Indeed making a sale is demanding and sometimes requires tricks and manipulative techniques. But honestly goes beyond just sealing deals. Honesty is now becoming a necessity; you have to tell the truth at all times. If you tell a lie, even a small one, and you get found out, your credibility is gone and any chance of a sale goes with it. If you over-promise and don’t deliver, you will never get more business from that customer, or from anyone he or she ever talks to.
People tend to easily remember the wrong things done to them much more than the right things. It is definitely a bad situation for you if you are caught dishonest. Also, lying is such hard work! You have to remember what lies you have told and who you have told them to, once you slip up you are caught out. Sales people have an excellent tendency to be dishonest. When they are enthusiastic about their product and are keen to make a sale, it is tempting to hype or bend the truth a little. Another time that it may be tempting to skip over some uncomfortable truths is when you are writing a proposal and it comes to discussing risk. If you are honest about potential risks (and show how you would mitigate them) you will gain more trust than if you say there is no risk.
The best sales people are passionate about what they are selling and are determined to make sales. Although that is good, but sometimes people get over enthusiastic and lose sight of the importance of being completely honest. It’s always better to slightly under-promise then over-deliver and delight your customers, than the other way around.
Agreeably, sometimes, it can also be the fault of the managers. If too much pressure is put on sales people to sell a solution, particularly one that is over priced, underspecified or wrong for a particular customer, sales people may feel they have to lie to meet their targets. Also, customers expect sales people to be experts in the solution they are selling. If such a person is not properly trained and given all the information they should have about the solution, they may be tempted to pretend they know the answer.
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Importance and Benefits of Honesty in the Sales World
Being persuasive can easily tempt people to sway into unclear areas when it comes to honesty and manipulation. Whether you’re dealing with sales, are in a debate, or promoting a product via a marketing channel, it can be tempting to throw in an outrageous claim or throw out lies in order ‘to win’. Although you might achieve short term success from mischievous tactics, in the long run, honesty and integrity eventually win out. You can lie your way to the top, or bag a big client by over-promising or lying about your competition, but ultimately people catch on, and your success ends. Below are 10 factors why honesty is so important in sales.
Clients know better
Never underestimate a customer’s ability to know that something’s not quite right. Sales prospects can detect when you’re embellishing important details about a product or service, gloating over the facts, or telling them what they want to hear. As a result, they are less likely to buy. Although an unscrupulous sales strategy might work for you every now and then, but in the long run, you’ll lose more sales than you close because people won’t trust you. It’s advisable you focus instead on creating a sales strategy that respects the customer’s intelligence. You’re likely to generate more successful sales in the short term and build stronger long-term relationships with customers.
Trust is very much based on expectations. The people you choose are those that consistently match your expectations based on their actions. If someone tells you they’ll do something, but continuously fail to do it, then you begin to distrust them. This same scenario plays out between businesses and individuals when selling a service or product. Being honest in what you’re selling allows the prospect to better define their expectations for what you’re offering. If you overpromise and use false claims, it won’t take long for the client notices that reality doesn’t match the expectations they were given. Over time trust erodes, and the client will leave with a negative impression of you and your business.
Have it in mind that it’s easier to deal with an excited customer than a skeptical one. While it might seem simpler to answer questions with short answers or withhold certain information, it’s quite the opposite. Being selective with the truth only invites more questions — and not the good kind. It’s actually much more efficient, and more likely to increase sales, if you take the time to thoroughly address all of your customer’s concerns to ensure that they feel confident about the decision to buy.
In an industry, there are many companies that are consistently mentioned as untrustworthy or scams. These negative reputations didn’t start overnight or happen due to a misunderstanding. Shady sales tactics that involve painting a picture that’s ‘too good to be true’, capture non-savvy prospects into long term commitments that result in an unhappy and desperate customer. While those companies continue to sell at a rapid pace in order to increase their client base, unhappy clients cancel their services as soon as they can and become disillusioned with the industry. It not only hurts the seller themselves, but the whole industry in general.
There’s a decent chance that your target customer has already been pitched in the past by another sales rep. In many of these cases, their decision against buying was due to a lack of trust — not a lack of interest. By being completely straightforward and authentic, you’ll end up signing up customers who had previously said no, bringing you closer to achieving your sales goals.
Note that setting realistic expectations is so critical because it generates loyalty. Customers that trust your services or products usually end up staying loyal to your brand, through good times and bad times. Although being realistic in your sales pitch may make your job a little bit harder, it results in a client that remains with you longer. If you sell a service that is based on a monthly retainer, this means a higher lifetime customer value, resulting in better long term profits. Why spend the time to quickly sell a client who will angrily leave in 3 months, when you could actually work with a prospect that could become a loyal client for years?
Reduces Buyers Remorse
Reports have it that nothing leads to an order cancellation faster than a negative surprise. Thankfully, the secret to a high quality, sticky sale is simple: ensure that your customer has realistic expectations. The strongest salespeople go out of their way to communicate relevant information, ensuring that buyers are fully prepared and informed.
Builds Team Morale
An often overlooked aspect of sales is how it affects your product team. Being dishonest, or using false claims in order to get a signed contract adds extra pressure on the customer service and product teams within your organization. No company likes angry clients. The extra time and effort put into trying to retain a customer, or dealing with complaints can be used to improve your service, improve your team morale, and make advancements in your industry.
Breeds Self Confidence
As soon as you realize that you don’t have to rely on white lies, exaggerations, and “tricks of the trade” in order to make a sale, you’ll become a more confident salesperson. Not only will you sleep better at night knowing that you conducted business with integrity, but this boost to your self-esteem will make you a stronger salesperson and a great sales team leader.
Businesses, whether they’re based on a service or product model, need to find time and resources in order to evolve and grow. Between sales, marketing, finance, product development and customer service, it’s usually very difficult for small businesses to grow. Why add extra stress to your company when you should be finding ways to streamline your processes and improve your services? At the end of the day, becoming more efficient, and more effective will result in a growing company that will see long term sales.
Indeed, sales isn’t an easy process or task. It’s especially hard in industries with high demand, and even higher competition. But, try not to be tempted by short term glory. At the end of the day, while you may win a few battles, you won’t grow past the reputation you’ve made for yourself. Be honest – it’ll pay off in the long term. Never be afraid that you’ll scare off a potential buyer with the truth. Don’t forget: the mark of a strong salesperson is both quantity and quality of sales. Focus on being 100 percent honest, transparent, and authentic. Not only is this the right thing to do, but this simple sales strategy can put you on the fast track to achieving your career goals.