I know, so negative of me. Once upon a time, I would agree with you. People don't lie, at least not intentionally! They just change their mind. Sometimes, buyers either don't know what they need or how to buy it, or they don't think it makes them a bad person to use a salesperson to get a price and shop it around to get a better deal. They will still go to heaven, right?
But is it pessimism, or just harsh reality? As I tell my kids, everyone has an agenda and bias-myself included. It doesn't make us bad people, but if we are honest with ourselves, doesn't our agenda and bias impact the answers we give?
And maybe it's not their conscious intention to lie. Most of the time, they don't tell the whole truth because they are trying to protect themselves. It might be that they are protecting their ego, their reputation, the status quo, or their pocketbook.
How do you get buyers to stop lying to you?
The short answer is you don't. You can't stop someone from lying, or not telling the whole truth, and if you try to call them out on it you are threatening them and they will close up faster and tighter. Once we accept this as sales people, we can start to understand, empathize, and not be taken by surprise when our ears get happy. That means acceptance that they aren't giving you the whole story up front and being willing to ask questions.
It might go something like this;
"When most people tell me that they don't have a budget, what they really mean is that they don't know how much this should cost, or that they really don't have any budget set aside and any amount is too much. Is that what you are trying to say?"
One of the most common lie I hear is, "I'm the decision maker." to which I might respond, "Wow, that's unusual that a CEO doesn't sign off on this large of an investment. So does that mean if you say yes I should address the invoice and payment to you?"
And my all time favorite is when they ask for a proposal in the first 15 min of a meeting. If we are sitting face to face I will pull out my pen and paper and hand it to them. "Ok great, you must want to get started right away then? Have you already done your research and comparisons? Who else have you talked to and are considering?" Too often sales people jump right into bed with a proposal before it is appropriate or the prospect is truly ready to get started.
What lies do you believe from prospects as a sales person? What sales techniques have helped you to get to the real heart of the matter?