We have all heard the joke:
Q: How do you know when a sales person is lying?
A: Their lips are moving.
Another cultural example surrounding sales professionals: People often describe sales by using emotionally charged words which call to mind a scammer or manipulator.
Are there sales people who lie? Yes. But consider this, we have sales people to reduce lying.
In my experience sales professionals are not liars. Occasionally, facts are misunderstood and clarifications must be made, but outright lying is not the go-to sales technique utilized by most organizations.
The sales professional strives to build a customer base and earn their loyalty in order to develop a successful career. Lying does not help a sales professional build loyalty or their career. The majority of sales professionals are working to deliver factual and helpful information to their clients.
To be fair, there is another side to lying in the sales process. Clients have been known to lie. Or a better way of putting it may be they have missed details when relaying information to sales professionals.
So if both parties have been known to “lie” during the sales process, how can trust be built? Is an underlying mistrust between the parties simply expected and culturally acceptable? Why are sales people needed? Why hasn’t the internet completely automated the sales process and the art of selling been reduced to a Google search?
I have my thoughts on this.
1st. The sales process is not a test of who can lie the best. Society likes to joke and poke fun at this process, but in the end people understand a sales process is meant to help the client find the best solution. Can there be misunderstandings? Absolutely. Will people lie in the process? Possibly, but when a proper sales process is followed the “lies” told by either or both sides are easily recognized and addressed.
2nd. A good sales process can deliver the right solution and help both the client and the seller meet their goals. Consider how this simplified sales process is focused on helping find a mutual benefit between a client and a seller.
Prospecting – Connect with prospective clients who have no contact or interaction with the salesman or the services his/her company provides.
Qualification – Engage with a prospect to discover where the mutual benefit to work together lies.
Needs Analysis – Seller and client both believe their organizations can work together and now it’s time for the client’s needs to be explored, understood, and addressed.
Education – The sales professional shares their organization’s solution which will change the client’s status quo.
Decision – Quotes are made and commercial terms are negotiated to move the partnership forward.
3rd. I’m an optimist. I believe in people. And although people may bend the truth in business, in the end sales professionals must ask questions which clarify misunderstandings during the sales process. It’s the sales professional’s responsibility to obtain the right data to deliver the solution the client needs. It’s also the sales professional’s role to convey any gaps discovered and assumptions which were made while developing the solution. It is important for the client to understand the gaps and assumptions so they have an opportunity to redirect or correct the seller. It is important because the gaps and assumptions are often redefined as “lies” if there are future concerns.
We need sales professionals because they are the human bridge between the business with a need and the organization with a solution. The sales professional is focused on developing customer loyalty and delivering solutions, which can change the status quo for their client.
If your sales process does not exist or does not allow your team to recognize clients’ gaps or assumptions, Harpel Coaching can help. We will support your team in developing a sales process which will allow the seller and the client to recognize and adjust for any miscommunication.