I was told by my sales manager it was ok for salespeople to tell these white lies. In fact, he actually encouraged me to do so.
I was instructed to straight up lie to prospects. He said, “do whatever it takes to get the meeting.”
The other salespeople in the office were doing it. And they seemed to have some success with it.
For me, it was so hard to decide the right thing to do in this situation. Especially, because my sales numbers didn’t look so good that month.
White Lies Salespeople Tell
Sometimes it happens unintentionally. You read the notes wrong in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool. The prospect never downloaded any whitepaper. But you told them they did.
“I’m calling because I saw you downloaded our whitepaper a few weeks ago.”
(Calling weeks later is a huge mistake, but just stay with me. We’ll cover that another day.)
So, oops. Innocent mistake. They never downloaded a whitepaper, but you told them they did.
And it turns out, they don’t even remember whether they did or not. Suddenly, you’re on to the next topic. It becomes a perfect icebreaker to ease that tension of a sales call.
Now you see it worked once, why not turn it into a sales strategy? Because you have to do whatever it takes to get the meeting.
Well, I’m not so sure about that. But that’s how easy it is slime your way over into the white lie territory.
These are the white lies I was told to tell by my sales manager:
- “I noticed you downloaded our whitepaper.”
- “You listened to our webinar.”
- “You attended the conference.”
- “We sent you an email a couple days ago.”
- “Jon Doe suggested I give you a call.”
- “We work with Amazon.”
- “I’m batman.”
Ok, maybe not the last one. You get the point though. I was told it was acceptable to stretch the truth in sales just to book meetings. Even if these events didn’t occur or relationships didn’t exist, I was told to say it anyways. I was told to tell these white lies, and then play it off as a mistake if I ever got caught.
And I thought all salespeople did that, but I was wrong.
I walked back to my desk and thought, “when did it become acceptable to lie about anything?”
I know there are many different categories of lies we may tell on a daily basis. I’ll let you be the judge of where to draw your own line.
However, I wouldn’t do it. Tell a lie once today, and it becomes easier to do again tomorrow. This kind of thinking starts the weakness in you sales performance. And it poses a major risk to your reputation.
“If the truth ‘isn’t enough, then you must become stronger at presenting it.” – Jim Rohn
Rather than tell a lie, do the hard work to tell a better truth. If you are tempted to lie about a referral, go get the actual referral. If you want to lie about an inbound activity, go get real inbound leads.
Think about this. What would happen if all salespeople believed this? It would be a whole lot easier to trust salespeople. So what would happen if you sent this article to at least one person in sales? It would bring that dream a little closer to becoming a reality.