Sales People are Liars

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Sales People are Liars

Sales People are Liars

If you were to ask members of the public to describe sales people the adjectives they use are often less than complimentary.  Pushy, arrogant, selfish, snake oil, money grabbers and liars are words commonly used to describe us.  After nearly 30 years in sales, selling, managing, coaching, training and consulting, I can honestly say the majority of sales people are nothing like that.  They are good people trying to earn an honest wage.  So why is there such a low perception of Sales People, and what can we do to change that perception?

Everyone’s a Liar

Some years ago during a sales workshop I was running, I made the statement that “All people lie all the time” – it was simply a question of how often and how “damaging” the lies were.  One particular sales person not only disagreed with me they were offended and upset as they claimed to never lie.  When I asked if the sales person had ever told his children that a man in a big red suit with a white beard would be visiting on a magical sleigh pulled by reindeer and entering his property by abseiling down the chimney, he winced.  I asked the sales person if he had ever placed money under the pillow of his children when they had lost a tooth and told them it was the Tooth Fairy who had appeared in the night.  Based on this then we are surely all guilty of lying.  Does this make telling lies to our customers acceptable – absolutely not.  Lying may create some short term wins but long term you will never become the Trusted Advisor, the Aide-de-Camp, the Confidant that people in the C Suite will want to have a relationship with.

Starting With a Lie

More than a few well known Sales Training companies teach Sales People to tell lies, and justify this by saying ‘because buyers tell sales people lies, we have the right to fight fire with fire’.  They further claim you can never be successful in sales unless you lie, as everyone around you is telling lies.   These lies typically start with Cold Calling – tell the Gatekeeper the prospect is expecting your call, tell the Gatekeeper you have the prospects name & number on a piece of paper on your desk but don’t know what it’s about, tell the Prospect you have been asked to call them – is it any wonder people hate receiving cold calls?  Why would you attempt to start any relationship on a lie?

Buyers are Liars

We have all experienced a buyer who in search of a better price or a deeper discount, was shall we say, economical with the truth.  Buyers have sales people spend hours preparing and submitting bid/tender documents, when in reality they have already chosen their supplier and simply need three bids to say they have done their due diligence.  Would we be so keen to slate those same buyers if we were the ones who had got in early, built the relationship, discovered the needs, gained mindshare and shaped the solution, all the time positioning ourselves as the “Go To Experts” in the field?  Lets not blame the Buyer when the reality is the competition have done a better job.


The courage to have difficult conversations and tell the truth is what makes us better than the competition. This is what separates us from the masses and more often than not it’s the conversations we are frightened to have, that secures the trust of our clients.  Life is too short, and no sale is worth more than your personal integrity.  Walk away from some sales, lose some business rather than make a few cheap wins by lying.

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