Home > Interview > Prospects don't always tell you the truth and they play their cards close to the vest

Prospects don't always tell you the truth and they play their cards close to the vest

The title to this thread if from a book I found from the Sandler Sales Institute. Do you feel prospect believe it's okay to withold information or mislead salespeople as a defense mechanism? - by Houston
The title to this thread if from a book I found from the Sandler Sales Institute. Do you feel prospect believe it's okay to withold information or mislead salespeople as a defense mechanism?
Another great topic, Houston.;sm

Yes, I believe prospects think it's okay to withhold information or mislead salespeople as a defense mechanism. In fact, one of my "Ten Truths About Selling" is:

#5. Prospects Lie.

Skip Anderson - by Skip Anderson
"Do you feel prospect believe it's okay to withold information or mislead salespeople as a defense mechanism?" -- Houston

Yes, just as much as some salespeople do as an offensive mechanism.

MitchM - by MitchM
If the SR is asking meaningful questions, listening intently (re-phrasing as req'd to ensure clarity), and basing the subsequent dialogue on what's transpired, it seems to me that lying shouldn't be an issue.

As above, if the right dialogue has transpired, it is unclear to me how/why info would be withheld.

I'm assuming that the relationship is building of course but this is something which I haven't run into. I'm also assuming that the SR hasn't stepped out of sequence or "not earned the right" to ask high level business questions (at an early stage)

"... just to make it clear, your firm has never ..." how/why would someone misrepresent reality? They're putting their job and, potentially, their company at risk.

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
If the SR is asking meaningful questions, listening intently (re-phrasing as req'd to ensure clarity), and basing the subsequent dialogue on what's transpired, it seems to me that lying shouldn't be an issue.

As above, if the right dialogue has transpired, it is unclear to me how/why info would be withheld.

I'm assuming that the relationship is building of course but this is something which I haven't run into. I'm also assuming that the SR hasn't stepped out of sequence or "not earned the right" to ask high level business questions (at an early stage)

"... just to make it clear, your firm has never ..." how/why would someone misrepresent reality? They're putting their job and, potentially, their company at risk.

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat
Four Reasons Why Prospects Lie:

1. Conscious Lies. Your prospect tells you the price quote he received from your competitor was $12,000. But the competitor's quote was really $12,720. The prospect has just deflated your prospect's price by 5.7%.

2. White lies. Your prospect may tell you he's getting another bid, when in fact he's getting four other bids. Or, she tells you that she's going to get another bid when in reality she's already received that bid.

3. Stretching the truth. Your prospect tells you that she needs to talk to her boss (or spouse) about the purchase, when in reality your prospect doesn't want your product for one reason or another. [Of course, this is a good reason to accurately identify all decision-makers early in the selling process, and then have them present for the selling interactions.

4. Selective memory. You tell you prospect a ballpark figure of $15,000 - $20,000. Your final price comes in at $19,766. Your prospect insists your told him the price would be $15,000. [Of course, this is a good reason to not give ballpark pricing]

-from a forthcoming book by Skip Anderson - by Skip Anderson
As above, if the right dialogue has transpired, it is unclear to me how/why info would be withheld.
Information is witheld and salespeople are sometimes misled out of the prospect's desire for self-preservation. - by Houston
"Do you feel prospect believe it's okay to withold information or mislead salespeople as a defense mechanism?" -- Houston

Thirteen year olds know these things - even younger - they just don't know how to put them to words and fully understand them. Why the child to mom, the mom to child, the parent to parent, the teacher to child and child to teacher, why the child to child - sibling to sibling - why in every combination people lie we all know.

MitchM - by MitchM
Outsource is a real professional. He knows exactly how to gain confidence, earn the right to ask detailed questions and would know he was being mislead, if that ever happened, which is unlikely because he does his job right in the first place. But this (a buyer who is a liar) is rarely the case in B2B Selling at the highest level.

I beleive Skip is bang on too. Though I would make the point that most of these things happen in B2C selling or in B2B situations with smaller companies. This could be a debate thread all on its own - as in; when is a prospect more likely to lie?

Omission is the most common occurrence.

Of course, being lied to happens most often when an amateur is selling, in other words when the sales rep did not do a good enough job uncovering needs that could be supported. Anyone trying to sell in a situation of futility, were neither the sales person nor the buyer could keep the sales call on track and there was not enough established as a reason to buy but the seller is still trying to close, might experience all kinds of techniques used by the buyer to get rid of them!

As for a seller using omission as a technique, only unethical sales people would do that Mitch. This is not any where near as common as a poorly trained sales person - someone who is not a sales professional at all but nonetheless has the job of selling - screwing up the sales call and alienating the prospect.

If you would prefer not to worry about a prospect telling you lies, my advice would be; learn to be a better sales person (a real professional). - by Gold Calling
Gold is "hitting the nail on the head" with his advice:
"If you would prefer not to worry about a prospect telling you lies, my advice would be; learn to be a better sales person ...".

A truly professional SR will see through any misrepresentations OR misunderstandings and ask the appropriate clarifying questions.

After all, it's what we do for a living ...

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
Gold Calling and Skip are speaking directly to you who have an issue with this: "If you would prefer not to worry about a prospect telling you lies, my advice would be; learn to be a better sales person ...".

Houston asked the question concerning motives of the prospect - a great question worth investigating. BUT when you know how to sell and are alert it's not an issue - you know how to respond to the prospect.

MitchM - by MitchM
There is no greater goal professionally than learning to sell. Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki both said it, together in their own book and Robert did so separately, having first joined Xerox himself.

Harvey McKay wrote whole books about it. Dale Carnegie and Earl Nightingale both did it and preached it ... and countless others. All getting to the core of what it means to be a professional sales person.

Most of what gets kicked around here, in this forum, and in new age selling ideas, is predicated or based on expereince with poor and unprofessional sales people (this begins with 2nd hand experience, like that of your parents) and individual values built on these experiences. No wonder we are held in such low esteem.

J. Douglas Edwards, perhaps the greatest sales speaker of all time said; "No wonder there are so many poins in this industry!"

Selling has not changed. Marketing and technology have but that does not mean sales skills have.

You don't need a CRM or Contact Manager to make huge bucks in selling. You don't need to send billions of emails or ever write even one for that matter. What you need is to learn how to interact with people, how to read them so that you can help them get what they need, want or desire.

You can lay on me that sales people use techniques that are unprofessional if you want to. And that we, as an industry need to change because people now know better, but I can tell you in reply to both of these points that most sales people don't know what they are doing and that influence can be used for good and evil. Pros obviously use it the good way; to help people buy. And, for those people who have it, it is the same sort of feeling or non-trusting attitude toward sales people now that existed about sales people for approximately 80 to 120 generations, since the beginning of trade caravans and market squares. The reality is, this is lost in time. The only way you can understand this is not through surveys, because we are individuals are not aware of how are values became set, it is through the study of human nature and how core beliefs (values) come to be in the first place.

Are you good enough? Will you stretch yourself into becoming all you can be and learn to master this thing called selling? Or will you twist and turn away from what is as evident as the nose on your face - that selling is something you have to actively work at improving at for your whole career.

The perception of our industry has not changed. Writers and speakers will tell you it has to sell their materials but the reality is that they are simply carrying on with a pattern. And that pattern is to look for something else that is the root of the problem other than the fact that they never truly mastered this performing art. Naturally, the answer is the "old way" no longer works. What they miss is that there have always been those who did not know what they were doing and those who were really masters.

Why study those who know not what they do?

Few do (master sales). Will you? - by Gold Calling
"Are you good enough? will you stretch yourself to become all you can be and learn to master this thing called selling? Or will you twist and turn away from what is as evident as the nose on your face - that selling is something you have to actively work at improving at for your whole career." -- Gold Calling

Excellent words and advice, GC. When people stop actively seeking what it takes to be successful in sales - in anything as you know - they either die a slow or fast death. BUT the good news is that some will wake up from their slumber and be reborn, so to speak.

Always strive and hope for the best!

MitchM - by MitchM
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