn about your clients. Do your homework and ask questions.
- Once you qualify someone as a potential customer who will benefit from your solution, it’s your obligation to convince them. But not before! This way you’re offering targeted solutions to help with real problems.
- Apart from asking questions, you answer clients’ questions thoroughly and honestly. You could be sneaky and hide any intrinsic flaws of your product/service… but why though? Why would you want a ticking-time-bomb in your customer base? (as soon as they figure out you had left important details out, they could wreck your reputation)
It’s better to have a few qualified clients that really benefit from your services and enjoy working with you, than hundreds of clients that aren’t happy with your business.
That’s real success – delivering value to the people who need it, and appreciate it.
Finally, without being so kumbaya about this
Do you remember lying to a close person? A parent, friend, significant other? What was the cost of that lie over time? Even if they didn’t find out about it, the burden itself must’ve cost you a lot of stress.
Every time you lie to a client you add more stress to your plate. And it’s full from the get-go when you work in sales.
Constantly lying to your clients is an awesome prescription for heart attacks, baldness and alcoholism – and all that before you have 10 years of
experience in sales. If you are not convinced to do it for the benefit of your clients or your business – do it for your own good.
Originally posted to answer a question on Quora.