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What percentage of prospects are honest and straightforward?

In b2c sales what percentage of prospects are honest and straightforward with salespeople at the point of initial contact? - by Thomas
I think reality is that this is more a "shades of gray" issue than a "black and white" issue, so it's difficult for me to assign a percentage to it.

For instance, in my experience, 90-95% of prospects are generally honest and straight-shooters.

However, B2C prospects in in-home selling will often say "we're getting three bids and you're the first person we"ve talked to." That's an outright lie 2/3 of the time. Prospects virtually never say "you're the second person I've talked to" or "you're the third and final person I'm going to talk to." They simply don't do that very often. So that's an instance of dishonesty, but as salespeople we have to understand why people do it: to protect themselves from, or prevent a "hard close."

Similarly, prospects in B2C selling will often say, "I need to talk to my spouse" when what they really mean is "I'm not going to buy from you because ___________." (fill in the blank with whatever reason exists). That's dishonest, but again, we as salespeople can often find out what the prospect is really thinking by how we proceed in that situation, and we can intellectually understand why prospects do those things.

I've caught customers in lies many times. Sometimes I've called them on it, sometimes I haven't. If it makes good sales sense to confront a prospect, then I would do it; if it doesn't make sales sense, then it would be foolish to do it just to prove a point. The way we can "win" (if one has to look at it at a contest) is by closing the deal with a prospect (shady or not), not be complaining and moaning and getting angry. - by Skip Anderson
What percentage of b2c prospects would you estimate put guards up mentally when first encountering a salesperson? Why do you think these prospects would put up their guards? - by Thomas
What percentage of b2c prospects would you estimate put guards up mentally when first encountering a salesperson? Why do you think these prospects would put up their guards?
Typically, the bigger the cost of the product, the more there is likely to be putting their guard up at least somewhat, but in general I think most do. - by Skip Anderson
Typically, the bigger the cost of the product, the more there is likely to be putting their guard up at least somewhat, but in general I think most do.
If most do then there's a good chance most will also do what they think is okay to protect themselves like not being completely honest and straightforward.

Can you imagine what would happen if people had the perception that in general most salespeople were not completely honest and straightforward? - by Thomas

Can you imagine what would happen if people had the perception that in general most salespeople were not completely honest and straightforward?
Thomas, do you think the general public feels most salespeople are completely honest and straightforward? - by Skip Anderson
Thomas, do you think the general public feels most salespeople are completely honest and straightforward?
I think the general public feels that salespeople should be completely honest and straightforward but I don't think they feel that is reality. Crooks always worry about being robbed if you get my drift. - by Thomas
It has been said;

"All buyers are liars!"

But does it matter whether they would lie or not? AFTER ALL, if you can supply what they want and know how to make sure they understand you can, you are going to get the order.


- by Gold Calling
It has been said;

"All buyers are liars!"

But does it matter whether they would lie or not? AFTER ALL, if you can supply what they want and know how to make sure they understand you can, you are going to get the order.


If the prospect lies about their situation then you might not really know what they want. Have you ever heard salespeople tell stories about prospects that said they wanted one thing and bought another? - by Thomas
Have you ever heard salespeople tell stories about prospects that said they wanted one thing and bought another?
No, I think this is fairly rare. what is the motivation for that?

I am far more apt to believe that they actually thought they needed one thing and a good sales person came along and was able to show them another option was better.

Otherwise you would not be sharing 2nd hand information. - by Gold Calling
In b2c sales what percentage of prospects are honest and straightforward with salespeople at the point of initial contact?
Let me ask you, what percentage of prospects trust, as someone else put it, a stranger? msnwnk; - by Bulldog
What percentage of b2c prospects would you estimate put guards up mentally when first encountering a salesperson? Why do you think these prospects would put up their guards?
Every prospect has their guard up when encountering what is perceived by them as a 'sales situation and a conversation with a salesperson'. Why? Simple they have had experiences in their lives when they have bought a product and been lied to by the salesperson who sold it to them. It has happened to everyone.

People regardless of whether it is a B2C or B2B sales environment have bought something and been lied to by salespeople.

In tough economic times, when a salesperson needs to earn commission to feed their family, clients worry more, that salespeople will lie even more, to close the sale.

The line has been said in sales meetings many times, "Tell the customer whatever you need to, that will make the sale, its the end of the month or quarter". Not saying 'anyone' here would (lie)do that.

I believe most prospects want to be honest and straightforward, but don't believe salespeople are. That is why building a good relationship to get comfortable and begin to earn trust and respect is key; working hard to understand the needs of someone and in the process show you 'care', leads to more honesty. But if a salesperson then 'breaks' that honesty, with a 'misleading/lie' statement all the previous is negated.

And that prospect, holds that bad experience against other salesperson he meets -- regardles of right or wrong. - by Paulette Halpern
Every prospect has their guard up when encountering what is perceived by them as a 'sales situation and a conversation with a salesperson'. Why? Simple they have had experiences in their lives when they have bought a product and been lied to by the salesperson who sold it to them. It has happened to everyone.

People regardless of whether it is a B2C or B2B sales environment have bought something and been lied to by salespeople.

In tough economic times, when a salesperson needs to earn commission to feed their family, clients worry more, that salespeople will lie even more, to close the sale.

The line has been said in sales meetings many times, "Tell the customer whatever you need to, that will make the sale, its the end of the month or quarter". Not saying 'anyone' here would (lie)do that.
I must be naive.... I thought the profession I've belonged to for the last few years was an honorable one. What you are saying, if I understand you correctly, is that because SALESPEOPLE are KNOWN to LIe... For your information, IVE NEVER BEEN TOLD TO SAY WHATEVER BY ANY ORGANIZATION I'VE BELONGED TO.

So I'm sorry.... I totally reject this. - by rattus58
Every prospect has their guard up when encountering what is perceived by them as a 'sales situation and a conversation with a salesperson'. Why? Simple they have had experiences in their lives when they have bought a product and been lied to by the salesperson who sold it to them. It has happened to everyone.

People regardless of whether it is a B2C or B2B sales environment have bought something and been lied to by salespeople.

In tough economic times, when a salesperson needs to earn commission to feed their family, clients worry more, that salespeople will lie even more, to close the sale.
I agree Paulette.

The line has been said in sales meetings many times, "Tell the customer whatever you need to, that will make the sale, its the end of the month or quarter". Not saying 'anyone' here would (lie)do that.
I haven't experienced that but I have heard about it. - by Thomas
No, I think this is fairly rare. what is the motivation for that?

I am far more apt to believe that they actually thought they needed one thing and a good sales person came along and was able to show them another option was better.

Otherwise you would not be sharing 2nd hand information.
I hear stories all of the time of people who said they wanted to be on one side of town in a two bedroom and wound up buying on the other side of town in a three bedroom or people who said they didn't want to spend more than $100k and later bought something for $125k. - by Thomas
Let me ask you, what percentage of prospect trust, as someone else put it, a stranger? msnwnk;
I think a very low percentage of people trust a stranger. - by Thomas
People are about as honest as their situation and conscience allows. Don't back an honest man into a corner and expect him to play fair.
Straight up true. ;co - by Thomas
I think a very low percentage of people trust a stranger.
What does that have to do with being a PROFESSIONAL Sales person? Absolutely NOTHING.

I don't trust strangers either, but a professional salesman/woman should be able to create a trust relationship with their clients. It is only at that time that a relationship exists anyway, and to consider any other moment as being relevant is in my OPINION misguided as to the process of I'm familiar with.

Aloha... :cool: - by rattus58
What does that have to do with being a PROFESSIONAL Sales person? Absolutely NOTHING.

I don't trust strangers either, but a professional salesman/woman should be able to create a trust relationship with their clients. It is only at that time that a relationship exists anyway, and to consider any other moment as being relevant is in my OPINION misguided as to the process of I'm familiar with.

Aloha... :cool:
It has everything to do with being a professional salesperson because it shows you what you can expect if you don't find a way to develop trust with the prospect and even then you need to keep your eyes and ears open. - by Thomas
This reply addresses comments by Paulette and Thomas:



Paulette, I want to say up front that I know you are a knowledgeable sales person and trainer but this post … well, it is not that simple.

Every prospect has their guard up when encountering what is perceived by them as a 'sales situation and a conversation with a salesperson'. Why? Simple they have had experiences in their lives when they have bought a product and been lied to by the salesperson who sold it to them. It has happened to everyone.
I cannot remember being lied to about a product and buying it only to find out I was. Seriously. I am not saying it never happened but, if it did, I cannot recall such an occasion.

What I can remember and what sticks in my mind very strongly is what happens during the process. How the sales person makes me feel.

My opinion is; every buyer has been “pushed” and doesn’t like that experience. They don’t like how it makes them feel and they don’t want to “go there” again. This is what makes them leery, nervous – gun shy.

Some think you will say whatever to get the sale but this is easily handled (for most prospects) with integrity and luckily it is not the majority.

In tough economic times, when a salesperson needs to earn commission to feed their family, clients worry more, that salespeople will lie even more, to close the sale.
Yah, that is right. I have heard many a person recommend the following “Watch out for sales people in hard economic times, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Heck, don’t let go of your child’s hand and count your fingers after a handshake to make sure they don’t steal from you!”

Now, obviously I overstate here. But, come on, I seriously doubt that this crosses many people’s minds. It might if you go on an appointment and handle yourself like a moron – not if you are professional. And not as a thought in advance.

The line has been said in sales meetings many times, "Tell the customer whatever you need to, that will make the sale, its the end of the month or quarter”.
I have been in so many sales meetings in 30 years I could not count them. I have never once ever heard this or any suggestion that insinuates you must lie for any reason and especially just because there is a deadline looming.

I believe most prospects want to be honest and straightforward, but don't believe salespeople are.
And I believe that some (a minority not “MOST”) feel that way.

… and that prospect, holds that bad experience against other salesperson he meets -- regardless of right or wrong.
This is absolutely correct.

I hear stories all of the time of people who said they wanted to be on one side of town in a two bedroom and wound up buying on the other side of town in a three bedroom or people who said they didn't want to spend more than $100k and later bought something for $125k.
Yes but why? Because they lied or because someone did a great job of showing them a home they fell in love with?

I think a very low percentage of people trust a stranger.
I think the majority WANT TO TRUST YOU. It is up to you to earn that trust. - by Gold Calling
Yes but why? Because they lied or because someone did a great job of showing them a home they fell in love with?
I chalk that kind of thing up to either the prospect wasn't completely upfront with their criteria or their criteria changed not that someone did a great job of showing them a home they fell in love with. That sounds like the stereotypical salesperson people are afraid of, the one that sells you something you didn't want which by the way if you look at the foreclosure market in the United States you'll find PLENTY of people who are saying that. - by Thomas
Every prospect has their guard up when encountering what is perceived by them as a 'sales situation and a conversation with a salesperson'. Why? Simple they have had experiences in their lives when they have bought a product and been lied to by the salesperson who sold it to them. It has happened to everyone.

People regardless of whether it is a B2C or B2B sales environment have bought something and been lied to by salespeople.
Or heard of someone who has!

Anytime I have to take my car in for repairs I brace myself knowing full well they are going to try and sell me a bill of goods. thmbdn2; - by Thomas
... their criteria changed not that someone did a great job of showing them a home they fell in love with.
I will state the obvious; changing criteria is not exactly the same as being a liar. This could be because there was a more astute agent, that did a better job. Or there was a complication with credit approval - they discovered they could not "reach" as far as they wanted too ...

Quite often it is the rep/agent ... not always but often.

Look, the "buyers are liars" quote is a common one. I have used it. But I have also matured to the state where I am most willing to look at what I could have done better than to justify "it" as the buyer that was to blame,at fault for not being open enough with their needs or, worse, a liar.

Always ask.

I am as certain as I can be that the percentage is the minority. Most people are honest, most want to trust you and some are the opposite. As long as we do not use excuses for when we are at fault, we are in a good place. - by Gold Calling
That's the word--"ADVERSARIAL". We've got multi-threads going right now with an underlying theme of Them Against YOU!

I've closed over 60 thousand eyeball to eyeball sales in my career I don't need to say that in a "self-congratulary" way because the money I earned sufficed.

Why is it I don't relate to any of this talk about prospects being liars, who you can trust, who you can't, manipulation right or wrong, ethical, unethical....WHAT'S GOING ON?

Identifying and/or establishing MUTUAL trust and respect is a selling skill. Complaining isn't.

It isn't them against you! I'm hoping this forum can get on to bigger and better things---SUCH AS the subject of skills that would bring about enough sales that people wouldn't have to worry about all those prospects that are out to git ya.

If you think selling's adverarial, you'll never cut it. - by Ace Coldiron
If you think selling's adverarial, you'll never cut it.
Nobody is saying that selling is adversarial. I am saying that prospects and customers shouldn't be put on a pedistal as if they don't lie or manipulate because it is not true and it sets up unrealistic expectations for salespeople. You can't swing a cat without hitting someone moaning about salespeople being dishonest and manipulative but you rarely hear the same about prospects and customers. Even on this forum I see it. thmbdn2; - by Thomas
I understand and somewhat agree with what ACE is saying. Now I don't know what the other sales industry, but what I do see in the car industry is newer sales people believing everything that the customer says, even when it is a point blank lie. I don't have many customers lie to me as outragously as they do to some of the new sales people. But what does get me is that the newer sales people get so frustrated because they do believe that the customer is completely honest. Had a customer in negotiations with a new guy and I happened to be walking by and over heard what he was saying. He told the new guy that the competition was offering him a $26000 car for payments of $250 a month, and the sales person told him that they should be able to beat that. Now of course I am no math genius but even financing at 72 months at 0% and not including tax title and license that comes out to $18,000 dollars. Unfortunatly these cars don't have an 8k mark-up. So how does a new salesman counteract this? I stepped in and introduced myself saying
"Excuse me, How are we doing? My name is John. I had one question for you. Now I am awful at math. But even at a 300 dollar payment on 72 months your only at a $21k vehicle and that doesn't include TTL or the APR. If they are giving you a 26 thousand dollar vehicle at 250 a month, that is a hell of a deal! What kept you from buying over at Bert Ogden?"


I don't call them a liar, but I do show them the fault in thier lie, and then give them an easy way out so they don't have to embarass themselves and say that they lied. Maybe we should focus this thread on how to overcome when a customer is lying to you without insulting or calling the customer a liar. - by jrboyd
Now I don't know what the other sales industry, but what I do see in the car industry is newer sales people believing everything that the customer says, even when it is a point blank lie. I don't have many customers lie to me as outrageously as they do to some of the new sales people. But what does get me is that the newer sales people get so frustrated because they do believe that the customer is completely honest.
That is what I am talking about. - by Thomas
This discussion look like it has run its course so I am closing the thread. - by Jeff Blackwell
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