One of the hardest lessons a new salesperson learns is that customers are very frequently dishonest. This goes against the public’s preconceived notions of the sleazy lying salesman, and the innocent honorable person looking to buy. Of course, there is an overwhelming number of people who don’t lie, both as customers and as salespeople. But untruthful customers are so common that almost every salesman knows the following expression; “Buyers are liars.” Here is what they lie about:
1 ) Themselves – For some strange reason, some customers seem to be under the impression that they can’t disclose any details about themselves or else the salesperson will use it against them in some way. Salespeople are taught to ask questions in order to truly understand a customer’s needs, but people automatically become suspicious and try to gain the upper hand by being dishonest, which gets nobody anywhere in the transaction.
2) Budget – Every salesperson in the world has dealt with customers who refuse to be honest and realistic about what they can afford, how much they’re willing to pay, and what their financial picture actually looks like. Again, they lie in an effort to get the upper hand and think that they can “outsmart” the salesperson and get a better deal. Unfortunately for them, an accurate financial picture eventually emerges every time, and they get the deal they deserve; for better or worse.
3) The competition – This is probably the most common lie as customers absolutely love telling you how they’re getting a better deal somewhere else, even when they’re not. Of course, once in a while you will get a customer who was lied to by another salesman and is getting a deal that sounds too good to be true, and sometimes those customers come back. But a customer will tell you anything in an effort to get you to drive down the price, including fairy tales about their cousin’s brother’s friend’s amazing deal up the road.
4) Their level of interest – There is a difference between playing your cards close to your chest and outright lying, and salespeople can see both from their customers. The interesting thing is that this goes both ways: customers who act like they’re very interested when they’re not, and customers who act like they’re not interested at all when they are. It’s up to us as salespeople to read between the (lies) and figure out where we stand.
5) Calling or coming back – When you’re new to sales and a customer tells you they are very interested and will definitely be coming back in to buy something, you’re on top of the world because you think you just made a sale. But after being in the business for a while, you’ll start to realize that when a customer promises you something like that, you’ll most likely never see them again. Customers lie about coming back so often that there’s even a nickname for them in the sales world: Be backs!
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