When You Lead With Deception

My phone lit up with an urgent text message from someone on my staff: “XXX called and needs you to call him right away. He said you would know who he is.”

I didn’t recognize XXX’s name, but I meet a lot of people and thought maybe he was someone I’d met on a recent trip or had a social media conversation with. Whatever. I didn’t have time to phone him before the meeting I was headed into, but I made a note to return his call later.

When he answered, he mumbled his name and I had to clarify that I was actually speaking to the right person. I identified myself, but he didn’t have a clue who I was. I reminded him of the message he left, and he perked right up. “Oh, yeah! I’m an account executive for XYZ and I was calling to tell you about XYZ’s services.”

I stopped him right there and told him he didn’t need to say anything more. Then I told him we would not be doing business together, and he needed to find a better way to get to decision makers.

There’s an old sales adage that “People buy from people they trust and they trust people they like.” While I realize there’s more to the sales process than trusting and liking someone, I certainly will not buy from someone I don’t trust.

Guess what, Mr. Account Executive?

Interrupting my staff and telling them I would know who you are makes me not like you very much. And when you lead with deception, I certainly don’t trust you. Further, using that kind of tactic casts a pall on the company you represent as well. If these are the techniques people in your company use to make a sale, what other deceptive ploys await down the road?

Believe me, I know how hard sales can be. I employ salespeople myself and know how difficult it can be to get to a decision maker. But if the first outreach to a potential customer is based on trickery and deception, there’s no chance of a relationship. And solid relationships are what sales are all about in the long run.

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About Smart Companies Thinking Bigger®

Kelly Scanlon is the owner and publisher of Thinking Bigger Business Media. She recently finished a term on the national board of directors of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and was the national chair from 2010-2011. An advocate for small business owners, Kelly sits on numerous boards and committees to advocate on behalf of small business owners. She has won several awards for her advocacy. Among them are the 2011 United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award on behalf of Kansas City area small business owners, the U.S. Small Business Administration's Region VII Women's Business Champion of the Year in 2009, and the Women in Business Advocate of the Year from the State of Kansas in 2006. In 2002, she won the SBA's Region VII Small Business Journalist of the Year Award (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas). Whatever your business stage—aspiring, startup, established, mature—Thinking Bigger Business Media has the resources you need to grow to the next level. We are a resource organization dedicated to providing the strategic, "how-to" information small business owners need to become more productive and more profitable. We also provide information that helps owners connect with resources within the business community that can help them grow. We deliver that information through a variety of media products and other channels easily accessible to business owners.
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