When it’s ok to Lie

Lying, no good horse thieves.

You know the stereo type. Say any­thing, to any­body.  Get the sale. Love ‘em and leave ‘em.

Fact of the mat­ter is, most of my col­leagues, friends and past asso­ciates are above board and con­duct their busi­ness with the utmost integrity.   Most peo­ple can smell a sleaze ball a mile away.  If you are a lying sack of shit, you prob­a­bly don’t sell much and are stuck in a ‘C’ level sales career.

How­ever, is there ever a time when it’s OK to lie?

Of course there is.

There are mul­ti­ple sit­u­a­tions where it’s OK to tell a non– truth. In fact there are sev­eral times in most sales cycles where if you don’t stretch the facts you are not going to get a deci­sion.  And if you under­stand the dynam­ics, it won’t make a bit of dif­fer­ence with the excep­tion that you’ll prob­a­bly close your deal.

Look, it’s like this.  Last Fri­day we’re get­ting ready to go to the neighbor’s house for cock­tails and Mrs. Gun walks out and says “do these pants make me look fat?”

Regard­less of the facts, the only answer that will get me out of the house and through the evening is “No, you look great.”  No blood, no foul. And at the end of it all, it really doesn’t matter.

The same goes for your sell­ing situation.

Dur­ing nearly every sales cycle you will be faced with the equiv­a­lent of the “does this make me look fat?” question.

I call it the Straw­men. If you get a straw­man ques­tion and answer no, you’re DOA or sev­er­ally wounded.

There are two types of straw­men you’re likely to encounter:

The first one comes as a ques­tion about a fea­ture of your prod­uct or ser­vice that you don’t pro­vide.  This is a sell­ing oppor­tu­nity because it pro­vides inter­est and exposes a cus­tomer need.

Num­ber two is WAY more dan­ger­ous.  It comes in the in the form of a ques­tion about a small fea­ture or deliv­er­able that really doesn’t mat­ter but is asked by an anti-sponsor.  They are look­ing for issues to blow you up in the moment.   When you answer no, you’re dead.

So how do you han­dle these straw­men?  Let’s go back to that ques­tion from my wife.   I had sev­eral responses to choose from:

A)     “No dear, it’s your ass that makes you look fat, the pants are fine.”

B)      “Yeah those pants do make you look fat”

C)      “You look great, as always. Let’s go we’re going to be late”

Bingo! A lit­tle non truth quickly fol­lowed by a refo­cus.   Nearly clas­sic objec­tion handling.

That’s how you han­dle the straw­man.  Your lit­tle white lie might be a ‘later release’ or ‘in devel­op­ment’. Or, you “may not be sure how that works” but you’ll check and get back to them.  And then hope it goes away. (If it’s a true straw­man it will).

Here’s my per­sonal favorite: “As we move down the path you’ll have the oppor­tu­nity to talk to some mem­bers of our user group, I’m sure they’ll pro­vide insight.”

But how do you know if the ques­tion isn’t a legit need and concern?

Right now let me state that if the need is mate­r­ial to your customer’s solu­tion and you lie about it, you and your company’s rep­u­ta­tion are on the line.  Your cus­tomer will buy and be sorely dis­ap­pointed.  If it is a legit­i­mate need that you can’t ful­fill,  you need to go find some­one else to sell to.

But if you know it’s a straw­man, lie about it, get through it, it keep moving.

If it’s a com­ing fea­ture or ser­vice and you know that the prospect won’t buy before it’s released or offered,  it’s OK to leave the impres­sion as a right now fea­ture.   If you’re not sure, test it with the “I’m not sure but I’ll check” type response.  If it comes back around then it may be legit.

Sometimes…no, most times, you need to help your cus­tomers buy the right solu­tion for them. Even if dur­ing the process you have to dish out a lit­tle lie now and again.

Oh, for the record, my wife looked great in those pants…honest.

Your email:


Leave a Reply

© 2009-2019 Sales Swamis All Rights Reserved

SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline