Lies and Learning to Trust Again… in Sales

Listening to four salespeople talk about how little they trust other people is unintentionally hilarious. 


In case you’re not already aware, there’s an old stereotype about salespeople being sneaky liars, guys who will say anything to get the sale. 


And although it’s not necessarily true, the stereotype is there for a reason. 


And to defend against that, society as a whole has learned how to lie to salespeople so that they don’t have to deal with them. And most salespeople know that.


So there’s a lot of distrust and skepticism on both sides. 


This episode is so good in so many ways, but it only scratches the surface of these trust issues.


If you didn’t read one of my earlier blogs about taking the DISC assessment, I’m right in the middle of being an S and a C. And being 50/50 S and C can be really weird. 


On the one hand, I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings when they’re trying to sell to me. So I tell a little white lie to get away quickly. Or, even worse, I stand there, smile and nod, and just take it. The latter is worse because I’m wasting their time as much as I’m wasting mine. I have no intention of buying from them, but I’m too scared to upset them to say something. 


It’s a vicious cycle. 


Just the other day, I was walking through Walmart, trying to do my shopping as quickly as possible, and somebody tried to stop me to talk about switching electricity providers. With neither a ‘hello’ nor a ‘how’re you doing today,’ he just called out, “excuse me, what electricity provider do you use?”


My response: “Oh, I don’t handle the bills, so I don’t even know.” He smiled and I kept walking.


I’m a grown-ass woman. Even if I didn’t take care of the bills, I would still certainly know who my provider was. 


And here’s the real kicker… my provider is the exact same company he was selling for!


But I knew telling him that would still probably lead to, “well, let’s see if we can get you in a better plan,” or something like that. 


It seemed easier for both of us if I just lied and walked away. And I feel terrible every time it happens. But it just seems like it’s the best way.


On the other hand, I am naturally distrustful of everybody. Like John, I don’t know if this is nature or nurture. I honestly can’t say if I’ve always been this way, but I can tell you that it’s getting worse as I get older. Even though I can often be too trusting and I tend to see the good in people overall, I also assume that, at least in sales situations, they lie more than they tell the truth. 


Pretty bleak, huh?

“Didn’t you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?” – little speech about lies from one of my favorite movies of all time, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it now!


And I’m sure it will be the same way (or worse) when the tables are turned, and I’m the one trying to sell to other people. 


The Sales Throwdown team talks about building trust, bonding and rapport, and improving overall communication to build better sales relationships in so many of their episodes. And I do think that is the ultimate answer to dispelling all of this mistrust.


But how are you supposed to do that when so many salespeople have huge quotas, a never-ending cold call list, and zero time?


This is where really taking note of how they talk to their clients can make your selling life so much better. There have been tons of times where they will, word for word, discuss what they would say to a client in a specific situation. 


And it usually wouldn’t come naturally to say these things, so you have to really listen for them.


For example, take the Walmart situation above. 


If he had said something along the lines of, “excuse me, I know you’re just trying to get through your shopping trip, but I have to try and talk to as many people as possible. Could you spare a minute?” I would not have been nearly so quick to lie and brush him off. 


So even in the suckiest of selling situations, there are still things you can say and do to make people want to give you at least a little of their time and attention.


In that moment, we would have bonded over having to be at Walmart when we don’t really want to be. (Because who ever wants to be at Walmart?) And even if I didn’t buy anything from him, I would have felt compelled to be honest with him, tell him I already use his company, and that I’m really happy with my plan. And who knows? Maybe he did have an even better plan for me. 


And now I’ll never know. 


So when you’re watching or listening to this podcast, listen for those moments when they give examples of what they would say. They’ve all been doing this long enough that, trust me, those phrases and moments have helped them all a great deal. 


And above all else, if we all just tried a little harder to be more honest, more open-minded, and more trusting, (in other words, more like Nannette!), the world would be a much better place.

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