A few years ago I did a three day program in California, the first day one of the participants, a very likable fellow, kept repeating a common phrase used by sellers – “buyers are liars”. I told him I did not agree and moved on. The next day, same guy, had switched phrases slightly, and he was reminding me of another popular falsehood that “sellers are liars”; again I questioned the accuracy of the statement. By the third morning I was a bit worried because the only one left in the equation who had not been accused of lying was me, the trainer, all day I waited for him to state “trainers are liars”, while he didn’t, I am sure he thought about it.
There are too many sales people who believe and will tell you that buyers are indeed liars; sadly there are some sales leaders who will reinforce this myth. Buyers are people, and in general people are not liars (can’t speak for politicians), therefore buyers in general are not liars.
The reality is that prospects who do not buy, who lead you on, who go radio silent at a point, and fail to tell you why, are often lying. Not in the evil way that many sales people in the heat of the moment believe, it is more the case of these prospects seeking a merciful way letting a seller down, while they have less than zero intentions of buying, they find it hard to come right out and tell you and break your heart. If they did buy from you, you would overlook a white fib or two, after all you closed the deal, you got the “right” result, they bought. It’s when they don’t buy that you get all out of sorts and resort to calling them liars; so if we’re going to resort names and labels, let’s get it right: prospects sometimes lie.
Most of the time they are not lying, they may be confused or undecided, or again, not sure how to let us down, but in any case the problem is ours, something many in sales do not want to face.
Did we ask the right questions? A common occurrence is a seller going down the path with a buyer only to discover that the person is not empowered to make a decision. Sure I can tell myself they lied, or I can ask myself how I could have discovered it earlier, and moved to engage the right people.
Another is when you “know” they need your product, or “know” they are looking, hey after all you were referred to them, yet they insist that they are “all set”. Are they lying or are we not fully engaged, and conducting an effective discovery process? Just because we are not getting the answers we want does not mean we are being lied to, I think it is more often the case of the wrong or bad question, rather than a bad answer.
As stated above, buyers are people, and people generally do not lie, unless they feel they have no other option in the situation, lying is easier than the alternative. It is up to us as sellers to offer the alternative, and leave the buyer with lying as the only option to stop our assault. Takes work, but pays off too.
What’s in Your Pipeline?