Are Buyers Really Liars?


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Are buyers really liars?

Actually, the real question is: Do sellers do things that force buyers to lie?

The answer, of course, is YES.

To see why the answer is yes, let's look at a typical interaction between a salesperson and a customer in a selling situation.

Imagine that a salesperson is delivering a pitch to a potential customer. At some point during the pitch, the salesperson says or does something that immediately makes the customer think: Whoa. That's not good. Major red flag. Hmmm. Yep, MAJOR. In fact, it's a show-stopper. There is no way I'm going to give this guy my business.

There are dozens of triggers for this thought. The salesperson may have:

  • Mentioned, off-handedly, that the company is up for sale
  • Said something that the customer knows is clearly a lie
  • Said something about the way the company does business that the customer simply won't tolerate, including inefficient/rude processes or policies, or illegal practices
  • Revealed things about other customers that he should not have revealed, and the customer decides he cannot trust the salesperson or his company with his own information
  • Said that they can't provide a product or service in time to fit the customer's own deadlines
  • Made it clear that he is incapable of listening to what the customer is really saying or respecting what the customer really wants

This is just a partial list; I could easily list dozens more. But you get the point. The seller has just done something that stops the buying process cold.

When I am the buyer in these situations, I immediately stop the conversation and tell the seller the truth. I tell them that they have just caused me to decide not to do business with them, that nothing they can say will change my mind, and that I am telling them to help them. Then I hang up or walk out, even as they are still speaking, if they refuse to take my word for it.

In other words, I don't lie. But I am not your typical customer. I am a revenue coach, and when a salesperson does something this stupid, I feel obligated to tell them.

Your customers are not revenue coaches. They are people who are hoping you can solve their problem.

If you, by your own words and actions (via your salespeople, partners, website, emails, etc.), say something that turns the customer off - and kills the deal - they won't tell you. They will simply leave (if they've come to your website) or unsubscribe (if they've been getting your emails) or let the salesperson keep thinking that he's making a positive impression, while at the same they are trying to shorten the sales call as much as possible. When the salesperson is done, the customer will smile and shake hands, and say, "Sure," when the salesperson asks if he can "follow up next week." And then the customer will go back to looking for a suitable solution.

In this situation, customers lie because it will be too painful to tell the truth. They know perfectly well that if they tell the salesperson what they're really thinking, the salesperson will launch into a passionate, pushy, disgustingly boring rant about why the customer is WRONG. This is what salespeople are trained to do: "overcome objections." The result is that customers stating their wise and valid concerns are treated as if they are stupid idiots who don't know what they're talking about.

None of us wants to subject ourselves to that kind of insulting treatment.

So yes, buyers lie. Sellers force them to.

If company managers listened to their customers and gave them what they wanted, buyers wouldn't have to lie. If salespeople, websites, emails, and other company-generated content answered the questions customers had, honestly and efficiently, buyers could move through their buying process without hesitation. No red flags, sign me up.

Companies would sell more. A lot more.

And buyers would be relieved. They  could stop lying and start buying.

 

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Comments

Buyers are liars

Kristin,

Great article and you are 100% on the money with this. The simple fact is that there are no bad prospects just bad salespeople. Good salespeople understand that their product or service may not be the correct solution for the prospect or customer and that no is a perfectly acceptable answer. A good salesperson realizes they are in the decision making business. Help the prospect or customer decide if your product or service is going to solve their problem and if it is not that is ok move on.

Mark

you're right on, too!

Thanks, Mark. You are also right on. The poor customer is just trying to make a decision - about where he/she is going to spend hard-earned money.
 
It's serious business, and yet marketers and salespeople tend not to treat it that way. And your suggestion - where the salesperson helps the prospect decide if the product or service is going to solve their problem - depends on the salesperson actually understanding everything that the product or service can do. This is too seldom not the case if the product or service is complex.
 
I know, there are great salespeople who really get it. But they are not the norm, in my experience.
 
Thanks for your comment - and wisdom.
 
kz

Agree Again

Hi Kristin,
 
I agree that the poor customer is trying to make a decision. The major problem is most companies and reps are trying to ram a product or service down the customer's throat because they have a "no" allergy. "No" allergy means that they are so allergic to the word no that they go through great lengths to avoid it.
 
You have to understand what your product or service can do, but more importantly you must understand what the prospect's or customer's problem is. The only way to understand their problem is to ask extensive questions to understand what they are looking for.
 
Most reps "show up and throw up." This is a major waste of time and a huge turn-off. This is why you don't experience greatness that often.
 
Thanks and I appreciate your wisdom also!
 
Mark

Dishonest buyers

I've started a new retail online business which allows buyers to leave feedback.

In our experience we have found the following:-

Buyers will lie that they have not recieved their item despite providing them with proof of postage.

Buyers will deliberately damage articles to get a full refund without allowing the seller to investigating the problem.

Buyers will remove the articles and replace with a damage product.

Buyers will blackmail the seller making threats that the will publicly make it known to destroy the seller credibility.Websites like Amazon and EBay are common for this.

Buyers blame ths seller even when the courier maybe at fault...

Buyers will demand compensation....

Buyers wills spend 20 minutes on a premium rate number to quarrel about a postage charge £0.11 pence.

The list is endless.. I sometimes wonder if anyone has solutions to beat the dishonest?

This why I don't do business with jerks.

Doesn't help you much - because you are selling retail. But I wonder why you are having so many of these problems?
 
kz 

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