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What is your current position in your company? Sales Manager? Sales Director? At some point in your career, have you ever told a few white lies? The chances are that you answered yes to this, or ironically, lied again to yourself. But why? Why do salespeople lie?

Salespeople might lie to different people for different reasons. One of the people they might lie to could be their sales manager? A salesperson sets themselves up for rejection nearly every day of the week, they continue because they want to be successful and they are driven and motivated. So if a salesperson is continually being hounded for progress reports on their prospects… don’t be surprised when they tell you a lie. Maybe you recognise a few of these old chestnuts: “I’m 100% certain I’m going to hit sales target this month,” or, “Yeah, of course, I know all of my product’s features and benefits”. And don’t forget, you are dealing with salespeople, they can be good at putting a good spin on things. For example, when faced with the question, “What did you sell today,” a typical reply will swerve the answer, “It was a great meeting, we are just sorting out the minor details”.

Of course, for all those driven and motivated sellers out there, there is the other type too. These are the ones who are trying to maintain a good appearance to their bosses, but their head is somewhere else. You might recognise them via their excuses, such as “I can’t make that sales meeting. I’m sick,” or “Of course I’ve prepared for this meeting. I’ve just left everything in the car. Let’s just start.” It is clear that their mind isn’t on the job and a good sales manager will find out why and get them to re-engage with their role.

Probably the worst lies are those told to potential customers, where honesty is always the best policy. These types of lies are not intentionally misleading, but happen when perhaps newer sales personnel may feel cornered when a client is asking them questions which they don’t have the answers to. Rather than feel embarrassed or inadequate, the knee-jerk reaction is to lie and tell the client what they assume they want to hear. of course, clients are not whiter than white and can also be prone to the odd lie.

This is usually to avoid nuisance sales calls or in the hope of getting a better deal, but whatever the reason, gaining complete transparency between sales personnel and the client, can be a challenge. For a salesperson, it is key to listen to what their clients are saying throughout the sales process and to act on what they are hearing. For example, are they actually the decision maker. Most deals have to be signed off by more than one person, so take it with a pinch of salt, people like to make themselves look important.

There are usually lies on both sides of a sales agreement and the sales managers need to be managing all of them. And this can only be done by keeping your ear to the ground and continually questioning the information, you are being given.